What books have most influenced your life? James Joyce’s Ulysses has been a huge influence. For me, that book is all about freedom. Freedom to express yourself. Freedom to write what you would want to read, rather second guessing your audience. Let them decide for themselves.
Have you ever considered anyone as a mentor? Unfortunately no. I would have loved a mentor. When I look back now, I think how great that would have been. Especially after my father died, and Mum was left with the five of us, in a foreign country, battling to make sense of things. He died unexpectedly, and I guess we felt deserted, looking back. My mother had to suddenly be very strong for the five of us she had to single parent alone. So maybe she was my mentor. She is a writer too, by the way., Two books.
Can we expect any more books from you in the future? I write slowly and carefully. So patience is required from my dear readers. I apologize for that. Yes, you can expect more. But thank you from the bottom of my heart for your patience. I really meant that.
Have you started another book yet? I have started so many. But there is one in particular, a short one, that I am longing to return to. I have written the first draft. I think it’s a mere 50,000 words or so. But I love it, and I’m looking forward to getting back to it and doing everything I can to make it the best it can be. It’s called Under the Garden.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Gosh, that’s scary. I don’t want to answer that. Hopefully I will be OK. And the people I love will all be OK. And happy. Let’s move on.
Are you reading any interesting books at the moment? I am doing a lot of reading for my regular job. Stuff I won’t bore you with here, suffice to say it’s about how to support social workers who are all ready doing a fantastic job to do an even better one. It’s important reading. I hope I can communicate what I learn to other social workers I work with, whom I admire enormously for what they do daily.
What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out? One of the most exciting tools isn’t being recognized as such yet by many – the ebook. I’m not talking about the ebook as an end product for the reader, let’s set that aside for the moment. I’m talking about creating your absolute final draft as an ebook, and then editing it all over again in that format. It’s amazing what you see. No writer in history has had the opportunity to see their end product like this and be able to continue to work on it. It’s like the gift of the ultrasound to this generation. You are able to see your baby before it’s born.
What contributes to making a writer successful? Staying power. The power to stay. (So important, I had to stay it twice.) Not many people actually have it, would you believe. It’s more important than talent. What good is talent if you stay in bed all day? But talent is important too, of course. Hopefully I have a little bit of that.
Do you have any advice for writers? Read and digest books on writing, like Stein On Writing. And don’t publish until you’re absolutely certain it’s the best you can do, and even then get it professionally edited.
Do you have any specific last thoughts that you want to say to your readers? Thank you for being there.
What do you do to unwind and relax? I’m not sure I ever unwind. I need to, I know. I suppose I unwind when I finally go to bed, but then I’m leaping out again not long after, as the sun rises.
What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing? I know this isn’t what you mean, but a lot of my dreams have gone into my writing. I used to have a little light by my bed, but I always woke up my wife. So I now creep out of bed and get them down on paper. Then in the morning, I’m dying to get up and see what it is that I have there. It’s always fun, whatever it is. As long as I can read it. I wish I could play an instrument, because I dream some interesting tunes, but I have no idea how to get them down.
Do you have any upcoming appearances that you would like to share with us? I don’t at the moment. When I do, they’re usually school visits. But I’d love you to check out my blog and website when you’ve got the time and leave some messages. Or Facebook. I’m always hanging around those places and would love to hear from you.
When you wish to end your career, stop writing, and look back on your life, what thoughts would you like to have? I would like to feel that I have made a difference to some people. Through my writing would be fantastic. But also through my social work – especially during the first decade of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Many of those people I knew back then have gone, or will have forgotten me by now, but I believe I did some important things back then. I have known a lot of people on their death beds. The ones who died the best, so to speak, the ones who died in peace, were those who felt they’d made a difference. I so hope I feel that way when my turn comes. As I’m sure you do. Thank you for your thoughtful questions.
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Genre – Young Adult / Science Fiction