Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I was born on the Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire border in the small town of Raunds. This is an area unknown to most people living in England never mind those from other countries. It was well known to thousands of American airmen during and after the Second World War as part of the largest concentration of air bases in Europe. I grew up knowing almost as much about the U.S.A. as I did about the country of my birth and the US air force played a large part in my development. My teen years coincided with the birth of the Mersey Sound and like every lad of that era I was in a rock group. We played a mixture of R&B and covers of chart hits in village halls and USAF base PX clubs. I then spent three gloriously enjoyable years training to be a teacher followed by five years realising that teaching was very badly paid. When our first child, our daughter was born I left teaching and became a salesman for an educational supply company.
A career in sales and marketing followed which in general was fun, broadened my horizons and supplied me with a steady stream of new cars. It came as quite a shock when I retired and had to buy my own.
Being an independent author is great. Having spent a life in sales having to fit in with the customer’s likes and dislikes (they are always right) I can now express my own opinions or at least those of my characters and if the world doesn’t like them it can do the other thing.
Which writers inspire you?
I like a good story with believable characters who become friends who I care about. I also prefer books with some humour and a proper conclusion even if it’s a cliff hanger. You won’t find shelves of great classic authors in my collection as most of them bore the living daylights out of me. My current favourites are Neal Asher, Randolph Lalonde, and Steve McHugh. All are excellent story tellers with staggering imaginations who can sweep me out of the everyday to worlds of adventure and mystery. I like to learn from my reading and be entertained so the death recently of Terry Pratchett has deprived me of future visits to his Disc World and the plethora of fascinating characters that inhabit it. These writers cause me to look again at the human condition, to take a different view and look from a different angle. If any of these writers are unknown to you I recommend that you dip your toe into their waters and be prepared to be sucked into a roller coaster experience.
When did you decide to become a writer?
Years ago when I realised that there were so many things I wanted to say and my lack of skill with spelling and grammar need not stop me. It then took me more years to decide what to write about then further time making excuses for not actually starting till it became a case of put up or shut up. I would say to all those out there convinced they have a book in them to write it! You’re not a writer till your words are down on paper or an e-reader so write it. Then you are a writer. There is no guarantee that you will be a great or even a good writer that is for others to judge, but you will be a writer.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
Oh definitely part-time. With four grand children and a house and garden which have the habit of growing and falling apart by turns the chance of being a full time author is a distant dream. I try to write something every day be it replies to emails, interviews like this and even more of my current book. But I must hold my hand up to being lazy and there are always piles of new books to read, new places to visit, people to meet and my wife and family to consider. Travel, friends and conversations are bread and meat to an author. Without them I could spend my life staring at the wall waiting for the muse to strike. Without a life what would I have to write about?
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
Yes, but it’s very vague and my characters have a way of detouring from the straight and logical and mapping their own course. I know the beginning and usually reach the intended conclusion but the road between has many twists and turns with bumps and swerves along the way. Characters need attitude and baggage to make them real and interesting and this will enable them to find their own route. A road to Damascus moment may help a story line but if the people continually chop and change their ways and attitudes without good cause then chaos ensues and the plot falls apart. Even in fantasy logic and rules are necessary and timelines must be observed.
Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?
Yes. Write reviews yourself and offer a copy of your eBook to the author you have reviewed. If you get a good review from a kind person send them a free copy of your next book by email if you can get their email address. This takes time but you will build a list of people who at least don’t hate your style. Encourage reviewers they are a rare bread and deserve to be rewarded for taking the time to read your book and then write an opinion.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
Ok, so I’m lucky I haven’t had a bad one yet so I have to talk about the good ones. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who write reviews, even bad ones. A review proves that some kind soul bought the book and read it. This is justification for the lonely key pounder that their efforts were not a complete waste of time. I have only one minor gripe about reviews form Americans and that is about spelling. I have read many books by US authors and have become used to transatlantic spelling and usage so can discount these variants as part of the colour of your English. However this doesn’t appear to be reciprocal. I’m sorry but we spell colour with a u in it and many other similar words as well. These are not spelling errors even form me who has always had a disregard for the conventions of dictionaries. Read more books by British authors and get over the differences. These add colour to the narrative. Above all read and please, please write reviews, it makes our day when we get one.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
I have a website http://bryanpentelow.wix.com/bryan-pentelow, an author’s page on facebook and goodreads. There are various bits of biography scattered across the web but if you care to drop me an email to email@example.com I will send you some FREE READS which include short biographical pieces and previews of my books. I am also happy to answer questions about writing and public speaking which is another of my strange hobbies and for which I have won several prizes. You will also find news and reviews of other Indi authors that I know and like so they are not an endless tide of self aggrandisement.
Any Comments for the Blog readers?
Read on you lovely people. Read everything you can and try these new authors. You could discover the next best seller before any of your friends which has to be worth some dinner party bragging rights. And for us poor lonely pen pushers in our spider haunted garrets write your comments and reviews. After all if your review is published you will have joined the writers club.
Any feedback for me or the blog?
More power to you. It is so hard to become known as an author so sites like yours are a godsend. Keep it up.