I was recently interviewed for the Middlesbrough Council magazine Empower Middlesbrough (many thanks to my old friend Ian Cross for the opportunity). My responses may interest

 

Tell me your story about becoming an author. What inspired you?

I always wanted to tell stories and had written from a young age, banging out rubbishy novels on an old typewriter, learning my craft as I went. Gradually, and it took years, I had learned enough from my mistakes to create a serviceable novel which was accepted by Hale of London. Today, I am with the Book Folks of London and my seventeenth novel (Death List) has just come out.

 

Explain a bit about your writing courses, how did they develop.

I have led courses for 16 years, driven by a desire to pass on what I have learned to aspiring writers. The courses, which can be also be taken online, take writers through the process of creating stories, combining creativity with the technical aspects of writing.

Writing can be a lonely pastime and my programmes help writers tackle some of the many challenges that it throws up.

I focus on major issues, such as how a story holds together, what characters are doing or could be doing, what is hurting a story’s momentum and what story elements are not pulling their weight.

I identify the differences between good and great writing and point out an author’s strengths and weaknesses so that they become more confident.

 

Are you now a full-time author?

Part-time, the rest of the time goes on the day job as a journalist.

 

How does the modern book world work?

The Book Folks sell my books primarily through Amazon and they are available on Kindle, in paperback and as audio books. I believe that there is plenty of space for all formats and Kindle is introducing a new generation of readers to books.

 

Any tips for budding authors. especially those always wanting to write a book but haven't taken the plunge?

Go for it!

Here are my golden rules for writing.

* Consider the reader - do not write for yourself, always write for the reader. Think what they need to understand your story

* Be disciplined - you may wish to pack lots of information in but does the reader really need it?

* You may not have put enough information in - you can imagine where a scene is set but have you given the reader the information they need? You may think you have drawn a character but can your readers see them?

* Be brutal - if you have overwritten, chop out the fat

* Write something every day – it may not always be brilliant but at least you’ve done it.

 

Death List can be purchased at

https://www.amazon.co.uk/DEATH-LIST-following-prison-targets-ebook/...

 

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Light against the dark

I recently taught a section on humour as part of a creative writing course I am running. Let me say at the outset that I know humour can be scary for a writer who does not have a naturally comic ability. It is certainly the case that a straight-laced, humourless person might well struggle to write side-splitting comedy but if you are an author, that might not be a good enough excuse.Why? Because even if you are not writing an out-and-out comic piece, humour has a role to perform. It can perform…See More
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