virtually the all of it. Bear in mind this was the late and, "swinging 60's;" a new era was dawning. our adolescent generation were highly influenced by the times, and we were
often found in debate, or asking, you guessed it, the question "Why".
What made you become a writer?
I used to write to friends telling them of my life. Several asked for longer stories, and rather than repeat to each one, I decided to start the Letters
From China section. I developed a casual, humorous style, and gained a fan base of several thousand followers.
My wife, Siu Ying and I went on a Chinese package tour of Thailand, and it was full of crazy situations. Returning, I wrote it all down, and found I had written a short story. That gave me the confidence to write my first
book, and Star Gazer was created.
It took me five years to learn to write properly; thank you Susan, my content editor.
What do you see as your strong points?
Ah! Getting inside my characters heads, and relating their thoughts and emotions to the reader. The way my characters grow, and interact with one another. They show a full range of human emotions. I also add subtle humour.
I have also developed the ability to hide clues in plainly written text. Conspiracy Theory is notable for this. I often write the clue in a low profile incident,
and follow with something of high impact. The reader is drawn to the apparently more significant action, passing over the clue.
I also learned to edit myself, and have become my own worst critic. Susan pushes me hard, and lets me get away with nothing. At first, my glorious pages resembled a battlefield, but I learned over time, stopped making
errors, and thought about what the reader would make of my work.
The Star Gazer trilogy was almost complete, when I discovered what Stephen King meant. His editing tip was, "Every word has to have a place, and is deleted if not, even if it is the greatest line I have ever written,
it has to be deleted." So instead of publishing for Christmas 2015, I began editing the trilogy severely. It was well worth the effort.
How did you meet your wife?
I had one particular friend, a draughtsman for housing projects named Eason. He was many years younger than I, but we became the best of friends; spending most evenings together. He spoke reasonable English, and taught me the
same in local language. He had studied in Hong Kong, and was one of the few to know life outside of Mainland China. He taught me to be a Yue, or Cantonese 'boy'.
We ate and drank most nights, late into the night, and frequented the local streetbars, full of local people, not the reserve of most foreigners. One night we dined in Ho Shum Lao restaurant, a favourite haunt, and on the way
out, there was a table full of 'girls'. Eason knew one of them well, 'Ah Tien', and we all got chatting. Space was made, and I sat opposite a really cute girl with a great smile, her name was Siu Ying. Weeks passed, and the four
of us (named) often went out as 'a group of friends'.
We often went clubbing, Eason getting us a free pass, as he had designed most of the places: he was VIP. One night, we were playing beer drinking games, and Siu Ying had to work very late. She arrived even later, looking really
good, and I tried to chat, but she was upset. That's when I realised she fancied me, and that suited me just fine.
Time passed, we continued to hang out together, and then one night she came back with me, stayed the night, and never left. Perfect. I hope she never leaves.
You've lived in many places, which stands out the most?
Not many people can say they have lived for one year on a rural island, but I have. The island was in the West Pearl River, and measured four miles long, by one wide; the river was two-miles wide. There were about 800 people
living on it; all were local Chinese, and none spoke English.
For most of the time, Siu Ying stayed with the baby at her mother's home; I was on my own. Having learned to be a celebrity, being outgoing, friendly, I was welcomed into the island community. I ate sik juk (rice porridge)
with the locals, and was given my own place at one table. I became accepted, and made many friends.
My office on the first floor, overlooked a small balcony, that flowered with bougainvillea in summer. There was virtually no traffic, many trees, and the sound of birds. It was a great place to write.
Do you suffer from writer's block?
Never, I have the opposite problem, too much to write, and not enough time to do it in. The nearest I have come, is with my sixth book, Domicile, which turned out to be a mess. It was 180,000 pages, twice as long as needs be, and
I had tried to cover far too much ground.
I now understand how to present the story succinctly, as a simple story about one unfortunate girl, Isabella. There will be one new character, who will appear occasionally, and voice in sentences, with interview dialogue, what
I spent chapters on before. A lot of other related things will go, or be saved as backcopies for possible books in the series; which I currently have no plans for. I am looking forward to beginning, and Domicile should be published
this yearAutumn 2016.
What about the future?
After my five published books are marketed, I have some work to do with my fiction Publisher Imprint Charlotte Greene. During this year, Boris and I will create the Star Gazer game. Ahead, the second Star Gazer trilogy, some work
already done, and one or several of new concepts for novels I am occasionally thinking about. Also, people are demanding a third volume of Fractured; that appears to be expected, and thoughts of situation and plot are in review.
I am also tempted to publish the short story that began it all for me, Six Days in Siam.
Otherwise, I need to write about my life, so that when Rhiannon grows up, she can truly know her father. Call it a memoir or autobiography, there is nothing in it to interest most people, except her; I think? I want to leave
her with a physical copy of the book, warts and all, and hope to keep her safer than most young girls, by offering my analogies and insightful observations of modern life.
Like all young people, she will probably ignore me, before she understands. If I can pass on just one thing to her, that remains unanswered in full, the question, "Why".