This is the start of a new series of interviews designed to examine the working spaces and habits of writers. I’m kicking it off with my own profile, so that future collaborators on this will have an idea of where I’m going with it.
Brighton, East Sussex, UK
Have worked in Retail since leaving college. 2 years ago I stepped down from a Management position to spend more time with my family and focus on what was important.
What have you written?
The Stars My Redemption, Tutti Frutti and some short stories.
What are you working on now?
Far From Home #1: Legend, the first of a monthly series.
Where do you do most of your writing and when?
Usually in the evening when the kids are in bed. Sometimes I fit some writing in in the afternoon, too, if I’m lucky.
Describe your writing space…
I write at a little desk in our bedroom. My wife picked the lamp. The chair (you can’t really see it) is a hard plastic affair, heavy but strangely comfortable. I suffer with a bad back, and I’m happy to say it actually offers the right kind of support when you’re hunched over a laptop smacking the keys in frustration. I write on a HP Pavilion g6 that I bought this year.
On the wall is the plan for my latest project, and next to it artwork from my daughter Leah, and a picture of us both together. There’s a picture of my Mother from when she was about 3 years old due to go up there, somewhere, once I pick up a nice frame for it. There’s a lot of story associated with that picture, and I know it will inspire me to mine past the surface elements of a story. On the right hand side you’ll notice a print in a frame. That’s one by George Cattermole, my great-great-great-great-grandfather, or something like that. He worked with Charles Dickens on The Old Curiosity Shop and Barnaby Rudge, and counted Dickens as a close friend. In fact he even married Dickens sister. Cattermole’s life story was a sort of tragedy, in that his sons went to war and when one of them died George went into a deep depression. He put himself to bed and died shortly afterward, from a broken heart. Having this picture there reminds me of my roots. Every time I look at it, I wonder about George and what it must have been like to be so close to someone like Dickens. I can’t help but imagine the fantastic story there is waiting to be written.
What you can’t see, on the other side of the room, near my side of the bed, is a dreamcatcher I bought when my wife and I first got together. I might end moving it so that it’s over the desk. It might catch me some good ideas.
Influences as a writer:
Writers who’ve influenced me include Stephen King, Michael Chabon, Alan Dean Foster, Lawrence Block, Elizabeth Kostova, Tom Clancy, to name only a few. The Star Trek: Crucible trilogy from David. R. George. Across every end of the spectrum, really. I like to take something away from everything. I might do something and think “Ah. C. S. Lewis.” Everything I read comes out in my writing eventually, in one way or another.
I think that TV is a great influence, especially now. There’s some great TV writing going on right now, and in the past decade, and I think it’s a great pool of talent for writers to draw from.
Look at some of the writing on Lost, for example. Yeah, the show had its flaws but you can’t deny that it was powerful and moving stuff at times.
The one book you wish you’d written:
The Stand. I’ve read it twice and it’s due a re-read I feel
The 5 Tony Healey Writing Tips:
1. Try to write when you can. Make the most of any opportunity
2. Have a plan
3. Find a good editor, and work with them to take your work to the next level
4. Take interest in your cover art – presentation is 99.9% of the sale
5. Find a good group of like-minded writers who will support and promote you in return for you doing the same for them – it’s invaluable and enriching
Links to your work:
The Stars My Redemption