Thursday, 29 September 2011

Guest Blogger of the Month - The Secret Writer

A new feature to my blog is to welcome a guest blogger each month.  

Today I would like to welcome Calum aka The Secret Writer to my blog.

Calum I am honoured to have you over here today.  Calum’s blog can be found here: The Secret Writer  I urge you to check it out.  

Was there a particular childhood book or author that fuelled your love of reading?

I can remember clearly that my very first books were from the well known Ladybird book series. I had quite a collection of these when I was fairly young if I remember correctly!  My parents always encouraged me to read and there was always a plentiful supply of new books to read in our house.

The ‘Secret Seven’ and ‘Famous Five’ stories by Enid Blyton come to my mind next and I can clearly remember reading every single book one after another that were in these series!  Again I read these books when I was fairly young.

The author that is imbedded in my mind from my teenage years is the late Alistair Maclean. I loved his adventure stories and again I read every book that he wrote.

You started writing at a fairly young age.  Who inspired or influenced you to write?

I had some very good English teachers throughout my schooling. I can recollect that we were encouraged quite often to write stories using our own imaginations. I loved my English classes as I progressed through our school system, especially when we were allowed to write our own stories!

You have published articles in journals, newspapers and for corporate websites.  Were these articles specialist subjects?

I submitted my first newspaper article when I was fairly young and still at school! At this time in my life I frequently submitted articles to our local newspaper. I just handed them in to the lady that worked at the newspaper office’s front reception desk and then went on my way, waiting patiently for the next week’s edition of the paper to be published, to see if my article would be there! These articles were mainly about local events and also included the odd story that could possibly have been considered news worthy at that time!

Thinking back, every article that I submitted to our local newspaper was published, but this was probably due to the fact that the paper now had access to a free reporter! I never saw or talked to anyone that worked within that newspaper, just the lady at the front reception desk who took my stories from me. I suppose she could have put them in the bin and I would not have been any the wiser, but she must have actually passed them on to the newspaper editor, as they all eventually appeared in print. I have a lot to thank that lady for, as it encouraged me to write. I was also delighted of course to see my stories in print!

As my career progressed my writing has become much more specialised in relation to the professional field in which I work. My writing for some magazines and Corporate Websites has on the other hand, been fairly general in nature, although tailored specifically towards the Journal that I was writing for at that time or the Corporation that owned the website.

Where can we find your book reviews other than on your blog?

I used to post my book reviews on a UK site called ‘Book Army’, but unfortunately as a result of the recent economic climate, that great site had to close down. If I now post a book review on my blog, I would also tend to post it on Amazon, Waterstones and fairly recently, Goodreads.

Although you have read a wide variety of books, you mention an interest in historical fiction.  Which book or author would you recommend from this genre?

This is a difficult question, as there are so many good authors writing historical fiction these days. If I was pushed, I would have to say that I would strongly recommend any book written by either Robyn Young, or Shona Maclean, who is actually the niece of Alistair Maclean who I mentioned earlier within this interview.

Do you have a favourite classic or piece of poetry?

I am very fond of both classic literature and poetry! ‘Barchester Towers’ by Anthony Trollope would be a particular favourite of mine, while the poetry of William Wordsworth in my personal opinion, is quite hard to beat. 

You would like to write a novel. Is this a work in progress?

I do have a historical fiction novel of my own in the making, although I do find it difficult to free up the time that I would ideally like for my own personal writing at the moment. Let’s just say it is work in progress at this time!

When you publish your novel which medium will you opt for, good old-fashioned paper or electronic or both?

Electronic publishing seems to be the way most books are going these days, although good old fashioned paper is really my favourite medium! I suppose it will really depend upon what is the best medium available that ‘readers’ enjoy using, when I am ready to publish my book.

I personally do not agree with the way that e-books are being priced at the moment. Some e-books are actually more expensive to buy than a hard copy version of the same book. I still have not managed to work out yet why this is the case!

Reading writing and blogging is one way of spending your downtime.  Are there any other interests or sport you enjoy?

I have a wide variety of other interests that I enjoy, some of which I can partake of more often than others. I tend to be a collector by nature and collecting signed editions of books is one of my passions, especially older editions. Needless to say, space is becoming a bit of a problem in my house as far as the storage of books is concerned!

As I do tend to spend quite a lot of time behind a desk using a computer both at work and at home, I do like to get out into the fresh air now and again whenever I can! I enjoy hill walking, swimming and canoeing! I would also follow a few of the televised International ruby and football matches when these are being shown. 

Finally, for fun.  Music – what is your current listen?

I love music of all genres from classical to rock! Most visitors to my blog will probably have worked this out by now from the variety of music videos that I regularly put up there! I suppose that I will also have to admit at this stage to being a huge Shania Twain fan!

At the moment I’m listening to music by ‘Sugarland’ and I quite like the songs that ‘The Wanted’ and ‘JLS’ are turning out these days. 

Thank you for sparing your time and being my first guest on the blog and guest for this month in the blogging community. 

You are very welcome and thank-you too for the invitation to feature on your blog, it is very much appreciated!

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