Until relatively recently, I had no real ambitions to be a published author. After a disastrous time at secondary school, I went to work for my Dad (probably the only person that would have employed me) in the engineering business. Apart from the other usual things that a teenager enjoys, I loved to listen to music, the list of favourites was endless, but being in the eighties you can probably imagine who my idols were: Paul Weller, U2, Simple Minds and Talking Heads, to name but a few. I loved their craft of being able to create a song from nothing. I tried to emulate them by playing in various bands and writing quite a few songs myself, this was the start of me wanting to be a creator.
As the years passed, I bought a house, got married and had children, the creativity in me was, by now, like a foreign country that I had inhabited a long time ago. Until one fateful day, we had recently moved house, and I found a box in the loft containing a cassette of songs that I had written nearly twenty years previously. I wasn’t impressed with my efforts, but it set me thinking, what if? What if one of those songs was an absolute classic, a song that was ahead of its time back when it was written but could have a new lease of life. This was 2003, and over the next decade, this idea became a permanent fixture in my mind. I had read a lot of novels whilst my children were young, and I’d been inspired by writers like Nick Hornby, David Nicholls and Tony Parsons, authors who wrote stories which included a lot of references to modern-day pop-culture and the media generally.
I began to imagine that one of those songs on the cassette, the hidden classic, was sung by a well -known singer and transformed into an international hit. This was now the basis for my story, and by the time a friend had nagged me into starting to write, it was late 2015. Once I started, the writing process happened relatively quickly, and seven months later my first novel, A Song for The Silence was in the can. I was quite shocked at what I had achieved.
After reading about the publishing process, I began to send the manuscript to various literary agencies, who promised to get back to me within six to eight weeks. In fairness, they did just that, but I received nothing but a bevvy of rejections. Encouraged by various friends who I had allowed to read the story, I came across Olympia Publishers, the idea of no going the traditional route via an agent appealed. It was August 2016 when I sent them the manuscript, by December 2016 an agreement was in place for them to publish my novel. I was delighted and amazed in equal measure, it all felt a little surreal.
The editing process took a little longer than I probably envisaged, but these things are important to get right, the manuscript went back and forth several times, and I’m glad that it did. I was also pleasantly surprised with the amount of input that I was allowed in the cover design. We all know the old phrase ‘never judge a book by its cover’ by I believe the design has to catch your eye, it has to represent the subject matter perfectly, and I believe that we achieved this.
One important lesson that I have learned is to embrace social media. I have found Twitter to be particularly useful and I have quickly accrued a following of over 700 people, my book was released 6 months ago, and I only discovered using Twitter 3 months ago, I really wished that I had built a profile before the book was released, but that profile is now in place for my next book.