Hello my little chickadees
On my blog this time I have John Holt. I have known John since our time at Night Publishing.
John tell me a bit about yourself
Born in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, I have lived in Essex for 36 years with my wife Margaret, my daughter Elizabeth and Missy, our cat who adopted us. For many years I worked in local Council, as a Chartered Surveyor. I spent 14 years with the Greater London Council, as a Senior Project Manager. When the GLC was closed down in 1986, I started my own surveying practice, carrying out property surveys, and preparing architectural drawings for conversion schemes, extensions, and new buildings. I had a heart attack in 2004, and finally retired in 2008. In 2012 I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a two month course of radiotherapy, and hormone injections for two years. I also took alternative treatments of Amygdalin and Essiac. Although I am still being monitored, there has been no sign of the cancer since November 2014. I enjoy the theatre; and photography. I spend a lot of time restoring old family photographs. I am also a movie fan, and have quite a few old movies on DVD.
Day Job? I don’t have a day job, which is a pity really, because people keep telling not to give up the day job. Wonder what they mean by that …..
Tell me about your books. When you first started writing. How many completed. Work in progress?
I know it’s a clichéd comment but I think that I have always wanted to write. For some years I wrote articles for a couple of Blues magazines (sadly no longer available). I always enjoyed essay writing at school. The problem though was that I always needed to be told what the essay should be about, so I never had to dream up my own plot. To write a novel was different. Then you needed to think of a plot, and I always had great difficulty in that regard. In 2005 we went to Austria, to the Lake District, We stayed near to Toplitzsee which was used by the German Navy during the war, to test rockets. There were rumours that as the war ended gold bullion was hidden in the lake. Suddenly I had a plot, and my first book, “The Kammersee Affair” was published (Raider in New York – a vanity publisher) in 2006. Since then there have been seven other novels – six featuring my private detective Tom Kendall, and a what if novel set during the American Civil War “The Thackery Journal”. There have also been three novellas featuring my detective Jack Daniels. I am currently working on another Kendall novel, currently entitled “Disgnosis Murder”. It is loosely based on reports (in 2015 in Florida and Georgia) of a number of doctors dying mysteriously - some were judged suicides, some were put down to accident, but many (there were way over 30cases) were deliberate killings. All were cancer specialists, and all had an interest in alternative therapies.
Also I have had several of my books translated, via Babelcube.
If you could have any animal from time immemorial as a pet for long freezing days and nights, what would you choose and why?
My collie cross Gyp, who sadly died in 1983. A wonderful affectionate, intelligent dog, and I still miss him even after thirty plus years.
Do you prefer heat OR cold?
Well I have to admit I don’t like it too hot, but I don’t like it cold either. I hate the wind, and the rain. A nice comfortable heat, say in the mid-twenties, with a light breeze, that’s fine.
Fantasy holiday… Where would you choose to go if someone else was picking up the tab?
I’m not one for sitting on a beach all day long sunning myself. I like scenery, lakes and mountains. Things to do, places to visit, a little bit of culture you know. To get the type of holiday I prefer I wouldn’t have to travel too far. Places like Southern Germany, or Austria suit me perfectly.
Are you with a traditional publisher or self published?
Having written my first novel back in 2005 I thought that it would be snapped up, and I would be paid a nice little retainer, and just have to wait for the film offers to roll in. It didn’t take too long for me to realize that the chances of being snapped up by a traditional publisher was pretty remote. One book “A Killing In The City” was actually published by Night Publishing back in 2012, but it was not to last, and shortly after I went down the self publishing route.
Favourite meal (hot and cold)?
A well done steak and all the trimmings; or good old fish and chips. As for cold I’m not a great lover of salads, so I guess it would have to a cream cake, with chocolate, and ….. just don’t get me started.
Favourite drink (hot and cold)?
Favourite hot drink is easy – black coffee.
As for a cold drink I don’t drink alcohol, so that would be a fruit juice of some kind.
How hard do you find book promotion?
Incredibly hard. By far the worst part of the whole writing and publishing experience. The budget is very limited, so advertising is not an option, and many of the book promotion schemes are expensive. So any promoting I do myself, but it is very limited. So any ideas would be welcomed.
Any tips or hints you’ve found that were successful for you in promotion?
I’m still looking, but you’ll be the first to know. Though on the other hand if they work I might keep it to myself ….. ummm
Favourite genres to read and write?
That would have to be crime. I love the old film noir movies from the late forties and early fifties – Cagney, Bogart, Edward G, and later Robert Mitchum. I now have 6 novels and 3 novellas, all of which feature private detectives.
You’ve set up your own publishing house using FB writer friends to help run it. What would you name it? Who would you choose to run the different departments? As the owner, how would you ensure the FB staff achieved success
The name would need to be snappy, and show confidence – Crooked Crodolile, maybe. No I don’t think so. How about Victor Publishing International. As for staff, well clearly I would want top grade staff, the best I could get. Knowledgeable, and well qualified, but you did stipulate Facebook Friends, so I guess that’s out of the question, so I’ll just have to make do. So what departments would be important? Publicity certainly, so I would be looking for a successful person, someone who has a proven record. OK so I couldn’t find anyone like that, so next best thing I’ll settle for Reggie, my old mate Richard Jones to provide that International connection, at least when it all goes wrong I’ll have someone to blame; then there would be the financial department, so I would need someone who understood finance, and taxation, and …. Oh who am I kidding; Earnings will be so poor it won’t matter, but clearly I would need my very bestest friend – the one who got me to join Facebook in the first place – Babs Morton. Lastly I would need an ideas person, someone with imagination, someone with style and verve and ….. I wonder if I could quickly friend Alan Sugar (is he on Facebook). If not it would have to be Alfie Robins. Meanwhile I would be in charge of the cream cakes department. Now with a team like that success is assured, but just to be absolutely certain I would offer incentives, like chocolate, and maybe Michael Buble CD’s.