Today on Meet The Author Monday, we are going to talk to Tony J Forder, author of crime novels, “Degrees of Darkness” and “Bad to the Bone“. As usual we will put my comments/questions in BLUE and Tony will be in Green.
First off, Thanks for stopping by Tony. Let’s kick things off with what brought you into the world of literature? Was there a special person or specific moment that inspired you?
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.
Primary school and reading Fleming? I, too, read way above my grade level. As you grew up, what genre pulled at your mind and imagination the most?
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.
Clearly reading these authors wasn’t enough for you, so what made you want to become a writer?
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.
Stephen King is one of my favorites as well. I don’t think anyone can chill your bone marrow like the him. Did you decide that this would be your area as well? or How would you describe your writing?
I would mash myself up into a crime, psychological, mystery, suspense, espionage, thriller genre.
So you had your inspiration and desire to write, where did it go from there?
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 natural 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.
Committments 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.
I’m sorry to hear about your illness, but am glad to hear that it reinvigorated your creative flow. What other pursuits make Tony tick?
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.
Sounds like you are a very busy man. Children can be such a joy, and inspire you to work harder to achieve your dreams so that they are inspired to chase theirs. Did you have anything else you would like to share with my readers?
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.
Very inspiring words Tony. Thank you for sharing that story and for your time today. I wish you all the best with your work and hopefully will hear from you when that third book comes out.
If anyone would like to find out more or purchase any of Tony’s work, you can find him at the below links.
And if any authors out there reading this want to be featured on Meet The Author Monday, You can CLICK HERE for more information.