Today in the serie of interviews, I’m talking to
Tell us how you got involved in the Crimelines project?
I’ve been involved in Crimelines as a student at MMU. The theme appealed to me straight away. I like to focus on the darker aspects of life in my writing and crime and darkness go hand in hand. As a first year masters student – as well as a full time teacher and father – I didn’t think I would have enough time to become involved in the project, but it has turned out to be a fantastic experience.
Was it your first time at writing a short story to be published?
This is my first time writing a short story for publication and I’ve learned a lot through being involved in the project. In many ways, the short story writing process is much more difficult than writing a full length novel, as the word-count really restricts a lot of your creativity and you have to be much more economical and efficient with language.
What is it you enjoy most when writing short stories?
The thing I enjoy most about writing short stories is getting to the point. I strongly believe that you should learn something each time you read and, for me, writing that part of the story, wherein the message lies, is the most fulfilling. As a Head of Year in a Senior School, I’ve actually had to deal with girls like Cara, from my story, who have found themselves in potentially very dangerous situations online. So being able to use the knowledge gained in my day job is also very rewarding. Likewise, I like the thought that someone, somewhere, might be a little more cautious about their online presence as a result of reading the story.
What are the main difficulties?
There is a saying “I’ve never met a writer yet who does not have a problem with writing” and I think every author can identify with that. Getting time to sit down to write at all, for me, is a difficulty in itself and then having the confidence to believe someone will actually want to spend time reading what you have written is a big psychological hurdle. Fortunately, through the course I am taking at MMU, I have been lucky enough to become part of a group of fledgling writers who are supportive, understanding and all amazing writers, who give great feedback as well as providing a shoulder to cry on when needed. This support network is invaluable and has helped me improve significantly as a writer.
Tell us a little bit about what’s ahead of you as a writer.
At the minute I am continuing to ‘bite off much more than I can chew’ in terms of writing projects. I am part way through my first young adult novel, Sons Of Hood, as part of my Creative Writing Master’s course at MMU. This novel puts a new angle on the legendary Robin Hood story and asks the question, “What would have become of his children (supposing he had some) after Robin’s death?” The story starts out in the aftermath of Robin’s murder and the three boys find themselves being hunted by The Sheriff. Their aim is initially survival, but to also restore the battered reputation of their father and find out the truth about his death. The story is also about the importance of family and society in a young man’s development, not to mention the complexities of sibling relationships – something I have first-hand experience of, being one of four boys.
Aside from this major project, I am also writing a light-hearted handbook for my 7 year old daughter, The Truth About Witches, that I intend to publish as a free E-book once completed. I am also writing an adult novella, Struggling, which is a semi-autobiographical tale of a small-time nightclub promoter and the seedy dance music sub-culture that I once belonged to in my youth.
Thank you Jamie for this torough interview and good luck on all your novels.