How did you get into writing?
Don’t make the questions easy will you. Wow. I actually came into writing quite late in life. As a young teenager I had written a story about a small Australian town, and how it had developed. A hundred years in about ten hand written A4 sheets. It was not a best seller, and as far as I’m aware it still hasn’t been made into a movie. I suppose like many others I had always had a wish to write a novel, I just couldn’t think of anything to write about. Then in 2005 we went for a holiday in the Austrian Lake District. We stayed in a village called Grundlsee. A short distance away is Lake Toplitzsee, which had been used by the German Navy to test rockets during the second world war. It was this that finally gave me the makings of a plot. A year later my novel was finished.
What was the first thing you had published and how did you go about it?
My first novel was “The Kammersee Affair”, a story of the search for hidden Nazi gold. Once finished I imagined that it would be snapped up, and I would make a lot of money. I searched on-line for a publisher, but no one was accepting submissions, I was advised to seek an agent, but I could not find one who was looking for new clients. Then I found a company, Dorrance Publishing, in New York who was seeking submissions. They really liked the book and were very interested in publishing. All they wanted was a payment of $10000. That was my first introduction to the world of vanity publishing. Needless to say Dorrance never did publish my book. But I did find another publisher in New York, another vanity publisher, Raider Publishing International (sounds impressive doesn’t it). They only charged £400.
Best thing & worst thing about writing?
Creating something new, a new character and watch him/her develop; watch a story unfold, that hopefully will give enjoyment to someone. The worst thing for me is marketing. It is so time consuming, and, quite often, of little value.
Do you write in a specific genre? Which is your favourite and why?
I write crime novels, private detective stories. I have always loved the film noir with Bogart, Cagney, Edward G. Robinson. I had really wanted to write a novel in that style. I soon found out that it wasn’t that easy, but I did create my own characters and in my own style.
Is there a particular genre or type of scene that you would avoid and if so why?
I could never do romance, or erotica. Just doesn’t interest me. I’m not one for horror either. Zombies, and vampires I’m afraid leaves me cold.
As a child which was your favourite book? Do you have a favourite book and author now? What are you reading now?
I was reared on Enid Blyton books. Sadly not very fashionable these days. I loved the Famous Five stories, and the Secret Seven. As I grew older it was Alistair Maclean, and Hammond Innes, and, of course the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie. As for an all time favourite book that would be The Tale of Two Cities. It has everything you could think off, and who could ever better the last two lines of the book - “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” Currently I generally read works by other Indie authors. I am currently reading “Sir Laurence Dies” by Christopher D Abbott. It is very much on the lines of an Agatha Christie mystery.
Tell us a little about the books you currently have published?
Well I have seven books published, although it is self publishing now, under my own banner Phoenix. I gave up on the vanity publishers some years ago. I have five novels that feature my private detective, Tom Kendall, the most recent being published a few short weeks ago. I also have “The Kammersee Affair” as previously mentioned. The seventh novel, “The Thackery Journal”, was published in August 2013. It is a ‘what if’ novel set during, and just after, the American Civil War, and suggests that the assassination of President Lincoln was actually planned by his own generals.
Now tell us even more about the one you’ve brought with you.
I’ve brought my latest, which is simply called “Kendall”. Although it is the fifth novel to feature Tom Kendall, it is actually a prequel. It tells how he left the New York Police Department; how he became a private detective, and how he met up with Mollie, his long suffering business partner. Kendall is going to be the best there is, but is only prepared to take on the important case, the big money earners. But things have a habit of not going entirely the way you would like.
Can you give us a hint at what you have planned next?
I am currently working on a sixth Kendall story, set in Ireland. It is very much early days though. I have my villain well established, although I haven’t yet decided on the line of business. I have my crime committed. I have a number of lesser characters formed. All I need know is how to solve the crime. So don’t expect to be seeing this one for about 12 months. I have also made a tentative start on an adventure novel based upon a true story of a submarine that was due to go to the North Pole in 1931. It never got there but was later found scuttled in a Norwegian fjord. Again it is very early days. I have three reasonably good opening chapters, and an ending. It’s just that little bit in the middle that needs to be sorted out.
Tom Kendall had been with the 32nd Precinct, New York Police Department for just under ten years. But now he wanted a change. Now he wanted to start his own Private Detective Agency. He had grand ideas. He wasn’t interested in just any old case. Oh no, he would handle only the big time cases, the expensive ones. He would be able to take his pick, the ones that he wanted, where the stakes were high and so were the rewards. He knew exactly the kind of case that he wanted. Anything else would not do, and it would just be turned down flat.