I’m thrilled to share my conversation with Michael Parker, an English author who wrote Devil’s Trinity,Shadow Of The Wolf, Hell’s Gate, The Eagle’s Covenant, A Covert War, Roselli’s Gold, The Boy From Berlin, Past Imperfect and many other books.
Q. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I have been writing thrillers for many years and have experienced the highs and lows of being a writer. My first novel, NORTH SLOPE was published in 1980. I have been married to Patricia for fifty eight years and we live in West Sussex, England. We have four sons, ten grandchildren and three great grandsons. My hobby is writing, of course, and to date I have had eleven novels published. You can see my list in Author Central. My other hobbies are snooker, speedway, football and music. I play snooker, watch football and speedway, and used to play the keyboard (not too well). I am a born again Christian and played keyboard in my fellowship for several years. I worked as a maintenance technician most of my adult life, serving sixteen years in the Royal Air Force, and about seventeen years with a food manufacturer. I retired in 1996 (I was fifty five years old) and moved out to Spain a year later. Pat and I lived on the Costa Blanca for seventeen years and moved back to the UK towards the end of 2014. Other jobs I have done include Merchant Seaman, Office boy, and general maintenance for a chicken farmer! I have received many excellent comments about my writing, but the proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating. My latest thriller. WHERE THE WICKED DWELL, is now available on line.
Q. How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or do you have a specific reason or reasons for writing each book?
I like to say I was born with a pen in my hand. I never intended to become a writer. Most of my eleven titles were inspired by true life events.
Q. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
It usually takes me a year to write a novel. When I first started writing, all my research was done at the local library. Now I use the internet.
Q. What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
I read most of the children’s classics. I enjoyed Mark Twain and Charles Dickens. Hammond Innes is probably the writer that had most influence on my writing.
Q. How do you develop your plots and characters?
I tend to let the characters direct the story-line. The plot is generally second to that.
Q. What’s more important: characters or plot?
50/50 I think. You need a good plot and strong characters.
Q. Tell us about your books?
What can I say? Each one was a challenge. As a stand-alone author, I take my readers to different places in the world in different periods of time. I have led them to British East Africa in 1898 (Hell’s Gate), the ice desert in Alaska, 1960 (North Slope), north of Scotland during World War 2 (Shadow of the Wolf), Germany in 1960 (The Eagle’s Covenant), North Africa about 1970 (Roselli’s Gold), Mexico, 2016 (A Dangerous Game) and finally into a series with Marcus Blake as the main character (A Covert War and Where the Wicked Dwell). I have also written a romance (Past Imperfect), which my publisher liked and published
Q. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
It was in the years when traditional publishing was the only way. I contacted many agents, eventually I was picked up by a London agent who put me with Macmillan. This was in 1978. I had been writing for about fifteen years and getting nowhere. But even though I was picked up by one of the biggest publishing houses in the world, I was dropped the following year. I sold 2000 books in the first year which Macmillan said was better than they expected. I don’t know why I was dropped. It was to be another four years before I was placed with another London publisher: Robert Hale
Q. How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
Nowadays it’s all about promotion and marketing on platforms such as Facebook, Amazon ads, BookBub. Occasionally I use others, but in the main it’s better to stick with the former.
Q. If you didn’t write, what would your ideal career be?
Musician or Preacher
Q. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I rarely read my reviews, and ignore the bad ones anyway.
Q. What is your favourite childhood book?
Too many to tell really. I enjoyed Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Flynn. A Christmas Carol (Scrooge) by Charles Dickens was another favourite of mine.
Q. What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal log, Facebook page, Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?
Email and website.
Q. What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Not sure about that, but I enjoyed writing the conversations between two of my characters in my latest thriller, Where the Wicked Dwell. The conversations were between Vereen, a West Indian, single mum and Juju, an English boy of mixed race. They spoke in the local patois familiar to London kids.
Q. Will you have a new book coming out soon?
Not until the end of the year.
Q. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
Rejection is the toughest criticism really. The nicest thing was to be called a “Gifted narrator” in the Financial Times.
Q. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Make sure you really want to write, to tough it out and apply discipline to your writing routine. And never give up!
To know more details about his books you can visit his official website: www.michaelparkerbooks.com