I’m pleased to introduce you to fellow Tyneside writer and Trestle author Malcolm Holt. He’s recently had the first installment of his series ‘Crime Tyne Shots’ published as an e-book. Here, he tells us about his journey as a writer.
How did I get into writing? Apart from having a vivid imagination and writing stories at school, my first grown-up brush with literature came when I spent a year at teacher training college. The college had a thriving student union and a nine-hole golf course. When I wasn’t skipping lectures to play golf, I helped to create and co-edit a student union magazine. For the magazine I co-wrote humorous stories and an agony aunt page. It was a lot of fun. Needless to say, at the end of the academic year I decided that I didn’t want to be a teacher.
After I moved to Newcastle from my native Hull, I wrote numerous articles for ‘The Mag’ fanzine during the 1990s when Newcastle United were flying high. In 1998 I wrote my first crime fiction novel. It got published by the lesser-known Falcon Books and a handful were sold. You’d be hard pushed to find a copy nowadays, even on ebay. Mind you, it was pretty bad. I also had a few articles published in the ‘Sunday Sun’ newspaper.
At the end of September 2010, I gave up the day job. Most folk say that I took very early retirement. My old boss says I just buggered off. Pardon my French. I’ve always loved reading crime fiction and I decided to have another stab at writing. The very funny Texan, Kinky Friedman, once told me “Malcolm, you’re never too o-l-d to start writing”. He also made me an honorary Texan, which is something I’m very proud of. So there you have it. I am Yorkshire-born, an adopted Geordie and part-time Texan.
Initially, I thought of creating a fictional city, but Ian Rankin convinced me that it would be easier to use Newcastle. After his phenomenal success with Rebus, I decided that he knew what he was talking about.
My first short story, ‘Drum and Waste’, published in ‘A Twist of Noir’, introduced Frankie ‘Slinger’ Wilson, who is my new anti-hero.
‘Graduation Day’, which appears in ‘Brit Grit Too’, edited by Paul Brazill and recently published by Trestle Press, heralded the arrival of the Spencer family, focusing on the youngest member, Mikey.
When Trestle Press approached me, I was stunned. Usually the aspiring author trawls the publishing houses and literary agencies, often in vain. With the support of Trestle, I have been given a great opportunity to get my writing out there. My series of short stories, ‘Crime Tyne Shots’, has been launched, with ‘Volume 1 – Late for Church’ already available and the next two, ‘Birthday Girl’ and ‘Sinkhole’ will be coming soon. Number 4, ‘Box of Spiders’, is well on its way.
I have had some interesting reactions from the family. I think my style of writing has surprised some of them. Ian Rankin says that crime fiction writers are usually nice people because they put all their inner demons on the page. As I like to say, ‘Never underestimate the power of imagination.’ So, that’s me, embarking on a new writing career and exciting times are ahead…I hope. Will it be successful? Ask me at the end of 2012.
For UK readers, get ‘Crime Tyne Shots’ here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Crime-Tyne-Shots-1-ebook/dp/B006HLOGPQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1322991503&sr=1-1
US readers can get ‘Crime Tyne Shots’ here: http://www.amazon.com/Crime-Tyne-Shots-1-ebook/dp/B006HLOGPQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1324238748&sr=8-2
Thanks again to Malcolm for speaking to us today. His story goes to show that if you have a story in you, it will find a way out eventually!