I had such fun a few weeks ago meeting up with an old friend, author and lifestyle blogger Gillian D’Achada at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland. Gill and I were once part of a writers’ circle in Kalk Bay, South Africa in the late 1990s and early naughties that eventually became a writers’ line when only she and I remained. Gill I think was the first person to encourage me to become a full-time author and I am forever grateful for her support. Over the years she and I have stayed in touch and I was privileged to edit her award-winning youth novel, Sharkey’s Son for Tafelberg Press. Here I am talking to her about how reading classic literature doesn’t have to be hard work – and how some classics have influenced my own writing of The Jazz Files.

PS Yes I’m aware I made a mistake on Homer’s dates. He lived and wrote in the late 8th Century BC, not 4th Century. Forgive me darlings!

Guardians of Ancora animated film

Remember last year I was working on an animation script to be used in the Guardians of Ancora role play game? Well the film is finally finished! It’s produced by Bill Schultz of Home Plate Entertainment (formerly producer of the The Simpsons) and Maggie Barfield from Scripture Union / Guardians of Ancora.

And here it is, ‘Jesus Calls the Fishermen’

Quest 1 – Jesus calls the fishermen from Scripture Union on Vimeo.

If you have come to this site after reading Ros Barber’s article in the Guardian about self-publishing, then please know that only half of what I said on her blog was quoted in the article. Yes I did say that, because it’s true, and I was defending her against some self-publishers who were telling her that she should leave her traditional publisher and go it alone as that was the only way to earn money as a writer. As someone who has been both self-published and traditionally published I thought I could give some perspective. However, what wasn’t quoted in the Guardian was the second half of my comment. And here it is:

“I don’t want to give the impression though that I think self-publishing is never as good as traditional publishing – in terms of quality of product. That is not always the case. There are some fantastic self-published books out there that may never get noticed by trad publishers. There are also some awful ones (for many of the reasons you’ve given above). However, I know and highly respect a number of self-publishers who do a great job with both the writing and marketing aspects of the business. My gripe is with the dream industry that has built up around self-publishing. I am very happy with my traditional publishing deals but that does not mean I will never self-publish something again in the future. But if I do it will be with no expectation of ‘making it big’.”

I hope that settles in your mind that I am not against self-publishing just the hype that surrounds it. That is all I have to say on the matter and I hope to draw a line under this now. So if you have brought a pitchfork, please put it down now. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m not going to bother linking to anything. Ignorance is bliss in this case.