Hi there and welcome back to The Same Six Questions! My guest today is an author who has been published several times over. Give a warm welcome to Michael Parker!
Hello, Andy. I have been married to Pat for 51 years now. We have four sons and ten grandchildren. We have lived in Spain for fourteen years now, but are planning to return to the UK. I’m a Londoner. My wife is from Portsmouth. We met when my family moved down there. Pat was fourteen, I was fifteen. My hobbies are writing (naturally), snooker (I play every week), football (don’t play: too old), Speedway (500cc. bikes but I’m not a rider!), and keyboard playing. Pat and I are born again Christians and attend a Christian fellowship here in Spain where I played keyboard for the last seven years or so. We live in a lovely villa with superb views across the countryside, but like a lot of pensioners, we think it’s time to downsize and spend the kids’ inheritance.
The Same Six Questions
1. Have you published a book yet?
My first novel, North Slope, was published in 1980 by Macmillan of London. I have since had six more novels published by Robert Hale of London; the same publisher who will be releasing my next book, The Boy From Berlin in December this year.
North Slope is about a small oil company drilling for oil on the North Slope of Alaska. There is a killer loose on the camp who is determined to stop the company finding oil. In the bitter cold of the Arctic slope, Fyffe Oil battles against time and a ruthless murderer in an attempt to find oil before their licence, and their money runs out. All the big oil companies have left because they consider conditions are not right and the oil is too deep. The owner, Andrew Fyffe, knows there is only one man who can replace his chief driller who has been murdered, and that man, McKinnon is a drunk and a dropout. But he’s the finest wildcatter in the game. McKinnon is dragged from a bar in Juneau by a giant of an Indian called Skookum and flown up to the rig where he must battle against the elements and a ruthless, determined killer.
The story is inspired by the fact that Atlantic Richfield discovered oil on the slope in 1968. All the big hitters had left the area and stored their equipment at Prudhoe Bay for the winter. Richfield had six weeks to find oil. They called their well ‘The Last Chance’, and the rest, as they say, is history.
NORTH SLOPE is also available on Amazon in paperback. I have also released A Covert War and will have Roselli's Gold available soon.
2. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
It was probably in my late teens. I was always happy to write compositions and essays at school. The English language never fazed me, and I always marvelled at how some of my favourite writers could keep me spellbound with the way in which they wove their stories.
3. What was your first lengthy piece of fiction (say, >1000 words)? What was it about? When did you write it? Do you still have it?
My first attempt at a full length novel was when I was in my twenties. It was called The Perforated Edge, and was about an assassination attempt on the West German Chancellor. It was a poor effort. I was stationed in Germany at the time, hence the subject matter. My sister typed the manuscript up for me. Strangely, she came across it when she moved house a couple of years ago and sent it to me. That was forty years after it was written. I read through it and realised that I had a long way to go (at the time). I still have it.
4. When was your first indication, "I can do this (write)"?
As a young adult, I always assumed that only the ‘educated’ people could write books. They all spoke ‘posh’ and had been to university. I left school with no qualifications and lived on a Council estate. It wasn’t until I had been married a year or so that I realised I had the talent, and it didn’t need a university education or an upper class upbringing to write stories. Even though my first attempt fell at the first and subsequent hurdles, I never gave up.
5. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which would it be?
Hannah Bowers of Hell's Gate. When I created her, I based her on a well-known, attractive, no, gorgeous, ballerina. Trouble is; I don’t think my wife would like me to meet her!
6. It's a dark and stormy night...you're alone in the house...there's a knock at the door...you open it, look out, and proceed to scream like a little girl. What's on the doorstep?
Another bloody rejection!
Thanks for sharing with us today, Michael! For more of Michael and his writing, be sure to check out his Web sites (www.michaeljparker.com and www.acclaimedbooks.com).
Be sure to stop back on Monday when my guest will be Samantha Warren.