My first novel "Making Allowances" was published back in 2006. This must be some type of World Record for time lapse between published works, 15 years. Life, invariably, gets in the way.
"Making Allowances" was a highly charged experience for me, as some of the book was based on real experiences and feelings, so I found it quite emotionally challenging to write. On this occasion, I decided to look outside my own world but provide a similar level of depth and commitment, albeit in a rather different literary style. The result is "The King".
"The King" was inspired originally by meeting, through my work, a series of fantastic people who, for various reasons had come to live and work in the UK as "refugees", often from wars and oppressive regimes. Remarkable people, with equally remarkable tales, often doing very ordinary, menial jobs but always with a great sense of pride and honour.
Lives are complex journeys, which seldom follow any predetermined route. The trails we leave are often complicated, buried, re-plotted and rediscovered. Such is the journey in "The King".
It's my intention that my next release will be a series of children's stories, aimed at 5-7 year olds, to hopefully be released in late 2022.
As it probably does for many people with creative tendencies, the need to fulfill the normal responsibilities of work and family life invariably gets in the way. So it was with me for many years.
It had always been there, though; I remember my Gran penning poems for her WI Meetings and my Dad was always making up silly rhymes and changing the words of songs. So it began.
I suppose the first real recognition that I might possess some talent as a wordsmith was aged 11, when I was named a winner of the BBC's 'Jackanory' Writing Competition. It was a very proud moment. TV exposure was quite something then; there were only three channels! Through school, enthusiastic teachers and my interest in art and pop music, the creative energy remained and even into undergraduate life, I looked to playing in bands and writing lyrics to balance out the rather dry philosophies and psychological studies.
Eventually though, after higher education, working life began and I assumed the normal role of employee, householder, father, son, etc. There was far less time and myriad priorities with which to fill it. I knew the writer was still there, but he was buried somewhere beyond reach.
Creativity always requires time. It took the end of my rather moderate football career, for the spark to re-ignite. A badly broken leg left me in plaster, off work and largely immobile for a couple of months. I could do very little, except write and within those two months I had penned my first novel, although a return to the hamster's wheel meant it would be 2006 (another 12 years) before 'Making Allowances' was published. Again, the door became closed, although I always kept my scribblings and verses, I can't really explain why.
One of the very few positive upshots of the dreadful pandemic, has been the time that 'lockdown' presented; I found that I had the headspace and time to start thinking about creating things once again. It has been a joy and something of a surprise to me, how much I enjoy writing - how much I want to write, to create, and in different forms. Art too; I have set up a small business offering sport and rock artwork.
The King, this book, brings together a narrative, written during lockdown, with a collection of poetry which I have composed over the last ten years.
Writing for me provides not only a repository for my thoughts, observation and reflections, but it also provides me with an ongoing journey and a sense of excitement for whatever the rest of my life holds in store.