One High School teacher did take him under his wing and sowed the seeds for his life-long interest in story-telling.This probably saved him from being institutionalised.
At 22 he joined the Police Service and spent 15 years patrolling some of the North of England’s toughest areas.
As his career developed his specialism became Tactical Firearms and he took part in over 200 live firearms scenarios.
In 1996 he left the service and moved to the U.A.E. where he worked with several retired members of HM Special Forces.
It was during the long hot Abu Dhabi summers he began to write his first novel.
His Crime/Thriller, ‘The Fix’ has received excellent 5***** reviews and has made the top 100 selling Action and Adventure Novels on Amazon UK. His second novel ‘Dirty’ is a dark and disturbing thriller set in 1980’s Britain. This stormed into the top 10 Murder/Mystery/Hard-boiled genre within two weeks of publication.
He has recently published a series of short stories ‘It’s Grim up North.’
Robert now lives in Lancashire with his wife Nicola and Patterdale Terrier dog, Flash and is working on two further full length novels, ‘The Fire,’ a sequel to The Fix and ‘Postcard from the dead’ a sequel to ‘Dirty’.
What inspires you to write?
I take my inspiration from people and events from my life. I have been fortunate, and on occasions, unfortunate, to have met some colourful characters over the years.
I always maintain the adage that a writer should ‘write what they know.’ Look at Dan Brown or Andy McNab. Imagine the ex SAS soldier writing a novel about cryptography or Brown attempting to recreate the horror of Bravo Two Zero.
My experience of life inspires me and I love to share that experience.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’d like to say, I have everything mapped out before I sit at the keyboard, but that would be a big fat lie. The process normally starts with an idea for one scene. For instance, The Fix has a scene where one of the main characters is shot by a bad guy. He puts a gun into his mouth and pulls the trigger. I wrote that scene first, yet it sits well over a third of the way through the novel. Once I have the first scene down I work on the characters from that scene, developing them. I hate descriptive, so I try to let the reader form their own picture by the protagonists thoughts,speech and actions. Then I ask the question, why did he get shot? Who is the bad guy? Then off I go.
I’m currently writing two sequels so the process is different as the characters are already in place, but i still write out of order. That first scene is always the catalyst.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
All the time! I ask them questions and they give me answers. They tell me where the story is going and how they will react to the events.
In order to write good dialogue it is essential to understand the way your characters think and speak. Without that, dialogue seems contrived.
What advice would you give other writers?
Read, read, read! I firmly believe that if you devour enough words, eventually some of them will have to come out again.
I joined a creative writing evening class at my local college. That put me in touch with like-minded people and the course structure forced me to write in a variety of styles. If like me, you have not been educated further than High School, I would recommend a similar path.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I wrote my first novel over ten years ago. It sat in a drawer gathering dust all that time. I wrote my second book two years ago, and it joined the first one in the same place.
I did make a few tentative enquiries about publication, but to be perfectly honest, I am rubbish at pushing my work, knocking on doors and writing submission letters is my idea of hell.
I continued to write. I have at least four unfinished novels sitting on my laptop. I was driving my wife insane. “What is the point of writing another novel, when you are going to stick it in the drawer?”
It was my wife who introduced me to KDP.
I think it is a revelation for writers. It has opened a whole new world to me and I would recommend it.
If you are concerned that you will not be able to sell your work to a traditional publisher after you have self published, don’t worry. If it is good enough and it sells, they’ll come knocking believe me.
A note of caution. Don’t expect miracles. You will need to promote your work on a regular basis. I spend as much time promoting as I do writing. It is hard work. You don’t get anything for free.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think that digital books are the future. e-readers are affordable, light and convenient. I love to hold a ‘real’ book, to turn the pages, to see it on my bookshelf. Sorry folks, in the coming years, other than non-fiction text books, dead tree format is dead in the water.
What do you use?
What genres do you write?
Crime fiction, Action Adventure, Murder Mystery
What formats are your books in?