A long time ago … eating a Galaxy far, far, away
I was not aware of it at the time but I think the seed of wanting to write was sown whilst I was still at school. I was 14 or 15 when a writing competition was staged. We had an opening line of “It was midnight in the library and all was quiet and dark” or something like that, and we had to create a story from it. My entry was about secret codes and treasure. I won joint first prize. My teacher and head of year both said it was good but quite complicated. I wish I still had it but I never got it back.
Roll forward 3 or 4 years and at 18 I decided to see if I could write a whole book. I was heavily into Alistair MacLean at the time so wanted to write a thriller. I was now working full time instead of taking my ‘A’ Levels but I started writing long hand whenever I had time. The rest of my family thought I was being stupid but I persevered. Even though I could not type, I used my sister’s Petite typewriter using the one finger technique. I broke it in the end and had to buy her a new one. The resultant manuscript was very messy and only single lined spaced. I knew no better and was just proud to have finished it. It probably only took a year to write the story but about 3 to type it out. The story was about a young man who witnesses a kidnapping and ends up fighting against a criminal hypnotist. They say at that age you write a few years younger than you are so instead of a cutting thriller I guess it read like a Famous Five.
I had no idea how to sell it and had no one to help me. I wrote to the publisher of the paperback I was reading and they wrote back telling me it was better to write to a hardback house. I cannot remember how I found out who to send it to but I know it came back rejected. I was so disappointed I shoved it in a drawer where it lay for a years. Then I saw an advertisement in the paper looking for new authors. They would print my book if I paid half the costs. I had never heard of vanity publishing. I took out a bank loan to pay for it and that got me a print of 500. After two years the publisher ended the contract. It had not sold as well as I had hoped and the surplus were sent back to me. The irony is, these got lost when I came down to London because I left them in my Salford flat and a tenant moved them out.
After 7.5 years at one insurance company, I was now at a brokers, still in Manchester, but after only 18 months there, due to a lot of internal changes, I handed in my notice. During the last week I started writing short funny stories about my colleagues which, I was surprised to find, made them laugh. This led to my only ever commission – unpaid though it was. A colleague told me her boyfriend was a James Bond fan and asked me to write a spoof for her to give to him. This led to the short comedic story ‘Doctor! Oh, No!’ which you can read on this site. They were so taken with it that they made a feature of it by sticking the pages up on their bedroom wall. I later used this short story as part of my next novel.
So Lynn Webb who used to work at Sedgwicks Manchester and moved to Australia, if you ever see this, “Doctor! Oh, No!” lives on.
It was my experience in getting laughs for my humorous stories that made me decide to write a comedy thriller. I put pen to paper, or rather this time, finger to keypad and 4 years later it was complete, by which time I had moved to London. This time the manuscript was legible and double lined spaced. It was no longer possible to write direct to publishers, you had to attract the interest of a literary agent. I bought the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook and proceeded to send the manuscript out. After a number of rejections this too went into a drawer. This was called Tommy Trouble at the time.
By 2004 I was writing again but this was a different story. I was fed up with life and wanted to turn back the clock and start again. Of course, unless you have a spare DeLorean lying around, you can’t do this so I decided to write about what might happen instead. Initially I was going to write about how I would live my life again but that is not how it turned out. Again it took 4 years to write and again I had no luck in interesting an agent. This was about a 40 year old suicide who wakes up in his 8 year old body back in 1971, with the chance to live again but how it spiralled out of control.
Lost in the Amazon Jungle
Fast forward to 2012. A colleague had found out about my novels and wanted to read one. She was giggling over it in the office and someone suggested I publish it on Kindle, so in December 2012 both Rewind and Trouble Cross (the new name for Tommy Trouble) became e-books on Amazon. There have been sales but not enough.
I still wanted to see them in print and again fell foul of a vanity publisher. The less said about this arrangement the better but after two years I had in no way recovered my investment.
And that brings us nearly up to date. Last year I finished my first children’s book called Once Upon A Week. This is a small collection of 7 stories based on proverbs which I envisaged could be read by parents to their kids, one per night for a week, hence the title. That is also on Amazon.
So that is my story … so far. My quest to become a writer has been going on for years but not enough people have read my books so far and this is the reason for this website. The few reviews I have had are good and now you know about my books, I hope you will read them and enjoy them too.