I've always been comfortable with the business of writing itself, and early on, my language teachers drummed into me the need always to employ good grammar, a fixation which fortunately has never left me. I wish it were taught as forcefully these days ...
But at senior school, I used to hate the weekend's English homework essay. It usually demanded lots of "imagination", and I could never discipline myself to get started on it until the very last moment, each Sunday evening. So the results were often mediocre.
At college, too, I would do a fair job of topic research each week, but still I could never bring myself round to putting it all down on paper until about four hours before my tutorial was due to begin. That usually meant waking at 5am and just going at it with a solid deadline. But at least it was good practice for final exams, and beyond!
Things improved during my career in the computing
industry. I became confident and skilled in planning, structuring, and
producing large, complex and attractive technical and commercial documents.
So once I retired, all that was lacking for the budding novelist inside
me was a bit more of the "imagination" ingredient. And now I had time,
and lots of sources of inspiration, and the whole of Europe (no, the world)
spread out before me ...
I researched and wrote my first full-length novel, Observation
One: Singing of Promises, which appeared on the web at Bewildering
Stories in Autumn 2004, and was published in paperback by Bewildering
Press in Summer 2007. You can
read all about it (including some nice reviews!) and buy it here.
It's a topical mixture of political satire,
literary fiction, science fiction, humour, and celebration of language
and music. And it's founded on one of my greatest passions: the truth and
integrity embodied in the life and work of the fine American writer, singer
and musician, Janis Ian.
Two: Standing Divided,
was serialised at Bewildering Stories from December 2006 to March 2007,
and was published in paperback by Bewildering
Press in late 2008. You can read
all about it and buy it here.
|And Observation Three: Changing Hearts, the final novel of the trilogy, was completed in early 2008. It was serialised at Bewildering Stories from July to October of that year. and was published in paperback by Bewildering Press in Summer 2009. You can read all about it and buy it here.|
|I've also had several short stories and other works published at Bewildering Stories.|
||In early 2004,
after completing Observation One, I went on to produce A Few Old Friends,
a definitive study and celebration of Janis Ian’s complete catalogue of
recorded songs. There were over 250 of them at that time - and that number
continues to grow!
This work was unveiled at 'Janismania', held in Indianapolis in June 2004. During that event, I sold at auction, for the benefit of Janis' charity, The Pearl Foundation, one of the only four hardcopies I had produced, and five copies of the associated data CD. A very large sum of money was raised!
|And I documented my week-long adventure in the USA, to attend 'Janismania', in a 17,500 word, fully-illustrated web article: Marching On Indiana.|
|At the end of 2009 I completed my fourth novel, Donna's Men. It's a roman fleuve in three parts, spanning more than a century but centred on a young woman's uncomfortable discovery of her own true identity.