Here you can ask me anything… I mean really anything at all, fire away. I may even answer…. Just enter a question in the comments box below…..
To kick things off, here are a few I was asked recently..
Q Where did you get your inspiration for your characters?
A Ha. Road-signs mostly, I was about a third of the way through expanding a short story into a novel, when on a dark and stormy winter’s night(seriously) driving home on a rain lashed West Highland road I noticed a crude hand painted sign that pointed into a forest in the middle of nowhere, it just said Jones Brothers. Of course it was nothing sinister, just a sign for contractors working in the forest. But by the time I got home Alfred Jones and Son, Bros. was born. Over the course of the next few weeks I realised that I had to drop the project I was working on and commit full time to Alfred. The next Alfred Jones project was also inspired by a sign. I live in Spain just now and I noticed a sign that said Domingo Y Hijo’s, which is now the basis of the next Alfred novel. You can do the translation if you wish. But that’s all the spoilers I’m giving….
Q What has been one of the most surprising things you have learnt in creating your book?
A From a personal point of view was that I have seen it through to the end. From a writer’s point of view, I was surprised how difficult it can be one day and how easy it can be the next day. I follow a lot of writer’s blogs and they all say the same. Writing is difficult. Blank word documents and blank minds are common. From a practical point of view, I learned not to spend too much time on the first draft. I spent far too much time on the first draft of Alfred Jones and Son.
Q What early experience taught you that language has power?
A Good question. I was always a reader, from a young age I couldn’t get enough books, I remember when I moved from kids books, Enid Blyton and the like and I picked up one of my father’s books. It was Wilbur Smith, The Sound of Thunder. I remember thinking at the time that I wouldn’t enjoy it, that the words were too small and numerous and there were no pictures. But, Wow! Ten pages in and I was hooked, big style. I have never stopped reading but I still remember that book and that moment.