Welcome to another Get To Know feature and this week I have the lovely Malcolm Hollingdrake on the blog.
As a teacher, I have always written stories, as a teacher for many, many years, usually for children and editorials about educational practice. Initially I never believed that I’d become a published author and certainly not of crime fiction. I get anxious when I see a police car in my rear-view mirror! It was only later in life after self-publishing my first novel and winning a short story competition, did I feel as though I might have some ability. My wife, a specialist teacher of English, has always told me that I have a very individual way of writing and that I should work and develop it further.
I wrote two further books, both involving officers, DCI Cyril Bennett and DS David Owen who are based in the beautiful spa town of Harrogate. Although I had submitted both to publishers and agents, I had no success other than receiving the same response as many other disappointed authors. As with the first, they were self-published on Amazon.
Now here I’m going to say that, everyone, no matter what your walk of life, you need serendipity, luck and that luck usually appears in the form of another human being who can lift you to a higher level, a level that would have been unachievable before. For example would we have heard of Eva Cassidy had Sir Terry Wogan not introduced her, Michael Buble aided by Michael Parkinson? Maybe, but through that one person’s determination to help, the other’s life changed. It happens also if people win an award, suddenly doors open and more eyes fall on them and their work. Without two people, Angie Marsons and Liz Mistry, I’d still be a self-published author writing to publishers. Not that there’s anything wrong in that.
Certainly getting a professional publisher behind you is just so positive. They have the experience, the contacts and they have the support networks in place. So, initially, a four book deal turned into a seven book contract. More pressure, more work but there is no better feeling. Four books completed and I’m working on Book Five at present.
You can keep up to date with Malcolm Hollingdrake and his books on the following sites:
Favourite book as a child?
I don’t really remember a book that I could call a favourite. If anyone either at home or school read me a story I was asleep before the ending, so much so the teacher gave me a broom to sweep the classroom during story time to keep me awake. Didn’t do much for my love of books but I could sweep brilliantly!
Favourite book as a teenager?
Favourite book as a teenager would have to be the Dr Syn series but to be honest I can’t be sure. Loved Kes but that came later. Yes, The Scarecrow and Dr Syn if I have to commit.
Favourite character I suppose Billy Casper but if you ask me tomorrow that might have changed.
Favourite book to movie adaption?
Can I have ‘Cabaret’ the musical and film by Christopher Isherwood?
Favourite drink or snack while reading?
Tea, a cup of green tea whilst writing. China cup and saucer only. (Kidding- Huge Harrogate festival Anniversary mug.) It tends to go cold as once writing I tend to close off the outside world.
Snack nothing, crumbs go on the laptop! A bit of Cyril coming out in me.
Favourite highlight of your writing career?
Favourite moment of my writing career. Meeting some fantastic people and finding a guardian angel. It must have been receiving the email from Bloodhound offering that publishing contract. Wow! Seeing my wife, Debbie’s face when I told her made me cry. She’d always had faith and when the rejection letters came she was always there to encourage me.