Introducing the authors who will be at the Tenby Book Fair, http://bit.ly/27XORTh, the first event of the Tenby Arts Festival http://bit.ly/24eOVtl . I’m looking forward to having many more such chats over the next couple of weeks.
So far I’ve
interrogated interviewed Rebecca Bryn: http://bit.ly/1XYWbtF, Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/1P6zDQh , Matt Johnson: http://bit.ly/1RUqJFg , Christoph Fischer: http://bit.ly/1svniAr , Sally Spedding: http://bit.ly/1VNRQci, Wendy Steele: http://bit.ly/1PMoF8i ,Kathy MIles: http://bit.ly/1twN3Bg , Carol Lovekin:http://bit.ly/1Y2z6HT, Colin R Parsons: http://bit.ly/1tvBc5G and Lisa Shambrook: http://bit.ly/28NMI5v: and Alex Martin: http://bit.ly/28VLsQG , Judith Arnopp: http://bit.ly/290cJMl , Sharon Tregenza: http://bit.ly/29frGPq and Juliet Greenwood: http://bit.ly/29jylrM And thanks to Thorne Moore for interviewing me: http://bit.ly/1VTvqGq Over the next week or two I’ll be introducing the rest of the authors. I’ll also be showcasing the publishers who will be in attendance and who will be giving short talks and may be able to give advice to would-be authors: http://honno.co.uk/ , http://www.fireflypress.co.uk/ and http://www.cambriapublishing.org.uk/ ,
There may also be a short chat with John and Fiona of http://showboat.tv/ who, as usual, will be filming the event.
Today I’m talking to Nigel Williams; an interesting and generous chap as you will see.
Welcome to our author interviews, Nigel. It’s great to see you here… finally!
It’s good to be here… finally. (He’s grinning!!)
So… my favourite question, what were you like at school?
I loved school, for the most part. I looked forward to the summer and the athletics season. I was a keen long jump and high jump competitor and made up the numbers in the 4×100 relay for the school. Academically, I was lazy. I did what had to be done to scrape through but never really applied myself. I realised, even back then in the 70’s, that school measured and valued only a very limited range of skills.
Were you good at English?
I managed to pass my O’level in English but certainly didn’t shine. That was because I sat next to Ed Thomas (author, poet and producer of television programmes such as Hinterland). Ed played wing for the school rugby team and was a good player, fast and elusive. I played inside him at centre. In the same team were Steve Alexander (drummer for Brother Beyond and session musician for Jeff beck and Duran Duran) and there was also Wyndham Price – another writer and director and producer with Spinning Head films in Cardiff.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I would love to write to pay my bills and retire from teaching. I’ve had two big careers and have worked for over thirty years. I’d like to retire somewhere nice and warm, with a sea view and write full-time.
Which writers inspire you?
I’ve never really been interested in literary novelists. I suppose my ‘action’ background as a police firearms officer has coloured my taste.
So, what have you written?
My first novel – EDEN RELICS, was the result of a mid-life crisis. I was rapidly approaching fifty and writing a novel was at the top of my bucket list. I had always written throughout my life but never finished anything. I was determined to complete this action-adventure book before my fiftieth birthday. I did get 100,000 words written within that deadline but it took several more months to re-write and edit.
Set in the Swansea Valley, EDEN RELICS featured a retired police officer drawn into the search for ancient relics discovered a century earlier by the opera diva Adelina Patti. I managed to sell over 3,500 downloads and paperback copies of that book in the first month or so and even had interest from a major publisher. Nothing came of that interest but it was flattering.
My father-in-law passed away from Mesothelioma (asbestos lung cancer) and I decided to donate all the subsequent royalties for the book to this charity.
Next up came WELSH GOLD. This started off as a screenplay entitled “GILT.” I had written it entirely just prior to the mine disaster in the Gleision Colliery in the Swansea Valley in 2011. Spookily, it was set in the same mine system and also featured a similar disaster that left the owner bankrupt and without a family home. The protagonist ends up moving to a dilapidated cottage in Dolaucothi and discovers the house sits above an ancient Roman gold mine. Torn between his promise to his wife that he’ll never return underground and the temptation of the gold, Gwyn becomes involved in events that threaten the safety of the whole family.
The screenplay is currently with a production company but whether it will ever see the small screen is another matter. Royalties from this book are donated to the British Heart Foundation.
FAKE BAKED was my first attempt at writing a crime comedy about a small-time Cardiff con man dreaming of pulling the ultimate scam. The story was based on the cons of a real hustler called Victor Lustig. Lustig sold the Eifel Tower to Parisian scrap dealers, not once but twice. He somehow managed to convince them the tower was due for demolition at the turn of the last century and got away with it. My protagonist uses the same con by trying to sell the old Severn Bridge.
I was drawn back to the crime genre through Facebook. A former colleague – Alan Lloyd MBE -contacted me and said he was writing his ‘disguised’ memoirs of his time in the South Wales Police. I offered to provide advice and guidance but before Alan could complete the book he died suddenly. With permission of his family, I completed the book and NO STEP BACK was published last Christmas. This book triggered events that became frantic over the next few months.
I wanted Alan’s main character to continue his adventures in the police service of the nineteen sixties and took an unresolved plot point from NO STEP BACK and wrote A HARD PLACE. This led on to A COLD PLACE and was to be followed by A DEAD PLACE but that was put on the back burner due to a new series of books I became involved with.
Another former colleague – Arthur Cole (a former detective sergeant) also contacted me through Facebook and asked if I could collaborate on a story he had in mind about police corruption. He wanted to write one book and donate the royalties to Marie Curie. I agreed and UNETHICAL CONDUCT was published in January this year.
Although it was only a novella, the story line had a main character that simply didn’t want it to end there, and so EDGE OF INTEGRITY quickly followed.
We were able to keep some common threads running through the books and DEATH AND DEPRAVITY allowed us to tie up a few of the loose threads from the earlier books. ANGEL of DEATH came next in the series and NEST OF VIPERS will be due out in the next month or so.
All royalties for these books will be donated to Marie Curie Cancer Trust.
How much research do you do?
I spend a lot of time on research, though much of it never makes the finished page. Research is essential for any novel and forms a crucial link between the author and the characters living within the story.
Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?
I write every day, at some point. I write quickly and can complete 10,000 ‘rough’ words a day with ease. My collaborator on the Terry McGuire stories, Arthur Cole, can do the same. It provides us with a huge amount of material in a short time for editing.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I always have a rough idea but only really plan things after the first draft is written. I like to get the body of the book down and then add or subtract chapters as necessary. It’s probably not the best way to write efficiently but it seems to work okay for me.
Do you ever get writer’s Block?
I don’t tend to get writer’s block because I always have someone I can bounce ideas off. That’s the great benefit of collaboration.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
Let someone read your words. Even if they aren’t interested in your story they will be able to pick out things that work or don’t work. Rectifying these problems keeps you writing and will open the door to new directions.
What are your thoughts on writing a book series.
I never thought I’d get involved in writing a series but I’ve found the experience enlightening. It’s great to let a character develop far beyond the initial pages of the first book, to deal with new issues and to discover how he or she will handle them.
Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.
I love to read the action and adventure books, books that keep me turning the page. A little horror now and again is okay too. The first book I ever read was THE TIME MACHINE by HG Wells. I love the way Bernard Cornwell uses incredible research to weave fiction within historical events.
Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.
As an art teacher, I can create the covers myself but through a stroke of great good fortune, Arthur Cole’s daughter, Karen, is a graphic designer and produced the covers for the Terry McGuire series. A professional touch is invaluable. Makes a big difference to the finished product.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
I only ever submitted one book to a traditional publisher and that was EDEN RELICS. It did get some really good feedback from one of the big houses (Harper Collins) and I was offered the chance to try again with them. To be honest, I really can’t be bothered. The idea of sitting down and condensing a novel into a one-page synopsis fills me with dread. I have never wanted to be taken that seriously. I just love to tell the odd tale. If people enjoy them then that’s all that really matters.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
Some negative reviews are invaluable, they keep you striving to improve, but it’s true that one or two people out there are perhaps over zealous with their criticism. As a teacher I’m always aware of the need to provide positive criticism, to highlight issues that need improving but to do it with care. We’re all different and the odd troll will delight in destroying those with delicate natures. Ignore them. Take the good with the bad, learn from it and move on. Not everyone will love your story.
What’s your views on social media for marketing?
Facebook and Twitter etc are great for letting friends and family know about your next release but it’ll never compete with the financial power of traditional publishing. I’m disheartened by the growing trend of ‘self-help experts’ that offer marketing and advice for authors at a price. Many are exploiting new writers and some have little or no experience to justify their self-proclaimed expertise. Be careful with these. You could end up losing a lot of money.
Thanks for the great chat, Nigel. I ‘m sure we all wish you luck with the sales of your books to raise money for these brilliant charities. So, tell us, how can readers discover more about you and you work?
It was good to be here… finally (he’s still smiling, folks!) And here are all the links to find Nigel and his books.
Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.)
I’ve just included a few of the books – the first in the series etc to keep it a little shorter. (Sure we’ll find the rest!)
NO STEP BACK
A HARD PLACE