People often ask how my books came about? After all it is a bit unusual for a sewing machine engineer to start scribbling. It was all quite simple really. As I travelled around my little corner of the world I kept bumping into not only fascinating people but amazing places. As my old Land Rover rolled over the battlefields of Sussex I met lovely locals who told me of the old Sussex ways. It was inevitable that I would start to write them down. Ghost stories, funny stories, local interest stories they kept pouring in.
Time came when I had to make a decision, pay for a book to be put together or leave it. I took the bull by the horns, spent the money, and printed my first book, Patches of Heaven, spelling mistakes and all. It was the time that printers were adding automatic spell checks to their machines. To make things even more traumatic my computer was not compatible with the printers computers. Only printers will tell you why this is!
The result was a book littered with spelling mistakes, some that I had missed some added by the printers computer. I mean butter came out as buffer and don't ask how they spelt the old Sussex place of Herstmonceux! I thought I had a disaster on my hands, honestly it should have been but things were not so.
The books started to sell by word of mouth one lady coming back fifteen times for more and I learnt a really important lesson in publishing. Content is far more important than minor errors. My readers were so busy laughing they ignored the mistakes. Over 3,000 copies sailed over to America. Copies went to all four corners of the world from Alaska to Australia.
Before I knew what had happened I was back at the printers asking for more and more books. The printer was so amazed his eyes nearly popped out of his head. I had become their most successful local writer.
The success of my first book and the pestering from my new readers inspired me to continue with book two, Skylark Country. That was a pleasure to write and that time I was almost ready for the printers proof reading the copies three times before I would allow printing. I reduced the mistakes to half!
I was on a roll. All my spare time went into writing but then something happened I noticed how much time it took to write. On my third book I took note and saw how a year of my time went into writing it. So I decided to call it a day with book three High Street & Hedgerows. The last print proof read six times! I nearly went boggle-eyed.
By now I was red-hot at the printers and much to my delight my father-in-law had to read a huge chunk of the book before he found a mistake. Needles to say he rung me straight away just to let me know that page 132 had a mistake!
Things were on a roll I turned down two publishers who had asked me to write for them, one even knocking on my door. I found that writing for fun was so much better than writing for others. If my heart was in my writing it flowed like a stream after the storm.
This left me with an enjoyable hobby that others loved as well. The demand kept me busy and the constant letters, emails and phone calls all added. I put about 30 pages of mail on my site before I got swamped. There were even instances that were hard to believe. I found a delightful couple all the way from Canada sitting on my doorstep when I got home one day. One lovely lady from Mexico clutching a copy of my book. People from all over the world just started popping in. The funniest, well funny now, was when I was admitted to hospital one night. I was in the emergency ward fearing for my life strapped up to endless machines and all the nurse wanted to do was chat about my books!
I had decided that three books was perfect and no more. But that was not to be, the pressure was mounting from two sides. Firstly the people who had bought the books wanted more and secondly I kept meeting more fascinating people with fascinating stories. It was not long before I decided that everyone had a story. One day I put this to the test and asked my window cleaner, Eddy, he obliged with a personal cracker and it went into the reprint of one of my books.
So now after much deliberation and pressure, some my own, I have decided to write another book. I have collected some spanking stories, all true about Jaguars in the jungle, Mary Poppins, a bishops ghost and many more. All have something to do with my little corner of the world.
I have not decided on a title yet but I will keep you informed. At the moment the book, like a cake, is about half baked but the recipe is full of the very best ingredients.
I shall keep you posted.
Great news. After four years my latest book is finally finished. For all the information just click on Tales from the Coast
If you fancy more information on my books just drop me a line: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sample story, I love this one: Spies & Spitfires
In our modern world we often fail to appreciate nostalgia. It may be the rose-tinted past but it is that history which often holds our sweetest memories. It binds families, communities, and even countries.
It is those very memories that we guard so preciously as we grow and clutch onto hardest when in fear of losing them.