Today I am delighted to share a guest post with you from the author of Games People Play and Old Friends And New Enemies (Charlie Cameron series Book 1 & 2), Owen Mullen.
Over to you Owen…..
WRITING – THE EXPERIENCE
Dorothy Parker, the American poet, short story writer, critic, and satirist had some interesting things to say about writing. I like this one.
‘If you have any young friends who aspire to be writers, the second greatest favour you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re still happy.’
Surely she was exaggerating? Though maybe not. Unless you really want to write it’s best to give it a body swerve. I do want to and at times my resolve has been tested, not to mention my sanity. Why stick your head above the old parapet unless you have to?
I am not in love with the idea.
To quote Dorothy P again. ‘I hate writing, I love having written.’
I understand what she meant. It’s a tough discipline and now and then I could see it far enough. [Some days I do see it far enough. Sometimes I can’t see it at all.]
There are people who are in love with the idea of being a writer. If you are one of them that probably means you would fit right in with the posers on the Left Bank. Those guys in Paris in the twenties who spent the day sitting in cafes, smoking Gauloises and sipping Absinthe, in between jotting down a few pearls. Making sure all their pals saw them. [I expect somebody to remind me that Hemingway was one of them. Agreed. But he was only there for the drink]
In the long run that type runs out of steam because it takes a whole helluva lot to stay with it; there are easier ways to get noticed. So the next time you see a naked girl streaking through the test match at Lords, turn to the person next to you and tell them. ‘Wanted to be a writer, you know.’
Writing was not something I decided to do when I was two years old. [Don’t you just loath those people who say they knew their destiny before they could find their way home without needing the address sewn on the inside of their clothes?]
Though I did start early; at ten I won a schools short story competition and didn’t scribble another word in anger for forty years. When I did…I just did.
And it was terrible. Really awful.
So awful I couldn’t do anything but improve. I poured over everything I could find on writing: Elmore Leonard, Stephen King. Even Dorothy Parker. I made lots of notes and memorised all their wonderful advice.
I would go to Waterstones on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow, take a well known book off the shelf and turn to a page – not the first page – any page. A paragraph or two was always enough to convince me I wasn’t going to find what I was looking for. And what was I looking for?
The secret. The difference. The how.
If only I could discover whatever it was they had. No surprise I never did. That forced me to take the traditional route: open up the computer and start. Every writer will tell you the same. Read and write, and somewhere along the line you might…just might, become what you want to be. At least that’s the theory.
My books Games People Play and Old Friends and New Enemies have just come out on Amazon. The reviews are amazing. [although the one my sister posted isn’t too hot. Must speak to her about that].
People said about Games People Play, ‘I can’t believe this is your first novel.’
I study my shoes and pretend to be a modest genius who has been reluctantly found out. The truth is Games People Play isn’t my first novel; it’s my fifth. And Old Friends and New Enemies is my sixth. I’m not above a bit of showing off. Trouble is it won’t produce a story. The only way that will happen is if you set aside the time to learn the craft and write write write.
I wish you well with it. Must boot up the pc now and pretend to be creating. Somebody I know is coming down the street.
Games People Play and Old Friends and New Enemies by Owen Mullen. Available on
Worldwide Amazon http://authl.it/B01BAQYUU8
Owen has very kindly sent me a kindle copy of Old Friends and New Enemies, but I think I will have to read Games People Play first. Both are on my TBR list.
On a warm summer’s evening thirteen month old Lily Hamilton is abducted from Ayr beach in Scotland, taken while her parents are yards away. Three days later, the distraught father turns up at Glasgow PI Charlie Cameron’s office and begs him to help. Mark Hamilton believes he knows who has stolen his daughter. And why.
Against his better judgement Charlie gets involved in a case he would be better off without. But when a child’s body is discovered on Fenwick Moor, then another in St Andrews, the awful truth dawns: there is a serial killer out there whose work has gone undetected for decades. Baby Lily may be the latest victim of a madman.
For Charlie it’s too late, he can’t let go. His demons won’t let him.
The stunning first novel featuring Glasgow PI Charlie Cameron. Games People Play will have the reader guessing to the very last page.
Buy a copy here – Games People Play
The body on the mortuary slab wasn’t who Glasgow PI Charlie Cameron was looking for. But it wasn’t a stranger. Ian Selkirk had been stabbed through the heart and dumped in the loch.
Suddenly, a routine missing persons investigation becomes a fight for survival as Charlie goes up against a notorious Glasgow gangster. Jimmy Rafferty is ruthless. Even his own family are terrified of him. He wants to use Charlie to get something for him. And Jimmy Rafferty always gets what he wants.
Only one problem.
Charlie doesn’t know where it is.
Buy your copy here – Old Friends and New Enemies
About the author:
School was a waste of time for me. Or rather, I wasted time; my own and every teacher’s who tried to get me to work. It took twenty years to appreciate what they were telling me. Life has rules. They aren’t written down but they exist nevertheless. I got that. Eventually. But by then I was thirty five.
Along the way I missed an important clue. At ten I won a national primary schools short story competition – and didn’t write anything else for forty years.
SMART BOY WANTED
As a teenager my big obsession was music. Early on I realised if I was successful I would probably be rich and famous and pull lots of girls.
So how did that turn out?
Well, you haven’t heard of me, have you? And this morning I caught myself worrying about the electricity bill. So the short answer is: one out of three ain’t bad.
Running around the country in a Transit van with your mates is fun. It’s your very own gang. You against the world. Until you fall out and the dream lies bleeding on the dressing-room floor.
When that happened I went to London
[everybody from Scotland goes to London, it’s like first footing at New Year, or ten pints of lager and a vindaloo on a Friday night; a sacred tradition]
and became a session singer. I also started gigging with different bands on the circuit.
Back in Scotland – most of us come back with wild tales of great success, none of them true – I wondered what I should do with myself and didn’t have to wait long for the answer. Her name was Christine. We got married, I went to Strathclyde Uni and got a bunch of letters after my name, and toughing it out at Shotts Miner’s Welfare, or dodging flying beer cans at the Café Club in Baillieston, was in the past. The long hair was short now, I wore a suit and pretended to like people I didn’t like because we were ‘colleagues’.
After many adventures I started my own marketing and design business and did alright. Christine and I were very happy, we travelled all over the place; India, Brazil, Botswana, Nepal, Borneo, Japan. One day I suggested we move. To the Greek islands. So we did. We bought land and built a beautiful villa overlooking the Mediterranean. Then the pan global financial crash happened, years of fiscal carelessness finally caught up with Greece; the exchange rate dived and the cost of living in Paradise went through the roof.
I had to do something. Then I remembered the short story competition. I had been good at writing, hadn’t I?
I wrote another short story called The King Is Dead…the first thing I’d written since primary school. When I typed the last word [Christine taught me to type] I held the pages in my hand then started to read. An hour and a half, rooted to the chair unable to believe what was in front of my eyes. For four decades I had shunned a god given gift. And as I read I started to understand why. It was awful. Not just bad. Bloody terrible.
But I kept going.
And now, eight years and seven books later, three literary agents plus two I turned down [they were reading a different book] I am a writer. My books are on Amazon. People buy them and come back for more.
One seasoned London agent has predicted I am destined to be ‘a major new force in British crime fiction.’
So is the moral: follow my example, find something you’re good at and stick with it. Hardly. I didn’t, did I? Do it your own way; it’s your life.
If you enjoy reading my novels please leave a review, it is immensely helpful and greatly appreciated.
Many thanks to Owen for joining me on my blog today.
What this space for my reviews.