Wednesday 6 April 2016


Title: How the World Turns (and Other Stories)
Author: Colin Garrow

BLURB from Goodreads
He thinks that when he walks, his own feet propel the earth: that his movements keep the world going round. Literally. Each stride supplies the momentum for another motion forward, the ground shifting backwards beneath him, away into the distance.
Except, when he stops walking.
But then, it's quite possible that the earth doesn't need to move all the time, that in fact, it could probably manage quite well, hanging around, as it were, while he sits in the Cafe Noir, sipping his cappuccino, listening to the idle chittering of the waitress birds.

Goodreads Link

Title: Girlfriend Interrupted
Author: Colin Garrow

BLURB from Goodreads
Colin Garrow's new collection of stories hints at the darker side of life: a dead wife comes back from the grave, a sinister agency demands a lot from its workers, an unhappy lover yearns for a way out and a cleaner finds her employers have disappeared...

(From: The Cleaner)


She found the note on the occasional table in the hall, partially hidden by the oval paperweight that Oliver always entrusted with messages for his wife.

Mrs Anthrobus looked at it for a moment, then picked it up and turned it over without unfolding it. There were no other markings on the paper except for the single name: Jane, though she could see enough of whatever was scrawled inside to know it was more than the usual I'll see you tonight kind of thing. Anyway, Mrs Anthrobus mused with a click of her tongue, it wasn't her job to pass his damned messages on for him.

Goodreads Link

ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~ (information from Goodreads) 
Colin Garrow wrote his first novel at the age of 16. Admittedly, it was only four pages long, didn’t have an actual ending and was probably the worst story ever written, but the creative spark was there and he’s been trying to be a writer ever since. 
Colin studied Drama at the University of Northumbria, and has a Post Grad Diploma in Community Education. He was a founder and Artistic Director of WAC Theatre (The Writers and Actors Collaboration Theatre Company) in Aberdeen until the company folded in 2011. Some of his play-scripts from that time, as well as his novels for children, are available as ebooks via Smashwords, and paperbacks on Amazon.
Colin has also written several short stories, some of which have appeared in literary mags including 'Fresh Ink (Volume 1)', 'Flash Fiction Magazine', 'Word Bohemia', 'The Grind', 'A3 Review', and 'Inkapture'.
He currently lives in a humble cottage in North East Scotland where he writes novels, plays, stories, poems and the occasional song.
He also makes rather nice cakes


Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
Monday to Friday I work in Occupational Therapy. Evenings and weekends I'm a writer.

Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
I spent a couple of years trying to get literary agents interested in my books. Eventually I got tired of emails saying 'We love your book, but...' so I decided to try self-publishing. I initially went with Smashwords (who distribute to Apple, Barnes and Noble etc) and then I started adding my books on Amazon and Createspace too, so all my books are available as eBooks and paperbacks form a myriad of sources.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
In theory, I can write a novel in about three months, but lately I've found that the necessity of spending time on marketing and publicity means my self-imposed deadlines are growing longer.

Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
My two short story collections were probably the easiest in some ways, because when I decided to put them out as collections, I'd already written most of the stories (several had already been published by online literary mags). It would probably be more difficult if I set out with a particular theme in mind and tried to create a number of stores around that theme.

What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I'll definitely continue with my novels for children (historical and sci-fi), but I'm also working on a thriller (Ariadne 7) for adults about a con-man who gets mistaken for someone else. I also have the title for the book after that one (Death on a Dirty Afternoon) which is going to be a sort of Geordie Raymond Chandler, so it kind of depends where they take me. I've also just published my first short collection from 'The Watson Letters', complied from my blog of the same name (it's a spoof Sherlock Holmes/Doctor Watson adventure, set in a parallel universe).

I wouldn't want to be bound be a particular style or genre, so I've always written in different ways. It's easier to experiment with short stories than it is with novels, and I don't have to commit too much time to them (which is helpful if a story isn't going the way I expected). Novels are great fun too, because I get to create a more in-depth world, but I'd hate to feel I could only do one thing, even if it was really successful, so I'll continue to play around different styles

Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so, why is it your favourite?
I'd probably say my first novel for children 'The Devil's Porridge Gang' since it was the first one I finished and it was also partly inspired by the town I grew up in (though a completely different version of it!) and also because I wrote a lot of the dialogue in my native dialect (Geordie), which was fun.

Where do you get your book plot ideas from? What is your inspiration?
I don't tend to get ideas for books. For me, it's more about coming up with a title that sounds good and which acts as inspiration for the story, so the story grows out of the title. I haven't written a book yet that didn't start that way. For instance, a few years ago, I had a vague idea of writing something that had a title a bit like 'The Wolves of Willoughby Chase'. I liked the alliteration of the repeated w's, so I came up with 'The Hounds of Hellerby Hall' and then began to think about where Hellerby Hall might be and what might have happened there.

Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
I sometimes gift eBooks from Smashwords. I also send paperback copies to reviewers as well as PDF versions.

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
If I ever get to a situation where I get so many review there isn't time to read them all, then maybe not, but until then, yes I read them all - good, bad or indifferent.

How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your books? Who designed the Cover of your books?
As I said earlier, I always start with a title. One way of coming up with ideas is to make lists of possible titles using the kinds of words that might spark an idea, as well as titles that pose a bit of a puzzle, like one of my current projects 'The House That Wasn't There'.

So far, I've designed all my book covers myself. Some years ago when I was running a theatre company, I did all the publicity (posters, programmes etc), so I had to get the hang of Photoshop quickly. The different formats for book covers (such as the difference between covers for an eBook and Createspace) are occasionally challenging, but they're always fun to do and it's one of the tasks I really enjoy. Having said that, finding good quality images that fit in with my ideas can be very time consuming.

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
I don't really know where character names come from. Occasionally, like with my 'Maps of Time' series, I've looked at lists of names from a particular period in history (17th century), but I also try to come up with names that match the type of person they're for: In 'The Architect's Apprentice' you'll find 'Savidge' and 'Felch', who are both a bit dubious, whereas 'Emily', 'Tom' and 'Sarah' are the nicer characters.

Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
Apart from the title, I usually don't know very much about where the story is going, and that's because I think planning a book takes all the fun out of it - if I know what's going to happen, there's no point writing it. Quite often, I only find out how the book will end a few pages before the actual end, so it's a little bit like the reader's experience - I discover it as I go along.

Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
In my short stories, I've often used a person or an incident/event as a spark for story, though I don't tend to write about real people. For instance, many years ago I helped a friend build a table from scratch. This gave rise to a story about a character who did just that, and then felt aggrieved when other people ate at the table. I've also used the 'idea' of a specific person I know as a basis for a character type, so while I'm not writing about that particular person, I am writing about that type of person.

Which format of book do you prefer, ebook, hardback, or paperback?
I love proper books, but one of the things that has put me off reading some books in the past is the size of the font, so I totally love my Kindle because that's never going to be a problem again!

What is your favourite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?
'The Day of the Triffids' by John Wyndham. Though I haven't read if or quite a few years, I did read it dozens of times as a teenager. (I'm actually a little bit scare to read it again now in case I don't like it any more).

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
I'm reading a paperback - 'Oy Yew' by Ana Salote (excellent!) and an eBook 'Fatal Forgery' by Susan Grossey (only a third of the way through, and so far very good).

Did you have a favourite author as a child?
That's an interesting question because I loved the 'Hardy Boys' books by Franklin W Dixon. The boys' adventures were really exciting and the stories are probably one of the reasons I'm writing today. The funny thing is, years later I discovered F W Dixon doesn't exist and the 'writer' was actually the Stratemeyer Syndicate - a group of writers headed by Edward Stratemeyer.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?

I think that old adage 'write what you know' is garbage. If writers could only write from their own experience, there'd be an awful lot of really boring novels out there. The main thing is to write what you want to write, rather than trying to fill a commercial niche or particular market. What it comes down to is you've got to enjoy what you're doing, because if you don't, no-one else will!

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