Colin is true, blue working class; a Welshman who spent twenty-two years as a steelworker, before becoming involved in Trade Union affairs and working his way up through the system.
Now living in Yorkshire, England, full-time, Colin juggles working part-time as a CCTV operator, with his passion for writing and his darling wife.
I have read all three of Colin's novels to date and have thoroughly enjoyed his unique and special style. Some might say Colin's writing is a little rough around the edges, but for me he is the consummate story-teller. His paranormal books are full of twists and turns that I suspects not even he can predict at times. What makes a great book? For me, it is the ability to hold the reader's attention constantly - if you like, "the can't put it down" factor. Colin Griffiths has this in bucket loads. I find I just keep reading because I'm desperate to know what happens next.
Enough of my prattle - on with the interview!
I’m not sure there was a specific time. When I was a teenager in the 70’s I used to write a lot of poetry. They were a bit dark. I wrote a novel when I was seventeen, about a songwriter seeking fame. I'm not sure what happened to it. It was something I always wanted to do for 40 years and at the age of 56 I done it. But to be honest I always thought there was one in me. When I finished it I was elated. I never thought for one minute there was more to come.
All my life I’ve put pen to paper in one way or another, just never as a novel. My biggest regret is not having done this earlier. Who knows I may have written a best-seller. When you think of it, once you’ve written a book you will always be an author.
My own self esteem will not allow me to be called an author. I don’t think I’m there yet. I still regard myself as the youngest of nine who grew up in a caravan and upgraded to a council house. I feel I haven’t earnt the right to be anyone else. Just yet.
2/ What authors have influenced you the most and who are your favourite authors?
I have never been an avid reader but if I was to have a favorite it would probably be Stephen King closely followed by the sadly departed James Herbert. Someone once referred to one of my books as like reading a Stephen King. So I guess he is the one person who has influenced me most.
3/ What excites you most about writing?
Let me tell you Grant, sometimes I’m sat there and I’m not at all excited and feel like giving up as I
wonder where the next sentence comes from, never mind the next chapter. Then all of a sudden
something flashes through your mind and the pen starts flowing again, that makes me excited getting over that block. But I think what excites me most is when I’ve written the last sentence of the last chapter. It’s more than a feeling of satisfaction. It makes me want to punch the air. When I think of it. It’s all exciting!
I’ve probably read more books in 2015 than in the previous 10 years. It was 2015 I really discovered the "indie" author market having become a part of it myself.
Michael Kelly’s Damsels was disgustingly funny and quirky. Mr. Mercedes by King comes close. I also liked Girl on a Train a lot. But I’m going to go for Four to Dawn by May Panayi. I’m on my fourth book of hers. It’s about four girls trapped in an office block who start telling their stories, but it’s a lot more than that. It’s dark and deep with an extremely good twist. Its graphic in parts but any book that makes you think about it long after you have read it has got to be good. The best book I have ever read is “The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist”. It should be on our curriculum.
5/ How do you come up with your ideas?
I don’t know, really I don’t. When I started writing "Never Say Goodbye", I had no idea where it was going to take me, I think ideas come to me as I write, I just think “ooh I'll add this” or “that will be good” I also think quotes give me ideas, I read a post on Facebook recently that said “When you can’t sleep at night it means you're awake in someone else’s dream” I just thought “I'VE GOT TO WRITE THAT” “Someone Else’s Dream” just has to be written. It’s on my list to do for 2016.
If I’m not writing I’m always thinking about it, I think an idea can come up anywhere, any place, any time. I can be sat there watching football then all of a sudden ill grab my notebook and write something down, I’ve no idea how it’s got in my head. Does that make sense? It can drive my wife nuts at time. I wish when I dream at night I could print them out the next morning. I would have some awesome stories.
I like Lily in “Underwood,” she has spunk and bottle and goes through a lot for such a young girl. Katy from "Never Say Goodbye" has a hard time but manages to pull through. There’s a character that comes into “There was no Body” called Gabriel Fenton; he was only in it for a short while, but I’m going to bring him back.
Madison Hughes in “Never say Goodbye” is by far my favorite, though. She was never part of my original idea but soon become my favorite and took on a major role in “Never Say Goodbye” that was completely by accident. To me she was THE hero. I wanted to write a book about Madison Hughes but then decided she should be the main character in “There was no Body”. I think she’s still an enigma and I don’t think I’ve told her full story yet. I’m writing a third and final “Fenton” book and I’ve no doubt Madison Hughes will appear somewhere after that “Madison Hughes: Mind Reader"; sounds good.
7/ Are you like any of your characters and in what way?
That’s easy Grant. The dimwitted Todd Fenton. The laid back window cleaner who has no idea what or who he is. Take away his abilities and I think that’s me at his age. Living on a caravan site you didn’t need a ladder to clean the windows.
8/ How do you balance the need to market your books and the need to write?
I’ve got to be honest, I have no idea how marketing works, and I just don’t get it as an "indie" author. I just post in Facebook groups and on Twitter, but to be honest there are so many posts in those groups I don’t think anyone actually looks. I came into this, as just someone wanting to write stories. I wouldn’t know how to market or promote a book if it was stood in front of me. I’m still amazed when someone buys a copy of a book I’ve written. The fact that you are interviewing me still seems surreal. I really wish I could answer this question.
Someone once wrote a 1 star review about me saying “He’s a story-teller, not a story-seller” that’s not so bad is it?
I write whenever I’m not working and the time allows me. I would never dream of going on social media promoting when I could be writing. How many times can you post the same thing before people switch off? I wish I could be a full time writer. I have so many ideas I want to explore.
Every day I still look at my bookcase and think “I wrote that!”
Oddball: I think everyone talks to themselves, but I just have full blown conversations. There is always another “me” close by.
Mundane: There’s so many, wouldn’t know which one to choose.
10/ Who edits your books and how do you handle quality control?
I am in danger of sounding a total idiot, I have teaching skills which allows me to teach adults, I was an education officer for a Trade Union. I have counseling qualifications and I used to run five-day training courses which were considered to be the best. Quality Control, that’s management speak to me. I have no idea what quality control is, never mind how to handle it. Editing I do understand. Alas the life of an "indie" author is not a rich one. To professionally edit a book is not cheap.
My first editions were awful, I admit that, but I am learning and hopefully my work is improving. I would love to have my books professionally edited or even beta read. Who knows, one day? I self edit the best I can.
11/ How do you handle criticism of your work?
I can’t answer this directly so I’ll try to explain. If I have a bad review it does tug at my heart strings
because we all want everyone to like our books. In life that isn’t going to happen. Constructive criticism I handle fine, particularly when it comes to editing. I’ve taken great advice from constructive criticism. If it’s to criticize me personally I don’t care.
But what really pisses me off is when people feel the need to give warnings that my books are written in “Third Omni Style”. For God's sake, most readers wouldn’t even know what that is. I bloody didn’t, and to be quite frank still don’t. Would someone put a warning “this is written in First Person?” probably not! I think those that do that are authors who think they are clever.
So Grant, I don’t handle that very well. I think my best answer now could be “So was J K Rowling and Tolkien”. My style is not everyone’s taste and I fully get that. I just read a book that was written in “first person”, not my favorite style to read. I gave it five stars because the story was so good.
Write what you love, and love what you write. Take advice from the people that matter to you. Every author in the world is going to get knocked; the "indie" world does it in heaps, but mostly it praises and encourages. Never give up because it’s your book, no one else’s.
13/ What is your favourite and least favourite thing about being a writer?
Everything about being a writer is good, even the criticism and the knocks are good, because it means you are getting noticed.
Meeting new people like yourself is awesome, finding new friends and just generally nice people.
Would I be answering your questions if I hadn’t written a book? NO! How good is
Looking at your reviews and finding out you got a new 5 star from somebody you’ve never met is
awesome. I love everything about it Grant. The only negative I can think of is “work”. It gets in the way.
The feeling that someone, in some part of the world, has read your book and loved it, is second only to my children being born. Nothing else beats it!
14/ What makes you laugh?
Sarcasm: I’m very sarcastic, well I call it wit, but others call it sarcasm. Jokes like “Just found out
my wife is allergic to the dog so we have to give her away. She’s 52 and a very good cook!” That’s my humor.
Stephen Fry – The conversation would never stop.
Nelson Mandela – Just to shake his hand.
Bob Dylan – I have got everything he’s ever done, I would just stare at him.
My Father – So I could ask what I did wrong.
Margaret Thatcher – So I could ask - Why?
My Wife - So she could stop me making a fool of myself and stop me staring at Bob Dylan.
16/ Final question – Why should our readers buy a Colin Griffiths?
I have got to tell you this. When I first wrote "Never Say Goodbye", I posted on Facebook that if people bought it and read it I will give them the money through PayPal. One person took me up on it so I paid him £2 and he never bought the book. I will remember you! Ha Ha Ha!
All I can say is I try to put the reader inside the book; make them feel part of the story, because the most important character is the one that’s reading it.
Well, that was a lot of fun. Thank you so very much Colin, I enjoyed that.
Hopefully we all have a better idea now what makes "indie" author Colin Griffiths, tick.
Be sure to visit Colin's Amazon page and pick up a copy of his works. They're always incredibly reasonably priced. You can visit Colin's page here: http://tinyurl.com/nehzce7
You can also connect with Colin on Twitter and Facebook here: https://twitter.com/Colin131158 and https://www.facebook.com/colin.griffiths.357?fref=ts
Till next week! Have a wonderful peace-filled day!
EMBRACE THE OPPORTUNITIES LIFE PRESENTS TO YOU AND ALWAYS, ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!
Have a great life and spread the love!
Changing the world – one reader at a time!