I suppose, from the first book I ever read I knew I wanted to write. I cannot remember that first book, but it doesn’t matter. The written word, and storytelling, stretched out in front of me.
My initial effort began at the age of eight in an old exercise book. You probably know the kind. They invariably displayed the times tables and other information on the back. My first story was one that I entitled ‘Murderous Home.’ The story involved just three characters. A greedy nephew with the belief his miserly uncle had buried his money under the floorboards, thus killing him for it, and burying the uncle under the floorboards. Plus a detective, in the wake of neighbours being alerted by the smell, arrested the nephew for murder. Looking back on this childish offering, there was something rather Poe-ish about it, reminiscent of The Tell Tale Heart.
As an only-child I suppose books were both my companions and my baby sitters. My mother could quite comfortably leave me in a store to browse the books, while she did her shopping. When she returned she would find me in the same place. In those days Woolworths had big dumper baskets dotted about the store, containing various items.
As a child I quickly grew out of fairy tales, unless of course they contained an evil villainous character. After Christmas my parents took me to the local pantomime where I had my initial sighting of a wonderful character called the Demon King. As his name suggests he was a devilish, evil and grotesque individual. And I loved him. I can’t recollect exactly in which pantomime he appeared, but when he was made conspicuous by his absence the following year I vowed never to go to another panto unless he was in it. So I never did. I was only about five or six.
Even then I loved villains. From the age of twelve I devoured crime novels with relish. My uncle used to procure several of the old Mickey Spillane and Raymond Chandler novels from the nearby American airbase. I was hooked and couldn’t get enough of the tough talking, gun toting gumshoe detective. ‘The snazzy blonde eased into my office. Rosebud lips screaming scarlet before she opened her mouth.’ That kind of thing. I think, to this day, those books made such an impression on me, I tend to write that way sometimes. In fact I was actually told by a reviewer that my books reminded them of the old Fifties gumshoe tales. Until a few years ago I only wrote for my family. My aunt mostly.
Like myself she devoured books, even reading them at the meal table. She would often ask if I had a book she could read. ‘And I don’t mean the ones you buy in a shop,’ she said.
It was my family who encouraged me to try and get my work published and send my books into the big wide world. What if no one liked them? But I did undertake such a venture.
It wasn’t long before an agent was interested. Having sent the preliminary three chapters, plus synopsis and enquiry letter, he was adamant he would be able to place the work before a publisher. In hindsight perhaps I should have agreed to his terms, but he wanted to change so much of the story, particularly the conclusion, which I loved and had spent such time working on. How foolish I was to allow stupid pride to blind me. I was upset, and told him so in a letter. He too was upset because he suggested offering me help free of charge, to get my book into shape, that my writing had such potential as did my story. Although I have published several books online, my interest continues to lie in pursuing the ultimate goal. The bricks and mortar book shop.
Since I first published my novel ‘All Of them Vampires!‘ in 2011, the self publishing world seems to have exploded. In 2011, self-pub had taken off, but not to the extent it has now. I published another book, one that had been lying in my garage forever, ‘Staying Out’. After a shaky start, but gaining some publicity for my books, ‘Vampires’ practically flew off the virtual bookstores, as did ‘Staying Out’. I was voted third favourite author on Smashwords. This was the days before reviews were compulsory. As long as my books were selling, reviews meant precious little.
To conclude on a puzzle and the subject of reviews. I’ve noticed on Amazon that authors with 20-plus reviews do not appear to be, according to the B.S.R. selling many books. While authors with few reviews are always selling books. Last year on its release, my novel, ‘Progeny Of A Killer’ was flying off the shelves. How many reviews did it have? Two.
You can buy all my books at Amazon, including The Aidan McRaney Trilogy: ‘Stalking Aidan’, ‘The Devil in Soho’ and ‘Progeny Of A Killer’. Hope you have enjoyed my ranting. Please leave a like on Facebook or an RT on Twitter.
Bless you all.