Please tell us a little about yourself.
I was born not far from Pembroke Castle, birthplace of Henry VII, founder of the Tudor dynasty and live by the sea with my wife Liz in the far south west of Wales UK. When not writing I enjoy long kayaking trips and riding my Kawasaki motorcycle down the twisting country roads.
Why did you start writing?
I’d written short stories, journal and magazine articles with some success for years before I started writing books.
Which of your books are you most proud of and why?
I am proud of my first novel Queen Sacrifice as it was fun to write and the idea of bringing a famous chess game to life came to me ‘fully formed’. It was also the trigger to make me give up other work to become a full time author.
Please give a little information about your writing process.
I start with a strong idea and do plenty of research to make sure it’s really original. Then I make a rough plan and write the first few chapters to get a ‘feel’ for how it’s going to work. I’ve completed NaNoWriMo for the last two years (50,000 words in 30 days) which has really helped me understand the value of daily word count targets. I’ve also realised the benefits of having a professional editor’s help with the final manuscript.
Are you traditionally or indie published? What do you think about the “other” way of publishing?
I’m a committed ‘Indie’ and really like having complete control over every step of the process. I particularly like being able to keep my non-fiction books up to date at no cost and being able to experiment with different covers etc. It must be great to have a big advance from a traditional publisher but I would never pay to be published.
Please give a little information about your most recent book.
I’m very pleased with my latest novel The Shell, as it is a book I’ve been meaning to write for some time. I lived in Kenya as a child and went on holidays to Mombasa, so it was great to go back there and write about the tensions between the old and new Kenya.
What do you think sets your book apart from other books in the same genre?
‘The Shell’ is based on my own experience in Mombasa and draws on current news reports, so is an accurate reflection of the dangers of modern East Africa. My ‘beta readers’ included several Africans, so I’m very confident of my authenticity.
Why would you suggest someone read your book over all the other books out there?
If you are looking for something a bit different, this is a stripped down action adventure in one of the most dangerous parts of Africa.
What do you hope people will gain from reading your book?
Consider how you would cope if you suddenly found yourself alone in the wilderness. That’s what my main character has to do. It helps you think about how resourceful you could be if you really had to.
If there was one thing you would change about your life, what would it be?
I was always studying when my children were small, so although I fast-tracked my management career I would like to have spent more quality time with them.
If there was one thing you could change about the world, what would it be?
I’ve been closely studying the events of fifteenth century Europe for my current work in progress, The Secret Diary of Eleanor Cobham. I’d like to see a more effective UN peace keeping force step in whenever trouble flares up - backed up by real economic sanctions. The UK government recently announced an additional £6.5m (nearly $10m) for the most up-to-date prosthetic limbs for British soldiers who have legs amputated. It makes me wonder about the real cost of the Afghan war in human and financial terms. We need to learn the lessons of history.
Any last comments ...
I’d like to end on a positive note and highlight the highly productive collaboration between indie authors. Although we are all competing for readers, I’m always impressed by the amount of support and advice writers are sharing on every type of social media. Long may it continue!
Thanks very much for coming on to the blog today, Tony. Good luck with your next book and I hope to host you again soon.