Q&A interview with Oliver Tidy

I am very excited to welcome Oliver Tidy to my blog page on his publication day. Oliver has kindly offered to take part in my Q&A Interview…. So without further ado ere is Oliver Tidy

Can you tell us a little about yourself and background?
In my late thirties I went back to education as a mature student to qualify as a primary school teacher. Before then I’d worked in a variety of unskilled manual jobs. I then taught for a few years in UK primary schools before deciding that I didn’t want to be diagnosed as clinically insane before I was fifty. So I decided to try life abroad as a teacher of English as a foreign language. Much easier.
After six years of that I took a year’s sabbatical – that’s where I am now – to see if I could make it as a writer. By ‘make it’ I mean support myself financially. If I can make it pay this year I’ll do another. If I can’t I’ll be looking for teaching jobs next summer. (Falls to his knees and starts praying for shedloads of Amazon downloads.)

When did you know that you wanted to become a writer? and how did you go about it?
I’m one of those bitten quite late by the writing bug. I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember and a book collector for many years. I tried to write when I lived in the UK but there were too many distractions for me. When I moved to Turkey, six years ago, I found the time and space to have a go. It’s since become something of a daily habit.
I started writing at work – being an English teacher abroad there is lots of free time during the day. It snowballed from there.
Can you tell us what genre your books are written in and the audience you write for? 
I currently write three series: The Romney and Marsh Files are essentially British police procedurals; the Booker and Cash stories are British private detective stories and my Acer Sansom novels are international thrillers.
I started off writing for me. Then I craved some reader feedback so I self-published. (No one else was interested in reading my stuff apart from my mum and I think she skim-reads most of it.) These days I write for anyone who wants to read me, although I find that the books in each of my series are far more popular with a British readership than any other.

What is your writing process? And how long does it typically take to write a book?
I’m on a year’s sabbatical at the moment. I could afford to try writing full-time for a year and so I invested in myself. I write in the mornings from nine until one with a couple of coffee breaks thrown in. Then I usually get back to my desk from eight in the evening until midnight. I don’t generally write at weekends much. On a good day I can manage five-thousand words.
Using this routine I’ve completed the first drafts of two books in two months. I leave them alone for a couple of weeks – I start other writing projects – and then come back to them for editing before sending them off to my proofreading friend. When he’s done he pings them back and I deal with all the formatting and then upload them to Amazon.

Are your characters based on anyone you know or are they just fictional?
There is a lot of my thinking in two of my central protagonists. I’m not sure I should name either. There are bits and pieces of people I have known in some of the other characters. I find it helps a lot with dialogue writing to imagine myself having conversations with particular people I know.
Have you written about a personal experience in your novels?
There is nothing from my personal experience in any of my novels other than my experience of some of the locations. (I want to make it quite clear that I have never had a ‘relationship’ with a monkey.) 

What research do you do?
As and when I feel I need it I make use of Google (maps, street view and satellite) and then Wikipedia. So useful. And free! I’ve also gleaned some useful local information from travel blogs for my Acer Sansom novels. (There was no way I was going to Iran! Not with my tattoos.)
In my Acer Sansom novels he spends some time in Turkey. I’ve drawn on my personal experiences of places to write the geographical aspects of the books: where I met my wife, where we had our honeymoon, where she ‘fell’ off the cliff during our first row. (She’s fine now.)
But mostly I make it up as I go along.

Who would you like to co-write with and why?
I’d love to co-write something (anything) with JK Rowling. It’s not that I think she’s the best writer out there but think of the millions of books we’d sell with her name on the cover. Kerching! I’d never have to work again.
What’s your favourite book?
A dictionary. I love words and I get so much satisfaction out of reading a perfect and concise dictionary definition. (Does that make me weird?)
What’s your favourite food?
My mum’s home-made blackberry and apple crumble – cold from the fridge. I can eat that any time of day or night until my tummy hurts.
What’s your favourite film?
Dirty Business starring Acer Sansom. It hasn’t been done yet but it’s going to be my favourite when Ridley Scott realises it should be made.
What’s your favourite song?
Ding Dong the Witch is Dead. (I’d better not say why. Some people who are still grieving for her might read this.)
How can readers find out more information about yourself and your books?
My blog is the best place to find out about me and my books. They are all listed there with their blurbs and there are pages of reader feedback.
My blog is more of an online diary of my journey as a writer. I started it when I decided to self-publish, three years ago. I make at least one entry a week. The blog is as important to me as any of my books.

I would like to say a massive thank you to Oliver for taking time out to do this interview. I have to say you do make me laugh and I hope you readers all enjoy it to.

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