Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in 1973. I grew up in the small village of Pulborough in the south of England. As a child, I enjoyed daydreaming, art and writing strange stories. As an adult, I enjoy daydreaming, art and writing strange stories.
What are you currently reading?
‘Mystic Musings’ by Sadhguru
Tell us the name of the author/book who influenced your writing or inspired you to write.
As a child, I loved reading Dr. Seuss and Roald Dahl. I then moved on to HG Wells, Philip K Dick, and Angela Carter, then Franz Kafka and Bruno Schultz. These are all writers who explore the mysteries of life.
When did you start writing?
When I was 12 years old I began writing a novel called ‘Imagine Infinity’. It was never finished. I decided that I needed more life experience and abandoned it. I thought this early attempt was lost until my parents found it in their loft a few years ago. I still like the title.
When I was a teenager I was astonished and relieved to discover that in books there were written things that no one ever spoke about. In a way, books seemed to be a secret means of communication between people, where they discussed and explored all the things that could not be said aloud.
Through writing, I found that I could discover insights into life. It was like shining a light into dark places.
Years later, I began performing my stories in clubs & bars and happily I kept being invited to do more. That showed me there was an audience for my writing, which led to publishing my work.
What do you enjoy writing more? Short stories or novellas?
I love both and I am working on novels too. I like to be able to create many different, sometimes even contradictory, worlds. With short stories, this can happen within one book, which is fun. I see the nature of life as paradoxical. As soon as someone says ‘this is the way things are’ you can be sure that something will happen to prove them wrong. Writing stories can show that the truth can take many forms.
Do you follow any writing rituals/ routines?
I note down my inspirations on post-its. The post-its get filed away in a box and left to incubate. After some time has passed (long enough that I have mostly forgotten what is written on the post-its) I open the box and look through them. If I am pleasantly surprised by what has been written I wait for more inspiration as to how to turn what has been written into a story. It is a magical process.
What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What are the compliments you have received from readers?
My website www.strangebooks.com contains readers’ reviews of my books. You can also read them on Amazon. If you create something that you are truly happy with and if it is an expression of inspiration that has come to you, then any criticism isn’t tough. Creating art shouldn’t be a competition. Of course, you want readers to enjoy your books but we all have our different preferences. As an artist, all you can do is create and share. Then see what happens.
What does literary success look like to you?
Discovering strange and magical things and being able to share them!
What is the one advice you would like to give new writers?
Enjoy the process and to stay true to yourself. Creative freedom is a precious thing. You have to have that freedom to be able to create something that is unique and that has integrity. And don’t run out of pens.