Paul Anthony is a prolific British writer of novels, poetry and screenplays. Many readers have enjoyed his stories such as Bushfire, The Fragile Peace, The Legacy of The Ninth and The Conchenta Conundrum. Paul is also an indefatigable promoter of fellow authors. Today I’m interviewing Paul about his writing, his books and his take on authors and publishing today.
Paul and I are sitting in the bar at the beautiful and historic Captain Whidbey Inn on Whidbey Island lying off the coast of Washington State. Stephanie and Felicia have brought Paul a cognac and I have
my bourbon. We are enjoying our drinks, the view of Penn Cove, which now the color of royal blue with full, white clouds floating by. We are contemplating a game of darts. Loyd and Kathleen, the owners of the Inn stopped by and chatted. They are great supporters of the Whidbey Island writers community.
There are some interesting characters in the bar tonight. Detective Inspector Billy Boyd of Scotland Yard and some of this team are here. Robin Marlette has joined the British contingency with his group. The drinks are flowing and the group seems to be getting a little boisterous with conversation and laughter.
“Well Paul, I think we should begin
the interview before it gets too loud in here.”
“If I know coppers, it’s probably wise.
“Why don’t us tell us about your background.
“Well, Mike, I was born in Southport, Lancashire, which is a seaside resort on the north west coast of England. My dad was a serving soldier who ended his service at the Drill Hall TA Centre on Manchester Road, Southport. He was taken prisoner by the Japanese at the fall of Hong Kong on 25th December, 1941 and released by the Canadians when they overran the camp four years later at the end of the war. He was a Company Sergeant Major who was repatriated to this country via Australia and Canada where he was given medical care to give him back some quality of life. So my younger days were spent in an army garrisons in Yeovil, Somerset. He is a story of great courage in himself and has been an inspiration to me all my life.”
“I can see why.”
“Mum was an office worker in a local factory throughout the second world war. I was their only child. I schooled in Cumbria before joining the police cadets at the age of sixteen. I’m married to a fabulous woman who was a ‘modern matron’ at one time before
she retired from nursing recently. She specialised in orthopedics.”
“I have the highest respect for any spouse of a police officer. Very few people know the toll our past profession can cause on a family. Tell us about your children.”
“I have two sons and a daughter. My oldest son is a detective in West Cumbria and my daughter in law is a police sergeant there. My youngest son is a personal trainer who is currently in America on a fact finding tour of gyms in New York, Chicago and California before he returns to develop his career further. He’s also works in the Criminal Justice System with young offenders. My daughter is a hairdresser married to a serving soldier stationed in Afghanistan. We are looking forward to him returning home soon. And I’ve got five gorgeous grandchildren to dote over.”
“As I mentioned before, you’re a prolific writer. Why do you write?”
“I’ve always written in some way or other. When I joined the police as a cadet I began writing poems and still haven’t stopped. I’ve got hundreds of them in note books here, there and everywhere.”
“That sounds like a good title for a song!”
“Ohhh, bad joke, Mike.”
“Sorry. I couldn’t resist. Please go on.”
My first few poems reflect my working life when the police earmarked me for development and sent me to work in a coal mine for six months – at the coal face with a pick and Davy’s lamp – or on an outward bound course for six months on Lakeland’s high ground. Another time I worked in a mental hospital treating drug addicts and alcoholics as part of my training and development.”
“That’s very interesting. The police service actually sent you to do these jobs as part of your training and development?
“Yes, that’s what happened to young cadets in those days – they were training you for a life long vocation, not a job”
“In my mature years I joined the Open University and took an Honours Degree in Social Sciences (specialising in Economics) to add to some management diplomas I had. You’ll know yourself that police are avid writers – they have to be writing reports and statements and stuff. But when I finished my degree course my wife suggested I wrote that work of fiction I always intended. So I did.
“My first published work, The Fragile Peace, was published by myself with a vanity publisher in 1996 (Kindle didn’t join us until about 2007 or thereabouts) and has
sold over 25,000 printed copies. I was a serving officer at the time and police regulations required me to publish under a pseudonym so I did so and I still hold to my pen name Paul Anthony. I have recently negotiated the termination of the contract for Fragile Peace and am now able to put a revised second edition into both print and ebook/kindle format. So that happened in March. Best thing about March is that I am also published ‘Moonlight Shadows’ and ‘Scribbles with Chocolate’. So I had a ‘triple book launch last month.”
“I’m looking forward to reading ‘Moonlight Shadows’ and ‘Scribbles and Chocolate.’ As you know, I already have an autographed copy of ‘The Fragile Peace.’ What are some of the things you write about?”
“I don’t write about things I don’t know anything about. I don’t do cook books, cupcakes or gardening books, for example. And I don’t do ‘police procedural’ books because
true police procedure changes on a regular basis as the law and relative practices and procedures evolve. I write thrillers from within my imagination based on the life I have lived. I was a uniformed police officer, a traffic motor cyclist, a motorway patrol officer, an antique specialist, a hostage negotiator, a detective inspector in charge of a highly specialised unit, a protection officer, a surveillance officer, an undercover detective, a regional crime squad detective, an instructor, and a special branch detective.
“My working life centered on public order, serious and serial crime investigation, murders, rapes, drug dealing, armed robberies and the sharp end of the stick stuff. A lot of my time was spent investigating terrorism from Irish extremists as well as Muslim Fundamentalists and other such international groups. I am lucky, and actually quite proud, to be able to say I have worked with some of the most remarkable people you could imagine in the military, the police and the intelligence services of this country.
“I have commendations from various organisations and national bodies for work over long periods relative to criminal investigation, espionage and terrorism. I write about what I know and twist into the imagination to present my stories to fiction readers the best way I can. Writing in these genres requires plot and patience and the ability to retain a sense of proportion between what is fact and what is fiction.
“There have been occasions when I have protected our Royal family, various ‘at risk’ individuals, prime ministers and others. I once had the pleasure of protecting Princess Grace of Monaco (Grace Kelly, the former actress) when she visited a flower show in Cumbria many years ago. She stayed with her host for about a week, if I recall correctly, and although she was never ‘at risk’ I got the job of ‘protecting’ her from the media. Well, that’s probably the best job you could ever have wished for. What a beautiful woman; but what a wonderful lady she was. Pure class with a smile that remained in the mirror even after she’d left.”
“Can you tell us a little about what did you do in your small specialised squad?
“Mike, you and I have walked similar paths in life and some things are
not talked about. Let’s just say we write fiction, but know when to hold back on
fact. We choose our way and walk it with a silent pride.”
“I should’ve seen that answer coming! I would say your experiences give you plenty of ideas to write about. What is your creative process?”
“I would say that every book I have written has been crafted beside the pool on holiday discussing possible plots with my editor… oh, I mean my wife, of course. I tend to write headings of what happens in a chronological order. Then I join the headings together with sentences that grow into paragraphs and then chapters. At some time, it all comes together inside my head and I just tap it out on the old black and whites. I can never write a story from A to Z without deviating from the straight and narrow.
“Life is about human relationships so I carry sub plots and plots within plots as I write because that is true life. I can write a murder, for example, but wouldn’t you like to know what is going on in the minds of the investigators, the suspects, and the culprit? So I often introduce romance or trauma into the stories as I tap away on the keyboard.
“Life is never A to Z, there’s lots of stop off points along the way. Anyway, every 50 pages or so, my wife reads and edits my work and then, before I write another word, I go back to page one and read before I write. At page 100, my wife does the same again and when I revisit the work I start at page one and read through to page 100 before I write another word. By this ‘50 page and review’ method the work is under constant review and mistakes can be rectified at an early stage.
“Once this is done, I send the work to a friend who reads for plot, analysis, reality, truth, wisdom and general marketability. My son in law and I also write film scripts and television scripts so he gets the work next. He is part of the ‘editorial team’ too and is my ‘line by line’ editor. Then we start again at page one and work through to the end. We make our own book covers from photographs and juggle about until we get it right. We take the process very seriously and may well ‘bed down’ the book for a week or two before revisiting it with a fresh mind. I, and my team, my associates, are my editors, book cover designers and marketers. That’s the way I prefer it because it works for me and we get a lot of fun out of what we do.”
“Well, it certainly seems to work! Tell us about the Independent Authors Network.
“If you already have your own website and multi marketing plan then you may not need this network. But that presumes you have the finances, time, and the technical ability to manage your own website. Having your own website may leave you a little isolated but it does give you the ability to ‘blog’ avidly in your own space and time without having to submit an article to a ‘clearing point’ or ‘door-keeper’ for inclusion.
“For myself, I can recommend the network wholeheartedly. The service from William Potter and his team is second to none. There is a high degree of excellence in delivering a first class website to members of the Independent Authors Network and this is reflected not just in the sharpness of imagery on individual pages, but the presentation of one’s work, and a growing membership. Personally, I showcase my books from this network and blog articles and writing material from my blogspot site.
“It’s what you want that counts and everyone has their own opinion. One of the wonderful things about the network is the ability to forge cyberspace pals across the pond and elsewhere. I swop tweets and emails with authors like William Potter, John Betcher, Nick Rose, Morgan Nyberg, C.C.Cole, Kenneth Hoss and…. oh so many…. Check the site out. It is magnificent. But then I will admit to being biased since I won the featured authors contest recently with over 3,500 hits in one month to my page. Funny thing is, I didn’t even know about the contest until I’d won it. I was so busy marketing my books to cyberspace that I didn’t fully familiarize myself with the website. Yep! FIVE GOLD STARS for #IAN1.
“Care to leave us with any last words of wisdom?”
“Life is just a book. You begin with a title and end with a full stop. The important thing is to enjoy the chapters in between.
“Those are wise words! Are you ready for the dart game?”
“Can I pick my team?”
“Of course, your my guest.”
“I think I’ll chose my British mates.”
“Any particular reason?”
“Why, yes. I created them!”
Learn more about Paul and his writing at