I remember clearly that my first written word was “here”. I used to hide behind the armchair and secretly write it on a bit of paper. I was very proud of that word. However, I soon found that the words did not do what I wanted. Well, the letters that is. An S, a D, a B, R, N, all didn’t know which way around they wanted to be. Most children do this as their brains work out their left from their right. Guess what? I still don’t know, without thinking about it hard, my left from my right. This is dyslexia. Pages of written text refused to stay still. It took me so long to read and write. But I wanted it, oh I wanted it bad. Mostly it was Biggles books that saved me. I was lucky to pick one in a class once, we were asked to chose a book from a pile, and I liked the one with a flying boat on the front. What a lucky find. I wanted to read Biggles books so much, they were so worth the effort. And it was a big effort.
Biggles books also made me want to write. They were written in a simple manner but written well. They were also not written to children in a condescending manner. The author never talked down to you. I thought I could do it too, and I tried.
I started writing a novel while still at school. In fact I started two. Neither was finished. I had a problem, to write with a pen and paper or a machine? I didn’t have a machine. It took a long time before I did. The first novel was science fiction. The second a sort of real-life book. The third was science fiction, the fourth a real-life book, very much like Coming up for Air by Orwell.
Three and four were finished. Four went to agents. One agent liked my writing. For some reason I stopped writing then. This was about 1996/7. Oh, and I wrote my autobiography a couple or three times. I finished only once and lost that copy. I lost novels 1 to 4 as well.
Yeah, life got in the way, and I thought writing wasn’t a real job. Life got in the way for a long time. Writing was scattered all over the place and all over different times. From 2008/9 to 2021 there was a lot of writing. Poems, books, stories, articles. I did a writing access course in 2014/5. I did a BA in Creative and Professional Writing 2015 to 2018.
The writing had taken off in 2011 again. I was writing a conservation journal as I was in Ecuador in the rainforest, saving the planet. At one point I was left on my own for 3 weeks. I nearly went mad and wrote the autobiography (now lost) and Burning Wolfhound. I wrote it to entertain myself.
Subsequently I sent Burning Wolfhound to agents and publishers. It was poorly written. My grammar was bad and the style was bad. I re-wrote it. The grammar was still bad. A friend corrected the grammar for me. I still could not get it published. So I put it on Amazon.
Since then I wrote the sequel, Codename Wolfhound. A book and short stories. A book and poems. And a funny book of various stuff that was for my degree. All went on Amazon.
Amazon is a virtual slush pile. No sales unless you market 24/7. It’s pointless. I missed the boat in the 90’s. I should never have stopped writing. My grammar is still not good enough.
See this article about the state of publishing: https://ideas.bkconnection.com/10-awful-truths-about-publishing
Author bio, interesting items writterly like:
My favorite author is George Orwell. Other top authors: Douglas Adams, Lawrence Durrell, Charles Bukowski, Alistair MacLean, Captain W. E. Johns, Gerald Durrell.
My favorite silly film is Where Eagles Dare. Top serious film: Nostalgia by Andrei Tarkovsky. Other films: Girl on a Motorcycle, Betty Blue (directors cut), Sheltering Sky.
Favorite book: Coming up for Air. Followed by: The Alexandria Quartet, Last Chance to See, Long Dark Teatime of the Soul, Biggles in a Baltic.
As of May 2021 I have written:
1. No title – Science Fiction (unfinished)
2. No title – Real Life (unfinished)
3. No title – Science Fiction
4. No title – Real Life (much like Coming up for Air)
5. Burning Wolfhound
6. Codename Wolfhound
1. Caffeinated in Woolwich – 4 pieces showcase
2. Misplaced – Short Stories
3. Shatter. Justin Tuijl the poems 2011-2020
Well over 200 poems.
Loads of articles.
Loads of non fiction.
More writerly and related things of interest:
I have a BA in Professional and Creative Writing.
I used to live in India, Indonesia and Ecuador.
I used to volunteer in conservation in the rainforest.
A sci-fi dystopian novel – unsure if this will ever be finished