This week we feature Tony J. Forder, author of crime thrillers, “Bad to the Bone” and “Degrees of Darkness” Per our usual scheme around here. We will put Tony’s comments in GREEN while my questions will be in BLUE.
So Tony, tell us who you got your start in the literary world. What initially gave you that itch that only reading can scratch?
Whilst still at Primary school when my parents went to a parent-teacher evening, my teacher showed my parents the book I had in my desk. It was Thunderball, by Ian Fleming. I probably understood very little, but clearly I was an avid reader even then. Alan Garner’s book, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, was the first book to spark my imagination enough for me to remember reading it. It was also one of the first books I bought my daughter. I’d also add A Christmas Carol as a book that influenced me.
Can’t argue with Fleming and Dickens. Great choices. I will have to check out Garner myself though. I have been reading more indies than traditional authors lately. What genre excites you the most? Having more than one is ok.
Crime thrillers, especially psychological thrillers, excite me. The thrill of the chase, the journey into evil minds, the trail of breadcrumb clues. I include espionage within the thriller genre. Thomas Harris and Michael Connelly are my favourite writers, though I also admire John Lecarre.
More great names. Most of my “crime thriller” comes via television, but I am sure the books are much more thrilling. When did you decide to cross that line and write your own stories?
I was still very young, but the magical world so finely linked with the normal world as portrayed in The Weirdstone of Brisingaman intrigued me enough to give it a go myself. All of my early writing stayed within the fantasy/dark fantasy vein, and then when Stephen King, James Herbert and Peter Straub entered my life, it was natural for my writing to expand to include horror.
King is one of my all time favorites. Do you consider yourself a writer of a specific genre? Or do you dabble in several?
I would mash myself up into a crime, psychological, mystery, suspense, espionage, thriller genre.
You have an interesting story as part of your publishing journey, why don’t you tell us how you got started.
As a child and teenager I wrote short stories all the time. Much later I decided to submit a story into a competition, and won it. It was judged by someone from Pan Books, and as part of my prize the story was published in Dark Voices 2 (the new Pan Book of Horror series).
I later had another story published by Pan, in Dark Voices 4, and a third in FEAR magazine.
After that I concentrated on novels. The first was a dark fantasy/horror blend which, whilst not awful, was not very good, either. But I was in a period where my reading habit were moving away from that genre and into the one I enjoy now, so it was natuarl for my writing to go that way as well.
Degrees of Darkness and Bad to the Bone were written, and then edited by someone I found on-line. Both came close to gaining either/or an agent and publisher, but not close enough.
Commitments to a new job plus a debilitating illness meant I stopped writing as much, little more than scraps of ideas or character sketches, etc. Then being made redundant seemed to re-open a door way for my imagination and inspiration, and suddenly I wanted to write again.
I established an on-line presence, made my books available on-line through Amazon, and am now well into another book.
Very exciting. What do you like to do in your spare time, aside from the day job?
I am now a part-time ICT consultant to education, and part-time writer. When not working, writing or reading I love music. I play guitar, and still practice quite a lot, and I listen to music as much as I can.
I’m a fan of both football and rugby union, and follow Chelsea FC and England.
I am married, with one daughter – who became my muse for Degrees, something we joke means I ought to be sending her to therapy for.
Perhaps she will write about her author father one day and you two can share the therapy bills. I know you have one last thing to share with my readers, a bit of inspiration I believe.
I attended a book signing for Dark Voices 2. I was surrounded by authors whose names were familiar to me. Early on I turned to Brian Lumley (the Necroscope series among others) and confessed that I felt out of place with all these proper writers. He said something I have never forgotten – that the moment you pluck a story from your imagination and set it to paper, you are a proper writer.
Quite inspiring, and so very true. Thank you for stopping by Tony and I wish you success with that next book. Anyone looking to find out more or catch up on what Tony is up to, can track him down at the below links.
If any authors out there would like to be featured on Meet The Author Monday, you can find the submission form HERE.