Here are the answers to the questions I’m most commonly asked.
q: How many books will there be in The Adventures of Larry the Stick Insect series?
A: I had originally imagined there would be 3 or 4 but I suspect there will be more. All I need to do is find time to write them all.
Q: How many books will there be in the Jackson Silver GFC series?
A: To be honest I don’t know. I’ve got a lot of ideas for Jackson, it’s all just a matter of pulling those ideas together and finding time to write all of the stories.
Q: Do you plan to write any other series or even any stand alone books?
A: Yes, although they’re all only in the initial idea stages. The biggest factor is time.
Q: Where did the idea for the Jackson Silver GFC series come from?
A: I’ve always been into military history and sci fi. I’m a huge fan of Star Wars, Star Trek, Warhammer 40000, the Alien movies, the Predator movies, the Terminator movies, you get the picture. I’ve been influenced and inspired by all of these things, the rest is all from my slightly strange imagination.
Q: How on earth did you get Jonathan Keeble to narrate the audio book versions of your books?
A: It’s a bit of a long story but in a nutshell, Jonathan is a friend of a friend. During a conversation with my friend she said she’d enjoyed reading my books and asked if I’d ever considered having them read as audio books. Naturally my answer was yes, it was then that she revealed that she’s a friend of Jonathan. My chin hit the floor (Jonathan has been one of my favourite narrators for many years) and the conversation continued. Skip forward a month or so and I had the master audio files for Larry the Dancing King, The Edge of Darkness and Bar Room Blitz in my hand. I was absolutely blown away.
Q: The cover art for your books is great, who produces the artwork?
A: The artwork for all of my books is created by Adam Kelly. Adam is a good friend of mine and it all came about because of a casual conversation we were having about artwork on books in general. He made some throw away comment about fancying “having a go” at doing some book art one day. The rest, as they say, is history. He’s really quite shy about promoting himself and doesn’t even produce the artwork for a living, he just does it because he enjoys it. I’m very lucky to have him working with me.
Q: Which are your favourite poems in The Edge of Darkness?
A: They would be: Footsteps, Fear of the Dark, The Thousand Yard Stare, The Midnight Curse and Dreams.
Q: Was writing the poems about your sight loss challenging?
A: Yes. It was a really awful time in my life and I started writing them as a way of getting my feelings out. Writing them was definitely the right thing to do as it made me re-evaluate my whole life. I still find reading some of the pieces difficult even now.
Q: What made you write the Larry books?
A: An ex girlfriend had a young daughter for whom I used to make up short stories about a little stick insect called Larry. My two nieces came along a couple of years later and Larry became more established. I really enjoyed telling the stories so I decided I wanted to write a series about Larry’s adventures.
Q: Who is your favourite character in the Larry the Stick Insect series?
A: Obviously I like Larry but I think his friend Gavin is probably my favourite. He’s funny, kind, loyal and maybe just a little bit cheeky.
Q: Who are your favourite authors?
A: In no particular order: Sir Terry Pratchett, Bernard Cornwell, Lee Child, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, Ian Fleming, Dan Abnett, Ken Follett, Neil Gaiman, Graham McNeill, Wilber Smith but there are many more. I might do a blog post one day listing them all.
Q: You refer to music and playing bass in some of your blog posts, how long have you been playing and do you play in a band?
A: I’ve been playing since July 1996 (I bought my first bass and practice amp a week before my nineteenth birthday). I’ve played in several bands over the years and bands change over time of course. If I’m not playing in a band or indeed, even if I am, I’ve always got at least one project on the go, I just love playing.
Q: Did playing music help you get through losing your sight?
A: Yes, without a doubt. I actually stopped playing for a couple of years when I first lost my sight and was going through various operations and recovery, but I came back to it pretty quickly once I was able to. Ultimately I think it made me a better player, as I needed to relearn how to play without being able to see where my fingers landed on the fret board.
Q: Is any of your music available to buy?
A: I’m afraid not. Although I’ve been in several bands and a few of them released CDs, they were more gig merchandise than proper commercial releases. If you’d like to check out some of my random playing in my little home studio however, you can visit my YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYMhGcmxYYw5uy65bY_fVeA
Q: Have you always been blind?
A: No. I lost my sight completely in December 2005.
Q: Did an accident cause your sight loss?
A: No. I have an eye condition called Diabetic Retinopathy. My sight began to fail in February 2004 due to the condition and by Christmas 2005 it had gone completely.
Q: Can you see anything at all?
A: No. I have complete blackness. My right eye is actually a prosthetic.
Q: Have you got a guide dog?
A: No, to be honest I don’t really want or need one at the moment. My partner Sarah and I do have three gorgeous rescue hounds (2 Greyhounds and a Whippet Collie cross) though.