David Dixon


David Dixon was born in 1942 in Middlesbrough, England. After a peripatetic education is different parts of the country ( tough at the time but good experience for a writer) he trained as a painter and silversmith, before leaving to join a technical advertising agency at the age of 22. There followed a career as a copywriter with the J.Walter Thompson and Ted Bates agencies in London until he quit the corporate life to work as a freelance writer in 1976. Radio broadcasting commissions for the BBC followed during the 1980's and '90's alongside a vast range of scriptwriting assignments - including everything from speechwriting to soundtracks for visitor attractions and exhibitions. He has worked in Europe, the Far East and the United States. 'L'Affaire Valentine' blends David's early experience of the aviation industry with film production skills gained in the early 1970's, when he worked alongside the last of the old newsreel veterans, scripting news based TV ads for Fleet Street. Now retired from commercial pressures, David lives with his wife Pamela in the Old Town area of Hastings on the south coast of England. Something of a Francophile he travels to France several times a year and is the author of Tripadvisor reviews appearing under the name of Bleriot.

Smashwords Interview

What made you become a writer
I was extremely fortunate in the teaching I received at school. I had always enjoyed reading - the usual stuff from comics to boys adventures and war stories - but once I arrived at my secondary school my English teacher Mary Stuart showed me that I could express my feelings in written words without embarrassment. She encouraged me to write poetry and dramatic pieces. She drew heavily on the literary heritage of the local county; William Cowper the poet had lived just a few doors down from the school; Rupert Brooke had written about the villages we knew; TS Eliot's Little Gidding was a bicycle ride away. Inside her classroom we were reading 'The 39 Steps' rather than Dickens - at least at the outset. In later years I learned that Mary was married to the Oxford crime writer Michael Innes and this undoubtedly influenced her views of how to convert reluctant small boys to the world of words. As time went on, and with a change of school, I came to prefer the study of history to the formal world of English literature, and later went on through four years of art school to train as a painter and designer. But at the back of my mind my formative years left me with a nagging insistence that someday, somehow I would turn my enjoyment with words and language into more than a hobby. Within just a few years I began that process by gaining a job as an advertising copywriter and it was during the MadMen years that I began to write other non-commercial items for newspapers and magazines, as well as scripts for radio. I wrote an unpublished 90,000 word first novel 'Splinter' at around this time, but with a family to support and a mortgage to pay I was never willing to devote enough time to what is a speculative aspect of writing.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Apart from school work - and once I acquired my first typewriter - curiously it was a short story about an old man who had fallen out of step with the world in which he found himself. Eventually he was - I suppose 'sectioned' would be the best description - to live back in a closed community surrounded by the trappings of the late 1940's. At a stroke he was back with the music, entertainment, films and clothes of the past. It's somewhat worrying to think that now, some fifty or so years on, I find myself
pre-occupied with the events of the past...
Read more of this interview.


L'Affaire Valentine
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 58,970. Language: English. Published: May 2, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage
In the Spring of 1939 Sally Peterson arrives in Paris to oversee the shipping of almost a million dollars worth of paintings for the New York World Fair. But from the moment she meets newsreel man Patrick Valentine at a U.S.Embassy party, life takes a sinister turn. A story of espionage, treachery and murder, L'Affaire Valentine mixes fact, fiction and romance to recreate an extraordinary era.

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