I was born in Scotland half a century ago, work in London as a Test Analyst (a wilful breaker of software), and live in Kent with my partner and cat.
What is your writing process?
I'm not someone who blasts out a first draft before polishing and revising it. I polish as I go, and make changes as I go, and can spend way too long going over and over what I've already written. It's an ocd-ish approach that I try to mitigate by pushing myself to move on to the next piece of writing. If I might use painting as an artistic analogy: if you saw a painting that had progressed by, say, a tenth, with most painters you'd have a sketchy outline and a wash; with me, you'd have a tenth of the canvas complete, and crisp white space for the rest. When I'm in a scene, or exploring an idea, I want to make it perfect, and I struggle to leave it. I prefer quality over quantity. It's easy to produce volume if one doesn't care about quality.
How do you approach cover design?
I confess I worried a lot about this to begin with. My mind being somewhat straightjacketed by the idea that publishing meant traditional publishing, it's not something I imagined I'd have, or want, to do. And I admit to a slight worry that a book, particularly a serious book, might be injudiciously judged by its cover. I remember the publishing industry went through a regrettable phase of putting quite trashy and salacious covers on old classics, such as Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, presumably to shift more copies. One can but hope that the readers who bought them on that basis were surprised and delighted rather than - more likely, I fear - disappointed. And how many novels have you seen with the Fifty Shades of Tripe design elements?
To answer the question more directly, I try to execute well a simple idea and design. I'd advise you do the work yourself and use your own art and/or photos. There are copyright dangers in downloading an image (no matter how commonplace) from the internet and using it as the basis for your cover.
DCI Barbara Black investigates the curious death of Adrian Mansfield, an artistic young man cast adrift in a boat on Amberton lake. He has been tied into a sitting position with an insulting sign hung about his neck. Murder is assumed, but Barbara's investigations take us into escalating family tragedy and Adrian's dark, antinatalist philosophy. Thought-provoking detective fiction.
The Psychic and the Damsel in Distress
on Oct. 04, 2014
This is a pretty good free read. Kept me interested all the way through. It's like the mini-novelisation of a sensational tabloid story. The writing is brisk and sharp, the characters swiftly but surely drawn, and the story trips along at a rapid pace. I guess this is the advantage of not having to meet a word count - you just tell the story as it comes to you. Really enjoyed this.
Mama - a short story
on Oct. 26, 2014
A sad, poignant story about mental illness - of dreams of might-have-beens, and the aching need for love and company; and what others can do to you - indeed, how they dispose of you - when they decide you're no longer sane. The small, tender hopes of the marginalised and disenfranchised, and the light of prospective fellowship flickering out when no-one comes to visit.
Free and well worth the few minutes it will take you to read.
A Good Deed
on Oct. 27, 2014
A traditional ghost story populated by good, if fallible, folk. Elizabeth and Jack do wrong, but make amends. Will the ghost of Miss Margaret (miserly in life) understand... Who's in the kitchen at Midnight in the moonlight?