Tag Archives: writer

The Truth Behind The Fiction

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Harry Royle didn’t simply spring fully formed from my imagination, he is in fact based on a real person.  The man behind the fiction, is my late father. He was the classic wronged man, who having made a mistake turned to a life of crime and in the process became a notorious jailbreaker.  In 1951 he was Britain’s most wanted man, having escaped from Dartmoor prison and his face made the Front Pages of the national press. In 1954 his story was serialised over a five-week period in The Sunday People newspaper. He was picked up from the gates of Dartmoor by the most famous crime reporter of the time, Duncan Webb.

As a son, I knew him as a generous man with a huge heart and a great sense of humour. He had a strict personal moral code and would help anyone he could. He was a great storyteller and had me believing he was a cousin of John Wayne and an adventure who had prospected for gold in the frozen Yukon.  Later I would find out that he was man who had experienced his own share of true adventure. Before Harry Royle came into being, the book started out as a nonfiction book about my father. I began researching with another author, Trevor James. Trevor was once himself an employee of Dartmoor prison and had written a number of books about both the prison and the escapes. We were to have co-written the book, but there wasn’t enough background information to fill a book.

I am intending to finish this book, with Trevor’s blessing and his permission to include some of his own unique photographs of the prison and surrounding area. I am going write the book to show the real-life behind Royle’s escapes. This will be released as a future title. Harry Royle as a character is not intended to make a hero from a criminal, but to show how different things could have been, if another path had been taken. It is my tribute to the man behind the headlines. A man who as a non commissioned officer in the British army fought in both the North African and Italian campaigns. In the sixties he became a private detective.

 

 

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My Writing Style

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I call the way I write, organic writing, because it grows and evolves as a natural plant does. It needs tending, yes, certainly, but, the process is one of nurturing and helping, facilitating, if you will, but not enforcing or structuring.

I don’t plan before writing. That’s correct, I sit down and may have a title or not, but beyond this no real idea of what kind of work I will produce, beyond whether it will be a novel or a short story and the basic genre.

I do plan nonfiction, because I think there is a very real need to do so and I blame my journalism tutor, he was a hard task master and things learned, stick.

With fiction things are different. I have tried planning and structuring in the past. I took a couple of those creative writing courses back in the 80s when ‘The Plan’ was all the rage. Now, I know many people still love this way of working and I think it’s great, just not for me, it stifles my creativity.

Perhaps this way of writing stems from my background. As a stage actor I was used to being called on to use improvisation a great deal and as I morphed into writing, it was with plays, the first of which I workshopped with the actors as it was being written. This gave the written work a natural realistic flow and was often born of trial and error and spur of the moment creative thinking.

Once I have started something, I will make rough word sketches of possible places to go, but nothing is ever set in stone. If I walk away from the project, on my return things will have changed and I will then have to work around these new revelations.

My characters will often decide to do or say something which changes the whole direction of the story. I never fight this, because if I’m surprised, it makes sense that my reader will be as well.

To write in this way, you have to be very confident with your writing and also relaxed about the outcome, regardless of what that might be. For example, my first book, which was to have been written with another author, as a nonfiction title detailing the life, times and exploits of my infamous father, first turned into a novel and then morphed into a trilogy.

I use the same organic process when deciding on a book cover. I spend time with different mental images and once I feel that I’m close to something, move onto photographs, choosing how I want things to look. I then mock up my version of the cover (Not pretty) and send this to my cover designer, she then works her magic and give or take the odd tweak here and there, I end up with the cover that I know is right for that particular book.

To work the way I do, you have to be very flexible and not too needy. If you need to be in total control of your fiction writing project from start to finish, my way is a highway of nightmares. For me it’s an adventure and I’m never bored with the result, no sooner do I begin something and sit back, the story unfolds and I feel as though I’m along for the ride.

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Catching Truth

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You, as a writer, when you have captured a moment of truth, should allow it to simply be. I’m not talking about something huge or earth shattering. No, because this moment could be a perfect description of a pot of tea being made, I am English. Or speaking of beverages, how a cup of coffee arrives at your coffee shop table and how the liquid appears to you in the cup, its colour and behaviour.

Truth cannot be manufactured, which is odd, when you consider that I’m talking about creative writing here. Yes, I know it sounds off, but stick with me and I’ll try to explain my viewpoint and it is just that, my view, not a rule or law, just a humble opinion, based on my own personal experience.

Capturing truth is a little like when a painter captures a moment. It isn’t an exact duplicate, more of a personal impression and that is why it can have such a deep and meaningful effect on us. We look at the image and feel the reality, sense the humanity beneath, at its core and lend something of ourselves to it.

In writing, capturing truth is expressing how you feel about something or someone, without clever editing and smart fancy word-play. It is truth, because it is what it is.

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A little and often

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This is my best answer, to a question I am often asked, concerning how best to finish a writing project. The biggest single contributing factor in writing success, is being consistent.

Yes, you can write twelve hours a day if you want and if your circumstances allow such things, for the rest of us, it is more snatched moments, stolen from an otherwise full life.

It is all very well giving your all for a week or two, but if after that you have a tendency to drift off to pastures new, your project will never see completion. Far better to work in short periods on a regular basis, because working this way can and does get the job done.

Try every day

I try to write every day. Notice the word ‘try?’ Some day’s life gets in the way, I have a day job and family. But, most days I succeed, if only for an hour or two and it’s that which grows over time and ends with completed projects or books.

Now, I’m not talking here about deadlines, because if you have one of those, you had better stick to it, or else face the consequences. No, I’m talking about writing something which until it’s done is nothing more than a personal thing.

My best piece of advice if you want to write is simple, write.

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Writing, but not writing…

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During the last six months I have been writing a vast amount, however, the writing concerned has nothing to do with my novels.

I have now taken steps to battle my way back to being able to work on my fiction once again.

I do enjoy different forms of writing, but my first love has to be creative, as this really is my playground.

During my time away the ideas have been coming thick and fast and now the time has come to get them down.

I’m now working hard on finishing my novel, A Mission Too Far, which is the last of the Harry Royle trilogy. It may be the end of the trilogy, but not of the character. Watch this space…

I’m also working on my second volume of short stories, Hobbsley’s Secrets.

Both books will be out autumn 2017.

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Welcome to the Deaf community – What took you so long?

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As I sit here typing this, I am getting used to the sounds of my typing and all those other sounds around me, as they’re coming to me via my new hearing aids. Yes, I discovered two months ago that I have a hearing loss and having lost all of my upper range.

The strange thing is that before the hearing test, I had no idea that I had a problem. I had assumed that people these days mumble too much, that TV has a poor sound quality as standard and that everyone struggled to hear in crowded places like railway stations and coffee shops.

Asking people to repeat things that they had said was so much a part of my everyday conversation, that I had ceased to notice and my family had made it into a joke.

Being told that I had a disability was a shock and I found it hard to take in at first. Even attending my first audiology appointment, I thought that I might have a slight problem, I even allowed that one ear could be at fault, but to discover that my hearing was serious enough to require my wearing two hearing aids, was a complete surprise.

As I come to terms with my new hearing aids, I wonder just how many years I have really needed them and simply didn’t realise? One in six people have a hearing loss issue. When you think about that it’s a staggering figure. Even more surprising is the fact that of those about half will have no idea of the fact.

This problem is such a national one that The Royal National Institute For Deaf People (RNID), who have been established as a charity since 1911 recently changed their name to Action On Hearing Loss, as a way of attracting more people and in doing so, help them. It was the charity’s website which gave me my first indication that something was amiss where my hearing was concerned.

The Action On Hearing Loss website  has an online hearing test and at the end of this will advise you to see your GP if there is a problem. I took the test twice and thanks to their advice, my GP’s referral and two great audiologists, I can sit here and listen to so much more than I could just a few days ago.

I can tell the real difference when I turn the aids off and the world becomes warm and fuzzy and loses its top notes. Fellow musicians will only need to think of turning off the treble on the amp, that’s my hearing without aids and it makes a big difference to every single conversation, TV show and piece of music I play or listen to.

Are the hearing aids perfect? No, I find them strange, it’s like having two earpieces in, not just for an hour or two, but all day and it feels wrong. Is the sound natural? Not quite, no, my brain has got used to a certain way of hearing and filling in gaps, things are odd. Hearing aids in no way give back hearing, but they do help and are worth the effort needed to use them. The sound is electronic, how could it be anything else, but the result is wonderful. If you have thought that perhaps you might have a hearing problem, my advice would be to go along to the website or to book a hearing test, because in this situation ignorance really isn’t bliss.

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Twelve Shards of Glass FREE Kindle Book. This weekend only

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A collection of short stories tied together by the central theme of glass in all its myriad forms. I see the collection as more fragments of a stained glass window. With each being a single piece, jagged or smooth, but complete only in its association with the macro-cosmic whole.
With the stories there is light and shade, twist in the tale and comedic. Depending on mood and taste, you will find something to savour within the pages of this collection. Each story looks at the human condition and how it is reflected in our emotions.
Each of the following stories was written specifically for this collection.

The woman who looked through a telescope
An executive sent to attend a conference from London, checks into a seaside hotel. What she finds in the sea changes not only her own perceptions, but her entire life. A tale which offers an insight into what can happen, if we allow ourselves to stop being so sophisticated and learn to relax, wonderful things can take place.

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An unexpected inheritance leads a man to not only learn of his past, but in doing so, discover his future in the process. A twist in the tale story

The Lasts Drops
A group of ceremonial magicians conjure up a demon during a ritual. When the thing is banished, something remains in its place and this has implications for the whole household. This is a dark comedy with a nod to Hammer Horror.

The Goldfish Bowl
Five strangers are trapped in a glass elevator and while awaiting rescue, discover that often it’s more how we view things, than how those things really are which counts. A cautionary tale about how easy it is to base our lives on our habits and assumptions.

Keep your eye on the ball
A serious accident gives an angry man a chance for more than he ever dreamed possible, including his own spiritual and emotional redemption. A story of not only possibilities, but also of love.

The Glass Bell
An old priest discovers an ancient glass bell and believing it to be a gift from heaven, has it set in a bell tower. However, when the bell rings, something comes in answer and it isn’t an angel. This story is my take on The Lovecraft mythos.

The John Trail
A woman gets more than she bargained for, when she orders new double glazed windows for her old house. This is a comedy played out across the backdrop of Britain during The 1980s.

Here’s looking at you
Set during the 1930s. A woman racing driver and general all round daredevil appears to have a charmed life. Who is the mysterious woman she sees in the mirror? A classic twist in the tale type of story.

The moving glass
Newlyweds host a house warming and find the addition of a Ouija board offers far more than just party games. A supernatural tale with a twist.

The Night Shift
Two men who dislike each other find a common bond in a nemesis in the shape of a woman, who is even more threatening to their status as men’s men than was their imagined feud. A comedic tale which looks honestly at how men have a habit of seeing themselves as legends in their own minds. It also looks at how friendships are so often found in unlikely places.

The magician’s assistant
A magician’s new assistant finds herself trapped inside a living nightmare unable to wake up. This is a psychological tale with a twist.

The White Room
A sculptor meets a 60s Hippy in a mysterious white room and learns the truth about art, his life and the secret of living in the moment. This is a story about how each moment in life really can be a perfect moment, if only we take the time to see and experience it.

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