John it’s great to hear that your book “A Heart of Stone” is to be published by Crooked Cat Books, in Oct/Nov this year. Thanks for coming on my blog to talk about it.
What was the inspiration behind the book?
Some years ago, I came across an amazing story about my great-great-great-great-great parents. He was a young Irish peer, and he married the daughter of another Irish peer. After several years, their story took a tragic turn. While the story was fascinating, I could see that the real events were too tragic to make a book as it was. NOBODY ended up with a happy ending from this one!
That being said, the story provided a series of hooks that couldn’t be ignored. What I hope I have written is the story of “what should have happened.” The hero and heroine deserve it, after all these years.
How did you come to write your genre of choice?
I have always been a fan of historic fiction and historical romances. My father used to get each new Georgette Heyer novel as she wrote them, and he passed his love of them on to me. Once I started to write, I never thought of writing in any other genre.
How does it feel to one of the few males in the predominantly female world of romance writing?
Absolutely great! I have been astounded by the support and goodwill I have received from my writing friends, and members of the RNA. It’s thanks to them that I am writing at all. They gave me the confidence to try and write.
Have you experienced any difficulties breaking into this world?
I have come into the industry at a time of great change. As I found, most agents are extremely risk-averse. Unless you have Cornwall, Café, or Cupcakes in your title you are really going to struggle (and I did). Being a man in a mainly female genre, probably also told against me.
What has been especially good about your journey to publication in this genre?
Self-publication is ridiculously easy in this day and age. It would have been far simpler for me to publish on Kindle or Smashwords, but, by getting the MS taken by a publisher, this represents “Peer Approval”. Someone else, apart from family and friends, thinks it worthy of publication. Being taken on by Crooked Cat was massively encouraging.
When did you start writing and why?
I started writing stories for our daughters when I was away from home on long sea voyages. Simple animal tales, and unfortunately, now lost.
I eventually moved into the world of documentation for ships, covering laws, compliance and safety, etc. This has been handy, at least in making me familiar with the process of writing and producing documents. Of course, these were all non-fiction, but I had the job of trying to explain policy and procedures, in English, to non-native English speakers, mostly from Eastern Europe and the Philippines. I soon learned, clarity was everything.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to become an author in this genre?
Read, read, read, and then write, write and write again. Recognise your limitations, and learn that the people you meet have been doing it longer and generally better than you, so learn from them.
About ‘A Heart of Stone.’
A Heart of Stone, a tale of love, power, jealousy, starvation and prison, set in 1740s Ireland.
What happens when a young, beautiful girl is made to marry the worst man in Ireland?
But he has a brother, and they will risk everything to be together. Her husband doesn’t take this well.
Thank you John, it’s been great talking to you. Thanks for coming on my blog today. Tell us a little bit about yourself before you go.
After a lifetime in shipping, I am now retired and living in York. An avid genealogist, I found a rich vein of ancestors going back many generations. My forebears included Irish peers, country parsons, and both naval and military men.
A chance meeting with some authors both historical and contemporary, led me to try my hand at writing. I am a keen member of both the Romantic Novelists Association and the Historic Novel Association.
I was brought up on Georgette Heyer from an early age, and, like many of my age devoured R L Stevenson, Jane Austen, R M Ballantyne, and the like. Favorite modern authors include Bernard Cornwell, Simon Scarrow, Liz Fenwick, Jenny Barden, Carol McGrath, Lindsey Davis and Kate Mosse.
“A Heart of Stone”, to be published by Crooked Cat in October / November 2017