I'm a writer. I know I am, it's all I think about all day long. That, and flying airplanes. And Natalie Portman. I also work for a living, teaching English in Spain, but I want to be a full-time writer - I have about fifteen books swimming around inside my head, two of which are about 80% complete and beginning to demand to see the light of day!
|Me with dreadful hair|
Early artistI discovered my artistic side at an early age. Whilst at school, other students and staff would often drop into art class to see what I was doing. My work was routinely displayed in the school foyer. Some even got stolen! (Yes Mrs *******, you know who I'm talking about. I want my Indian-ink, hand drawn pheasant back please - it took me weeks to do!)
First published workI might even say I am a published artist. When I was 13, I sent a picture to the Birmingham Evening Mail which was published for all to see, earning me a mind-blowing £1 for my troubles. A windmill, something my mum was very proud of.
Bad writingAt middle school, my writing was usually described as illegible. Quite possibly this is the only time I ever agreed with what my teachers said about me. The rest of the time I spent every minute of every day trying to wind them up. Except Mr Stuart, of course. He was too scary to upset.
|My only published work! (19 May 1979)|
True teacherIt was whilst at middle school that I met what can only be described as a true teacher - a person who changes the course of a student's life for the better. Mr Bob Mellor, Head of 4th year, Head of English, single and eccentric as any Englishman you're likely to meet. His classroom was also the school library, and it was in this first ever library I'd been into that Bob began to work his magic on me.
Reading'You have to read books David, here take this.' He gave me a novel (I can't recall which) and told me I had to read it.
'How long have I got, a couple of months?'
'What? No, don't be ridiculous. A week, maximum.' I looked down at the book and wondered if it was possible to read a book in a week. I did, and to prove it to him he made me verbally review the book for him. From then on in he made sure I was always reading a book, and took great care in selecting what he thought I would like. This was only the start of what he did for me.
When I entered the 4th year (his year) I was quiet, timid and self-conscious. None of the other teachers had time for me. Bob saw something in me that the others were too blind - or uncaring - to see. And he persevered.
|'Dreadful writing' 1979|
ResponsibilityFirst thing he did was to make me a school prefect. This boosted my confidence enormously - I couldn't believe it! I wore a white badge on my lapel proclaiming that fact and I had to take turns on playground duty, thus giving me the opportunity to bully others. Legally. He also made me a Librarian (another badge) and so it was in the library that I and all the other librarians and prefects congregated in our spare time. Bob ensured that coffee and biscuits were always available for us and it was there that we all chatted about books, life and the world, and laughed at Bob's crazy jokes.
First writingsBob encouraged me to enter a school short-story competition. I thought the idea absurd as every school report rudely stated that nobody could read my scrawl. (It was true). However, Bob's influence over me was now beginning to pay off and I did enter it, simply because he thought I could. I even remember the title, 'Autobiography of a Golf Ball.' He loved it, and so did the judges (which I think was him) and for the first time in my life I had something put on the wall for all to read. I must have made an effort to improve my writing presentation too.
Life changingBob changed me from an insecure, lost child into a young man beginning to believe in himself, discovering hidden abilities and realising what he can achieve if he puts some effort into it. All this occurred in the last year of Middle School (his year) just before we all got sent up to the scary High School. It was because of his hard work that I landed in the top group at High School, where I met numerous new friends who were intelligent and great fun to be with. It was here that my new life began.
I never did get to thank Bob for what he did for me, as he died of cancer in 2006 at the age of 69, a number I know he would have found funny. His funeral service was packed.
Wrong decisionI went through High School developing my artistic skills as well as my new-found personality, and decided to go to art college. People said I was going to be a famous artist one day, whatever that is. So I stayed on at school in the Sixth Form to gain my 'A' Levels for college. Alas, small town claustrophobia and the old school teachers had a devastating effect on me and I did something stupid.
|Orixe, Dream Maker legend|
Army careerI dropped out and signed up for six years army service, disappointing my mum who wanted one of her five boys to go to university. I spent my service visiting numerous other countries for the first time and learning how to be tough. I met my first wife and we got married, having a child Hollie. I stopped my artwork altogether, but I did get loads of time to carry on reading. I remember falling in love with Africa through Wilbur Smith's novels, possibly the first books that completely absorbed me.
|One of five boys|
Cop outAfter the army I put on another uniform, becoming a British cop in the beautiful city of Cambridge. Perhaps my mid-life crisis came around the age of 35 when I cashed in some investments, bought a motorbike and went to night school to study art again. I soon realised that any artistic skill had long been buried deep inside of me. I believe that as we live life we become programmed to see and think in a certain way, and that destroys any artistic ability. It is very difficult to un-programme oneself and rediscover that gift. (Kids, if you are reading this and can draw - never, ever give it up or you will lose it too one day.)
|Second favourite activity|
SpainI separated from my first wife and soon met my second, a gifted intellect with a love of all the arts. She taught me much about the world I'd been missing. I ended up leaving the police and followed my new wife into the world of English language teaching and moved to Spain to work. After several years of relearning my own language, a love of the written word began to mix with my artistic yearnings. It eventually found an outlet.
|Soldier boy at 24yrs|
BlogsIn 2005 I began to experiment with writing blogs. I ended up with about ten different blogs on all manner of things and received some very positive comments on my scribblings from all over the world. (Those blogs have all been imported into this blog now and have been sadly abandoned to cyberspace.) This fed my desire to write more and so I decided I to write a book. But what? Little did I know that after my first few fumbles in the dark, an avalanche of ideas would consume my waking day for the next ten years and beyond!
- Kicking the Can, a humorous childhood biography based on my crazy upbringing, was my first book attempt. I wrote about 8 chapters and my school director used some of it with his students - they loved it. My kid brother Richard (just like me - artistic but a very funny guy) read the stuff and liked it so much that he sat down and wrote his own novel, injecting huge amounts of his own humour into it (he has yet to publish it - come on Rich!!).
- The Dream Maker fantasy series. In 2007 I had my eureka moment one morning in Cambridge. My wife and I pillow-chatted about the perfect Dream she had just been having. I got up, went to my office and typed out a few pages of what would later become a six book series. That initial book later became book 3 (The Shadow Prince), as a history lesson within the book was getting bigger and bigger, so I decided to start the story even further back. The first book, The Seven Kingdoms, is currently on hold at 140,000 words, as I need serious time to reorganise it, and that I just don't have at the moment (but now I have Scrivener!).
- The Dragon on the Balcony was my attempt at writing a book for children. I will go back to it one day.
- Then along came The Humptybackcrocodillopig, another kids series. This even prompted me to draw again!
- Filthy Gorgeous (an adventure) took over from The Seven Kingdoms and came about as a result of my then current work with a specialist Spanish police unit. This is presently at 46,000 words and is planned to be my first full-length novel. Once again, it outgrew me and so I decide to run before I could walk.
- The Rozzers. I decided to write, publish, learn from and put down some writing with a series of short-stories. What better to write about than something I have experienced, and many have wondered about - life in the front line for a cop. I published the first book in May 2012, End of the Road. It has since hit #1 on Amazon.com (Law Enforcement) and #2 in the UK (memoirs). I followed this with Cop's Don't Run in Nov 2013 (far too long between books). Book 3 in scheduled for release January 2014. Once I have published five of these shorts, I'll put them together in a collection. Then return to Filthy.
|Holding the UEFA Cup in Sevilla|
Own businessAll of this takes place as my wife and I set up our own business, which takes up far too much of my time and energy. My writing suffers as a result. However, when not writing I do other writerly things. My online presence is huge and growing. Scrivener - the writer's program - has been bought and played with. I am also pasting most of my projects into it.
- Get the next three stories published in The Rozzers.
- Publish Filthy.
- Get back to my fantasy series The Dream Makers.
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