New Beginnings 2019

Updated: Jan 15

With 2018 now having the veil drawn on it, it is time to look ahead to what's in store for 2019. For me, I have the publication of book two in the Terror series, "The Terror Within", to look forward to in April. As well as that, I will be working very closely with The Merlin Project. There are certainly some exciting things going to be happening as part of that work and I will post another blog at a later time all about what we are hoping to achieve. Stay tuned for some really exciting announcements!!

As far as this blog goes, I have a lot planned for the year ahead, the highlights of which include the hosting of guest bloggers and vloggers, not just in relation to writing or books, but on all manner of other interesting topics. You can also look forward to the odd podcast or two, and of course, continued ramblings from me, on dear knows what, depending on what notion takes me lol.


For now though, I'll sign off with my responses to an interview questionnaire I did last year for a local magazine, which I have updated where it was needed.

Enjoy and of course feel free to comment. I would be happy to hear from you.


J


How did you get started in the industry?

It was after a chance conversation with a friend inspired me to visit a Medium at a local Spiritualist Centre. To cut a long story short, I left the visit having been told in no uncertain terms, that I was to stop fantasising about writing a book and get on with getting it written. Within a year the first book of a series was finished, I’ve almost finished the second and haven’t looked back.


What genre / style do you create in?

At the moment I’m working within the Crime Fiction Genre, though it does have an element of paranormal within it.

What would you be best known for?

I would be best known for my debut novel, The Rise of Terror #Famousforallthewrongreasons.


What would you consider your biggest achievement?

Apart from the personal achievement of having such fantastic family relationships, particularly with my wife Heather and our daughter Bella, I would say that professionally my biggest achievement was reaching the top of my profession by the age of 28, in securing a School Principalship which I held for more than 10 yrs. I would also say that being able to hold a published novel that I had penned, in my hand ranks highly up there as well.


What would you consider to be the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your industry?

I think that the biggest lesson that I’ve learned is that whilst its good to take advice from others, it’s equally important to carve your own path and do what’s right for you with regard to your work. I’ve also learned how important it is to have the support of other writers and to support them too and am delighted to now count many fellow writers amongst my friends.


What has been your biggest challenge to date?

Time Management has been a huge challenge for me. It’s difficult to juggle writing with work and family life, as well as making the time for the social media and publicity aspect of writing. Also, putting your work and yourself out there was a big thing for me, especially as a debut novelist.

Tell us a little about your personal life, are you married, kids, hobbies etc?

I’ve been married to Heather since 2006 and although we’ve recently celebrated our 12th Wedding Anniversary, we have actually been together for 22 years. Both originally from Belfast, we have called Antrim home for the last 7 years and live there with our 6 year old daughter, Bella. Apart from writing, I have little time for hobbies, as work and family life keep me busy. I do like to cook when I can and really enjoy a vibrant family life. Heather and I are both huge music fans and would tend to go to quite a lot of concerts. We also like going to other types of live shows, cinema and are amateur foodies. Bella is certainly following in our footsteps in terms of what she likes which is a delight to both of us as it makes even more of our family time.


Tell us about your most recent work?

My debut novel, The Rise of Terror #Famousforallthewrongreasons was rereleased as a second edition by Excalibur Press last year, which I’m delighted about. I’m really pleased with the novel and am currently working on the second novel in the trilogy, due to be released later in the year. The novels are based in Northern Ireland and are centred around a fictional Private Investigations Agency which just so happens to be the derelict building which was once my Primary School. Although fiction, the novel draws from my life experiences and interests and it’s probably fair to say that there are elements of me within every character good and bad.

PLUG !! What would you like us to tell people about?

Although I write within the crime fiction genre I feel that I put a fresh perspective on it, through the inclusion of a paranormal medium as a central character, which certainly adds to the plot line. I also feel that my work is a breath of fresh air in this genre in the sense that it deals with the idea of change and reaction to circumstances. Both my main protagonist and antagonist have been forced to become very different people than they had chosen to be, as a result of being thrust into a change in circumstances. I think their journey reflects mine. One turns from being a headteacher to a detective, whilst the other tries to juggle a career in journalism with his development as a serial killer and cult leader. They are learning to adapt to their new roles as I am learning to adapt and develop as a novelist, so in a bizarre way, we are all on a journey together.


If you had to describe your work to someone who has never heard of you what would you say?

I would say that my work appeals to Crime Fiction fans, particularly Irish Crime Fiction or Ulster Noir, which in itself has become a whole new genre in recent years, but that it has a paranormal twist that enhances the plot significantly. Add to that, a level of research into cult movements that you wouldn’t believe and you have yourself what I think is a great read.


What’s the funniest experience you’ve had in your business?

There have been quite a few along the way but the most recent was when I managed to convince bestselling author, Louise Phillips to let me interview her. At the beginning of the interview (the first that I had conducted since work experience at a local newspaper when I was a teenager, unbeknownst to her) I politely asked if I could record the interview using the sound recorder on my iPhone. Louise agreed though added that she was glad I was comfortable with using technology like that. Of course I was looking at this stage, like I did this every day of the week. After conducting the interview, I thanked her and headed home to write it up, only to accidentally delete the recording on my first attempt at playback. Thankfully I know Louise and have spoken to her about her work several times, so was able to write from memory. I was also lucky that I was so enthralled by what she had to say, that I remembered everything anyhow. On the plus side, she was really pleased with the final product but if she is reading this, sorry Louise.

What would your advice be to young people hoping to pursue the same industry? Be prepared to work hard and be prepared for knock backs. Resilience and self belief are a must in this industry. Also, be open to learning and developing yourself as a writer. Just being a talented writer is not enough in itself to achieve success. You need to make meaningful connections in both the real and virtual communities and develop your skills in creating a platform to promote your message and your work.


Anything else you want to tell people about yourself or your work?

I am currently putting the finishing touches the second novel in the “Terror” trilogy, “The Terror Within” which I hope to release in April of this year.


Who do you look up to and why?

I’m quite old fashioned in this regard and believe that we have a lot to learn from our elders, especially our family. As a relatively new parent (6.5 yrs), I also have a huge respect for Parents and Grandparents and families. I think that in the old proverb that it takes a village to raise a child, never a truer word was spoken. I’m also proud to say that our village have been doing a great job thus far.



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