Imagination - the highest kite you can fly!
I love reading. To be able to immerse oneself within the pages of someone else's imagination, to experience situations and events far removed (or perhaps not so far) from your own life - it's a habit I fell into very early as a child, and which I have continued to this day. Reading can entertain you, can educate you, can make you challenge or reconsider your own view of the world.
As a child and young adult, I read everything I could lay my hands on in our local library, frequently staggering home with a heavy bag. To say that I was excited when I could ditch my child's ticket for an adult reader ticket would be an understatement - so many books for me to explore! I was quite giddy with excitement! I would devour them all and go back for more long before they became overdue. I read adventure, crime stories, humour, biographies, travel accounts, natural history... and perhaps my favourite genre, science-fiction. For a child whose parents couldn't afford holidays, I 'travelled' extensively in my head - Russia, Australasia, the far east, Africa... without ever setting foot on a plane! Even though written content is so widely available now that we have the internet, I'm a firm believer in the need to maintain our public libraries.
I love writing - as much as if not more than I love reading, if I'm honest, although a brilliant book can have me wondering if I will ever manage to achieve such dizzy heights of literary competence! We writers are our own sternest critics - trust me on this!
In my teens, I wrote stories whenever our English lessons allowed for it, and with my best friend Tina, newsletters in praise of our favourite TV shows of the time - with a strictly limited readership of two (us). In my late teens and early twenties, I started fan groups for my favourite TV shows ('Star Trek', 'Buck Rogers in the 25th Century', 'The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy') and edited newsletters and fanzines for small groups of like-minded friends. Perhaps the most successful of those endeavours was an appreciation society for 'The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy', which with the late author Douglas Adams' and BBC approval became the only official appreciation society for the show, ZZ9.org, which still attracts new readers and fans today.
When I eventually decided in 2007 to start writing again, it took another few years of practice and study before I felt ready to publish my first book, a collection of short stories I called 'The Journey & Other Short Stories', in 2014. A full-length novel, 'The Methuselah Paradox', followed this year (2016), for which I decided to create a book trailer. Producing a trailer was a huge learning curve, slightly terrifying at first, but enormous fun, and the experience taught me that if you really want to do a thing, you should! You get one life, it's not a practice run - so go for it!
So what's next? Well, I have a graphic novel (based on a short story I wrote a year ago, 'Minding Mama') about to be crowd-funded, and a follow-up to 'The Methuselah Paradox' is also on the cards. I'm also adapting 'The Methuselah Paradox' for the stage with a co-writer, Susan Turner. Sue is a long-time friend and fellow sci-fi aficionado. She now runs her own video production company (called ElephantinScarlet.co.uk) and filmed the book trailer for 'The Methuselah Paradox'.
To finish up, I'd like to share the trailer for 'The Methuselah Paradox' with you. Enjoy!