Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the two hundred and seventieth, is of multi-genre author and interviewee Alan Place. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
Alan was born and grew up in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, England; his family spent several years in the Berwick Hills district of the city before moving south to Bristol. Although he has lived the majority of his life in the south-west he still considers himself to be a Yorkshire man and recently fulfilled a long-time wish to return to Scarborough. This journey was partly his personal desire, partly a trip to pay respect to a lost friend and partly a working holiday.
After leaving school, Alan went to college for two years before joining the Royal Air Force; it was during this time that he got the injury which was to plague him for the rest of his life. He was playing hockey and ran down the wing after a long pass up the field, when he got there the ball had been hit back and he turned to run into defence, as he turned he felt something click in his left ankle; being only 18 and reasonably fit he didn’t think anything more of it until the following weekend. After his passing out parade, he went back to his parent’s house for the weekend and Christmas before his first posting, it was here the first signs of trouble showed as the ankle flared to the size of a small melon for the weekend before going back to its usual size.
After leaving basic training at RAF Swinderby in Lincolnshire, he was posted to trade training at RAF Cosford, which is used for indoor athletic meetings in the UK. While at RAF Cosford, Alan first got the urge to write horror stories; one of his earliest was meant as no more than a joke after missing a train into Wolverhampton, but as nobody saw him leave the camp that Sunday and with the trains running on a weekend schedule, nobody saw him until 9:00pm, what were they to think?
Six months later, Alan got his first official posting to RAF Lossiemouth in Morayshire raf.mod.uk/raflossiemouth it was during this posting of two and a half years in Scotland that Alan first started to sell his work, this time as a photographer not a writer. He sold work to fellow members of the station drama club.
Always having a keen eye for a photograph and being on the coast, this posting was a godsend for him as he ventured out to the long sandy beech and down to the docks, where he would spend hours watching fishermen at work, this was to become a feature of his later stories as he made a reputation for ghost stories with a sea theme.
The final posting was to the now redundant RAF Laarbruch in Germany. During this posting Alan came close to death on a few occasions. After a school accident when he fell from a climbing frame onto concrete, he had a fear of heights and on one trip he had to go up in a ski-lift to visit a castle, on the way up he spent the 10 minute journey praying for it to end and when the lift turned to return he was happy; only to find his worst case scenario had turned into a horrifying reality as he was now trapped half on and half off the lift; with the lift going back across the forest below and the ground quickly going from his feet.
Another incident occurred at the 1979 European Cup final in Munich when a German guard pointed a gun at him for no reason; to give you an idea of the irony of the situation, he was standing behind a four foot wall on a grass bank of equal height which led to a ditch of about fifteen feet in width, to get to the pitch one had to scale this obstacle traverse the ditch and climb up the bank on the other side before running thirty feet to the touchline.
On leaving the RAF Alan joined the Bristol museums service and worked in the main museum and branches for fourteen years before getting laid of with depression over his father’s death through cancer.
Over the course of time he wrote stories for his pleasure and never thought about the fact other people may enjoy his work, until three friends suggested they would like to read some of the stories and this lead to a new life as a writer. His first article published was a ghost story which has an interesting background.
One of the things which never cease to amaze him is the growing fan base and its variety of readers. Among his fans he can include published authors of many years experience, doctors and respected editors as well as a vast array of general public from many countries. The stories about the young PI Pat Canella have been recommended by his friend Pat Ritter, who was a police sergeant in Queensland for over twenty years.
In recent times Alan’s work has turned to writing for the children’s charity Peacock Writers for a short time he also wrote for the charity Indies In Action, until the concept was for him corrupted; another aspect of his work involves promoting his friends books on line, an aspect of being a writer which he took to well, much to the pleasure of friends as this part of writing is an area they dislike.
Most of his friends agree he does not self promote enough to show his true value as a writer, Alan’s great fault is that he never believed he was good enough until Sept 2012, when he beat his harshest critic in a writing contest on the website of a friend of the critic.
And now from the author himself:
I came to writing late in my 50’s, unlike most of my friends on line; I had never entered contest or gone on courses but I felt writing was meant for me as I have many stories to tell and from many genres.
I use the blog mainly as a promotional tool for my friends and one friend in Australia told me that my promotion of his book has given rise to him selling over 120 copies a month. My work covers many aspects of the writing trade from writing and promoting my books to charity work for Peacock Writers. I also promote work for Indies In Action although I no longer write in the anthologies, that decision was because of personal views; the current topic is Tornado relief for families in Oklahoma.
My current release is the follow up to the award winning Chronicles of Mark Johnson which my editor Julia thinks is superior in content and thrills to its predecessor. I agree with her comment as the book gave me bad dreams when I was writing the story. Also on the boil is a new series in the Pat Canella story line, if you read the article, you will see this story has had a deep and mystifying background from its inception.
Over the last two years, I have built a reputation for ghost stories and stories with a weird science twist; imagine E A Poe and H.P. Lovecraft combining to write the story and you get somewhere close. I have been compared to Poe, Lovecraft, Wilkie Collins and Le Fanu, which is a great tribute as I like their work.
While making a rep for ghosts, my best seller is a vampire short story which hopefully be the first to sell twenty copies on Amazon. Other stories to come out soon will include a follow up to Holding Richmond, the next chapter in the story of Pat Canella, a medieval series based on a city hit by a firestorm forcing the people to flee, and a follow up to Did we see him? which was my first venture into Steampunk, the following story has already got plenty of interest online, I have learned the hard way on line interest does not relate to sales as my story about two mature lover has over 3,000 readers online, yet not one sale.
Through all the new work I will continue writing the ghost stories which gained me readers; some of the stories are well liked – if not by me – as Old Church Ghosts was to prove; the serialised romance Love of the Sea can be read in a short version along with the story which beat my harshest critic in Sea Ghosts.
I do plan to bring “The Love of the Sea” out in ebook form at some time; I have no idea when though as there are many irons in the fire and a restless muse to keep my ideas flowing.
My planned autobiography “Six years as a number,” has been put on hold, I planned to put it out to help a charity on LinkedIn, but as I am no longer on there, I will be taking my time planning things out, a new idea is a follow on for the only book to get a 5-star rating at Amazon.
Although most of the links go to Amazon, if you wish you can buy the books from my blog, which will let the writer see some money rather than go into a slush fund at Amazon that I will never see a penny for all my work. I am also able to offer books which are not on Amazon, so if you see something you like please get in touch at via the blog or my email @ email@example.com.
July may be a big month for me as my post shows.
Also coming out soon is “Snowflakes on my lashes” which will be the latest book from the writers at Peacock Writers.
My personal goal is to see Chronicles on a bookshelf, will it happen? We’ll have to wait and see; for now I am trying to get some sales for my award winning series as book 1 hasn’t sold since the award in October, 2012. My friends will tell you that in the past year, I have been let down so many times by people saying they will buy my ebooks, I don’t even have the time to say “I’ll believe it, when I see the sale,” a sad indictment of our times when people lie to you. If you have no intention of buying the ebook; why say you do?
Remember book 2 in the award winning series is for sale from Amazon or from me.
I would like to end by thanking Morgen for allowing me to have the chance to keep the readers up to date on the new works and ideas for the future.
You’re very welcome, Alan. It was a pleasure to host you again.
You can read my interview with Alan here and you can find more about Alan and his writing via…
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