Tell me a little bit about yourself as a person?
(I never know what to say to this question!)
I was born in Yorkshire, grew up in Bedford and now I live in a cottage on a wild and windy moor. I never knew what I wanted to be, prevaricating my way through multiple degrees and various careers.
My last proper job was a freelance journalist which I drifted into when working on a never-completed PhD in Development Studies, and ended up living in Havana for ten years working for various papers and magazines, radio and TV. Life in Havana consisted mostly of long periods of extreme boredom when nothing at was all happening, in heat and humidity unrelieved by the comforts of electricity and constant running water, interspersed by frantic days when everything got a bit too exciting for comfort, consequently, I wasn’t heartbroken when the Cubans asked me to leave.
Since I came back to the UK, I’ve dabbled in various bits of jobs: comedy writer, travel writer, gardener, press officer. These days I review books for Amazon and others, write the odd comedy sketch and look after my elderly Dad – and write novels, of course. I like gardening and reading, radio four and good TV – Mad Men, Game of Thrones, documentary and arts, good comedy – which I find tends to be mostly on the radio. If I sound horribly dull, middle-class and uninteresting, it’s because I am.
Tell me about your journey as a writer – how you started and how you have developed?
I’ve been a writer all my life, endlessly boring my friends, family and classmates with my stories and plays wot I wrote. I wrote and illustrated a novel about a shipwrecked class when I was ten – now long lost; I suspect it wasn’t very good.
I dabbled a bit through my school and university years, editing the school magazine, writing this and that – mainly comedy sketches and fanfic – and that was that for a while. I went to three universities and worked a few jobs as a landscape architect during which time I didn’t write at all.
Then I went to live in Cuba, started writing sketches about the people I knew, that grew into features that I published here and there. I wrote a novel about my time in Cuba that came terribly close to being published; got a good agent and editor, but not quite close enough (‘our commissioning editor feels this fits no particular genre and we’re mostly concentrating on chic lit now’).
While the first-novel debacle was ongoing, my sister and I mashed together some old sketches we’d written and made a sitcom that was commissioned by the BBC, but ultimately rejected by the then head of comedy (you’re probably sensing a pattern to my writing life!). I wrote another sitcom and the same thing happened. I’ll admit I got a bit dispirited at this point and for 5 years, wrote only a few short stories for online publications that were well received, but nothing more.
Then, a couple of years ago, I decided to re-work a paranormal fantasy I’d started in Cuba and set in Havana. I’d offered a re-worked version to the BBC as a Doctor Who novel a few years before, just as the BBC had decided to stop publishing them. I took another look at it and thought it wasn’t half bad and decided to completely re-write it and set it in Bedford, where I grew up, rather than Havana, which I’d had enough of.
That was Entanglement, which, like the novel that preceded it, was taken on by a great agent, pitched to an editor who seemed enthusiastic, but then wanted me to re-work it as a YA novel with my on-the-verge-of-middle-age male protagonist changed to a teenage girl. I said no, which is how I came to self-publish Entanglement. It wasn’t a hasty decision, I admit I thought long and hard about it; I could have said yes and the book would have been properly published by a mainstream publisher, but I would have hated the book and hated myself.
Self publishing is very tough, but my experiences of mainstream publishing have been so depressing – it seems such a fickle, self-regarding world – and I’m excited to be part of something that’s fresh and ground-breaking and under my own control.
How would you describe your work – its themes and the important things about it?
I like to write about the things that interest me. When I was in Cuba, it was the security services of three nations who were watching me and each other; I thought there was a rich vein of comedy to be mined there. Currently it’s the blurring of the physical and metaphysical that I find in the world of quantum physics. I grew up in a haunted house and firmly believe that sceptics are people who have never had a paranormal experience, because once you have, you KNOW there’s something there that cannot be explained by any current theories.
I’m also fascinated by myths and religions and how history becomes myth. I wanted to mesh all that together in a novel, and that’s how I came to write Entanglement – and its sequels. I think it’ll take at least three novels to get it all out of my system.
Entanglement is a paranormal fantasy about a man who died and came back seeing ghosts and the future – some of the future, fragments that may or may not lead to a foreseen outcome. It’s about quantum physics and parallel universes and how meddling in time and space might not be a wise thing to do, no matter how appealing it seems, how comfortable a life we can make for ourselves a s a result. It’s a fairly dark tale, but with plenty of humour – I hope! I think; I’ve been a comedy writer for too long to write an out and out horror tale.
What makes it a great read is for others to say, not me. I’ve had a couple of very nice reviews so far so I’m more confident now, that it really is something that other people will enjoy.
Where can I buy a copy of your book?
Only on Amazon kindle at the moment but I’m looking to put it into print as soon as I can.