I wasn't sure how to go about "it" but I had this idea and a bunch of musically inclined characters living in my head who wouldn't go away, so I decided to get it all down on paper before I became to senile to remember. I bought a reporter's notepad and a couple of pens; took myself to sit on the beach in Brighton and that's how The Raiders rock group and the beginning chapters of my first novel Three Steps to Heaven were born. Obviously now, when I look back, it was pretty dire but back then I had no concept of how a book should be written. I had ideas galore, but didn't have a clue about the craft, how to structure, dialogue, settings, POV and all those things that go into the mix to come out the other end as a novel of acceptable standards that people might just want to read.
My idea for Three Steps to Heaven came from my time during the sixties when I worked in the record department of a local store. I used to hang around with musicians who frequented the place. When you spend a lot of time with guys like that you get involved in their lives and loves, watch them playing in clubs and be there when they need a shoulder to cry on. Little did I know that one day, remembering the stuff that went on, I'd use a lot of those scenarios and immortalise them in words. Three Steps to Heaven was never meant to be anything other than a one-off novel. But I couldn't let go of my characters and before I knew it I'd produced a trilogy. The sequel 'Til I Kissed You and the third and final novel Always On My Mind. Even now I'm finding it hard to let the characters go.
I always choose settings I'm familiar with as this makes it easier to bring them to life. I centre my stories around the fictional town of Pickford in Cheshire, which is actually Stockport and the surrounding areas.
Before publishing any of my work I joined online critiquing group, YouWriteOn where I received many helpful reviews from members who went out of their way to encourage me and teach me the way to go. I also struck up a friendship with AJ Hudspith, (Johnny Vee) who became my editor. Johnny's help has been invaluable. He also introduced me to JD Smith, contactable for further info at firstname.lastname@example.org who designed the fabulous covers for my trilogy.
My favourite author is Lesly Pearse and it was reading her novels, particularly Georgia that made me decide I'd like to try and create warm tales of people and their lives, really make them come alive instead of storing them in my head all the time. I also enjoy work by Erica James and Joanna Trollope.
Having completed and published my trilogy I thought I'd try something different for my next project and create a novel based on my own life experiences, rather than everyone else's. I'm only up to chapter five at the moment, but I'm enjoying writing it, finding it a very cathartic experience and look forward to publishing "Fast Movin' Train later this year.