Welcome David. Let’s get to learn more about you …
What is your genre? Why did you choose it?
I am currently writing on the third Liam Mannion book, but have edits that need to be done on two other novels. I need to get cracking on those but I am loathe to do so as I want to keep plugging away at the current story. I’ll reluctantly give over a few days to a final edit of my modern crime novel soon, and then send it out to beta readers.
Do you work with a writing/critique group?
I am part of several author forums and use Critique Circle for feedback. They can be really useful for pinpointing problem areas in developing novels. I only tend to use these avenues when I have completed my work.
Can you remember your first reading book?
I remember reading a book called ‘The Two J.G.s’ four or five times when I was a very young. I think it was written in the 1930s and told the story of two boys with similar initials who undergo a case of mistaken identity. I don’t know who wrote it but that was probably the first book I read. It must have been good if I read it so often. That said, I think I read Wuthering Heights eight times during my teens.
Eight times? Wow, I read it three, it is a great book.
Do you nibble on snacks while writing? If so, what is your chosen treat?
No I never eat when I write.
Tidy desk or a bombsite? Describe your writing area with us.
I write on the 50-minute commute in and out of work and also during my lunch break, where my ‘desk’ is the floor of a nearby shopping mall.
Mm, not comfortable and cosy. Serviceable maybe.
I started off with an agent, who sent my novels to several publishers, but I never got a deal. I got fed up with the drawn out process of waiting for publishers to get back to me, so decided to self-publish. As we all know, the hardest part of self-publishing is the endless marketing of our books. It is an area I struggle with. I work and have a wife and four young children so my time is limited.
Very limited I would say, with four little ones!
Who would you say have been the three most influential authors in your reading/writing life?
I suppose one would be the crime writer John Connolly. I know John and have had the odd pint or three with him. He is a really nice guy and a hugely talented writer. I like his descriptive style. He combine ruthless crimes with some beautifully set scenes. It is a very effective way of writing, I feel. I think that John Grisham is great at creating that page-turning quality of a thriller. It’s something that I strive for in my own stories. I like a whole lot of other authors – John Steinbeck, Tom Wolfe, Robert Harris,Sebastian Faulks etc etc
What advice would you like to share with other writers/authors with regard to preparing a manuscript.
I can only share my own experiences and people can take or leave it. I find I can have good and bad periods with my plots. I struggle over some aspects and yet others come so easily. At the moment I’m about 14,000 words into a new novel and I’m battling it a little. I have most of the basic plot worked out but I struggles over what I call bridging sections,which take the plot forward. I have two options in my head for the next scene of my novel and am unsure which to go with. I think I will just opt for the one that comes easiest to me, then write the other one after that. Later, I will decide in what order to use them.
In circumstances like that I don’t think it is a good idea to agonise too long over things. It is best to keep on going or you risk losing the rhythm of the story entirely. From time to time as I write I might re-read everything I have done in order to see if the flow is right.
When I finish I will be at a stage where I am far too close to things to read it critically, so I will put it aside for a while and do something completely different. I’ll return to it at a later stage and try to read the entire manuscript with fresh eyes. before sending it out to beta readers and some trusted friends and await feedback.
I might read it again while this process takes place and make more grammatical changes. Once I have all their feedback I will evaluate and make changes. Then I will do another spell check and send it off for publishing
If the movie rights to your novels are purchased, who would you like to play your main characters?
If only, eh….? Well, since we’re in the land of fantasy., I think Colin Farrell might back a good Liam Mannion. I can dream, can’t I!
I was on my way to the supermarket, when … Do you have a tale to tell relating to an everyday, boring event?
I was on my way to the supermarket when I saw the child. He was about four years old letting rip with one of those siren wails that children of his age seem so expert at. Tendrils of saliva clung to his half-open mouth as tears and snot filled his face. There was no one else about, despite it being a busy road, so I pulled the van in, muttering to myself.
Today wasn’t a day for crying children. I’d just had a bellyful of that very subject from my girlfriend Ann, when I’d collected her at a gig just a half hour earlier.
She’s a children’s entertainer… a few rope tricks, some comedy, that kind of thing. I’d just picked her up from a party for a six-year-old during which the birthday princess managed to puke on Ann’s shoes, while her little brother had a screaming fit that had set everyone’s nerves on edge. Ann had tried to placate them with some sweets that she would make appear from her sleeves and from behind their ears, but to no avail. It was a disaster, which was firmly laid at Ann’s vomit-covered feet by the parents.
She was fuming on the drive home and spent the entire journey staring out the passenger window, sniffling while the sharp smell of vomit filled the cab.
‘You’ll get there in the end, love, don’t worry,’ I said giving her a reassuring pat on the knee.
She wheeled about. ‘Don’t be so bloody patronising, ‘I’ll get there’… What would you know? You’re driving a bloody van – Mr White Van Man in the flesh – when are you ever going to get there, eh?!’
Well…that set the ball rolling. One word let to quite a few dozen more. The upshot was Ann storming out of the van about a mile from home,
I left her to it and decided to get the weekend shopping done rather than sit festering at home. And that’s when I saw the child.
He was sobbing his heart out by the time I pulled up.
‘What’s the matter son, where’s your mum and dad?’ I asked crouching down, but he wasn’t listening. Instead the bellows grew louder. There was a bend in the road ahead so I couldn’t see very far down it in case his parents or anybody else was close by. It was just me and the bawling boy for now.
I’m not good with kids, never have been. I think there’s some sort of force field that naturally repels us. Whenever I’m been in contact with young kids before the encounter inevitably ends in tears as little Johnny or Sarah is shepherded away to the refrain of ‘he’s not usually like this’ from apologetic parents.
I didn’t know what to do with this little fella – and then I remembered Ann’s bag of tricks. I pulled open the side door and rummaged in her holdall until I found what I was looking for: a packet of Haribo, which I offered to him. He turned away and went to run onto the road. I grabbed his wrist, just as a police car came around the bend.
The blue light was turned on and the whup of a siren started up as they pulled quickly in beside me.
‘Is everything alright here, sir, said the officer, his eyes flickering from me to the distraught child.
I thought about that for a moment…a screaming child, a man with a bag of Haribo in his hand, the open side door to the van and the holdall packed with sweets and rope.
‘Well, eh, not quite,’ I spluttered. ‘I think I’ve had better days.’
Oh, what a fabulous story. I do hope the little lad got home to his parents, and you relaxed with your girl.
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