Author Q & A

What sort of things do you write?

I like to write about amazing, fantastic, and sometimes, brutal things happening to everyday people.  Although the adage ‘write what you know’ is good advice, I have to say that on the whole, I have never dismembered anyone, killed anyone, had any hallucinations that – well, there was that one time…

If you search for ‘SPENNYRIVER’ on the blog page,  you will see that I also write humour in the form of the  Spennyriver Dispatch – it’s the local newspaper of a small town deep in the heart of the Midlands  It’s like a regular town with rregular people.  Just weirder.

Why do you write?

Why do I write?  Well, it’s a bit cheesy, but I want people to enjoy something that I’ve written.  Having someone say they enjoyed a piece of my work is quite the buzz, if I’m honest. 

What type of writer are you?

When I write, I am definitely a pantser – making it up as I go along.  Mostly, I’ll start with an ending in mind, and then I work backwards until I see how it all started!  Often that will send me off in new and unexpected directions, which is fine.  Great, actually!  I write horror, but I’m not really a gore-freak.  Lots of blood doesn’t do it for me.  Like I said earlier, strange things to regular people.

Writing Spennyriver is quite a different proposition.  Here, I have a broad storyline, but this is also boosted by satirical pieces based on local stories making the news.

Which of the stories that you have written is your favourite?

If you asked me what should you read first, then I would probably say Die, Blossom, Bloom, my novella, which tells the story of a regular man looking to cover up a secret that he has kept for 2 years against mounting odds.  There are parts of me in there.  Not that I have secrets, but – oh well, you get what I’m saying.  But The Book is a close second.  There is also The Girl in the Park, which I like – okay just read them all.

These stories are clearly very different to Spennyriver, and I would say I enjoy creating this fictional town as much as writing horror.

Favourite author / book?

A bit obvious for a horror author, but I’ll have to say Stephen King, although HP Lovecraft is rapidly moving up that chart.  As for book, can I have a series?  I’ll have to choose The Dark Tower series, my favourite being The Drawing of The Three.

In terms of creating the weird world of Spennyriver, I would say I was inspired by the work of Garrison Keilor, but also by the surreal world of Night Vale, from the podcast of a similar name: Welcome to Nightvale.

You a family man?

I’m married, with 2 children, 2 cats and 2 rabbits, although I’m only married to my wife, not the kids or pets.  My life is hectic, and I struggle to find not only the time to write, but also the energy – if you know anything about MS, you know that fatigue is a major element.  We all live together in a regular house, on a regular street, except the rabbits, which live in the garden – apparently making the children live outside is frowned upon.

I know you’re not a vampire, so what do you do during the daylight hours?

During the daylight hours, I work for a charity supporting disabled people.  I am myself, a wheelchair user and have been for over 6 years, at time of writing (Jan 16), after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis almost fifteen years ago.  Is my life history important? Well, not really, but it does colour the way I see the world sometimes, and anyone that follows me on Twitter will attest to the fact that I occasionally have a word or two to say about disability related issues. I’ve also started noticing that some of my protagonists seem to have a disability. Not all, by any means, but enough to notice! I am always happy to hear from writers who face challenges as a result of disability, so if that’s you, why not drop me a line? That doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear from others, because I do! I want to be an author first, please.