Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the two hundred and ninety-fourth, is of travel and article writer, short story author and interviewee Vic Heaney. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
Vic lives with his wife Gay in the Pyrenean foothills in France, not far from the Spanish border. He was born in northern England and attended grammar school but insisted on leaving at the age of 15 because a life at sea beckoned.
Despite that bit of foolishness he has not done too badly. His five subsequent careers included that first job as a Merchant Navy Radio Officer, a 7-year stint working for GCHQ, 14 years with Britain’s major computer manufacturer, largely as a regional manager, and another 10 years founding and running his own highly successful computer services company.
He retired at age 50 and has spent much time since then travelling the world. He is a reader and writer, a guitar player and a music listener, an ex-runner, now a prolific walker. He has many other interests including US politics and has been in the States to experience the excitement of the last two Presidential elections.
To celebrate his 70th birthday, Vic walked from his home in the French Pyrenees to the house where he was born, in Blackpool, Northern England. He deliberately took 70 days for the walk – at an average of 30 kms per day – so that he would arrive on the significant date. The whole project covered more than two years and he walked 14,500 kms, seventeen and a half million steps, most of that in training. His objective was to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer and also to raise funds for research into a cure. Vic’s first wife died from this dreadful illness.
He is now aged 73 and until recently his 3 daughters were living in 3 different continents. This has now reduced to 2 (continents, not daughters). His four grandchildren are now all living in UK, as will the imminently expected great-granddaughter, due in September.
Despite their love for the beautiful area in which they have lived for so many years, Vic and Gay are considering a move back to UK, mainly for family reasons.
And now from the author himself:
I have always loved to write. Not daunted by the embarrassment of having one of my essays published in my school magazine, throughout my life I have had articles published in various magazines. The pinnacle of this success was a short piece about computing, in The Observer Magazine.
For most of my life I thought I did not have the imagination to write fiction, but for several years now I have written stories to enter the monthly competitions in Writers’ News. I have not yet won first prize but have, frustratingly, been shortlisted six times. My major writing ambition, apart from writing the series of books described below, is to win first prize in that competition.
My first book to be openly published was “Vic’s Big Walk”, about the massive walking project mentioned above. This included a significant amount of autobiographical information and not a little humour. It has been very well received and reviewed. It is available in paperback and also as an e-book on all the major platforms.
Here is one review on Amazon:
Vic’s Big Walk is an awe-inspiring tale of bravery, determination and stamina, written by a truly remarkable man. Anyone capable of walking almost 1900 kilometres from SW France to NW England is a hero in my book (although I know Vic finds this term rather embarrassing), but to take on such a task at the age of seventy to raise money for such a worthwhile cause is just extraordinary. I loved ‘Vic’s Big Walk’ – it was inspirational, thought-provoking and beautifully written.
My second book was “Living In The Real Cyprus”, about the 8 years Gay and I spent there, with an emphasis on how different many things are from what the casual tourist sees. This is also available in paperback and e-book form.
Gay and I have together in the past ghost-written several autobiographies for private circulation. To document my own life to date at the age of 60, I wrote and published – for my family – an autobiography. My next book will be a memoir of my life to date – but this one will be available to the wider public.
I also have other books planned, including a collection of short stories.
My work has been published in “A Splendid Salmagundi” – an anthology of stories, poems and other writing pieces from authors who are members of the Goodreads UK Amazon Kindle Forum. The “Salmagundi” won the “Best Anthology Award” from Indie Book Bargains website. Having written two of the items in the Salmagundi I am able to claim two fragments of the award and call myself an award-winning author.
All proceeds from all of my books go direct to pancreatic cancer research. And now I seem to have a new career doing presentations of my books. The talks mainly involve readings from one of the books, with humorous links. This is followed by a sale of personally dedicated and signed books at a slightly enhanced price (compared with, say, buying the book on Amazon), with all the proceeds once again being sent to the same charity.
You can find more about Vic and his writing via… http://vicsbigwalk.blogspot.fr.
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I welcome items for critique for the online writing groups listed below:
Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group
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