I was born in Middlesborough in October 1956 and share my birthday with amongst other notaries-Martina Navratilova, the tennis player. I moved to the Bristol area in 1963, after college I joined the Royal Air Force and then Bristol museums for 14 years. I have been classed as disabled for the last 16 years, mainly owing to a culmination of inherited illnesses. Last year, I had an accident which left me with a torn tendon, this means I now have to use a surgical boot for support when I go out. I can't complain, the injury was done back in 1978 and has just been waiting to go.
How long have you been a writer?
I only started sending stories out in July 2011, even then I had to be forced to send to friends. These three ladies are my biggest fans now.
Why/how did you decide to become a writer?
I have always wanted to be a writer. My English teacher was a great influence as he could see that I had a good imagination waiting to escape. I became a writer mainly because I was classed as disabled and cannot watch TV much, I hate all those boring celebrity shows (hint- read Chronicles, much of Mark is me) “winks.”
What genre(s) do you write?
I am known and liked for my ghost stories, I write mainly fiction, some fantasy and I am now doing YA, with the publication soon of an anthology by friends including two of my short stories, Proceeds are going to children's charities in the USA. I won’t write zombie stories as I feel my readers need to be treated to a good read.
What is your favourite thing about being a writer?
Being a night person, it gives me time to be creative when the house is quietest. I also like the freedom of thought, even if my imagination does run away. (Laughs). Chronicles is the perfect example, I started out with the idea of one or two stories and ended up with over thirty and still more to come.
What/who inspires you?
I get inspiration from all sources from nature to my life, clouds to cats. Sometimes it can be a burden having too many story lines going through my mind.
What books or authors have most influenced your life?
The first book I read was “The silver sword” and it told the story of three children trying to find their parents after the war, it left a big impact on me. I am a big fan of E A Poe, M.R. James and the gothic horror writers of the late 19th century. My work has been said to be like that of either Poe or Wilkie Collins.
What was the hardest part of writing your book/stories?
At the moment, getting Patti (Pat) Canella to stay true to the story I planned, she does tend to wander off a bit. That gal, has a mind of her own. The problem I used to have was a short story mind set, were I wrote to about 3,500 words, now I am far beyond that with “Hunted down,” my new Pat Canella story and still going strong.
What do you hope readers take with them after reading one of your stories?
If you read Chronicles, the message is Celebrity life is so shallow, real people are far more interesting.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I can't say I try to send a message as that breaks one of the basic rules of writing, Gail. Never try to preach.
Are any of your characters based on real people or events?
The character P A Canella is based on me. We are writers who wish to be read and liked for our writing, yet hope to remain anonymous. At the start of the series “The chase,” P A plays a trick on a group of friends.
Mark is based slightly on me too, we both despise the celebrity scene and are true photographers-contrary to the opinion of close friends, I am not the heroic type (laughs)
Some of the incidents mentioned in my stories are related to real events, such as the lifeboat disaster in “The rocking lantern.” The character John Andrew in “The lost ship” was a real pirate. The Betty Moffat rock are named after a person and some of my other works do include bits of real events.
What else would you like readers to know about you or your work?
I am a multi-genre writer, I write what I feel the readers would like to read not necessarily what the market dictates for sales. I use my blog to promote my friends books, as you know, Gail.
How do your family and/or friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?
My friends have been a great support, especially at times when I thought about giving it up. My family are now coming to accept that I am making a little progress as a writer.
How do you come up with the titles?.
Some titles are word plays, I love word games. Others run from incidents in previous stories and Chronicles came about because I liked the thought of chronicling the struggle of Mark back from obscurity. Little did I realise at the time, it would involve fighting for his soul too.
Do you work on one project at a time? Or do you multi-task?
Although I am concentrating on Hunted down, I usually multi-task. I find this helps to fight Writer's block-it DOES exist, especially if you have not had sales or books on shelves to show your value.
Please tell us 5 miscellaneous facts about yourself.
I am and ALWAYS will be an Indie writer, I have read so many stories of writers getting signed up and losing touch with their stories, once a firm gets hold.
My friend Angela Priest does my covers and ALWAYS will do them.
I live with a number of cats, who will feature in a new book (one day).
I wished I could have had a British motorbike.
I have such an inquisitive mind, often I stop in my research and think-How did I get here, from my original search?
Please share with us your future projects and upcoming releases
Hunted down is the third book in the Pat Canella series but is the fourth story as the first book was a double story.
The Descent of Mark Johnson will be the cover to Book 2 of the Chronicles of Mark Johnson, even though Book 1 has not really gone well. There is growing interest in Book 2.
Did we see them? Start from where Did we see him ended, with Charles Palmerston setting off on another time travel. This will be included in a series called The Timely Adventures of Charles Palmerston.
I won’t add more as I have about ten stories on hold, some just singles. Others part of a series or the start of a series.
You can find Al below:
Thank you for hosting me, Gail. All the best with your new ventures