In our first Guest Blog, Aaron David writes about himself and his writing. Links to his excellent work can be found at the bottom of the page.
I hate talking about myself but here goes. I was born at a very early age in 1965. If you look at a map of the UK, there’s a mountain range called The Pennines; often referred to as ‘the backbone of England. On the east side is Yorkshire and on the west is Lancashire. Nestled in the western foothills is Bolton. Bolton is widely thought to be the biggest town (that isn’t a city) in Britain. Someone recently told me it’s the biggest town (that isn’t a city) in Europe. In a few weeks it will probably be the biggest town (that isn’t a city) in the universe. Back then, Bolton was still a mill town, producing and treating cotton and cotton products. Most of the walls were coated in soot and fluffy, filthy cotton waste. I couldn’t and wouldn’t describe my childhood as happy; my parents were not a happy couple and they constantly argued. My Mum was one of the best examples of a human being I’ve ever known, but she had rotten taste in men. The least said about my Dad, the better.
I excelled in school, being alternately known as ‘the brainy one’, and ‘the class clown’. In the seventies, we had grammar schools and the eleven plus exam. The pupils who scored in the top ten percent were offered a place in grammar school. I went to one and have always been and will always be grateful. Aged fifteen, I decided my vocation was photography. I set up a darkroom in the loft and spent as much time and money as I could to become competent. When I left school, I was a professional photographer for nine years. Aged nineteen, I had the tremendous good fortune to meet the prettiest woman I’ve ever seen. Thirty four years later we are still happily married. I became disillusioned and bored with photography and, aged 25 I started a business, installing and repairing burglar alarms. I still own and run the company. In 1993, we had a son, in ‘95 we had a daughter and in ’97 we had another son. My wife worked for social services and did three twenty-four hour shifts per week. Being self employed I would stay home when she was at work and go to work when she came home. It meant we never had to use any kind of childcare. Dear reader, I don’t know if you have children but if you do you’ll know that there’s a lot of time spent waiting; waiting for them to wake up, waiting for feeding time, rocking a cot at 4.00am, etc. In ’97, just before our youngest was born, I decided to use this time to test a theory; I’d always thought maybe I could write but was always busy with other things. I bought an exercise book and pack of ballpoints and set out to write ‘a funny book’. I wasn’t interested in changing anyone’s life, critical acclaim or winning awards, just writing a funny book. The first night I wrote page one. The second night I wrote eight pages. Doing some quick maths, I worked out I’d finish it by Christmas and be able to retire on the royalties by Easter. Sure enough, a mere ten years later, I finished the bloody thing. This was 2007, I didn’t do anything with it until I launched a website in 2009 and published on Amazon in 2010. By 2013, I’d sold six copies and decided I’d better have a go at marketing. I joined social media and made some amazing friends, most notably Ian Hutson, Pat McDonald, Carol E. Wyre, Tony Gilbert, Christoph Fischer and many, many others. Towards the end of 2013 I started writing short stories. I now have a dozen books published (three are compilations) and I’m working on a film script with an American screen writer.
Did I mention I hate talking about myself?
Where do my ideas come from? Ooooh! Sometimes a phrase, a TV program, sometimes something will pop into my head while I’m driving but most often I get ideas late at night; I’m an insomniac and never get to sleep before 3.00 or 4.00am. Something just goes ‘ping’ in the back of my head and the adventure begins. Here’s an example; a couple of years ago I was talking to a friend who owns a small publishing company. He said they were putting together an anthology of horror short stories and did I have anything to contribute. I said it wasn’t my genre but he said if I came up with anything to let him know. That night I was watching the original Jurassic Park films. In the second one (The Lost World) Vince Vaughn is translating for one of the islanders and says they call the island ‘the five deaths’. Ping! My mind wandered off and when it came back I had the nucleus of a story which I called ‘The Six Deaths’ (nothing to do with dinosaurs).
Short stories start with an idea or a few ideas, then it’s just a case of writing them. I choose to be concise; no starter, bread rolls or flower arrangement, just the main course. My short stories are typically five to ten pages long. Just over half of them are sci-fi (I call them ‘skiffies’ in my wacky, northern English way). A novel is a completely different beast; I have an idea of what will happen but once I set about writing, anything can happen. I have to write in solitude; I can’t have anyone in the room with me and normally have the TV or radio on in the background. Thanks to the wonders of technology, my phone has a large screen and has Word and Kindle installed so if I’m waiting in a car park I can carry on with whatever I’m writing. I used it to finish off two short story collections when I was in hospital, following a heart attack in 2016.
Since March of last year I’ve been writing a film script with an American screenwriter. Once that’s finished I have a few short story ideas and I really must crack on with my second novel; I’ve written just under 10,000 words of it.
Writing by Aaron David: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Aaron-David/e/B00CJH738O
6 June 2019