An Interview With Joel Seath: Author and Creator of Beauty…

Joel Seath is an author who writes to find the beautiful things in the world and to explore the characters that make life wonderful and sad. I met Joel on my travels and immediately cottoned onto his love for all things literary. We set up and interview and he answered my questions with ease. I found myself sitting back to listen to what he had to say rather than thinking of another question. Easy interviews are rare– but this was one of the easiest.

Joel

Q) So Joel, why did you become an author?

A) It’s a compulsion, a drive, I suppose. When you write you just need to keep on writing.

Q) What does a compulsive drive to write feel like?

A) It often feels like blocking out, locking in, sinking in. You know? Some days it’s a rush. Some days you read and re-read and it’s like you’re looking at something that shines (or might shine) and you want to keep that, show that, have that, always.

Q) Do you ever find it hard to stop yourself from writing? Is it like a daze or a dream you can’t break from?

A) Physically writing (or typing), yes, I suppose. I mean, it can be extremely immersive, as many writers will know. However, that immersion also plays itself out in the day-to-day, pen not in hand, computer not on. Words (or the possibility of them) are everywhere.

Q) Words are your thing as a writer? So what is your favourite word?

A) What an excellent question! A barman asked me what my favourite book was recently (your question reminds me of that): how to pick one? You can tell by the long pause that this has given me cause to think. I can tell you what my most recently learned word is (and, by extension, a current favourite): tenebrous.

Q) Tenebrous? So what does tenebrous mean?

A) It’s to do with the obscure, the dark, as I understand it. This isn’t a reflection of my writing; rather, the word has a sort of rhythmic quality to me.

Q) Well, you have to learn something new everyday! So, lets reflect on your writing. What do you like to write about? Tell me about your writing.

A) In all its forms, long and short, my writing is intended as a means of finding the small gems of this world. There are hidden things in between what we just see on the surface– there are textures and layers to relationships, subtleties, moments. I’m looking for the moments that also linger. There are ‘objects’ of beauty, even in the laments, in many places.

Q) It’s interesting that you write about “beauty,” as everyone’s definition of beauty is so different. What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever written about? What is “beautiful” to you?

A) Well, beauty is subjective, of course, but I’m sometimes taken aback by how things turn out. It’s unexpected. There are moments that happen which I read time and again because they still have some power over me. In one of my stories, a child’s brief interaction with the narrator takes me in every time; in another piece, it was something I wrote in a female voice because I needed to do this more, I was there with her, as her, in Venice because the words were in that flow state; poetry is a vanity, but there are lines of colour and there are lines that sink me sometimes. Questions such as these are like choosing between children!

Q) If you could write anywhere in the world– where would it be? What landscape would really incite your creativity?

A) On a beach, in the mountains, in a forest, all of these. Specifically, though I’ve done my fair share of overseas travelling, I’d come back to the west of Cornwall. Standing on the cliffs overlooking some of the little unknown coves down there, the sea and the wind in your hair and on your face, that huge sky (it really is huge, like they say in their tourism promotions), makes words just come in for me. The artists there laud it for the light; I just can’t get enough of the energy.

Q) I understand that you’re published so others can enjoy your creative energy. Which of your works are currently available?

A) I’ve got a collection out at the moment (Disintegration and Other Stories). I loosely label this as literary fiction (though that term can be interpreted in many ways). DaOS is out in ebook and print. This collection came together in an odd way: I didn’t realise that there’d been a thread running through some of my writings for a number of years. It was like seeing invisible ink slowly become visible. I’m working on a collection of micro fiction, which will be a first volume (Four Kinds of Wreckage) to be added to. Micro fiction is much misunderstood. Away from fiction, I’m also published in the field of what’s known as ‘playwork’ (a particular way of working with children). I’ve had writings taken on by the national/international playwork publication for the sector, as well as credits with the organisation concerned with psycholudic playwork practice. (Now though, I fear I’m stepping into the jargon of my other calling – though writing is also a big part of this, too).

disintegration

Q) So tell me Joel– why did you want to be interviewed by me?

A) You do a good job of finding writers, Nick. When I became aware of your work I came over to your blog, and yes, I like what I see here. What you’re doing is exactly what writers need– a way of getting their words out there.

Q) Thank you, Joel. One of my stock questions is to ask– if you could be any writer from any time who would it be?

A) As far as writers are concerned, I have a range (as we all do probably): Milan Kundera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jeannette Winterson, Iain Banks, Ian McEwan, Italo Calvino, Jack Kerouac, Neil Gaiman, Adrian Henri. There are others. I wouldn’t want just one small list to define me, though we start somewhere with questions such as these.

Q) Characters are important to you. What makes a good character for you?

A) The unusual wrapped up in the usual. Subtlety people often might not see. The strangely put. Love in odd places, ways; perceptions of this. Someone who aches in some way.

Q) It has often been said that “repeated readability makes a book.” Would you as an author agree with that?

A) Yes, I think I would. Who was it who said that journalism is read once, whilst literature more than this? Something like that. Anyway, it’s the sentiment here that counts. There are books on my shelf that I come back to time and again; there are passages on some pages that just astound me. Kerouac wrote about ‘fields the colour of love and Spanish mysteries’ in On the Road. I come back to that time and again.

Q) You strike me as an intellectual– someone striving for the beautiful things in life. Would you agree with that?

A) I don’t know about intellectual! I certainly am on the search for the beauty of the world though. That’s in words, in moments, in art, in love and lament, in the play of children, in the play of us, in nature.

Q) What would you personally deem as “ugly”?

A) There’s nothing so ugly as not wanting to see, perhaps. Ugliness is also wrapped up in the politics of power, greed, deceit.

Q) Power, greed, deceit are words usually entwined with politics. How do you feel about the political scene in America right now? Are you an Obama follower?

A) For me these words are part of Politics (as in that which a politician is involved in); however, these words are also within the politics of everyone, their relations. Lennon had an angle here! As for Obama, I don’t really get too immersed in Politics anywhere, if I can help it, because politicians bring the media to their door in many ways. That said, when politicians willfully ignore children and their play, this gets me going! Back to Obama, he strikes me as intelligent enough, though of course I’m not in the US and not directly subjected to American policy.

Q) Well, I think we’ll end there Joel. Thank you for a great interview!

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A New Career? “Try Writing Books!” says Lloyd Tackitt

Soldier, Construction Project Manager, Author. Lloyd Tackitt has lived and now he is on my blog for an interview. How did I meet Lloyd? Just another fateful meeting when two people start a conversation. I asked Lloyd over for an interview and he replied by asking me when would be a good time? Right now? Okay, lets talk….

Lloyd Tackitt
Q) Nice to meet you, Lloyd! So you’ve written a few books. Which of your works is your favourite?

A) Hi Nicholas, it’s a pleasure to visit with you.

I’ve published three books in a post-apocalyptic slash survival series. The first two books – A Distant Eden and Adrian’s War. They are half survival manual and half novel. I thought it would be interesting to mix real survival instruction with a fictional account of how they were used. The books are getting excellent reviews and selling very well – getting attention mostly by word of mouth. Top reviews have been given for both elements of these books, the instruction element and the story line.

The third book – Eden’s Hammer – is more novel than manual. Survival instructions are finite, at least real ones are. I covered just about everything in the first two books on survival without getting into the esoteric techniques – such as starting a fire with a candy bar and a can of soda. Eden’s Hammer includes tribal scale guerrilla warfare tactics that are explained, but mostly it’s about the adventures of the main character, Adrian Hunter. This book was released the first week of January.

I am writing the fourth book in the series now. I haven’t settled on a title yet. I think this fourth book may be my favorite so far.

Q) What drove you to become a writer and which book was your first release?

A) My first release was A Distant Eden. It was published in March of 2012. The second book Adrian’s War was released in August of 2012, and the third, Eden’s Hammer, in January of 2013.

What drove me to write the first book was a combination of three things. 1. A fascination with the subject of post-apocalyptic survival. 2. The advent of self-publishing at the level it recently reached, making it available to me. 3. I spend three hours per day commuting to and from work, leaving me a lot of time to think about what to write.

What drove me to write the others, and to continue writing, is a love of writing. I have written a considerable number of short stories (available for free at lloydtackitt.com). Those stories eventually led to writing the first novel. My novels, so far, have been on the short side of the classic novel definition, around sixty-thousand words each. My writing style is compressed and direct – nothing florid about it. I try to make every word count and not put any filler or fluff in. I could easily double the length of these books, but the story would be the same story with a lot of window dressing. Not my style.

A Distant Eden

Q) How are the public taking to your work? How are sales?

A) Excellent. Far better than I had dared to hope for. Sales have been truly wonderful and the feedback has been beyond my wildest dreams. I am developing a rapidly expanding reader base, and get emails every day asking when the next story will be available. My answer to that question is – As soon as I can get it finished, polished, and published. I write part-time, my days are very full and leave little time for writing, but I squeeze writing in every chance I get. I’ve published three books in ten months, so you can see that while my writing career is part-time, it is productive.

Q) So your latest release is Edens Hammer. Can you tell me what us a little bit about it?

With no spoilers? Okay, I’ll give it a try. Imagine a man who is in a post-apocalyptic world and has recently lost the love of his life. He has gone off into the mountains to be alone, but ended up in a war with a group of raiders that also practiced cannibalism. He’s just finished that war when his uncle sends word to come home as fast as possible, their entire village – Fort Brazos — is under threat of annihilation. Adrian, the protagonist, rushes home to find a large group of criminals about to descend on his village and overwhelm it with superior numbers and firepower. Adrian assesses the situation and goes into action to save his village. Much more than that and I start to tell the story itself.

Q) Where did the title Edens Hammer come from?

A) I’m not completely sure it’s explainable. Partly because it is a part of the Distant Eden series of course; but also partly because the protagonist, Adrian, is the one man that his family and friends believes can save them. Titles are strange, you try several out, roll them around in your mind for a while and then try some more. When one finally feels right you leave it alone for a few weeks, then try it again and see if it still feels right. Eventually, one feels right and keeps feeling right and you go with it. There’s a lot to the selection process that isn’t rational, more intuitive. Like working out the cover art.

Q) How would you describe the process of writing a book?

A) I’ve written tons of short stories and the books are kind of different and kind of the same. At least the process I follow is– probably different for each writer. First, I think about the story while commuting. I roughly shape it in my head, the introduction phase, the first couple of pinch points, the main crisis and the resolution. These are my guideposts.

When I have that firmly in my mind, I begin writing. The first draft is almost purely spontaneous, letting the characters lead me as I go along. You’ve heard of the characters taking over the story? That’s true for me. Often the characters are out there wandering around getting into and out of trouble and I have no idea what they’re going to be up to next. Other than they follow the general guideposts I mentioned earlier. That’s the first draft.

Once the first draft is complete, then I go back and start re-writing, changing the story here and there, adding and subtracting. That’s the second draft.

When the second draft is complete I go back and really tweak the “close to the ground” part of the story. Re-working dialogue, checking for conformity of details, adding descriptions of places and people.

When that’s complete, I go through it looking for spelling and grammar errors, or clumsy sentences. After that I send it to the editor, get it back from the editor and go through the comment review/approval process. The final version goes to the formatter to get it in shape to upload. I’ll have been working with the cover artist for a few weeks at this point and it should be completed. After formatting is done and cover art is done, I upload it and then start chewing my nails waiting for reviews.

Q) If you could have written any book by any author– which would it have been and why?

A) “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. My all time, number one (with no number two even close) favorite book. Harper Lee creates a world that is completely immersive and inclusive. I cannot read that book without being pulled into it. I’ve read it perhaps fifty or sixty times, trying to understand her writing style – but I always get pulled into the story and can’t see the trees for the forest. Her style is completely invisible, you just can’t see it.

It’s also a story that has every element in it that you could ask for, and the characters become so real that I sometimes think of them when I am recalling family members of long ago.

Q) How many books do you have in mind for release?

A) Total? I have no idea. I am going to start a murder mystery series soon. The Distant Eden series has at least one more book to go– the one I am working on now. I may come back to it later and add more, it’s an open ended world that can be described in story for many books to come.

Adrians War

Q) How was your publishing experience? Would you promote self publishing?

Since I self-publish it’s a peaceful experience. It’s all in my control – other than the amount of time it takes to get material back from editing, formatting and cover art. I can’t control those time frames entirely, but by planning ahead with the various people involved the time is kept to a minimum.

Q) Do you have an editor or do you edit your own work?

A) I’ve worked with editors. I can’t edit my own work objectively. If I tried to self-edit I would never finish a book. I never look at one of my manuscripts without wanting to make changes, and sometimes a lot of them. At some point though you have to let go and move on, and by sending it out to an editor I can make that break while getting objective criticism on the final book. That’s a great way to work. Editors and editing were invented for a reason.

Q) Edens Hammer is out now, correct? Where can people buy it?

It’s out now and can be purchased on Amazon for the Kindle version and CreateSpace for the paperback. The paperback will eventually be available on Amazon also, but that always takes time. A Distant Eden has just been released in audio format as well.

Q) Have you got a website for readers to keep up with your work?

A) I do have a website that has many of my short stories on it. I’m not a computer savvy person so I don’t update the site often with recent news. It’s lloydtackitt.com.

I also have an author’s Facebook page that I can operate so it has more up-to-date information on it. http://www.facebook.com/AuthorLloydTackitt

I also have an email address where readers can correspond with me. I always try to answer within five days and usually do better than that. I’ll answer questions about the books, the upcoming releases, survival, or just about anything other than religion and politics. lloydtackitt@gmail.com

On the subject of politics, I sometimes blog at: libertyauthors.com/index.php/lloydtackitt/

I am also an avid fly fisherman and blog on fishing at: fishexplorer.com on the Texas part of the website.

So! Now, I have to go out and get a copy of Edens Hammer. I’ll do that just as soon as I click the publish button on here! I’m coming, Lloyd!

Irving Unleashed… A Revealing Conversation with Terry Irving

The last time I met with Mr Terry Irving we spent a lot of time talking about his career. This time I had a lot of mail from people asking to know more about the man. Let me take you to a cold winter evening in 2012. Terry was busy– but anxious to get the interview started. The tape rolls as follows…

 

terry Irving 3I’mm Baa-aack. All ready to do an interview with you, Nick.

Q) Hey Terry–ready to start?

A) Sure– oddly enough, I have another interview scheduled with IPTV Magazine – don’t know why.

Q) Okay, so let me ask you– did you enjoy the first interview we conducted?

A) I LOVED it– oh have we started?

(I knew from this start that Terry was in a good mood– jovial and Terry Irving go well together.)

Q) Yes, but I’ll keep that in– just for my ego.

A) Well, then let’s forge on into the verbal wilderness.

Q) I loved it, too– so what should we talk about?

A) How about my effing book (to use Terry Prachett’s words)?

(I was bent over doubled up laughing by this point.)

Q) Your effing book? Fine– so what do you like about your effing book?

A) I have a new review blurb: “An action-packed, entertaining, and thought-provoking story appropriate for a wide audience.” Of course, it’s from the editor at Createspace, and I would suspect they don’t usually tell their authors that their novel is the worst thing they’ve read since Terry Southern’s last effort.

Q) You can’t trust an editor or journalist, Terry. Hasn’t working with me told you that?

A) No, but I’ve never trusted you.

Q) Why? (I said, falling for the joke.)

A) In the words of Ronald Reagan, “Trust but Verify”, or as Jimmy Carter said when he landed in Poland, “I would like to have carnal love with all of you.” That last was a translator’s error.

Q) Well, I’m glad you verify my work– if you didn’t I’d be worried! Seriously, so how many people do you have working on your book? What do they do? Do you have a team?

A) In full disclosure, in the other book I’m currently writing – The Unemployed Guy’s Guide to Unemployment – I have a long section on the depression that affects the unemployed. To test out my theories on the subject, I woke up at 3am worrying about, well, everything. Then, I was too tired to write and too awake to sleep, so I wasted a couple of hours worrying about the unfixable.

To make a long story slightly less boring, my head feels like it’s filled with bees and I have the attention span and the vocabulary of a newborneinfant. I want the reading public to know this and protest your inhumane practices. PAYING THE BILLS worries me the most. Now, this is an interesting little chat-up between old boffins, but we should get to the meat of the matter and talk about the bloody book. Is it boffins or Gaffers?

Q) I prefer broke-ass writers.

A) Mates?

Q) Mates!

A) Onwards

Q) To victory

A) Ask a question about the book.

Q) So, about your book, Courier, Terry– how do you feel about it? Would you buy it?

A) I never set out to write Great Literature. I wanted a book that would be sitting in a bookstore at an airport and you would pick it up and go, “Hmmm. Looks okay. Should get me through the flight to LA.” It became a bit more complex than that, but basically I managed to stay away from complex ideas and literary merit.

Q) Is it all about telling a tale then? All about entertaining people?

A) I think so. Or at least that’s generally the sort of book I read. Sometimes I’m amazed when I realize that I’ve read all these serious tomes about War and Politics and the War of the Roses and whatever because I never intend to.I want to be Lee Child. That guy has what appears to be an effortless ability to force the reader – not force, entice would be better – to read on and on. I know it’s not just luck but a lot of hard work, but that’s what I’d like to be able to do. Write so that the reader forgets it’s a book so that afterwards, they simply remember the scene or the action and aren’t really sure if it was a book, a tv show or a movie.

Q) Of course, you see your book as a movie too, right?

A) Yes, my background is writing for television so the pictures are always in my mind as I write. The characters are usually talking in the background as well so it can get pretty complex in there. One of the areas I see as a weakness is that I have a fairly blunt style of writing – again from the stripped language of TV news where every word has to earn its place into a script – and I don’t put in enough descriptive sentences. I had my character crash off his motorcycle and scrape along the pavement for about a paragraph. Dennis LeHane has his guy go through a windshield and the description goes on for two pages. AND it’s brilliant.

Q) How about Stephen King? Does he grab you as an author?

A) Stephen King. Does anyone like Stephen King? Stephen King and Terry Goodkind should be placed in a box and separated from the rest of the world. Oh, along with Robert Jordan.

Q) I take it you don’t share the opinion that they are literary greats?

A) No. they are fairly smart hacks who just write endless pages of endless copy with no point, no beauty and no reason for existence. Not that I’m being critical, mind you. I once bought a Stephen Kingbook on tape to keep me awake on a straight-through drive to Florida, and I ended up smashing it on the ground somewhere in mid-Georgia. Later, I read that he had based the entire 20 book series on the line “To the Black Tower, Childe Harold rode.” Sadly, King is also very smart and inventive and, I suppose, scary and lots of people like him so I’m not going to be too critical. Those who like him love him, and if they read the books then that’s great!

Q) Who would you call a great writer?

A) Great writer? Dashiel Hammett, Edgar Allen Poe, Lord Dunsany, H.P. Lovecraft who invented the Chulthu Mythos, Tolkien– writers who created entire new areas of literature. Tolkien’s world was a brilliant invention that took almost nothing from previous writers. No one has done it better since. ‘Continental Op’ is one of the best books ever. Hammett invents the entire private eye, noire, entirely American theme of the lone man with a code of honour.

Q) How about Chandler? Great writer?

A) Chandler? A good writer – not a great one. I mean, you can only have so many Great Writers or you start to debase the currency. I’m happy if I can find an OK writer to read. Alfred Bester, Philip K. Dick, Jules Verne, those are some of the better writers.

Q) (John) Steinbeck?

A) Steinbeck? Ehh. Yes, he was great but … everyone knows that already and Dos Passos was a lot more fun. Pynchon was great until he began to write in code.

Q) Who would you call the worst writer you’ve read?

A) The worst writer. You mean, besides a significant number of the authors I see online these days? I would have to say Terry Goodkind, otherwise. Derivative, uninteresting, lousy descriptions, unreal conversations – of course, I made all these decisions from reading about 20 pages of one book. My other pet hatred are the writers who sell off their worlds to other writers– usually without warning you. They should be given a sound thrashing and sent to bed with out rice pudding.

Q) So you don’t much care for the self-published author?

A) I really don’t know enough about the entire self-publishing world. That was one of my ponderings last night. I know there are some real dogs out there but that’s probably true in any field. I suspect that there are some excellent authors in the self-pub area but I also suspect that the big publishing houses are watching and picking off the ones that don’t suck. My problem is that I really don’t understand this new paradigm of publishing at all. I can’t understand “books” that run 17 pages. That’s a menu at a restaurant, not a book. I don’t understand why mass paperbacks are a minimum of 80,000 words but anything over 60,000 is considered too big in the self-pub business, and I really don’t understand how to make any money here.

Q) I think you are meant to be published by a house. I’m not sure why you aren’t, but I believe something isn’t being done right.

A) I think big publishers are terrified of the changes and are only accepting the big authors and books with vampires and zombies – preferably both. I wanted to be picked up by a major publishing house – heck, I had friends at three of them! But it hasn’t happened and I’m just egotistical enough to believe it’s not because Courier is a terrible book.

Q) Terry, you have just dared a publishing house to take your book. Calling them out!

A) First off, it was ever thus. I was reading one author – a huge seller – who said that his first book was sent to over 200 editors. JK Rowling, the same. Plus, where book editors used to have a certain leeway to pick a book that was out of the mainstream but they thought had a little something – today, any choice goes to a central publishing committee and you have to defend your choice. Gah! I’d pick vampires, too.

Q) Would I be right to say you’re angry with the lack of vision within the publishing industry then?

A) “Lack of vision”? Nah, I’ve been in television buddy. I’ve seen “lack of vision” on its home ground, where it was born and raised. It’s the realities of the market and the changes in technology. I imagine people in publishing are terrified. All the rules have changed. I mean, people do interviews with bloggers for Pete’s sake, instead of good, reliable radio shows.

Q) Does it worry you that your book might get lost in a sea of loser novels?

A) It worries me that my book could get lost in a sea of good novels. I’ve written a very personal novel – based on my own experiences – and set in a world that few people really know– Television News in the 1970’s. Young people have no clue what I’m talking about and there simply weren’t that many of us working in the industry at the time (which made it really really fun – young people could take a chance and do just about anything).

Q) Do you find it difficult to adapt to the new way of things?

A) Seriously, no. My job in television – and certainly for 8 years at Nightline – was to take a very complex subject that I knew nothing about. Research it, understand it and then break it down to its essentials so I could explain it to a mass audience. Learning about self-publishing and 99 percent e-books and i-books and whatever; is really just a version of the same thing. I left a cushy job at ABC News in 1993 and, after cold-calling a dozen people, went to Los Angeles and wrote a CD-ROM interactive History of the World. I picked up non-linear editing, was VP at a startup where we were going to have online video classes for businesses and where we did the outline, and Tada Industries in Calcutta did the programming overnight on this weird “Internet” thingie.

Q) Did it pay off?

A) Nope.

Q) You like taking chances?

A) I have consistently been far enough ahead of the technology curve that there was neither the audience nor the content to support my efforts. It was fun though. It’s not as much about taking chances as being willing to try doing something new. I’d never written a film script before I wrote one, I’d never watched streaming media before I became VP of a streaming media company.

Q) How about your successes? What would you class as your achievements?

A) My achievements? Well, if you’re honest with yourself, you really don’t do much of lasting importance in TV. However, I did have a significant role in two cases where the show I did made a difference in real life. One was the first time we went to South Africa in 1985 and Apartheid was in its last full-bore application before the whites gave up. We put (Arch) Bishop Desmond Tutu on the air side by side with Foreign MinisterPik Botha. It was literally the first time that South Africans had seen an educated, erudite black man disagree with a powerful white man in public.

The other was a show that I’d been trying to do for several years on “Heavy Urban Rescue”. That’s what you do afteranincident like the World Trade Towers, like the Mexico City earthquake, or like Katrina in New Orleans. The US government was fielding rescue teams that knew how to handle these situations, but they were being run out of the State Department and couldn’t be sent to domestic events. When a department store in a small town simply pancaked down on a couple of hundred people, I pushed the show and we pointed out that an efficient rescue and relief administration wasn’t a matter of cost but accumulated knowledge. If you’re a local mayor, you’re not going to put resources into UHR, you’re just going to hope it doesn’t happen, but it always happens several times a year in a nation. I was told that the day after the show ran, there was a high-level meeting at the White House and they proceeded to completely revamp FEMA along those lines. Sadly, eventhough that was done by the administration of the first George Bush, it was specifically dismantled by George W. Bush – with the results you saw in New Orleans.

Q) Would you say you’re in an angry mood today?

A) Nope. Just passionate. It’s just that the changes to destroy FEMA were done specifically to ensure that people did not expect any help from their government. It was ideological and stupid.

Q) So tell me, you have friends in the publishing industry– what do they think about Courier?

A) My friends in the publishing business went running like scared bunnies when I asked for the favor. My agent, Dean Krystek is a good guy. I specifically wrote him and asked that he continue as my agent even as I did the self-publishing route and we would work out some sort of arrangement. I like having professionals on my side – lawyers, accountants, agents. It enables you go up against the big guys. Nick, you’re doing well as a little guy against the big guns – talk about someone with drive and ambition.

Q) Thank you, Terry– I try my best.

A) I just want to understand this bloody new business. I can write a 17 page “book” a day – seriously. I was looking at all these e-books and i-books and they’re all 70 pages long. That would take about a week.

Q) Well. looks like we’ve come to the end of this interview. You have another to get to right? Any last words of advice?

A) You only need to speak 10 things in any language to be a journalist. Hello, Goodbye, Thank You, Yes, No, Go straight, Turn left, Turn Right, and “don’t kill me, I’m a journalist”.

With that, Terry Irving was whisked off to meet another writer and greet another new audience. I was left with one of the best interviews anyone could ask for. Courier is soon to be banging on your door and it’s only a matter of time before Mr Terry Irving is back in front of you as a fitting– not a fixture. Nick Wale needs a drink after this interview– sure as hell tired me out! All you writers who need an agent– Dean Krystek is the guy to find!

If you want to know more about Mr. Irving, find Terry’s first interview here.

A Quickie With Political Commentator Mike Sivier from Vox Political

To catch a Mike Sivier is simple. You wait until he passes by and then you reel him in with some juicy discussion about politics. Now, I love fishing! I found myself standing by the river bank today, and I was lucky enough to catch a Mike for a short time. What follows is the discussion between an eager fisherman and a political fish! I hope you enjoy our time together!

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Q) Hi, Mike! So let’s start of with a simple question. Why do you vote for the British Labour Party?

A) Is that your first question? I am actually finding it quite hard to answer!

Q) Sorry Mike! I guess I just like making them tough.

A) It shouldn’t be tough, though. “Why do you vote Labour?” The honest answer is that it’s the only organisation in the UK that is actually still interested in EVERYONE’s well-being – the Tories are a minority-interest party for the very rich, UKIP for the anti-Europeans, the nationalists for their own countries and the Lib Dems for themselves. Labour has a lot wrong with it at the moment, I’ll admit. But I think it’s prepared to change, with the right encouragement, while the others are only going to dig in deeper. OK, next question.

Q) Do you consider Ed Miliband to be the saviour of the UK? Or will a stronger leader come along?

A) I think Ed suffers from poor advice. Maybe the top tier of the Parliamentary Labour Party has been in the Westminster bubble too long, maybe they suffer from having all studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics in the same way as the top Tories – they’re not thinking in the same way as people on the street, so they’re not saying the things we want to hear. Ed’s performances are a symptom of that.  He seems to be insulated from the reality on the ground – a good example of this is welfare. Labour’s still talking about a welfare system that will put disabled people back into work, for crying out loud! We need a system that can accommodate the problems that people have and give them the help they need.

Q) How about (Ed) Balls? Is he the real power behind the Labour throne?

A) Balls – no, he isn’t. We are definitely not in Blair/Brown territory again. Balls does need to learn some new tricks, though. Labour can’t continue to oppose Tory economic policies while admitting we’d do much the same. We need a programme of investment in growth – in the industries that provide the best fiscal multipliers (meaning for every pound spend by the government, the economy benefits by more than a pound in the long run). We need to renounce Tory welfare policies. Attacking the most vulnerable isn’t the way forward.

I’ve gone into some of this in detail in the blog. My favourite member of Labour’s top team right now is Andy Burnham. His performance in the NHS debate was excellent.

Q) Do you think the NHS (National Health Service) can be saved? I guess the question really is– how can it be saved?

A) Yes. Obviously reabsorb everything that has been sliced off – no recompense to the private companies. I think there will be legal reasons this will be possible (I don’t think the hiving-off to private companies was done in a legally-permissible way in the first place). We’ve got a lot of medical experts with strong opinions on what should be done and we should be listening to them – right now – with a view to having a strategy in place immediately after the 2015 election. We should NOT go around thinking we know everything we need to; if there are experts willing to advise, let’s hear it!

Q) You believe (Ed) Miliband will do this?

A) He’ll do what makes him electable. Look at his performance at PMQs last week – he trounced Cameron. He CAN deliver. He comes from a Labour dynasty – he’s literally steeped in the philosophy of the Labour Party. He just needs the right information. I’m going to have to go.

Q) One last question– is Tony Blair a detriment to the party? 

A) I disagree with a lot of the ‘Headline’ things that Tony Blair did, but beneath all those, he did a lot of good for the UK. Of course he did – even if you don’t like New Labour, just look at the alternative – a government led by William Hague? By Iain Duncan Smith??? (Ye Gods, anything but that!) But now it’s past time we let go. He can’t do Labour any good now. Labour must move back towards the left and embrace the social policies towards which the UK and most of Europe were moving before the late-1970’s. That means an end to Blairism. We have to put as much distance between ourselves and neo-Liberalism as possible. That do?

A) Yes, thanks Mike! Great quick interview and thank you for your time!

Q) Okay, thanks Nick!

With that Mike was back to do what he does best– writing blog articles and making sure the world knows what is going on behind those big political walls mere mortals cannot pass through.

Check out Mike’s blog, Vox Political, right now for the truth as he sees it!

Courier Delivers its Payload in Full

Terry IrvingTerry Irving rode a classic BMW R50/2 for ABC News during the Watergate scandal and carried news-film. This was just the beginning of a career that has included producing Emmy Award-winning television news and a long writing career that has included everything from news to stand-up comedy. Terry was also instrumental in the development of many of the earliest forms of online media.

I would love to say the guy in my book is based on my younger self but, in fact, he’s much smarter, tougher and better-looking.”- Terry Irving

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Courierwritten by Terry Irving, is a book I expect to see on shelves of stores very soon. It is said that everyone has a book somewhere inside of them, but this is more than a book. This is a story that so easily could have been the truth. Set during the heady Nixon era, the story itself centres around Rick Putnam, a veteran of the Vietnam War who takes a job as a motorbike messenger. Rick picks up a reel of film that proves Richard Nixon was bribed by the South Vietnamese to extend the the Vietnam War. Rick soon finds himself on the run and hunted by assassins and a CIA agent who need to kill Rick to keep the deepest secrets about Nixon’s corruption invisible from the eyes of the world.

Richard M. Nixon was the 37th President of the United States. Long term politician and Republican, he was Vice President for Eisenhower and then lost the 1960 presidential bid to Jack Kennedy. It has been said that Nixon’s profuse sweating during the first presidential debates lost him the election.

Finally, he became President and held office between 1969 and 1974. The Vietnam War damaged him as a political power and then when the Watergate tapes broke, he was finished. It took an impeachment to remove him from office and his successor Gerald Ford took the heat for pardoning him. Then, he wandered off into the wilderness. He saw an opportunity for a return to the sunlight of politics when he was approached by British television interviewer David Frost for a series of interviews. The ex-President monopolised the interviews until Frost broke him down. It was then over for Nixon.

But what if there had been bigger issues at hand? What if he hadbeen taking bribes from the South Vietnamese?

Work of fiction it may be, but, Courier delves into a vein of thought that many Americans have often pondered. What other travesties might Nixon have been committing behind the scenes? It is a well known fact that he was one of the most prolific foreign policy presidents and deemed his endeavours in that field as some of his greatest achievements. It is also well known that he was powered by money. One of his first moves post-Presidency was to engage super agent Irving “Swifty” Lazar and gain a huge advance for his overly long memoirs. The main motivation for that fatal Frost interview was also money. Is it so inconceivable that he wouldn’t take bribes from South Vietnam?

Courier makes me wonder. I was not born during those heady days of Vietnam or when Nixon held the greatest power in the world at his fingertips. I was born during a different generation and in a different country. I only know of Vietnam through the books I have read and the history lessons I took at school. To many who were there, however, this book will bring back memories of Nixon and what he stood for. He was the man who bought America to its knees and then almost defaced the whole ideal of a Presidency. Courier brings all the injustice and behind-the-scenes activity of such a President into play. During this era, a man like Rick Putnam would have been killed for knowing such information. History has shown that there were no depths Nixon wouldn’t claw to just to remain the President of the United States

Well, when the President does it, that means it’s not illegal.

-Richard M. Nixon, 19th May 1977

The book itself is excellently written and hooks the reader from the word go. I find that the whole concept of a pre-internet world and the use of a motorcycle courier to get film from place to place works excellently as it gives the main character that same air of ’70’s freedom seen in movies like “Easy Rider”. The book moves along quickly and held my attention. I cannot stress how interesting it is reading the work of an experienced writer. There is something comfortable about a man who knows how to use words and has the first-hand knowledge to make his work enjoyable. This could be a movie and after the successful Nixon film “Frost/Nixon” there is a resurgence in interest in the most corrupt American President of the era.

I felt like a child at Christmas delving into this book. I haven’t been so excited by a novel in many years and got immense joy from reading about the trials and tribulations of Rick Putnam. As a writer myself, it was a pleasure to enjoy a book I wished I could have written. Mr. Irving certainly draws the reader in and the whole uncertain feel of the country at the time comes across strongly.

What became of Nixon? He just quietly drifted away and ended his days as a writer and public speaker. He was never able to climb the mountain of disgust thrown at him by the whole country. The same will never be true of this book. The whole thing has hit written across it and it deserves to be picked up very soon by a newer breed of publishers– those young guys coming up who realise that this intriguing story of what a corrupt  President did in fiction was not all that removed from what he could have done in fact.

The greatest honour history can bestow is the title of peacemaker.

-From Nixon’s Inaugural Address (20 January 1969); later used as his epitaph