I’m Dave, I’ve moved around a lot, first with the Army, and then following the work. For now I live near Worcester in the UK, and as an engineer, I fix the machines that make lenses for glasses. I haven’t got any children, so work seems to be the only thing in my life sometimes, but, I try to make some time free for a bit of photography.
1.What got you into writing / what made you sit down and actually start something? I have been a sufferer of PTSD, relating to my childhood experiences, for most of my life. Writing about those times when I’m down, and giving it a story that I could understand, gave me a way of coping with the memories. So a few years ago when the doctor gave me some bad news; it was natural for me to start writing again.
2.What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured? I like to write in the dark, very late at night and in total silence. That way I can be pretty sure no-one will disturb me.
3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it? Whilst writing my memoirs, it wasn’t so much writer’s block that I suffered with, more like writer’s clog. To deal with that, I simply took some time off writing, and had a relatively normal life for a week or two, then everything seemed to fall back into place.
4.Are you a plotter/planner when it comes to writing a story? I was very lateral at first, but, during the polishing of the book, once I decided to publish it I become a plotter.
5.What was the publishing process like for you,& any advice to aspiring authors? After numerous rejections, I self-published on Createspace. With their straight forward step by step guide, this was probably the easiest part of the whole book project.
6.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? I had to take my laptop in for some repair work one day. While I was waiting to be served the shop assistant was telling a customer about a book she’d just read. I wasn’t really listening, so, I didn’t put two and two together until she showed her a copy of my book, I nearly passed out from the shock. I got my own back though; when I gave the shop assistant my laptop and contact details, I offered to sign it for her.
7.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us? And any other books of yours, if you wish. Extract from Chapter 14 Life Without… Mark
My first stint inside was meant to be four weeks with the Coldstream Guards, but it didn’t start too well. The Provo, (sort of like a jail warden), didn’t like scrawny little shits that beat up defenceless Sergeant Majors, so he was going to teach me some respect, like my Dad should have.
I told him what happened to the last man who wanted to be my Dad. Then I got him to picture what this scrawny little shit would do to him if he tried. The Padre picked me up the following morning and took me to the Paras’ jailhouse instead.
On the way, we laughed about why I had been kicked out of jail, a first for the Padre. Then he said something that has stayed with me ever since.
“I get to meet a lot of people like you in my line of work, you know,” he was saying gently, with the caring-Padre side of him coming through strong. “People that have a troubled mind yet can’t find a way to talk about it. Most of them bottle up all the bad things until they burst, much like your situation I think?”
He had hit the nail on the head, and I nodded in agreement.
“Well, there are people out there who rather than talk to someone, they write about it, and they find it helps them to cope. They say it’s like talking without speaking. Then, if you still don’t want other people to know…, well, there’s always the bin, so no one will ever read it if you don’t want them to.” He finished his story.
We had another laugh about how I’d hardly been at school because I was always suspended for fighting; then I failed most of my exams, so I could barely write a full sentence, let alone the book I’d need to. But I agreed to give it a go anyway. If nothing else, it would give me something to think about for the next six months.
The Paras’ Provo had been told not to mention my Dad before I arrived, so I settled in a little better there. It was hard time though, starting early each morning with a log run, and only the good Lord himself could have kept count of how many times I went over their assault course.
Next, I was with the Dragoons for a few weeks of polishing everyone’s boots and drill – boring, but an easy time really. Then I was mucked about by the Signals for a month. But I was settling into jail life by then, so I got on with it until I eventually headed off to the Artillery.
Now they know how to jail people, I can tell you. I was introduced to my cellmate on the first day – a 40 lb. Artillery cartridge – and I had to do everything for it. I had to clean the floor, for the cartridge. I had to shower, the cartridge. I had to read bed time stories to, the cartridge, and I’d have to march the cartridge to meals. I even had to write the cartridge a Dear John letter when I left. I miss my cartridge.
The Dragoons asked me to pop back after that because they had a parade coming up. And finally, after a few weeks of polishing yet more boots, belts and swords, the Padre picked me up and took me to my last jail.
We stopped on the way for a break, and as we ate the Padre asked about the A4 pad I had begun to keep with me. I had no problem with passing it over when he asked, and after he had read all my love letters to My Darling Cartridge, he came to a page that had just two words written on it: Life Without…, He looked up.
“Don’t know where to start,” I said, a little dejected.
“You have my boy. You already have.” He replied softly.
8.Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time? Other than work, I have a lot of part time interests, star gazing, flying RC helicopters and a photography to name a few.
9.What tip would you give to new authors when trying to build a fan-base / get followers and market their books? (What to do and what not to do.) I’m still learning marketing myself, but one of the things I’ve learned is not to be too pushy. Though that may seem to help in the short term, over time it just serves to annoy people and eventually drive them away.
10.How much of your books are realistic / based on true experiences/ people? As it says one the first page, Life Without… is closely based on my own life, or my memories of it to be precise, so, it’s all true. That said, I’ve had to change some of the details to give the book a story type feel, yet keep the continuity going.
Author page- http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dave-White/e/B00JFBK8IY