Saturday, December 10, 2011

End of Year lists.

Considering I've never featured in any newspaper or magazine's end-of-year lists before, 2011 is turing out to be a pretty good year. First up was The Independent, which was brilliant, despite the fact they appear to have changed my name.

Then there's The Daily Telegraph. Another one I was delighted to see, even though they have me down as a Chelsea fan. I also got a mention in The Observer.

Another brilliant thing was getting totally unexpected recommendations from Danny Kelly and Freya North

Saturday, October 8, 2011

How I saved myself from a visit by the SAS

It all started when Lee put a post up on Twitter asking which of the three books he'd just bought he should read first.

Obviously, 32 Programmes would have been my recommendation. But seeing that one of his other choices was the latest offering by mysterious former SAS operative and soldier, Andy Mcnab, I decided this would be the best strategy:

Turned out I was right.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Do authors care about bad reviews?

You often read about writers who claim never to read reviews and even if they did, they don't care about what they say. I'm sure I've claimed the same thing myself on occasions. But the truth - for me, anyway - is that I read every single one. I can get a dozen good ones and think "Oh, that's nice", whereas it just takes one negative review, even if it's someone on Amazon, to ruin my day and make me decide that I'll never write another book. Ever.

This kind of slightly irrational thinking reached its peak late last month, just after the new book had got its second 'Book of the Week' in a national Sunday paper. I was feeling pretty good about life until I checked Amazon and saw that even though most reviewers seemed to really enjoy it, there was someone who really didn't like it. That was it. Completely wiped out all the good feelings and it was a couple of days before I felt like writing again.

Do authors care about bad reviews? Absolutely.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My morning at Transworld

One of the benefits of having 32 Programmes published by a major outfit like Transworld was that I got to visit their offices and have a look around. It got even better when I spotted a couple of Derren Brown books and pointed out that I was a fan. "Go on, help yourself" was the reply. This scenario was repeated about half a dozen times, when I confessed to being a big fan of, amongst others, Lee Child, Paul O'Grady, Jamie Carragher and Bear Grylls.

The highlight, though, was meeting all the people that had worked on the book, from Lisa who came up with the brilliant cover design to Vivien, the apparently unflappable production manager. The gentlemen in the picture are the ones I've been most closely involved with; on the left, the book's editor Giles Elliott, who made the whole thing happen AND came with me to a Bromley match, while on the right is Ben Willis, who never seems to stop promoting various books, including mine.

It was a fantastic day, capped off by a champagne celebration and a hugely flattering speech by Giles.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Why write books when you hardly make any money out of them? Here's why.

A couple of days ago, I got this email from Brian Kennedy, an Irish writer who had just read The Bromley Boys:

"I've just put the book down with tears in my eyes at how beautifully nostalgic the story is.
How innocent, gulliable and yet loveable you and all the characters are.
Funny, witty, and I adored every page - what reduced me to tears was the way you told the story of everyone in the epilogue. Ordinary everyday people , with everyday jobs that gave no less , and probably more, then any Premiership player dispite the handicap of being, well, woeful!
It was the promotion in 2007 and seeing Roy in the backround that killed me you sod!!! I'm 41 !! I don't need to have tears rolling down my cheeks reading about people I've never met!
Just needed to email you to say you've filled my heart with a warm glow, and its even made me track down all the 14 members of my Kilbarry Rangers side that played 18 games of the 1992/93 season, winning 0 drawing 3 and losing 15 so I can invite them all to the launch. Our "Corinthians Casuals" were Stradbally FC and we avoided finishing stone last in Division 4B of the Waterford Junior & District League (the lowest league available) by draw 1-1 at there ground with a last minute goal by our "Phil Amato" - George O' Mahoney who seemed to run 100 meters from the half way line to get a touch on the ball 2 yards from the goal-line I'd chipped over the Stradbally keeper to steal my thunder.
Thank you my friend. Loved it . And hopefully I'll get the pleasure of meeting you in real life some day.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Like Bees to Honey - Caroline Smailes

In a shocking turn of events, I am turning over today's blog post to a subject other than ME. Caroline Smailes, who is a fantastically good writer, has a new book out next week called Like Bees To Honey. Having read a fair chunk of it already (as well as all her other books), I am confident that this is going to be her breakthrough. So, as a way of grabbing a slice of the glory showing support, I am hosting this stage of what modern book-types call a 'Blog Tour'. Here, for your pleasure, is Chapter Nine: