Periodically it is relevant to update your position as an author and your history because like all processes writing is dynamic. It grows.
1. Tell me about your newest book and what was the inspiration behind your writing it?
My latest novel, which at the time of writing this is in editing, is the 10th Patrick Steele novel. The title is 7 Hours After which refers to TWC Building 7, the building that collapsed at 17:20 after the demise of the Twin Towers on 9/11.
I was inspired to write in part because of the snippets of information that I kept seeing in the news about ‘facts’ surrounding the happenings of that fateful day and their associated anomalies. It also matches the mentality of the lead character Patrick Steele who has a strong sense of injustice.
2. Why and when did you decide to become a writer?
I believe that there has been that ‘itch’ in my mind for many years but I felt that it was unscratchable because of the need to ‘earn a living’. I eased the need to write by producing poetry but could never get by the fact that anyone who read my work was doing so from politeness and that pertains in some degree to this day. As I was reaching retirement age and was working part time to help care for my mother, opportunities began to arise for me to begin writing more seriously and so at the age of 59 I started my first full length novel.
3. What book has been the greatest influence on you and your writing and why?
There wasn’t one book or even one author that influenced me really. It was more to do with passages of books that I’d read. HMS Ulysses by Alistair MacLean was one example. At the beginning of the story there is what I felt to be an awesome description of the sea as a Russian convoy was being escorted by Royal Naval vessels during World War II. Similarly the atmosphere created by Charles Dickens at the beginning of Great Expectations when Pip runs into Magwitch in the swamp. Since reading those books many years ago I have been even more impressed by other writers. Philip Pullmans’ Dark Materials is truly massive in the range of original concepts he created and the unspoken commentary on religion that runs as a thread throughout all three books. Yet these were intended for children.
4. Where do you find ideas for your books?
When I first began writing the ideas sprang from the real world. In part my books are an expression of the things that are wrong about our supposedly civilized society and the solutions I try to provide come from within me via the skills of Steele. The last two Steele novels have leant more towards conspiracy theory and that springs from one of my father’s favourite tenets which was ‘never believe a word of what you hear on the news or read in the newspapers’. As I have aged I know what he meant by that. This provides me with questions such as ‘If they are telling us these facts, what really lies behind what is being fed to us?’
Currently I have no new book in mind, which is the first time in seven years!
5. Where do you find ideas for your characters?
As I have produced most of my books round the same set of characters it is a while since that part of the creative process began. Steele is an amalgam of parts of me, James Bond and a variety of villains but hopefully with a touch of realism. The people that surround Steele are in part wishful thinking on my part and there to satisfy his needs.
6. How would you describe your writing style?
My style is slightly old-fashioned entertainment. I read for personal enjoyment and relaxation and my writing is for people who tend to feel the same way. I hope my books are the sort you can fall asleep over, then pick up where you left off when you wake.
7. What do you consider the most difficult part of writing a book?
Without doubt the editing. I am a rather impulsive writer who doesn’t do much planning and prefers to let the characters develop the storyline. Therefore when my stories are written that’s it to a degree. I do re-read and make changes, I have two proofreaders who check the work, but the story is the story and may or may not be commercially viable but I find it a turn off to go over my stories and make them more acceptable in anyway. When they are written they are written.
8. What are your current projects?
Due to the rules of my online publisher I need to make space for my latest novel to be published by them and so I have withdrawn my first book from their clutches and will produce a second edition through a different publisher. I continue to write poetry and so another collection is about due and after that who knows?