I have been tagged by @TerryTyler4 to do this blog, and here is a link to Terry’s post: http://terrytyler59.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/a-very-british-blog.html
Q. Where were you born and where do you live at the moment?
I was born in Croydon, and I now live in Coulsdon, in Surrey, quite near Croydon, so I have not travelled far.
Q. Have you always lived and worked in Britain or are you based elsewhere at the moment?
Yes, always lived and worked in Britain. I write features for a magazine called Kent Life, which showcases various towns and villages and places in that county.
Probably Kent, which is one of what’s called the ‘Home Counties’, meaning counties near that surround London. I particularly like Canterbury, with its fabulous historic cathedral, and also the Kent coastal towns, such as Sandwich. This town was one of the ‘cinque ports’, meaning that in the middle ages it was one of the five south coast ports valued by the King for its naval importance and shipbuilding industries, so valued that these five towns were exempt from royal taxation, and were given many other perks as well. Dover, Folkestone, Ramsgate and Margate are wonderful too. And Maidstone, Kent’s capital town combines fine historical buildings with the convenience of a 21st century town, while Rochester, with its many links to the famous writer, Charles Dickens, is splendid.
Yes, I set both my Jack Lockwood novels in and around Canterbury, plus part of Rock’n’Roll Suicide centred around a fictitious mansion near to Bath, in the West Country. I love Bath itself, it’s an extremely beautiful historic town, and I briefly mentioned Bath too, notably Pulteney Weir, a water feature below a famous bridge in Bath, that’s depicted in paintings.
Q. There is an illusion – or myth if you wish – about British people that I would like you to discuss. Many see the ‘Brits’ as ‘stiff upper lip’. Is that correct?
It is to some extent, but I would have thought this is shared by several other European countries. I think a better way of putting it is that British people are stoical: they take the knocks without complaining and struggle through adversity, such as our current economic malaise. British people admire understated kindness and consideration, they don’t like ostentatious shows of emotion that seem false – that’s not to say that they’re not as emotional as anyone else. I very much liked the late John Le Mesurier, a wonderful actor who was calm, gentlemanly, kind and infinitely charming. I like to think he is an ideal ‘typically British’ gentleman, personifying qualities that can be admired by everyone. An Iranian girl once told me that Iranian people say that British people are referred to as ‘potatoes’ in her country, because of their apparent dullness. Not a nice thought.
Q. Do any of the characters in your books carry the ‘stiff upper lip’? Or are they all ‘British Bulldog’ and unique in their own way?
Possibly. Jack Lockwood gets knocked about quite a bit and just carries on without moaning – I have been accused of having him bashed about too much, maybe he should have an easier time.
Q. Tell us about one of your recent books
Doppelganger is about my hero, Jack Lockwood, falling in love with a woman he meets by chance, with a backdrop of a serial killer at large in the cathedral town of Canterbury. Once he’s truly smitten with Lucy, he discovers that she is the absolute image of a girl who murdered her classmate, when aged nine, and was incarcerated and later released with a new identity. The story is an ‘is she or isn’t she’ type of story, where twists in the plot confuse Jack more and more, his ultimate fear being that Lucy is not only the same person as the child killer, but may now be the serial killer. All is finally resolved, but nothing at all is as straightforward as it seems.
Q. What are you currently working on?
The third Jack Lockwood novel, which I think I’m going to call Sheer Fear, and so far I’m researching skydiving and climbing on tall buildings, as a fear of heights is going to be central to the workings of the story. Also I’ve just started the Jack Lockwood Diaries, regular short stories on my blog about the hero of my novels.
Q. How do you spend your leisure time?
Doing DIY and building repairs on my (very old) house, going to local writers’ circles, avoiding cooking by eating out in Wetherspoon pubs.
Q. Do you write for a local audience or a global audience?
Ideally a global audience, but unfortunately it’s more likely that British people are going to be more interested in an English hero operating in a British town.
Q. Can you provide links to your work?
Rock’n’Roll Suicide http://amzn.to/XVQ9GF