Interview with alex h parker

What are you working on next?
Plessey Castle Radio is being developed for education and general information. I think this will probably centre on subjects that relate to issues of being human and well being. This not to say that it is a station based on self help but rather a place to exercise grey matter and look at the great questions in life while at the same time getting involved in witty banter. I suppose it will be about education, activity and fun.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love Douglass Adams, he not only presents a really funny perspective on the universe but also humour to inspire an interest in science and philosophy. When I was young, I had Geeky friends who understood science far better than me and would discuss the content of his books while laughing hysterically. In order to get involved I needed to get an understanding as well. So his books were a motivation for me to learn and join in socially.
Viktor Frankl is another author who offers a great deal. I have found his examination of the human condition to be really influential.
I don't wan't to miss out Richard Dawkins. His enthusiasm for science shines through all his work and even though he is a biologist, I think his explanation of Memes is one of the best explanations of human psychology available. The God Delusion is my favourite of his books, booth for his honesty and good wit.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I have no difficulty getting out of bed. I always think sleep gets in the way of things. There is no better time than early on a summer morning in the UK when the sun comes up at 4am and the Deer are walking around as if they own the place. Where do they go after 7am? I don't know, I suspect Narnia.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I spend most of my time with my wife and kids. I have other jobs such as working as a support worker with 'Bedlington Day Centre'. I find that a fulfilling Job. I generally organise walking activities such a geocaching for our service users and hope to start an internet radio station in the near future which will be presented by all the Service users if it gets the go ahead. I am a great believer that people with learning disabilities can find fulfilment when in the right environment, and I think services that are designed for such a client group need to focus on that rather than the traditional baby sitting services that can be seen in so many places. I have a counselling practice and run an informal distance learning company called Plessey Castle Academic. Probably my most successful endeavour has been my career as a DJ. God knows why. It just seemed to take off 5 years ago. I have recently begun a internet radio channel called Plessey Castle Radio.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
No, at least not the first ever one. I remember when I was about 6 that I was asked to write a story about my weekend. My spelling was atrocious and to a large extent still is; but understanding the principle of magic 'E' would have helped me avoid reading to the entire class a story of how I visited my grandmother and had a big cack. The word should have been cake.
What is your writing process?
Long, laborious, and frustrating. If I don't enjoy the writing I will usually need to alter course and completely change subject.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first book I ever read was 'Communion' by Whitley Streiber. It was a book about Alien abduction, presented as a true story. I personally think he made it up, but it scared me half to death, brilliant.
How do you approach cover design?
I have started using my own art for cover design. I use paints and soft pastels for my pictures. I'm not very good at painting, but I figure; that if people are impressed by contemporary art then they probably wont notice how bad mine is. They can be viewed at
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Buddhist psychology by Caroline Brazier: because it provides exactly what the title suggests which is an explanation of Buddhist philosophy with an understanding of modern psychology.
Richard Dawkins The Devils Chaplain: because it is a concise book that generalises all his best thoughts.
Bartolin The Dharma of Star Wars, Psychology and Buddism with a starwars theme, just perfect subject matter.
Robert Winston Human Instinct: It is a brilliant explanation of human psychology without all the mucking about pretending that we are not animals.
Being Peace By Thich Nhat Hanh: I can't remember why, apart from I couldn't put it down, it was a short book and I bought it from a library on a sunny day in Hawick.
Man's Search for Ultimate meaning by Viktor Frankl: a great book that should have put me off by introducing complicated and new terminology, but the insights were so good that I felt motivated to persevere, and it altered my perspective on reality and perception.
Oh and Staying OK by Amy and Thomas Harris: just because it was a great education.
What do you read for pleasure?
Science articles such as the focus and New Scientist magazine.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I think nowadays, an android tablet.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
To be honest I'm not sure, I think offering books for free every now and again drives attention toward other products. I suppose that's it. Promotional freebies.
Describe your desk
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Money. Some people say. "Alex, why do you wan't to be famous?" or "Why do you wan't to make a name for your self. " The answer is that I don't, but I need to advertise my books to sell them so this makes me look a little self obsessed or narcissistic to some people, but truthfully, I am just trying to make a living.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing is when someone tells me that they have enjoyed something I have written. That's nice.
What do your fans mean to you?
They keep me cool on hot summer days.
Published 2014-03-31.
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