Some of my most creative thoughts happen when on a dog walk, as do my best conversations with my dog-walking buddy. So I thought I’d invite some of my author friends along to join me and my girls and see if I can find out a little more about them and the book they’ve just released.
‘My girls’ are Poppy and Ruby and today you get to see them as they were as puppies – cute!
Joining me today is Geoffrey West, journalist, freelance writer and the author of the first two books in the Jack Lockwood Mystery Series, Rock’n’Roll Suicide and Doppelganger. He has come to chat to me on the release of his third, highly anticipated, Jack Lockwood novel, Sheer Fear.
Geoffrey David West is a freelance journalist/editor/proofreader and photographer as well as the author of five non-fiction (conventionally published) books and three fiction novels, the Jack Lockwood Mystery Series, available on Kindle. He maintains a regular blog about general issues, and also another one entitled The Jack Lockwood Diaries, which has regular short stories featuring Jack Lockwood (the protagonist in the novels).
Hi Geoff, thanks for taking the time to talk to me today, I know you have plenty to do when you’ve just launched a book so I’m delighted you’ve squeezed me in. I hope you’ve had a good journey here and you’re ready for a hike across the fields of sunny Cambridgeshire in this fabulous Indian summer we’re enjoying?
Hello Georgia, on the contrary, thanks for fitting me in, I’m so pleased to talk to you at last. Loved your first novel, A Single Step and have bought your second in the Grayson Trilogy, Before the Dawn, and looking forward to reading it as soon as I can.
Thanks Geoff, you’re very kind! Now I’m a big fan of your protagonist, Jack Lockwood, and his previous adventures so I’m keen to hear all about Sheer Fear. How long has it taken to write and is Jack going to be getting into as much trouble as he has in the past?
It seems to have taken six months to a year I suppose, should have been much less, but I was fitting it in around things as you do. Jack will be getting into lots and lots of trouble, with one major enemy, a lord of the realm who is coming under scrutiny in the wake of general historic child sex abuse scandals. Jack it trying to expose him, while undercover forces are trying to stop him, meanwhile he has run up against Pat Garvey, the gangster who used to own the manor house, in whose gatehouse Jack lives. He also has a third enemy out to get him, which he only finds out about halfway through the book.
We’re all busy in this business so how to you manage to fit in the process of writing around your working and home life?
I just do it when I can, in between things. I find a good way to get to sleep is to grapple with a problem in the story, and sometimes when you wake up things are solved.
I know you’re an indie author Geoff, but we all need help at various stages of writing and I’d like to know more about the team you have behind you. Who helps you pull your books together until they’re ready to be published?
Julia Gibbs @ProofreadJulia on Twitter who proofreads my novels now and also the clever Karen Waters and Jody Smyers at Blondie’s Custom Book Covers (www.blondiebooks.com) who designed a fabulous cover, which I’m really pleased with. Before I knew Julia, I published Rock’n’Roll Suicide without another person seeing it, and there were various errors. It seemed absurd, when I proofread other people’s books, but the reality is that you can never see your own mistakes: for some reason your mind is on autopilot and things just slip through. And to have a published book full of mistakes would not only be bad for potential readers, but disastrous to my reputation as an editor and proofreader. Julia really is excellent, and her rates are fair, and she goes above and beyond to help, finding if I’ve got a name wrong, things like that. As for selling the books, that I find the hardest part of all, but I have had invaluable help from lots of kind generous people I have met through twitter – one of them being you.
Interestingly, another author friend, E L Lindley, writes adventure stories with a protagonist Georgie Connolly, and Georgie has ‘met’ my hero Jack Lockwood in Sheer Fear, for a short cameo appearance, so in a way, E.L. has helped me too. (@LindleyE and ellindley.weebly.com) (Oh, that is interesting, I’m a huge fan of Georgie as well! Ed)
You’ve written five non-fiction books as well Geoff. How does the process vary between writing fiction and non-fiction, which do you prefer? And why?
Yes it is totally different. With non-fiction books you are much more reliant on other people to help – experts in the field, and you have to worry about getting good photographs, things like that. I think I prefer writing fiction because you are totally free to do whatever you want, whereas with non-fiction there’s always got to be certain things included, and you have to be remarkably careful over legalities, such as if you advise someone about a building job, or how to use a tool, if they are injured as a result you could be liable, so you have to do a disclaimer.
A few quick one’s for you then Geoff!
Night owl or early morning lark?
Night owl definitely, I hate the early morning.
Full English or fruit and muesli
Neither – porridge, which is awful, but at least it keeps you going. Now and again there’s nothing better than bacon, eggs, sausages, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread. The best food on earth.
Which superpower would you like to have? And why?
The power to make money. Because having lots of money would mean freedom from worry. (So true! Ed)
What piece of advice would you like to give your 16 year old self – if you were given the opportunity and the use of a time machine?
Settle down and study, and treat learning and passing exams as a priority over messing about.
I believe that perfect days are unplanned, BUT if you were to plan your perfect day what would it look like?
Morning: going to see a haunted stately home, and perhaps seeing a ghost. Afternoon: building a nice big brick wall and seeing the newly-laid bricks all arranged neatly. Evening: clearing away the building equipment and knowing the wall would dry to a rock hard structure by the morning.
LINKS so that you can find Geoff on whatever is your preferred platform:
Jack Lockwood Diaries blog: jacklockwood.wordpress.com
Facebook: Don’t think I’ve got one, think I’m on it, but I never go there.
Book links so you can check out the numerous reviews:
Thanks for joining me Geoff and I wish you every success for the sales of Sheer Fear – I’m very much looking forward to reading it!
It’s been fun Georgia, good to finally meet you!