Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am an actor and director at a small theatre a few miles from where I live in the beautiful county of Yorkshire in the UK. I did once have a proper job as a project and business change manager – very pressured and very demanding – but, I managed to escape, and now I write books.
From being a very small child, I've always loved stories and story-telling, so it seemed a natural progression, to me, to try my hand at writing, and I began with short stories. My first published story was in an anthology, which was put together by the magazine 'Ireland's Own' in 2011. The rest, so they say, is history.
I particularly enjoy the challenge of plotting and planning different genres of work. My short stories vary between contemporary romance, memoir, mystery and historical. I also writes comic flash-fiction and have drafted two one-act plays that have been recorded for local radio.
My full-length stories are set in France, where i like to spend as much time as possible each year. I have two full-length mystery stories set in France and I'm currently researching and working on the third to be published late in 2018.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Merle is book 2 in my Jacques Forêt series of mystery stories. As the book is set in a corporate organisation in Mende in south central France, I am using a lot of my previous business knowledge to create the office and the team with which my central character has to work. I can't really say that my time in business was the inspiraiton for the book as I knew from the very start that there would be 4 stories – one of which was about commercial espionage.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
What an odd question! I don't think I do have any unusual writing habits. Although, when I was in the final stages of completing Messandrierre – the first book in the series – I did undertake a mental structural edit of the story whilst making some gooseberry ice cream one afternoon. Would that count?
What authors, or books have influenced you?
That's almost impossible to answer! I've been an avid reader ever since I could say my alphabet, so I grew up on Hans Anderson, Perrault and Grimm. As a teenager I worked my way through Conan Doyle, Wilkie Collins, Agathe Christie, Daphne du Maurier, D L Sayers and many others in the same genre. For school exams I studied anything and everything from Shakespeare to Bennett, Ayckbourn, Sillitoe, Amis and many others with all the classics inbetween. In some way, I think every book I've read has influenced me at some point in my life.
What are you working on now?
I'm researching and writing book 3 in my mystery series. Entitled Montbel it features a closed case for Jacques to investigate. During the course of that investigation Jacques uncovers the murder of a key witness and discovers that he himself is being watched by others…
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I use my own website and my facebook page and twitter. I also undertake talks and visits to libraries and craft fairs. By far the best method of promoting my books is to meet and talk to my readers. Hopefully, those readers will then talk about my books to others.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Research and choose your publisher carefully – it is most important that your book fits their market. Follow the submission guidelines to the absolute letter. There is nothing more off-putting for a publisher than to pick up a script and find it has been badly edited or is simply in the wrong format.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Never give up – if a story wants to be written it will be.
What are you reading now?
Winter in Madrid by C J Sansom. Most interesting!
What’s next for you as a writer?
To finish my current manuscript and submit it and then to complete the fourth story in the series. I'm also contributing to an anthology of stories with Yorkshire as the setting. I have a full-length novel of my own set in Yorkshire – working title, The Silent Juror – that I want to pick up and there's a possible historical novel following that. A lot to do!
What is your favorite book of all time?
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I've read it 5 times. and it's probably due for another reading soon.
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