Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the English East Midlands in the 1960s and 70s. This has provided at least part of the setting for my first book but also endowed me with the peculiar humour to that part of the world. The East Midlands have given us some awesome engineering such as Arkwright's Mill at Cromford, Rolls-Royce, Raleigh Bicycles, Bombardier (formally British Rail), Toyota and many others. You cannot grow up there without learning something about engineering from first principles. Whilst claiming no particular expertise in this field, something of it does feature somewhat in my writing.
When did you first start writing?
Post education, I started writing short stories in 1981. Unfortunately, these and my paintings were destroyed in a house fire and I lost interest. Later I became too busy with other things to keep writing. Trinidad and the Angel is my first completed novel and first published work.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It started off as a sort of normal bloke's experience of living in the 22nd century but morphed into a blend of that and a vaguely apocalyptic plot. Trying to envision the future -even 10 years from now- is impossible and I'm sure I have understated the changes man might see. The book was quite a number of years in the writing and re-writing. That meant many of the political and other developments I envisioned have overtaken it. I did try to incorporate these wherever possible. As for the main protagonist, I wanted to steer away from someone who influences the world around him -a hero, if you like- and see the world through the insecure eyes of someone who in normal circumstances, would probably just drift through a pleasant but unremarkable life. It might be a conceit, but I think that most of us are a bit like that. I have tried to make MacCallum a decent sort, at least as far as the world will let him be and to have him face either difficult decisions or the consequences of impetuous actions.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Without a doubt, it is living with my characters as their lives unfold, sharing their ups and downs. I must learn to upset them a bit more, a bit of tough love.
What are you working on next?
In all likelihood, a sequel to Trinidad and the Angel; I left the crew in a difficult situation and have many questions that still need answering.
Who are your favorite authors?
Hmm. I've enjoyed reading David Weber and Taylor Anderson recently. As a youngster, I loved Alistair MacLean. In Sci-Fi, Asimov, Heinlein and Greg Bear. I only wish I could develop plots as they can.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first book I can remember, after Enid Blyton, was On the Beach by Nevil Shute. That was in the early 70s, during the Cold War, and it brought home to me the complete and utter folly of war. It shook me up as a young teenager. I wondered if I was writing the same story with Trinidad and the Angel.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Current favourite -and has been for a long time- The Grapes of Wrath. Its humanity is gritty and reassuring. The book chimes with my distaste for exploitation and the complicity of those who should be doing something about it. The others: To Kill a Mockingbird; Tale of Two Cities; The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; and Rommel? Gunner Who? by Spike Milligan. I like to be involved and amused when I read. If I am educated, that's a bonus.
How do you approach cover design?
Cheaply. I'm afraid I have almost no money and so looked for a public domain image that more or less fitted what I wanted. The combined design was created on CorelDraw X6 and exported. It's a flawed approach but I don't have the time or resources to do anything else.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I use the Amazon recommendations a lot and follow links.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Describe yourself in three words.
Uses too many words.
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