Q) When did you first start writing?
A) I dabbled as a child and teenager, yet accomplished little. By my late teens I had effectively abandoned the notion of being a writer. That changed in the latter half of 2010 when characters began to show up, and I was drawn back into the world of fiction. I didn’t put hands near keyboard for a long time even though I could almost touch the characters. Don’t forget I hadn’t as much as jotted a few paragraphs down for the best part of twenty years, and that was just a really bad short story that ended up in the trash.
Q) Did one particular event trigger the physical act of writing?
A) It surely did. In the early days of 2011 I had a long drive to the office. One morning I was listening to a psychiatrist being interviewed on the radio. He was explaining how many young people suffer from paranoid schizophrenia as a result of traumas such as exams and parental breakups. They create an alternate reality for themselves in order to escape their true lives.
Q) What’s the connection between paranoid schizophrenia and your series?
A) I carry an alternate reality inside my head. That’s the connection. Dorothy and her gang travel with me wherever I go. Who knows when a scene might fall into place after an overheard conversation in a queue at the bank? I haven’t got time for paranoid schizophrenia, just about the most serious mental disorder there is. I figured the best thing to do was actually write the story and see what happened. That makes me a writer as opposed to ill. Aren’t mental health professionals pure fab?
Q) Have you ever been accused of being weird?
A) Occasionally. Whatever.
Q) What is your e-reading device of choice?
A) I purchased a Kindle Fire about 6 months ago and I am really enjoying using it. I love the high resolution, and I like to see the book covers clearly laid out. It’s a great little gadget.
Q) Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
A) I grew up in Ireland during the sixties and seventies. When I eventually began to write many decades later, it seemed natural to write a story about Ireland.
Q) What’s the story behind The Miracles and Millions Saga?
A) The series revolves around a woman called Dorothy who becomes wealthy overnight, yet it has little to do with how cool it is to have material possessions. If anything it’s a cautionary tale. Be careful what you wish for. Dorothy finds herself in hot water when it becomes clear that person or persons unknown deeply resent her new-found wealth. She is forced to hire a slew of bodyguards to watch out for her. One of them is a retired Navy SEAL and that’s what the story is really about. These 2 people who are polar opposites connect at a profound level, although neither of them is smart enough to truly see what’s happening, and it takes them forever to get their and it takes them forever to get their act together.
Q) What motivated you to become an indie author?
A) I broke the rules. When you write a series, publishers expect you to follow a set of strict criteria. My novels are best read in order (1-10). Straightaway that’s a black mark against me. I’m too old to sit around and wait for agents and publishers to take me and my work seriously; hence I decided to go it alone. I find it hugely ironic that the only authors who genuinely interest publishers these days are those who are already successful. In my personal opinion, the industry ought to be ashamed of itself.
Q) What do your fans mean to you?
A) If I had fans I would be as overjoyed as a woman who has tried for many years to conceive and eventually holds her newborn twins in her arms. Even one fan would be amazing. I’m not kidding.
Q) What are you working on next?
A) Nothing. If Miracles and Millions takes off then I may return to writing. If it doesn’t then I don’t believe it’s a good idea for me to attempt anything new. Ten novels in five years takes an enormous amount of work and emotional energy. If the experiment fails then I may take up Pilates as an alternative. I hear that strengthening the core is all the rage.
Q) Is writing not addictive?
A) Yes, but a little goes a long way. A paragraph of blog will provide a fix for a week. Even a long email to friend will do the trick. It ain’t heroin. I’d love to know what Harper Lee did to get her fix. I guess we’ll never know now.
Q) Who are you favourite authors?
A) Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, Jilly Cooper and Lee Child. Thank you all
Q ) What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
A) Pure blind stubbornness coupled with the will to succeed. I am also very practical, and believe in taking personal responsibility for my health as well as paying my bills.
Q) How do you discover the ebooks you read?
A) I usually follow links from newsletters. I have found some real gems this way. I intend to dedicate the second half of 2016 to reading other authors’ work. It has been something of a challenge recently to find the time, although that will change once I have uploaded Book 10 and completed a couple of other projects.
Q) Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
A) Yes. Some tripe about two families growing up on the same street. I’m not sure why I remember is so clearly because I only got as far as the bare bones, and never got around to fleshing it out. This was about 35 years ago.
Q) What is your writing process?
A) I sit down and type. I never use long-hand or a typewriter. I always save my work and make sure it is 100% secure at all times. I am hugely productive and that’s because I learned early on that the words will flow if only you put your butt on the chair and your fingers on the keyboard. I have heard folks claim that the only true way to let the words flow is by writing in long hand. Balderdash.
Q) Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
A) I read many books growing up. We were reading mad in our house. I was fascinated to discover a new world between the pages of Enid Blyton’s novels about girls going off to boarding school. I didn’t take inspiration from it as such, although I always hoped that one day I would also get to leave home.The novel that inspires me to this day is Jane Eyre. It’s no coincidence that it has been made into TV and movies productions countless times. I have heard it described in many different ways. To me, it will always be a story of obsession. Since I read it as a teen, I have never been able to get it out of my mind. As I grew older I became fascinated by the notion of obsession. I suspect there are a number of individuals who believe that the somewhat obsessive nature of the characters and storyline is an error that has crept in. Not so. Miracles and Millions. A story of obsession.
Q) How do you approach cover design?
A) I don’t. I have no visual skills whatsoever. My strength lies in my imagination and perseverance. I throw out a vague idea or two and let somebody who knows what he is about take it from there
Q) What do you read for pleasure?
A) Novels about serial killers are my personal favourite. I find them relaxing. I think it has something to do with solving puzzles.
Q) What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
A) I will let you know once I find something that works. I personally don’t believe that old-fashioned word of mouth can be beaten by any form of social media.