Interview with Myles Palmer

What motivated you to become an indie author?
Impatience. Frustration. Mark Coker's back-story really resonated with me and it's nice to see a guy like Mark become a big player in the ebook industry
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It's made me more optimistic about the future. Most of my best writing is unpublished. It's in a steel filing cabinet or on a Western Digital back-up device. I laughed when Mark advised: Don't end your book with a full stop. End with a link to your other books. I plan to publish more non-fiction with Smashwords and learn a lot from that process
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Feedback from readers. The Arsenal News Review has thousands of wonderfully appreciative and tolerant readers. And plenty of muppets and haters as well. Reading Bob Lefsetz every day has made me realise that all commentators have haters. The support of ANR readers has kept me writing when I've been flagging at various times since 1998. It's all about loyalty, really. I'm loyal to the readers who've been loyal to me,.
What do your fans mean to you?
A helluva lot. Always have done. Especially the guy who said, "Thanks for giving me something I can't get anywhere else." Over the years I've met some of my readers in London, including Linda, who teaches business in South Africa but comes to the UK from time to time.
What are you working on next?
Two years ago my good friend and neighbour Miran asked me to help him write 6 screenplays. That's now 10 screenplays. A leading TV company recently told him, "Don't chase the money. Keep improving your scripts and the money will chase you." One of the film ideas is the greatest untold story in British show business. ANR readers keep asking if my rock journalist memoir is finished yet. I will complete that this year and it's a fun story containing loads of anecdotes and insights that I've never published anywhere. In the Seventies I only reviewed the groups and singers I loved and respected. And there were not many of those: Van Morrison, Stevie Wonder, Procol Harum, Traffic, Alice Cooper, Little Feat, The Eagles, the Grateful Dead, Brinsley Schwarz and the Sutherland Brothers & Quiver. I wrote about other groups as well, of course, but most of them didn't mean a lot to me. Thinking back to the 1974 World Cup, I recall being the first British journalist to hear rough mixes of the Arif Mardin-produced second album by my mates, the Average White Band. Their ensemble playing was absolutely phenomenal and I'm biased towards Scots anyway. I watched televised Scotland games with Hamish, Robbie and the boys in a flat in Chelsea. Really good fun, although Scotland struggled and frustrated us intensely.
Who are your favorite authors?
Evelyn Waugh, Don DeLillo, Tom Wolfe, Nabokov, Elmore Leonard and James Lee Burke
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Habit. I think it's good to have habits, as they help you to organise yourself. It's OK as long as you are AWARE of your habits and how they work or don't. A London football blogger tends to post between 8 and 9 in the morning. Whenever I post at midnight, I always think, "This one is for our friends in America."
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Doing a pilates class with a fabulous teacher I call the Blonde Angel. Five minutes into my first class I was in the middle of the studio and she said, "Stop biting your lip, Myles. I can tell you're not breathing." Nowadays I'm on a mat next to hers and she knows exactly what my body can't do. Whenever possible I like to watch Zeroplane, Miran's rock group, rehearsing, as they've always got new songs. They are an arena rock band whose material would suit the Albert Hall or even the Verona Amphitheatre. Some nights he's under the duvet with a Strat, a laptop and an iPhone. Check out My Eyes Will Tell You on Youtube. On Saturday mornings, when the house is silent and the street almost car-free, I love to read The London Review of Books. A recent piece on Julian Assange was 24,000 words and it took me three days to read the whole article.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Friends suggest books and I browse irregularly
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. Martin Amis suggested I sent it to Rolling Stone. He was being kind-hearted. That story was garbage and I threw it away. Martin was the only novelist I had ever read whose fiction suggested that kissing girls in bed first thing in the morning isn't always......that nice.
What is your writing process?
Print out and revise. Then revise again. I try to achieve clarity and rhythm and my methods use a helluva lot of paper.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story that had a massive impact was read aloud to us by our headmaster, Francis Cammaerts, when I was eleven. It was a pulsating sea story called Typhoon, by Joseph Conrad. He took us for English in the first form and read it aloud to us in several weekly instalments
How do you approach cover design?
Ask Miran to do it. He wanted to do a dot matrix match ticket .Then I found a 1966 World Cup Final ticket stub on eBay, on sale for £199. Miran used some of the lettering from that '66 ticket stub, copying the typefaces.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Catch-22 for its stunning originality and daring.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas for its momentum and manic humour.
In Pula, Croatia, I read Zeitoun by Dave Eggers and loved his humanity and heart.
Libra by Don DeLillo is the work of a New Wave Nabokov who eloquently renders the psychotic weirdness of Amerika.
His antennae are tuned into all the dehumanizing forces in the USA.
In 1985, I read Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney, the funniest novel of the Eighties.
I didn't read anything as hilarious till DBC Pierre's debut, Vernon God Little.
What do you read for pleasure?
It's all pleasure but I adore old masters like Waugh and Nabokov. Page for page, Evelyn Waugh is the finest English novelist.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
In Stevenage, a prosperous and expanding New Town 30 miles north of London. We had a 10-pin bowling alley where my friend Mick Skinner worked part-time. If I knocked the back door, Mick would let me into a very narrow corridor behind the lanes. We had a new Mecca ballroom with a revolving stage. Teenagers had one night a week there and the first group I ever saw was Brian Poole & the Tremeloes. While the support group was playing, I found myself standing next to two of the Tremeloes, who were positioned on the balcony directly opposite the stage, checking out the local band. So I chatted to them. They were only slightly older than us. Second group I saw was the Rolling Stones, who were more raw and provocative than other beat groups of the day. On Friday nights a bunch of us gathered at a Methodist youth club in the New Town, an innocent little scene where teenagers danced to singles on a record player and played table tennis and talked about tomorrow's Stevenage Athletic game. After that I used to cycle home from the New Town to Fairview Road in time to watch John Cassavetes in Johnny Staccato with dad. Johnny was a hip detective whose office was in the back room of a jazz club. Some of my of classmates played in the Stevenage Athletic team, although we played rugby, hockey and cricket at Alleyne's Grammar School. I began to write the match reports and send them to the local newspaper in Hitchin, so I have been a football reporter since I was 16. My younger brothers both went to Alleyne's, where teachers repeatedly told Neil & Paddy that our class, the Class of '44, were the worst-behaved class in the history of the school. Half our teachers had gone to Oxford & Cambridge and they instilled a love of literature in me. But I was too rebellious to be a natural scholar. I hated Shakespeare at first, then learned to love him and still do. My exasperated English teacher told me, "Myles, the examiner isn't interested in your views on Hamlet!" I was quite offended by that remark and, in hindsight, that conversation predicted how my life was going to pan out for the next 40 years.
When did you first start writing?
In the school magazine and in the Herts Express & Stevenage Gazette, the local paper, which came out on Fridays. I also wrote journals, keeping notes on football games I saw on TV. On Saturday mornings I went out with Dad in the car and we did a round of errands which ended up at the library, where we returned our books and got new ones. Dad liked detective fiction and westerns and told me that the huge literature of the Wild West was built on a very brief window in time when Jesse James, Billy The Kid, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday were operating. I watched Match of the Day on TV, as most boys did. I was astounded when I saw Slim Jim Baxter play for Rangers in a European Cup game and made a note of that moment in my journal. Neil & Paddy had been born in Dundee and we lived in Edinburgh after that, where dad worked for Ferranti. Dad was Irish and supported Hibernian. Mum was a Scot who supported Hearts. When Dad got a job down south with English Electric, we moved to Stevenage. I had a summer job there in the kitchen one year.EE mutated into British Aerospace and by now Dad was a Senior Production Engineer who worked on missiles and satellites. On Sundays Mum loved to read The Observer, and I used to enjoy Hugh McIlvanney on boxing and football, witty columnist Michael Frayn and theatre critic Ken Tynan. When I read a review of Catch-22, I went to the library the following day and borrowed a masterpiece which affected me more than any work of art has done since. That book had a profound influence on me and I read it eight times.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Blogging & radio from 2001 to 2008.
What happens now, I shall be finding out this summer.
Will try to follow Smashwords Best Practice guidelines
Describe your desk
A big pine table on which stands a printer and a PC with excellent Altec Lansing speakers, plus a phone and a chunky green bottle of 100mg magnesium tablets
Do you like filling in forms?
Part of the job. Danger is that I'm often too flippant.
What's the story behind your latest book?
One day I realised that I must have blogged more football tournaments than almost anybody on the planet. So I decided to stick out My Four World Cups as an experiment, so see if my readers are as fascinated and excited by the World Cup as I am.
Published 2014-06-14.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

My Four World Cups 1998 2002 2006 2010
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 143,900. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: June 10, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Football & rugby, Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs
This sparkling collection of football blogs is the second book spawned by ANR, a website with 120,000 readers worldwide The first was The Professor Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, published by Virgin in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2008. These descriptions of the last four tournaments will refresh your memories, make you laugh, and contradict what you think you know. Hilarious, edgy and unique.