AUTHOR OF MORE THAN 80 BOOKS!
I started writing CHRONOSPHERE in about 2006, purely for my own amusement. By then I was an established writer of children’s non-fiction, but regarded my fiction as a hobby with no real hope of being published. I’d like to say I was proactive in making it all happen, but really the whole thing just grew out of a happenstantial conversation in a café on the Tottenham Court Road. Six years later . . .
And the book is finally published. I signed my first fiction contract for CHRONOSPHERE on 20 April 2010. That was for the first two volumes of the science fiction series. I actually finished the book in 2007, and then in late 2008 I happened to mention it in a conversation with a publishing colleague. She said that her friend, David Salariya, owner of the Salariya Publishing Company, was looking to start a fiction list. I sent the manuscript to him, and on 1 March 2009, he wrote back saying that he loved it and was already thinking up cover ideas!
But there were problems: the characters were too old, there was too much sex and drugs, and the book was double the desired length. None of this should have been too surprising as I’d written it for adults! I spent the next ten months redrafting it as a young adult project. I solved the length issue by splitting the 120,000-word epic into two volumes. This was harder than it sounds as there was no natural break halfway through, and I had to make some big changes to give the first volume a natural story arc with a fitting climax. A further year went by before the first volume finally saw the light of day in March 2011. The second came out that September. By then I’d been commissioned to write the third and final title, which was published in March 2012, some six years after the idea of the Chronosphere first came to me.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received in your publishing journey?
I’ve received plenty of great advice over the years. Probably the stand-out pieces of advice were these:
- Read as much as you can.
- Write something every day.
- Never forget your readers.
Would you ever consider self-publishing – why?
I would never pay anyone to publish my work, but I would consider entering into a partnership or profit-sharing arrangement with a publisher. In fact I’ve done this with some adult short story collections, which I have put out as ebooks. I provide the text, the publisher does everything else, and we split any profits 50/50. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with self-publishing – I just don’t have the patience or temperament for it. I prefer to spend my time writing rather than promoting my books.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently writing a children’s non-fiction book on the history of money for Salariya. I’m also putting the finishing touches to a collection of three surrealist novellas, aimed at the adult market, to be published next year by Sirens Call.
What’s something your fans may not know about you?
Gosh, um, well… my favourite snack food is stilton with crackers. My favourite animal is the wolf, though I wouldn’t like to meet one. I’m scared of both nature and inner cities, which is probably why I live in the suburbs. And my favourite music is usually Pink Floyd.