Welcome to another of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with multi-genre author Roger Hurn. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Roger. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Roger: I live in South East London and I spent quite a few years as a teacher in the inner city. The pupils there can be pretty challenging as anybody who’s ever stood in front of a class of bored teenagers on a wet Thursday will tell you, but I found the best way to survive was by telling stories with cliffhanger endings. These grabbed the kids’ attention and made them eager to hear more. It meant that I could use the stories as a way of keeping order and creating an atmosphere conducive to learning. Believe me, if my stories weren’t up to the mark they didn’t hesitate to let me know, so I soon learned how to tell a lean, mean narrative with colourful characters and an all-action plot. Then, when I’d mastered that, it seemed to be a natural progression to write them down and try and have them published.
Morgen: I’ve just started teaching adults creative writing, two evenings a week (more next term), and love it because, apart from talking about my favourite subject for two hours, they’re there because they want to be, not have to be and they’re so keen. What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Roger: I started off writing books for children, particularly for those kids who are classed as “reluctant readers”. I wanted them to discover the joy and pleasure that reading brings so my books for them are like a springboard they can use to dive into the world of their imagination. Judging by the feedback I’ve had, it seems to have worked for an awful lot of children and I’m very proud of that!
However, these days I’m really enjoying working on a series of crime novellas for adults. These feature Ryan Kyd, a hard-nosed, but soft centred ex member of the elite Diplomatic Protection Group. In his time, action man Ryan has guarded Royalty and Prime Ministers and faced down terrorists. Now he’s set up on his own as a Private Investigator on the mean streets of South London.
This may seem like quite a jump from writing for children but I think writing crime thrillers for adults is not so different for writing attention grabbing books for kids. Both have high standards and want crisp no-nonsense writing, sharp dialogue, interesting characters they can believe in and action packed storylines that keep them turning the page. And, above all, the writer has a duty to entertain his audience and leave them demanding more – so that’s what I try to do.
Morgen: Absolutely. No one should write down to children. They’re highly intelligent and won’t thank you for it. What have you had published to-date? Do you write under a pseudonym?
Roger: I have had over eighty books for children published and now I’ve had three Ryan Kyd books published plus a Ryan Kyd Omnibus. I don’t use a pseudonym, for better or for worse I am who I am.
Morgen: 🙂 Are your books available as eBooks? How involved were you in that process? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Roger: The Ryan Kyd books are published by Endeavour Press, who claim to be the UK’s leading independent digital publisher, so they are all available as ebooks. My involvement is in writing the books and then handing them over to my editor at Endeavour. In fact it works in exactly the same way it does when I have a paperback book for children published.
I love reading books but am now downloading the vast majority of the books I read onto my Kindle.
Morgen: Me too. I get a daily email from http://digitalbooktoday.com/free-kindle-books with a list of free ones so apart from collections of short stories for review (and most of those are sent to me by the authors) or I spot an author I like, I don’t have to buy eBooks. Do you have a favourite of your books or characters?