Friday, 29 August 2008

Question -how do you write a manuscript?

Tell Me a Story

Can you help me, AJ. I'm afraid I've a few questions. How do you write a manuscript? When can you put the information about the book in the transcript? When do you insert the little tribute to someone. Is it when you send your book in or what?

  1. Hi! If your question is HOW to write a book, then my answer is you should try purchasing a text book on creative writing. This blog is too way limited to go into that. I can give a few hints and tips, but for a complete course, you must study a book.
  2. If your question is on the subject of the correct way to PRESENT your work, then take a look at my post Submission Guidelines It's already been covered there. Most publishing houses will toss your manuscript onto the slush pile without even looking if it doesn't meet industry standards, so it pays to do it correctly.
  3. As far as the book blurb is concerned, my publishers asked me to present a short synopsis just as the editing process was drawing to a close, which is a long time after it was accepted for publication.
  4. I was also asked if I would like to present a dedication page at a similar time. So as you can see. You have no need to think about things like that until you have a contract in your hands.


An interview with writer, Cindy Price

  • Cindy Price has been an online friend for a while now, and I thought it time to take a closer look at what she does.
  • Hi Cindy, would you like to tell us how long you've been writing?

Hello Anthony. Well, actually, I really don't ever remember not writing.

  • So, how many stories and poems have you produced?
I've written many stories. I have a novel in the works but that's not my passion really. I have hundreds of poems that I wrote years ago and have had a few of them published.

  • It's always nice to hear of success, congratulations. It isn't often poetry gets published now. It seems to have gone out of fashion. What was it that prompted you to write your latest work?
I see such a need for people who call themselves Christians, to know what they believe and why they believe it. So many people say they know what they believe about God, and about Jesus, but few actually do. If we don't know what we believe and why, then we don't know how to stand against evil when we're faced with it.

  • So would you say your work was aimed mainly at men, women or children?
It's written really for men or women but my heart is in women's ministry.

  • Okay, Cindy, let's give you a shameless plug. Where is your work available? How can readers get at it?
A large part of it is on my blog, STAND

  • Did you get that folk, click your fingers and take a look, that's all it takes. Cindy, let's hope you have a few hits because of this.... Have you anything in the pipeline at the moment?
Well, I'm currently looking for an agent and I have a small piece that should be out in the Spring of 2009.

  • The best of luck with it, and with finding an agent. Would you like to give a brief outline of your work?
Thanks Anthony. The piece is called "Stand" and is based on Galatians 5:1. The purpose of it is to teach others what God has taught me about standing on His Word to have victory in life.

What a brilliant concept, Cindy. I wish you well. Remember folks, get clicking, take a look at Cindy's work right now on STAND.

Next post

To Write A Story - 20 Ways To Write A Story Better
20 Things You Should Know About How To Format A Book
Mastering Conflict In Your Story Characters

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Giving your story that extra zest

Tell Me a Story - Advice 

AJ, how can I make my story more interesting to others. I've asked a couple of friends to read it, and they both glazed over afterwards. I know they didn't think much of it, but they made the right 'noises' just so I wasn't upset.

Look at books by successful authors to see how they did it and why you found it interesting. You really should delve into each of your characters until they become 'real' to you. Develop them so they exist as people in your mind, know everything about them, all their faults and highlights, their likes and dislikes, their favourite music, food, films etc.

Unless YOU feel your character's problems are real, no one else will.
Before you start to write, rehearse the story in your mind until you're in the correct mood. Feel the emotions you want to generate in the story, be at 'one' with your characters and the problems they're facing. Have empathy.

You must also make sure you have a central problem running throughout the story, one that can't be resolved until the very last few pages of the last chapter of the book. Make the problem one that is of paramount importance to the central person, something that affects them if it cannot be resolved. Intertwine this major problem with with minor problems that are resolved within a few chapters.

Hope you found this of value.... and keep writing.

Looking for a good read? Try:-

Past Sins - Contemporary fiction

An interview with author, Ken Preston

  • Ken, how long have you been a writer?

Hmm. How long have I been alive - almost 44 years, so whilst I cannot honestly say I’ve been writing for 44 years it sometimes feels like it.I’ve written stories from a very young age, and have always been a passionate reader. Yet my first experience of reading was a disaster.

  • Why was that?

Well, at my junior school, my teacher labelled me a failure because I couldn't read. After a visit to the school to complain, my dad took me to the library and borrowed Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and the Biggles books, (basically his childhood favourites) and we read them together. He taught me to read by sharing his pleasure in reading.

  • And so a future author was born! Wow, some introduction to the world of literature. So how many books have you written?

Not many, Anthony, but if you were to ask me how many books I have started and then abandoned the number would be much higher! I have three completed manuscripts and one almost complete, which I’m planning on finishing soon. Two of them will never see the light of day.

  • Why is that?

Mainly because they’re not very good, but do I regret writing them, spending all that time and effort creating two novels that will never be published? No, I don’t. They were both valuable experiences, and taught me a great deal about the process. Writing a novel, like all things in life, needs to be learned, and you can only learn by doing.

  • I think most newbies don’t understand that, Ken. They seem to think all they have to do is sit at a computer and out it comes. They don’t know the hidden years that go into ‘overnight success’.

My third completed manuscript was “Caxton Tempest at the End of the World”, which is now published and available in Europe, America, Australia and Japan! My next book will be “The Devil and Edward Teach”, hopefully available towards the end of the year.

  • So what prompted you to write your latest book?

Well, “Caxton Tempest at the End of the World”, came about because I’d completed two downbeat novels and wanted to write something more exciting. I'm interested in Victorian literature and the supernatural, so a novel combining those two elements seemed natural. I started by making a list of everything I wanted to include: Foggy Victorian streets, gas lamps, street urchins, a Fagin style bully, a Sherlockian main character, secret societies, tunnels, vampires, demons, etc. How I ended up with a female cowboy and an ass-kicking Chinese martial arts master, I will never know!

It may sound a little odd to start with a list of elements to include in a novel, rather than an idea itself, but the idea soon followed.

  • So is it aimed mainly at men, women or children?

If you can read, it’s aimed at you!!! I set out to attract a young adult audience, but a lot of adults have read it and told me how much they enjoyed it. And if you read the reviews on you will see my female readership very much love Denver McCade. So I guess it's aimed at everyone, but only if you enjoy the plot elements I listed before. You know, Foggy Victorian streets, etc, etc…

  • And where can we purchase it?

Any online bookstore, such as Amazon, etc, and ordered from all good bookshops.

  • Have you any other work in the pipeline, Ken?

Yes, I’m hoping to publish “The Devil and Edward Teach” soon. This is a pirate adventure, again aimed at the young adult audience but hopefully with crossover appeal to adults.

  • Would you like to give a brief outline of “Caxton Tempest at the End of the World”?

Well, orphan, Jim Kerrigan and his young brother, George, live by their wits on the streets. After stumbling across a mutilated corpse, Jim finds himself thrust into the dangerous world of Caxton Tempest. With new friends, Denver McCade and Johnny Chen, Jim must fight for his life against a killer intent on opening up the gates of Hell. Other forces of evil are gathering, and Tempest finds he needs the help of an unlikely ally if he is to defeat them…

  • Do you have a website for further information?

I certainly do, Anthony. My web is You can read the first 3 chapters for free, find deleted chapters, excerpts from my journal, and a couple of short stories. I have also published different versions of the front cover charting its evolution from initial idea to finished illustration. Plus there are links to my blog and other stuff too.

  • Ken. Thanks for the insight. I’m sure everyone will be grateful for it, and good luck with your sales.

To Write A Story - 20 Ways To Write A Story Better
20 Things You Should Know About How To Format A Book
Mastering Conflict In Your Story Characters

An interview with author, Michael Raymond

  • I’d like to introduce you to author, Michael Raymond. Hi Mike, would you like to tell us how long you've been writing?

Hi Anthony. Well, as a courseware developer, for 15 yrs. For fun, since 2005.

  • So how many books have you written?

Just the one so far, it’s called "We The People”. It’s a Science Fiction adventure.

  • And what prompted you to write it?

I suppose reading an article about dirty bombs and terrorists put the idea into my head.

  • So is your book aimed mainly at men, women or children?

Well Anthony, it’s really aimed at men and women who enjoy 'what-if' stories.

  • I’m intrigued, Mike! Let’s give it a plug, where can people buy your book?

It’s available at

  • And have you any other work in the pipeline?

I have Anthony, I'm working on a short ebook for writers and formulating the sequel to “We The People”.

  • You’re quite a busy bee then. Would you like to give us a very brief outline of, “We The People”? I’m sure everyone is curious.

Well, dozens of cities worldwide are destroyed by nuclear bombs. A group calling themselves 'The People' claim responsibility and demand that all militaries disarm and disband.

The hero is a CIA operative who is trying to find the terrorists in a hurry. The governments of the world are starting to comply.Instead of terrorists, he discovers a covert operation by aliens to prepare the world for invasion.

It isn't enough to find and destroy them because he must also learn about the invasion and about the new type of nuclear weapons used in the attacks.

  • Wow! Great stuff. I hope people are taking note. Do you have a Web address for the readers? I find most like to have a contact place to read up about authors and books.

I do, it’s

  • Now then, Mike, I understand you’re doing something rather special with this book. Would you like to explain?

Thanks for mentioning it, Anthony. All royalties for this book are being donated to the Canadian Cancer Society. I’ve started a project called READ for Cancer - that encourages my readers to donate to local Cancer fundraisers and circulate the book. Details can be found on the web site.

  • Mike, that’s a wonderful gesture. Readers, take note and support this guy. What a great thing to do. You deserve every success. I wish you all the best.
To Write A Story - 20 Ways To Write A Story Better
20 Things You Should Know About How To Format A Book
Mastering Conflict In Your Story Characters

Monday, 25 August 2008

"The Lace Reader" by Brunonia Barry, in $2 million Book Deal

Writer Brunonia Barry has brought about a terrific accomplishment with her striking literary debut, "The Lace Reader".

Even before the novel started building buzz, Barry had created an enormous noise in the literary world.

"The Lace Reader," initially self-published in 2007, was singled out by William Morrow in a $2 million deal for it, together with her next novel. I wish Brunonia Barry well. I just wish I could join her.

In fact, come to think about it, $2 million for every book I can ever write would do me nicely, thank you very much. Ms. Barry hasn't done badly for someone who couldn't get published in the first place and had to do it herself.

How do these people pull it off? My début certainly pales into insignificance by the side of it.

"The Lace Reader" is already sitting at number 53 on the Amazon best selling list. Quite an achievement. My own novel reached number 56 on Amazon Canada for just a few HOURS during ONE DAY.

Not quite in the same league, doesn't have quite the same ring does it. Am I wingeing, am I jealous? Yep I sure am! Who gives a shit!

I wonder if Brunonia Barry will write about me on her blog?

To Write A Story - 20 Ways To Write A Story Better
20 Things You Should Know About How To Format A Book
Mastering Conflict In Your Story Characters

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Is Calpe real or did you make it up for 'Without Reproach'?

  • Hi. I've just finished reading your novel, Without Reproach - I thought it very impressive. In it you talked about a place called Calpe. Is it real, or did you make it up? The way you describe it, makes me want to go there sometime.

Hi Pauline. Glad you enjoyed Without Reproach. Yes, for sure Calpe is a real place, it's a local resort and you ought to be able to look it up on your browser.

I live not too far from there. Here's a picture of the place. I've included a couple of other pics as well so you'll understand the area where Without Reproach is set.

The 'Peñon' rock, Calpe.

The village of Jalón

The sierra local to Jalón

Friday, 22 August 2008

An Author's Voice

  • AJ, you mentioned in an earlier post about finding your own 'voice' as a writer. Just what do you mean by 'voice'?

Hi, Margaret, nice to hear from you. When I talk about an author's voice, I suppose I really mean style. After a while, the way you write will be recognizably 'yours', rather like a painter can be recognized by their painting style. Think about it, you'd never confuse a piece of work by Lowry with one by Constable.
In a similar way, people will know the book is yours by the flow of words, the way you structure your sentences, even by words used. We all tend to have favourite words that are used more often than another writer.
Sometimes, a writer might have more than one 'voice'. This happens when they produce work in a completely different genre - let's say a humour as opposed to a thriller. They automatically adopt a different style. I've done it myself with short stories; I've used a different voice. It wasn't something deliberate. It just happened because of the nature of the story.
When I write about 'finding YOUR voice' I mean settling into a style which you find comfortable. Try to make your work distinctive; don't EVER attempt to emulate another writer no matter how much you might admire them. Be yourself and your voice will start to show.
To Write A Story - 20 Ways To Write A Story Better
20 Things You Should Know About How To Format A Book
Mastering Conflict In Your Story Characters

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

An interview with author, Susie Clinkard.

Tell Me A Story

Today I'm interviewing Susie Clinkard.


Hi Susie, would you like to share with us how you came up with the idea for this book and what is the title?
  • Hello, AJ. Well, "Circuits" is called that because life is full of circles... you often end up repeating mistakes/relationship disasters/all sorts of things. It was written as a cathartic way of laying down some bad s**t in my life... and it worked; I feel much better! "S**t Happens" was named as it was said by a friend of mine's partner of 12 years when she asked him why he was sh***ing her best friend..."
And do you plan your stories first with an outline or does it come to you as write it?
  • The stories come to me in a rough form, and gain flesh and blood as I write...
So do you know the end of the story at the beginning?
  • Yes, but not the details...
And what about the "people factor"? Do you have a process for developing your characters?
  • Yes, they are based either entirely, but usually only partially on people I have met or known.
Well the cat's out of the bag now, I guess your friends will be thumbing through the book like mad, wondering ... Susie, it's often said that authors write themselves into their characters. Is there any part of you in your characters and if so, what they would be?
  • In both completed books, and in the 3rd, which is halfway through, there are aspects of me in characters...but never a complete, accurate portrayal of my character.
Okay, so what's your favorite part about this book?
  • I like the beginning and the end in both books, and the start of my 3rd ("No Unnecessary Risks")...the end is going to be a corker, too!
Susie, would you like to give us a brief summary of "Circuits"
  • Well, AJ, "Circuits" is 'chick-lit', "S**t Happens" is more thriller/horror...the genre I am happiest with.
When in the process of writing your book did you begin to look for a publisher?
  • At the end of the first book, I sent it to a few and was accepted within a week by two of them. Publication wasn't a big deal for me...I write because I have to.
What struggles have you had on the road to being published?
  • None... They wanted to charge me at first, but ended up only taking a small amount for artwork for the cover of "Circuits". Neither are charging for "S**t Happens"; (I had the good fortune to have two publishers after that, again, and this time they really like it and feel it will sell itself).
Good fortune indeed. So what has been the best part about being published?
  • Nothing! Sorry, but I write because I love it, not for fame and fortune...I think maybe that is why my books sell?
Well that's probably the best reason of all; no problems with that. What do you want readers to remember and carry with them after reading your novel?
  • A warm feeling that they've enjoyed a good read! As one friend said to me after reading "S**t Happens" for me last week..."I shall miss the characters!" That was really, really nice...
It's great when that happens. It means you've hit the mark. And do you have plans to write another book?
  • I can't actually stop...the floodgates are open! The 3rd, "No Unnecessary Risks" is about child abduction and paedophiles...another thriller/horror.
So where can readers find a copy of your book?
  • "Circuits" is available through Amazon, or to order through bookshops (Athena Press). "S**t Happens" is out before Christmas...I haven't quite decided who this will be with... I need a publisher who will be prepared to take a book every 9-12 months or so from me, and I believe I might be accepting an offer from Dorrance.
A nice position to be in. Do you have a website for readers to go to? Most readers like to be in contact with their favourite authors.
  • Underway at the moment...I write under Susie Clinkard, so watch this space!
Susie, I wish you all the best. It shouldn't be too long before we see the next book on the shelves.
Next post

Enid Blyton reigns supreme

10 MILLION copies a year and still going strong!

I always knew it, I’ve always said it; now I’ve been vindicated.

Enid Blyton was my favourite author when I was a kid. Everyone else has been telling me, “Who-ever believed what she wrote? It was such total make-believe.”

Actually, I think the point is EVERYONE believed what she wrote. Didn’t you? I was enthralled by her books, I devowered them as fast as mum would buy them. Enid Blyton was a great storyteller.

J.K. Rowling endured an unusual defeat on Tuesday when Enid Blyton was voted top of the poll to find Britain's best-loved author.

Next came Roald Dahl, with Rowling actually sitting in third place.

Enid has sold more than 500 million books and is best known for her "Famous Five" books and her incredible “Secret Seven” series.

Critics have said her books are sexist, racist and simplistic. It shows how wrong they are. Enid Blyton’s stories remain very popular, still selling more than 10 million copies a year, each of them drawing readers into a previous world of untroubled kids and "beastly" grown-ups.

I wish I could create something like she has. Hats off to Enid!

To Write A Story - 20 Ways To Write A Story Better
20 Things You Should Know About How To Format A Book
Mastering Conflict In Your Story Characters

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Author, Andrew, Davidson, makes good

I thought you might like to hear this story about Andrew Davidson. It surely gives everyone encouragement. After all, it might just be you or me next!

TORONTO – Author Andrew Davidson grew up in a small Manitoba town. As a teenager, Davidson began honing his writing style - which set him on a path that has culminated in his first novel. It is a story that has made the man from Canada the prize of the international publishing world.

And what a prize!

His first novel, ‘The Gargoyle’, was chosen by Doubleday U.S. for a massive $1.25-million advance and he signed separate deals with Random House Canada and the U.K.'s Canongate Books, as well as its Australian subsidiary. The privileges to the book have been sold in 20 countries.

Davidson admits that the payout does make him feel “good.”

Good? I'd feel bloody marvellous. Most first time authors get zilch until their book starts selling.

To Write A Story - 20 Ways To Write A Story Better
20 Things You Should Know About How To Format A Book
Mastering Conflict In Your Story Characters

Is there a publisher who will look at my novel for nothing?

  • Anthony, is there somewhere I can have a publisher look at my novel for nothing?
    I've had good things said about it, and friends are saying I should get it published, but I don't know how to do it, or where to go. I don't want to spend too much money for someone to turn round and reject it.

Well Eileen, it's good that people are saying nice things. It's a great boost to your ego.

First off, don't ever think about paying to have your book published. The idea is that a publisher pushes money YOUR way, not the other way around. If anyone asks for money, it's a scam - run away. It should cost nothing

To ensure your work isn't tossed onto the slush-pile before it's been looked at, it must be presented in the most proficient way you can. Let the publisher understand they're dealing with a professional person and they're more likely to give you a chance. See my blog to get the standard way to present your manuscript. There's no certainty they'll look at it even then, but without, it will be tossed to one side.

You'll find a list of reputable publishers and agents in Just pick one to suit your genre. When you've selected an agent, or publisher (if you're sure they'll accept work without an agent), send a short, polite, letter of enquiry.

However, before you even THINK of sending the letter of inquiry, check your work again and again. Be certain you've tied all those loose ends, that your grammar is okay, and that you've polished your manuscript until it shines.

Then sit back and offer prayers.

To Write A Story - 20 Ways To Write A Story Better
20 Things You Should Know About How To Format A Book
Mastering Conflict In Your Story Characters

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Is there an age limit for publishing

  • Anthony, how old must you be to publish a book? Can someone of 13 be accepted? My daughter seems to be quite talented and I'm thinking of sending her work off. The hype with Twilight has really sparked her.

Well Anna, it's great to hear that your daughter is showing interest and ability. She certainly needs encouraging. However please be aware that you shouldn't give her false hopes. In a few years she might be ready, but in my view you might put her off forever if you push her into something she isn't ready for. If she's rejected (which she almost certainly will be), it might destroy her enthusiasm.

There isn't a stipulated age limit to publish a book; it’s just that until a writer reaches maturity, its doubtful if the manuscript will be up to publishing standards.

I’m sorry to be a wet blanket, but it’s unlikely that someone at the age of 13 would have sufficient facility, vocabulary or understanding of life to produce a viable book. They would be incapable of crafting a professional standard of work. No creditable publishing house would be interested.

At that age, the writer would probably be reiterating work they have read elsewhere. They have no life experience to draw upon. Writers who put part of themselves into the work are the ones who write successful books. A youngster cannot do this - they simply haven't the background.

Even fantasy books like the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer, tap the author’s experiences, transferring emotions and feelings they’ve experienced in life, to the fantasy world. Very few adult writers are able to compete in the harsh world of book publishing, never mind children.

There are some good, mature, writers out there, with plenty of experience, yet still don't manage to publish their books. I'm afraid it's a very aggressive business - certainly not for the nervous.

To Write A Story - 20 Ways To Write A Story Better
20 Things You Should Know About How To Format A Book
Mastering Conflict In Your Story Characters

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Promoting Books Online

Tell Me A Story - promoting books

I hate promoting books - so I'm always on the lookout for ways of promoting books that doesn't involve forcing my wares on people. Friends are looking out on my behalf as well I'm happy to say. At any rate, I had this list handed to me by a kind on-line friend, and thought you might like to share it. ,

If you have anything to add, send it along, I'll slip it in - or start a new list if there are sufficient. Trying to publicize yourself is damn hard work, and anything that helps, has to be worthwhile. Let's help each other!

  • Blog on
  • Submit your site to
  • Submit your site to Google, MSN and Yahoo
  • Join several online social networks
  • Join several online communities or discussion groups
  • Add comments to other threads or blogs
  • Submit a blog to your own site
  • Use PPC advertising like Google Adwords
  • Try Ebay
  • Try
  • Advertise on
  • Advertise on
  • Start your own ezine
  • Start your own web ring
  • Start your own community
  • Write your own e-book
  • Start your own affiliate program
  • Start your own reciprocal link exchange
  • Register for online networking events
  • Create a personal page on yahoo, aol or google
  • Write articles for other people’s ezines
  • Write articles for other people’s websites
  • Submit your articles to article directories
  • Submit your ezine to ezine directories
  • Do ad swaps with your ezine and other ezine owners
I can't guarantee how effective these way of promoting are, I don't even know what all of them mean, but at least they are something positive in the bid towards promoting books.
If any of you have success, let me know and I'll post it - in fact tell me which bit worked best and I'll give it an extra whiz!

A Summary of Storyline and outline

Tell Me a Story
  • A STORYLINE places the accent on INDIVIDUALS. It is with regard to the consequence of the scene on the characters.
  • A STORYLINE summarizes your novel – something you might jot down in the first rush of enthusiasm.
So what is an outline?
  • Your novel must occur in a coherent sequence. If a reader doesn’t believe part of the story, they’ll throw the book to one side. The OUTLINE allows you to plan this out.
  • AN OUTLINE is a section-by-section analysis; it acts as a route map through your book.
  • The OUTLINE provides a solid underpinning to your book. It is the foundation that allow you build with confidence.
  • An OUTLINE allows you the freedom to write any part of the book you like at any time you decide
Next post
Looking for you next read? Try
SHORT MOMENTS a collection of heartwarming short stories
PAST SINS - contemporary women's fiction

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Sex scene, love scenes, or just dirt?

Tell Me a Story - advice

AJ, can you help me, does writing a love scene in my story make me a pervert? I read somewhere that fanfic people read love scenes like "geeky porn". Now I feel like it's wrong and dirty. Is it? How do you know when it's wrong?
Monique, the only criteria you should worry about, is are YOU comfortable writing love scenes. If you are, it’s fine. If you feel 'dirty', it’s wrong. There are no rules, no guidelines other than common sense. It really is down to you. If you write about something you would think of as 'dirty' in real life, then chances are, you won't ever be truly comfortable. Use that as your own guidleline.
You should certainly never write with someone else in mind. If you do, you’ll stifle your creativity. If you’re concerned someone might think badly of you, or they're reading it because it turns them on, your work will suffer.

YOU’RE the writer, if they don't want to read it, they'll put it down, if they enjoy it for whatever reason, then good. There will always be an element of people who are turned on to a greater or less extent, with love scenes or sex scenes. In the end, does it matter? The storyline should be the main concern.
On topic of storyline, what I will say is the sex content of your novel should never be principal (unless you're writing porn - in which case you wouldn't have asked the question). A sex scene should compliment the story, it should be a natural conclusion to prior events - just the same as it is in life.

Looking for a good read?

Past Sins - Contemporary Fiction
Short Moments - Heartwarming Short Stories

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Please sir there's a snake in the art room.

Keith Geddes, published author, is a friend of mine, and lives close by. He’s led a varied life in countries around the world, including South America and Africa. I asked him to share a little of his background with us. It’s always interesting to know the roots of fellow authors. Most have shared a love of books since childhood .... yet not so, Keith.

  • 'Hi, Anthony. Well I’m afraid I wasn't much good at English at school, although I did share an English class with Nigel Dempster …. who wrote a gossip column once, I believe …

Nigel Dempster? Wow! Friends in high places, no less.

  • My father used to describe me as 'an illiterate scientist' because I read science at Cambridge. I didn't read books much. …. Played too much sport - cricket and golf mainly. After various false starts, I ended up teaching. In those days there were plenty of eccentric characters around in schools - wouldn't be allowed now.

And the writing bit, how did it start?

  • Well, I began to jot things down, in a notebook that I kept carefully hidden - all sorts of amusing, scurrilous and unusual incidents.

When did the real interest begin though, Keith?

  • I suppose I always thought I'd write something and after I eventually retired from head mastering (after too many years) to sunny Spain, I started to tap away on the computer. From this emerged the first edition of 'Please Sir, there's a snake in the art room' which followed the trials and tribulations of Headmaster Tom Thorne at schools in Twickenham and Nairobi.

Based, no doubt, on your own experiences. And this was your first success?

  • Not really, Anthony. I couldn't find a publisher, so I published it myself, selling all 200 copies - and just about recovered the cost.

But I’ve seen it on Amazon. What’s the crack?

Land laws, that’s a subject close to my heart. In WITHOUT REPROACH, I use the vehicle of a deranged old man to highlight the problems with the Valencian land laws. I’m afraid he does a lot of swearing though. – my engineering background surfacing. So, what else do you get involved in? Word has it you keep quite busy.

  • Well, just in case writing wasn't enough to be getting on with, I've been dabbling with a paintbrush. In fact I’ve started a website for artists - take a look at if you have a moment!'

Well thanks for sharing with us Keith. Good luck with your book, and good luck with your art. If you will, I'd like you to come back soon and tell us a little about yourlife in exotic places. I know you have a tale to tell.

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Never mind Twilight and Stephenie Meyer, I've actually made the best selling list!

Well I must say, the furore over author, Stephenie Meyer and the latest best selling release in her Twilight series of books (7.5 million and counting) left me quite envious.

The rest of us mortal writers scribble away without gaining anything close to best selling status. We try, we reach out, yet nothing seems to happen until – magically today.

I was feeling a bit dejected over the Meyer affair. I idly scanned my Amazon results to see how I was fairing, and they were bleak, I’ll tell you - UNTIL I checked Canada. For some unknown reason I seem to have MADE it in Canada.

I’m in the best selling list! Admittedly not high (56) but the best selling list is 100 so I’m just about halfway. It isn’t the point though. I AM in the best selling list! I’m officially a best selling author!

I really can’t believe it. I don’t care why; I don’t care how. Thank you all of you lovely Canadians. Thank you for buying WITHOUT REPROACH. Thank you for putting my soul back in place.

Canada – I think I love you.


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