I started my writing career late in life. Having previously worked as a plumber, writing my first story was both enlightening and frightening. Of course, I considered my first story to be magnificent, the next best seller…unfortunately, the experts disagreed. Rejection is terrible, and faced with the prospect of never seeing that story in print I made the expensive error of going to a vanity publisher. I cringe now, when I see just how bad it was.
What was I to do, give up, or relearn lost skills? I pressed on, I returned to school, took courses, learned how to format sentences, how to put my thoughts into a readable context. A hundred short stories later, I felt competent enough to start once again, on a work of fiction. However, the story I had lived with for so long was gone, tied up in copyright for five years, I was at a loss but needed to write.
It was during this period of drought, that my daughter introduced me to a family research site. I plunged into what would become the source of most of my ideas. What I discovered, was our lost history. Stories, the like of which any author would die to hear. Lies, deceit, lost fortunes, bravery, skulduggery, and secrets which had lain unmentioned for almost 100 years. Suddenly, I had a plethora of material to work with. I was consumed and my next novel Dead Men Lie came to life. Names had to be changed, a fictitious town created, but I was able to pour my heart and soul into what has become, I believe, a darn good story.
Still unable to procure the services or neither agent nor publisher, I was at a loss as to how to get my work out to the public. I knew if people read the book they would love it, but promotions cost money, cash I didn’t have, I had to think laterally. I did something not many authors did at the time I took my work to the public. I attended any event I could get into, farmers markets, school fates, coffee mornings, craft fairs. You name it, I was to be found sitting at my table come hell or high water. My approach worked. During the subsequent years, I have attended well over 600 differing events, travelled all over Kent, Sussex and Surrey and met some great people, and a few characters. I do not blow my own trumpet often, but I am proud of what I have achieved. I took a book, no different to any other, and travelled, I spoke, I became animated and the reading public came and bought. Since those early days, I have become almost a legend around the South East.
Many have helped me out, and I would like to express my thanks to the organisers I’ve annoyed, the other traders I’ve made laugh, but more importantly a huge thanks to the public who have stopped to speak and buy. There are others I should thank, my family, my editor, but most importantly one man who has endured my silliness more than most, Mister ‘all singing’ Dave Clarke. He has kept me sane, helped-out and sold my work for me for almost three years. He is also my technical director dealing with the web sites and promotional strategy.
From humble beginnings, my work has gone from strength to strength. During the first month, our website got 32 hits. Now we regularly receive in-excess-of 5000 hits per month and all told nearly 150,000 people have seen what I’m like, read my blog, bought my work or sent fantastic reviews and messages of support. Not bad for an author whose first book was castigated and banned by their home town.
Finally, I would like to say, Welcome and thank you, for following my exploits. I hope you continue to support me for a long time to come.
So, turn the page and discover my world.