Interview with F J Curlew

Published 2016-07-03.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I can honestly say that writing saved my life. I was really ill - cancer, and a particularly nasty one at that! The side effects of the treatment left me in a pretty bad state. I could no longer teach, or work in any capacity, and my life had suddenly completely changed. I didn't recognise myself. Not wanting to sit around and mope I turned to the Open University and studied creative writing. I discovered I could write, and write well, receiving distinctions in both the standard and advanced courses. My life had purpose again. Writing became what kept me going, kept me active mentally and healthier in every way. I could escape from my situation into the lives of those I wrote about - brilliant! I am now completely absorbed in the whole writing thing. Loving every minute of it. Loving life! Now 5 years cancer free and officially cured with a career I love to boot. How fantastic is that!
Describe your desk
I don't work at a desk but on a pile of cushions. The upside is it is fabulously comfortable. The downside? Well, I have to struggle to secure my place in said cushions with my two dogs and cat. The dogs are quite happy being beside me, which is lovely once we have settled into position. The cat however HAS to sit on my lap, turning my laptop into a precariouslybalancedonkneetop. Then when smaller dog wants attention he taps the keyboard with his paw or nudges my hand with his nose. Patience and perseverance is a required attribute at my 'desk'!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My animals (two rescue dogs and a cat), huge walks along a fantastic coastline, my stories. But most importantly, life. Just that. Being here. Being alive and so very, very happy about it.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Where I grew up isn't the relevant part of my life as far as writing is concerned. It is the countries I have lived in during my fifteen years as an international school teacher that have had a huge influence. Estonia and Lithuania as fledgling post USSR countries and all that that entailed, Ukraine during the Gongadze affair, the Orange Revolution and general political turmoil.
What's the story behind your latest book?
To Retribution is set in a Britain in the 2020's. There has been a surge to the far right across Europe followed by political instability and financial insecurity. In Britain this led to riots, racial tension, repatriations, a take over by the military and a coup. The military is in control. Tight control. Media is censored, movement restricted. There are re-education camps for trouble makers, repatriation camps for non-nationals. Jake, Brian and Suze, three idealistic young journalists, are used to hiding as they try to keep their online news channel open. They publish the truth about the repatriations, the corruption and the deceit. New Dawn, the feared security force, is closing in yet again. The trio run, yet again. This time, however, they are pursued with a relentlessness, a brutality which seems far too extreme for their 'crimes.'
A trail of death is left in their wake as they try to escape New Dawn and find out what is really behind this hunt. They are drawn into a web of human trafficking, child abuse and murder. Only it's closer than they think. Much closer.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Researching, working on publicity, thinking about the book I'm currently writing, reading the works of inspirational authors, listening to music, walking. I'm a big sports fan too so am happily distracted by football, rugby and the like.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I don't like monopolies of any sort. Indie music would be my preferred choice when I was young. To become an indie author seemed the right thing to do. Little people doing big things :)
What are your five favorite books, and why?
It's really difficult to choose but:-
Sick Puppy by Carl Hiaasen - hilarious and so clever. I really like his politics and Skink has to be one of my all time favourite characters.
I Shall Not Hate by Izzeldin Abuelaish - a remarkable man with incredible humanity.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruis Zafon - it's just beautifully written and I love his idea of the cemetery of lost books.
McCarthy's Bar by Pete McCarthy - it had me laughing out loud from start to finish. Laughter is something I thoroughly enjoy!
An Evil Cradling by Brian Keenan - heartbreaking and a fine piece of writing.
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Books by This Author

The Unravelling Of Maria
Pre-release—available November 9, 2020. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 96,520. Language: English. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Lovers separated by the Iron Curtain. Two women whose paths should never have crossed. A remarkable journey that changes all of their lives.
Don't Get Involved
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 80,990. Language: English. Published: October 7, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Romance » Suspense
3 Ukrainian street-kids with nothing but each other stumble on a bag of cocaine belonging to the Mafia. Hitman Leonid will stop at nothing to retrieve the cocaine and kill the children. Failure isn't an option. Naive expat Nadia gets involved and all of them will need to find more strength and courage than ever if they are to survive. When you have nothing left sometimes something magical happens.
Dan Knew
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 95,330. Language: English. Published: August 2, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Biographical
A puppy born to the dangers of street life. A woman in trouble. An unbreakable bond.