I wrote my first sci-fi novel in 1971, which was rejected by Victor Gollancz. My second novel ended up with a published author, found its way to corgi books then they lost the manuscript. I know a bit of it got plagiarised. Then I kind of lost heart. By 1975 I had completed my third novel. I then went to university (Bristol) and did a BA (hons) Humanities, majoring in English (three-year degree) starting when I was 25. After that, I got a job in Johannesburg ,South Africa at Financial Mail, a weekly economics and politics rag. I have been a financial journalist for 30 years. I have done piles of freelance (financial, sad to say) and got a book published (printed) on the short term insurance industry (non-fiction). It wasn’t my passion, as would be fiction writing, but, hey, it paid the mortgage and I could feed and educate the kids.
Then recently (October 2009) I came across Smashwords and saw their brilliant proposition. Well, it was, 'love at first sight'. I had planned exactly this sort of solution, and my son in Tokyo was going to help create the web site, called MySoftBook.com. But Smashwords has done such a terrific job, ‘why re-invent the wheel’? Besides, from looking at their site, I think we would have bitten off more than we could chew if we had tried to work on our project.
But, getting back to writing, I think, as writers, we find (as with most things) that we have to deal with 'Gatekeepers'. These are the people who step in and prevent all kinds of wonderful creative things from happening. I have to admit that I am not good at marketing myself as a writer. Maybe one should take the view that you need 200 rejection slips minimum (like Stephen King) before you can call yourself a 'real' author. Maybe it’s my fault for not trying harder. Be that as it may, my three novels I created (gee, over 30 years ago!) have been gathering dust – cough, cough - at least until Smashwords came up with the answer. I wish I had discovered them sooner!
Since I have a fourth novel fulminating in my head, I need to pull myself together and get publishing! Indeed this latest project, working title ‘Code Name: OR’, would definitely make a good movie and lead to a TV series.
Back to the old scripts. They were typed on an Imperial Good Companion 6! – (ie 10 years before the first PC!). They were a bit faded, but I am able to publish my third novel first (basically, because it was the one that the kids had scanned in for me and I was able to tidy up and re-edit it pretty quickly).
I hope to add the next novel, working title ‘Code name: KS’ before Christmas 2009. It is also, about 72 500 words like Sterile Promontory. Then maybe by April 2010 I will have sorted out the first novel, which is around 120 000 words I think, working title ‘Code Name: G’.
PS, a bit of family info: I married Brenda in 1973 and divorced in 1986, and had two children, Paul, born in Bristol, and Sabia born in Johannesburg. I have now been married to a Dutch girl, Marian, for 20 years, and we have three children: Laura (17), Liam (16) and Olivia (14), all born in Johannesburg. The five of them get along very well, but do not see each other often - Paul living in Tokyo and Sabia in Sydney. Paul is a ‘software engineer’; Sabia works in financial services at the moment, but plans to move to events management being such a people person. Laura goes to university in 2010 and for some reason wants to be a forensic pathologist. I don’t know about Liam. He is a demon PC gamer and pretty good at chess but, by his own admission, is ‘lazy’. His only plan is to become a millionaire. Olivia is maybe going to be a vet; or something that expresses her deep felt need to help people.
But kids, they’re hard work!
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by Nigel Benetton
A rigged court case, a devious politician and a prophet on the trail of a secret book, provide the intrigue behind the bureaucratic metropolis of Rotar. Under constant fear of the unknown, the city is entombed behind massive embattlements, surrounded by the horrors of the Feroma desert.
When the metropolis is attacked, Elmar Deevon is forced to act quickly to keep his schemes afloat.
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