I am a 60 year old former miner who worked in the coal mines for 21 years.My first book the silent wheels is a true account of the 1984 British miners strike,it is not a political statement,but it tells of the comical things that happened during the year long strike.
My other two books are a gangster story,(the rage within),and a book of satirical verse,(Odes and Stories)
I have never had any formal writing training my writing is mostly from the heart and true life experiences,with the exception of the rage within which is purely fictional.
1.What got you into writing / what made you sit down and actually start something? I have always enjoyed reading a good book,but after the miners strike a group of friends and myself would always talk about our experiences,and we would always end up by saying somebody should write a book about it.So I thought I would try it.I based it around my best friend,who was a real character.When the book was almost finished he sadly passed away and I almost deleted the file. I was urged not to do it by my son who told me that my friend would have loved it,so I finished the book and had it published as a tribute to him,and all the other people in the book have also sadly passed away.
2.What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured? I have no particular writing pattern,I write when I am alone or when I have an idea in my head.
3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it?I don’t get writers block as such.But when I was doing the satirical verse stories,if I was stuck for a line I would leave it and move on to a new story and then come back to it
4.Are you a plotter/planner when it comes to writing a story? I do try to plot a story,but a lot of the things I have written are from true life experiences,especially the mining related ones,which are close to my heart.I also think of a lot of the poems when I am walking my dog.
5.What was the publishing process like for you,& any advice to aspiring authors?The publishing process was sometimes very daunting.I sent a lot of letters to different people,like agents and publishing companies and kept on getting refused or told that they were too busy.Until I finally got one to accept me.My advice would be to keep trying as you will always have hope when you are trying.
6.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author?The highlight must be when you hold the first copy of your book in your hands.It is always quite nice to see a good review or when somebody tells you that they have read your book and enjoyed it.
7.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us? And any other books of yours, if you wish.The most recent book is called Odes and Stories.It is full of satirical verse stories.A lot are mining related,but there are others which are true stories that friends of mine have told me.There is one poem there called What kind of animal,which is about the Holocaust,which I was awarded a creative writing award for,which I am quite proud of,as it was read out in a Holocaust memorial service.
The other two as I said earlier are a true story of the 1984 miners strike and a gangster novel which has a lot of twists and turns in it.It also involves a lot of violence,deceit,blackmail,police corruption, murder and a sprinkling of sex.
8.Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time? In my spare time I like watching my local rugby side and I like walking my dog and spending time with my family.I also enjoy reading.
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.) The best advice I can give is to keep trying and always be polite even though some publishers can be really brutal in the way word their replies (some though don’t even reply). Also if there are reading clubs,or Libraries in your area it is a good idea to contact them,my local Library has been really helpful to me.Also you can share ideas with other writers,online or by joining writing clubs.
You can also try to get interviews on local television or radio stations.It is important to keep trying but also not to make a nuisance by asking too much when you keep getting turned down/
10.How would you describe your writing style? I think my writing style is from the heart and are mostly based on true life experiences,whether it is myself of or friends or people I know.I also like to look at people in the street or wherever I am wrie about the funny things that I have seen.The perfect example is in the book Odes and other Stories,there is a story there called the holiday,which is based on a holiday my wife and myself took in Benidorm,which is true.