Lately on Facebook, writers have been tagging each other to prompt them to write ‘seven things you don’t know about me as a writer’. I was tagged by two authors, Catriona Troth and Philippa Rees and so I duly wrote my post on Facebook. I thought I reproduce it here on my blog as well!
- I’ve have physical proof that I always wanted to be a writer. I have treasured a hand-written, in fountain-pen ink letter from the late children’s author, Malcolm Saville, responding to my 10-year old fan letter to him about his Lone Pine Series of books. In it he says “I’m sorry I can’t give you any tips with your own writing except to read as widely as you can and work with your English teacher”. Sage advice indeed! (Picture of the letter below).
- At school, I switched from studying A-Level Economics after being bored for a week to A-Level English Lit. I got the lowest possible mark at the end that still counted as a pass. My other A-Level was Computer Science. Seems that both have come together in the end as my thriller novels are all about the misuse of technology and cybercrime.
- In my English Lit extended essay, I chose to write about differences between Sci Fi and Fantasy genres. But instead of using approved texts like Asimov and Tolkein, I stubbornly chose the pulp fiction writers of the day: L Ron Hubbard and David Eddings. Needless to say I got a very low mark, but gained a very high appreciation for genre fiction and series.
- I started my career in a large bank’s IT department by failing to pass the programming entrance exam. As a result I was given the much more lowly job of being the guy who wrote the user manuals on behalf of the programmers. But I wrote them well! (Funnily enough, this was in the 80’s, long before the internet. The language used to make the document on the mainframe was called IBM Script. It is exactly the same as basic HTML we’re all becoming familiar with today, all these years later. I can write native HTML as a result!)
- I’ve been failing to write novels for all my adult life. I seem to have had lots of ideas that other people also had just before me! Half way through outlining my Historical Roman Epic set against the backdrop of Caesar’s invasion of Britain, Simon Scarrow published his first Roman novel with the exact same backdrop. At the time I was writing a Sci Fi novel about identity, lucid dreaming and cryogenics, my wife turned to me in the cinema while we were watching Tom Cruise in Vanilla Sky and said, “Isn’t this the novel you told me about?”
- I spent years professionally procrastinating on writing. I have a whole shelf full of books on ‘How to Write’. I was one of those people who thought that if I was at least reading about writing, I was half way there. To be fair, I have applied much of their content and written much better books than I would have done otherwise.
- I finally knuckled down and wrote my debut novel when a guy who worked for me, who knew nothing about my dreams as a writer, suddenly announced that he had written a book and it had been accepted for publication. He’d done it right under my nose! That was the catalyst I needed and I finished my debut novel two years later and realised my dreams. Only to discover that’s not the end. I’m now on a journey and loving every minute of it.
If you’ve read this and feel inspired to write 7 things about you as a writer (or perhaps as a reader) then please consider yourself tagged! Let me know if you do write it.