Peter Jones started professional life as a particularly rubbish Graphic Designer, followed by a stint as a mediocre Petrol Pump Attendant. Then one day a freak accident with a credit card zip zap machine (remember those?) restructured his DNA at the molecular level and gave him entrepreneurial powers. The next twenty years were spent helping humorless men with more money than they deserve separate the man on the street from his hard earned wedge.
Nowadays, Peter spends his time – most of it anyway – writing. He is the author of two and a half fabulously popular self-help books on the subjects of happiness, dieting and dating. If you’re over-weight, lonely, or unhappy – he’s your guy.
His first book ‘How To Do Everything and Be Happy’ was re-published by Harper Collins UK in January (2013), whilst their colleagues across the pond have given it a brand new cover for the American launch in June. His second book ‘How To Eat Loads and Stay Slim’ – co-written with the lovely-as-she-is-slender Della Galton – will be available as an audio book in May (2013), and all other formats shortly after that.
Peter lives just a few miles outside London with his cat. He doesn’t own a large departmental store, and probably isn’t the same guy you’ve seen on the TV show Dragons’ Den.
And now from the author himself:
Well this is all very exciting. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a spotlight before. It’s a little like being on stage isn’t it? Or being interrogated. One or the other. Which strangely enough is pretty much how I feel about writing too. Somedays I’m an actor, playing a part, delivering lines as best I can, to an audience I can’t quite see, and who might very likely turn out to be row after row of empty seats. Other days I’m strapped to this chair (metaphorically speaking of course, but still against my will), and even when I’ve torn out part of my soul, shredded it into words, and arranged those on the page in what I’m hoping is an entertaining order – it isn’t enough! My agent wants something more. My publisher would like some changes. The magazine wonders if I could expand that line into a paragraph or three.
Still. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.
One of my earliest ambitions was the desire to create books. I would kneel on my Grandparent’s living room floor, take as many sheets of paper as I was allowed, and use my Grandmother’s stapler to create a ‘book’. I’d then proceed to fill the pages with illustrations and narrative, until I ran out of space, which is when the story would – sometimes quite abruptly – end.
Those publications were distributed on a strict ‘read and return’ basis. I don’t remember the stories I wrote. I have no idea what happened to the manuscripts. But I do remember it used to make me happy. I remember that.
But you know how it is. You grow up. Put aside childish things. Get real. And all the dreams you had – becoming James Bond, becoming an actor, working in a job that you enjoy – they all get compromised. Down to nothing.
On my thirty-second birthday, I finally realised that there was a distinct possibility that the last of my ‘dreams’ might also never come to pass. At the time I hadn’t even realised that it was a dream – I just hadn’t had a proper girlfriend for a while. A long while. A really long while. But I’d always assumed that things ‘would work themselves out’. Eventually.
Apparently I was the only one who thought so. Colleagues had long since stopped describing me as an eligible bachelor, and some had even questioned my sexuality, which wasn’t exactly helping the situation.
So in order to avoid a life of bachelorhood, I started to plan. I made lists. I came up with a strategy. I took all the problem solving skills I was developing to make rich men richer, and applied them to my own life, and the gargantuan task of finding a girlfriend.
And a year or so later my strategy worked.
Kate was a wonderful person. A real visionary. When we met I had vague notions of settling into a rather typical domestic life-style; putting up with a job that I didn’t care for five days a week, in return for the company of a loving woman in the evenings and at weekends. Kate had very different ideas.
Life wasn’t about ‘settling’ for things. To her there was a world of possibilities out there. We could go anywhere, do anything, have everything, all we had to do was put our minds to it. During the three years we were together Kate became more than my wife, she was also my teacher.
I didn’t realise it at the time of course. I had no idea that the ideas she kept sharing with me would become such a central part of who I am. That didn’t happen until I lost her. To a brain haemorrhage. At Stansted airport.
I’ve learnt since that sudden deaths like hers (a sub-arachnoid haemorrhage) are surprisingly common. Kate had a weak part in her brain, probably since birth. It could have happened at any moment. It was almost inevitable. I learnt too that after the shock of losing someone comes the guilt. Every cross word, every nasty thought, every lie – they all come back to haunt you. And amongst the demons that were queuing up to torment me was the realisation that I still wasn’t happy, and maybe I never had been. There had been happy moments, of course. Quite a lot of moments. Most of them in the previous three years, and most of them down to Kate, but they were moments none the less. And I wanted to be happy all the time. Not just occasionally. Not just for a moment.
And so I decided to tackle the problem in the only way I knew how: by coming up with a plan. Making lists. Developing a strategy.
I kept it to myself at first. Well, you would wouldn’t you. But one day a colleague got me talking and I told her about ‘Boxing Day’. And my ‘Now List’. The items on my ‘Wish List’. My yearly goals – and how I make sure I actually achieve them. I told her how I’ve taken back control of my life, decided how I want it to be, pointed it in that direction, and given it a kick up the backside. I told her how I’m having more fun than I’ve ever had. Smiling more than I ever did. How there’s love in my life again. How I think Kate would be proud of me. And that I can finally say, I’m happy.
“Those ideas are too good to be kept to yourself,” she said eventually. “You ought to write those things down.”
And so I did.
Thirty something years later after kneeling on my Grandparent’s living room floor I am finally doing something that I always wanted to do. I’m realising a childhood ambition. I’m making books again. And I remember now, how happy this makes me.
You can find more about Peter and his writing via…
- Blog: http://peterjonesauthor.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/peterjonesauthor
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/peterjonesauth
How To Do Everything And Be Happy
- Blog: http://howtodoeverythingandbehappy.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/howtodoeverythingandbehappy
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/doitallbehappy
How To Eat Loads And Stay Slim
- Blog: http://howtoeatloadsandstayslim.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/howtoeatloadsandstayslim
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/eatlotsstayslim
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