Good Morning everyone!
I haven't posted for a couple of weeks now, but I hope you've all had a brilliant start to 2024!
My news so far is that I've been invited as a guest author to a local creative writing group, which I will be attending a week today, 23rd January! I will take along some of my poetry and the opening chapter of my current project. After that there will likely be a question and answer session and a talk about character development! I'm really looking forward to it and it will be a first for me.
Anyway, enough of that, so getting back to business, Let's crack on with today's interview!
Welcome Jon, Thank you for taking part in my series of author interviews. Now, tell us all about yourself, as in, a bit of a biography.
Thanks so much for hosting me, Eva. I was born in March 1946. I had an older brother who died over 7 years ago. Both my parents are long gone. I left Grammar School and joined the police cadets becoming a police officer in 1965. Much of my history can be found on my website:
My wife Maureen, a former typist /secretary from police HQ and I married in 1967. We had two children but tragically our son Andrew died six years ago. We have one grandson, Ewan.
I took up writing as a hobby i.e. I never got anything published, after reading 50 Shades of Gray when I was 68 – without major surgical reconstruction it was never to see the light of day. It is, however, a better story than 50 Shades. But nobody ever read 50 Shades and said 'Wow, that’s a great story!!'
Two WW2 stories followed. one espionage and the other, the story of Roberto, an Italian POW, who worked on a farm between Leeds and Harrogate. None of these have been finished although I do know the endings.
Then I decided to write about something that I know. And so, Brian Blake and his series of police procedurals was born.
How many books have you written up to now? Are they published or self-published? What genre are they?
Details of my Brian Blake series are all on my website. All are self-published.
Dance With The Devil, a novella, is a prequel to the series and available only as a free download from the website.
I have three published novels in the series both as e-books and in print:
The Blooding of Brian Blake.
Counting the Dead.
Death in the Slushpile is nearing the final draft.
Of all the genres there are, is there any genre/s that you feel you wouldn’t be able to write and why? Is there any genre that you really wish you could write, but feel you wouldn’t be able to do it justice?
The term Cosy Murder Mystery does tend to stick. Murder is brutal, I portray it as such. It’s honest. I haven’t been criticized for writing in that manner.
I also describe explicit sex scenes. I might be old but I have an active imagination!! I haven’t been criticized for that either, especially by female readers – even my daughter.
Although I have to say that a friend has difficulty in not seeing me as the protagonist in numerous sex scenes until his wife reminded him it was fiction and not autobiographical!
Do you have any favourite ‘out-of-the-ordinary’ words that you like to use in your books? What are those words? Also, what words used by other authors irritate you more than they should?
I once read that we shouldn’t have our readers reaching for the dictionary, I generally prefer my dictionaries and my thesaurus to the internet. However, since we don’t know who our readers are we should not be afraid of the words we write. If they have to refer to a dictionary it’s just part of their education. Or, perhaps the context is sufficient.
I have used the word anoesis, defined as: a state of mind consisting of pure sensation or emotion without cognitive content.
Like many, I have watched some adult movies. During one sex scene on a space ship the ship’s computer addresses the captain; Captain, your brain is disengaging. I thought that was perfect. I didn’t say whether the Captain was male or female; but it does fit both sides of the equation.
I’ve had my work read by ghostwriters, a film producer and literary judges – all of them in the US who think that English/British writers have a far superior grasp and use of English than do the majority of US writers.
What don’t I like? Then I did this, then I did that. Yuk.
I think the whole of Catcher in the Rye fits that bill. Although I only managed half way.
People who use terms such as: reduce down. Why? I’ve yet to find someone who can reduce up.
Tautology, small, little etc ad nauseam.
Do you sing at all, be it karaoke, in a choir or have done so professionally? Whether you have or not, have you ever written (or had the urge to write) any song lyrics? Have those lyrics been used at all?
I have a voice that evolved to be perfect for silent films!
I sang in the school choir until my voice broke but now I wouldn’t inflict it on anyone.
What question would you like to pose, (if you were to ever interview your favourite author), which never seems to get asked in author interviews? And who is that favourite author?
Good question. I wish I could think of a good answer. I don’t really have a favourite author.
If you were to ever write a children’s book, (and those of you who already do) would you/do you do the illustrating yourself, make use of a family member or friend’s talent or pay an illustrator? Do you solely write or do you have any other creative pursuits?
I would stick to writing and pay an illustrator.
Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite? And why?
It’s a toss-up between Brian Blake and his step-father Joe Mountain. Brian, because I’m not like him. He’s an action man and I’m not.
Joe, a widower and Dorothy, Brian’s mother, met when they happened on a karate class run by Joe. Joe runs a successful butchery business and his karate school. He’s a calming influence on Brian. Always there in the background when needed. Which I hope that I am.
Have you ever killed off a character in your books (I’m sure you have)? If so, was it because…it fitted nicely into the storyline? OR…Did you start to really dislike the character and, with too much work involved to re-write without that character, think it the easiest option to have that person die?
Yes! Generally speaking because it fitted in with my vision of the plot. On the other hand my daughter read one MS and told me that in her opinion one piece would only last between 10 and 30 seconds in real life so I rewrote the entire section. It went from approximately 10 pages to 40.
I can’t remember killing someone off because I began to dislike the character. I usually think of something more unpleasant things to do to them. Get them sent to prison. Make them suffer. Police officers locked up and sent down. Prisoners with axes to grind etc.
Are any of your characters based on family members or friends? Have you kept their characters totally true to life or have you given them bonus traits that you wish they possessed in real life?
I think we all do. But I have to say marginally. I know Bob Bridgestock, retired detective superintendent, bases many of his characters on his former staff, but will not confirm it.
I base much of my work on my own experiences and others. And I borrow traits from officers I knew but I have outlived many of them. I haven’t created a character that someone could say – That’s so-and-so.
Relationships and family life aside, what are your TWO main regrets in life?
Not winning the Pools. I know that money in itself won’t make you happy but I would love the opportunity to try.
There are times when I can be too negative.
What was your passion as a child? Did that passion stay with you during your adult life OR did you, as you grew up begin to detest what you once enjoyed?
I was late in learning to read and was not born to be a member of academia. I overcame that and became an avid reader which has stayed with me. Although I spend far more time writing these days.
I also joined the Scouts when I was eleven and as an adult became a Leader for fifteen years. As an atheist I don’t think they would let me in now.
What was your best subject throughout your school years? And the worst?
It’s not so much which was my best but the least worst. My best subjects were history and geography. At a Grammar School you were expected to keep up. If you couldn’t … If I had to pick the worst it would be Latin. My daughter couldn’t understand that, she thought it was easy.
Tell me about your favourite teacher throughout your school years? Was it a crush you had? Were they just an excellent teacher of your favourite subject? Or some other reason…kind, fun, generous…?
This was from 1957 to 1962. There were no crushes on teachers. King James’ Grammar School was all boys. The only females were the Head’s secretary, Mrs Hanson, the dinner ladies and the cleaners.
As far as teachers were concerned Mr Chapman, who by some outrageous fluke got me through my O Level maths.
Did either of your parents ever express a wish to write? Are they supportive and proud of your work? Or do they just choose to not get involved, but they are pleased for you?
My parents had no desire to write although my parents, particularly my mother would have been so proud of what I have achieved so far. I might have got some grudging praise from my brother.
Tell us about your ultimate ambition, be it personal, travel, writing, work, hobby related or other?
Acceptance as a writer and a modicum of success.
Do you have any phobias and if so, what are they? Have you ever conquered any phobia and if so, how did you do it?
I had a fall whilst rock climbing in my teens and now also suffer from vertigo and sciatica. So I take care.
Most people I know are not happy with something physical about themselves (face/body etc.,) but if you could change anything about your personality, what would you wish to change?
I don’t have a problem with my body image.
What is your ‘go to’ snack, whatever the time of day? And drink of your choice?
Snack? Good quality chocolate. 85% or higher.
Cats or dogs? What do you have? Do you introduce any pets into your books?
And finally, hit me up with all your book links and links to social media.
The Blooding of Brian Blake – https://books2read.com/u/3yQLuZ
Nemesis – https://bppks2read.com/u/3:xAV5
Counting The Dead – https://books2read.com/u/,0o5wA
Thank you again Jon, for agreeing to take part in this series, and for a brilliant interview.
Have a fabulous week everyone!