Fate, discusses his book, his journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.
DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Fate?
JOHN DICKINSON: Bentley Driver doesn't know who he is. He's lost in a storm and cries to Fate/God, whatever is controlling him, 'Who am I? Why am I here? Am I in charge of my life or just an observer of it?' And I, of course, am the author of his fate, and I am writing his story. He begins a dialogue with me which is visible to the reader. This thread is woven into the book, and is not so simple as it appears.
DAVID WISEHART: What research did you do for the book?
JOHN DICKINSON: Read Frankenstein, checked local geography, but basically it's an imagined 1930s world. The references to domestic life in a rundown stately home owe much to my mother's life as cook to aristocracy in those times.
DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?
JOHN DICKINSON: They seem to come alive on their own.
DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?
JOHN DICKINSON: Someone who is intelligent, likes a puzzle, a murder mystery and a romance with a happy ending. They also like to ponder deep philosophical and paradoxical questions.
DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?
JOHN DICKINSON: I began with my own memoirs, then wrote childrens' stories, many short stories including ghost stories which were read on BBC radio York, and joined the Scarborough Writers' Circle. After my mother died in 2001 I spent some years writing my parents' story as a novel covering almost all the last century, and it's just coming out on Farthings Publishing (Fine Wife You Turned Out to Be).
DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?
JOHN DICKINSON: Very simple. I write at the computer. Three hours at a time. Check for typing errors later, and revise bit by bit over months to improve the whole thing.
DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?
JOHN DICKINSON: I'm a big fan of Shakespeare.
DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?
JOHN DICKINSON: Superfudge by Judy Blume. I used to read it to my classes when I was a teacher, and it made them laugh every time.
DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?
JOHN DICKINSON: Through the writer's circle I mentioned, and I'm working through twitter, and all my contacts.
DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?
JOHN DICKINSON: I think it's the way forward. Anyone can do it, and has a level playing field as a new entrant. Costs are nil and rewards could be good.
DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?
JOHN DICKINSON: Just do it. Follow the instructions, and check your book looks OK at the preview stage.
DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The songs are mostly aimed at children, being written originally for school plays, but now can be found on the British Council website, http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/songs, where about three quarters of the cartoons are John’s songs and recordings. Many are original, but there are also well known and traditional ones too.
Family history is a big interest, and Fine Wife You Turned Out to Be, is his account of Jack and Mary Dickinson’s lives, covering almost all of the last century, with life in service, stately homes, a five year prisoner of war period just after marriage, and a son born out of wedlock who later married the niece of the French resistance woman who had supported Jack though the war. A great plot for a novel, except that it’s all true!
John has also written Mostly Ghostly, a collection of short stories, some of which were on Radio York; Molly Perkins—Time travel Detective, a children’s book in two parts for ten year olds; and Fate, a suspense romance with Gothic horror and a hint of Frankenstein. It has a happy ending. It’s a psychological mystery set mainly in the thirties and earlier. These last three are to be found on Amazon as Kindle ebooks, priced just over two pounds.
Follow him on twitter.
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