1. Why did you start The Collections of series and where did the idea first come from?
The idea for the Collections Of book series came from my time living in Bahrain. I had moved to Bahrain and, wanting to meet other writers, formed the Bahrain Writers’ Circle (BWC). It grew from just a handful of like-minded souls meeting once a month, to over a hundred members, a separate poetry club, the Colours of Life poetry festival and the publishing of My Beautiful Bahrain, More of My Beautiful Bahrain and Poetic Bahrain, anthologies of poetry and prose about living and working in Bahrain from Circle members. With the club and these books, I took great pride in getting writers and poets, who would normally never have the chance of getting their work published (especially on the tiny island of Bahrain)… published. There are so many brilliant and brilliantly talented writers who never get their words read or their works published, and so, when I returned to the UK I wanted to continue with this, albeit on a grander scale – publishing the words of writers and poets worldwide. Hence the Collections Of book series was born.
2. Why did you begin with publishing Lonely and what were your experiences of publishing this book?
Actually, I have no idea why I chose the subject of Loneliness for this first collection! Maybe there’s some deep hidden physiological meaning… or perhaps I just thought it would make an interesting subject. It was an interesting experience putting this first collection together, mainly because I really didn’t know where to start! Putting anthologies together on a tiny, tiny island like Bahrain was easy, all the writers are in one place and most were members of my writing group, but for Lonely I wanted to feature writers and poets from around the world. So I began by contacting writers groups in English speaking countries, and then networking via Facebook. It wasn’t long before I had enough contributors for this first collection. This nicest thing of all, aside from reading some really lovely words and work, was meeting and chatting to writers and poets around the world, albeit virtually. This was cool.
3. What are your future ambitions for The Collections of series?
Since Lonely I have published three more collections: LOVE – A Collection of Poetry and Prose on Loving and Being in Love, TRAVEL – A Collection of Poetry and Prose on Travels and Travelling, and WAR – A Collection of Poetry and Prose on the Bravery and Horror of War, and am currently working on HAPPY – A Collection of Poetry and Prose on Happiness and Being Happy. After Happy, I want to publish an anthology of poetry of prose about Being Young from writers aged between 12 and 18. I think this would be so interesting, reading about Being Young from young writers around the world. After that… not sure yet!
4. You’re a prolific writer, but admit to finding anything fictional difficult. Where did this admiration come from?
Yes, all my books are non-fiction, and I’ve done about 20 so far, on a whole range of subjects, from poetry to true crime and close protection (I used to work in security as a bodyguard before writing). But I don’t seem to have a creative mind! Maybe it is just because I haven’t trained my imagination and need to get myself on some creative writing courses. I have lots of stories from my time living in the Middle East, as well as Russia and Bosnia during the conflict, which I am sure I can put into a great book, but I just need to learn how.
5. Other than writing, what else are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about travel and travelling and am addicted to travel programmes on TV. For some reason I have a deep desire to travel from the Black sea across the former Soviet states of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and ending up in Kyrgyzstan. I have no idea why, aside from that they just look so beautiful and fascinating places few visit. I’m also passionate about Harley Davidson motorcycles and American muscle cars… it’s a guy thing!
6. Do you have any words of advice (or caution) for other writers?
There are lots of people out there with wonderfully interesting stories to tell, many of which would undeniably make brilliant books. So why do so many people do absolutely nothing about becoming a writer? In my opinion, there are two main reasons; firstly they don’t love writing enough. If they loved writing they would finish their book, simple. The bookshelves are full of books by authors that love writing, and I am sure that many of these books are no better, and probably a lot worse than many of the books sitting dusty in drawers or dormant on hard-drives. However, just a love of writing is not enough, the second and much more important reason is … they don’t write! The bookshelves are full of writers… who write! If you love writing and you write every single day, you will be successful. If you find reasons not to write, which most of us do, you will not be successful, which most writers are not! Successful musicians, artists, actors etc., are those that practice their art every single day, without fail. All professionals practice and perform every single day of their lives, and writing is no exception. As my friend crime writer Frank Muir says: “If you write 1,000 words every day, at the end of 1 year you will have written 365,000 words, or in other words, the equivalent of almost 4 of my crime novels.” So, set yourself a goal, and tell yourself that no matter what, you will write every single day. Be relentless, persistent and determined to get that word count down on paper every day. Rise earlier, or stay up later, or cut back on a your lunch break, or write a few words in the morning, some more at lunchtime, then finish them off at night. But no matter what, make it your daily goal in life to meet your word count. And whenever you feel demoralized, just remember the beauty of that simple mathematical calculation. It never fails. NEVER.