Monday, 6 October 2014

My interview on Tee Gee's blog.

The Shed Man and The Redhead

Hello my little chickadees

Patrick the Shed Man and Paula the Redhead invited me down to their gaff to do a bit of an interview with them.
I was a bit trepidatious about meeting the redhead as I had heard so much about her from Patrick. However this intrepid author/interviewer was not going to let red hair get in the way. I have lots of experience with the guy I work with. So with the local 'fuzz' on speed dial on my phone just in case, I began my journey to meet them.

Welcomed with open arms and a big smile from Paula put me on my guard for a start, but a nice cup of tea was waiting for me and I do love my cuppas. I enquired after Patrick but was told he was out in the garden somewhere. A cold chill went  down my back when I saw the expression on Paula's face. She casually twirled her hair in a butter wouldn't melt gesture but the eyes told me something quite different. Anyway having finished my tea I made my way down the garden to find Patrick whilst Paula busied herself inside.

Hidden from sight at the back of the garden was the infamous shed and of course curiosity got the better of me so I made my way over. OMG! there was Patrick pressed up against the window begging for release. He had his books wedged up against the window. The relief when he saw me was palpable and he began grinning manically.

I checked all around for the redhead but she was nowhere to be seen thank goodness, so I unlocked the shed ensuring that I took the key with me (who knows) Patrick was overjoyed to see me. Apparently he had cracked one of his terrible jokes and been locked in the shed until he saw the error of his ways.

"Tee thank goodness. Someone to talk to at last. I'm so glad we set up this interview today I could have been here indefinitely."

Settling down on an old chair (actually he had made it quite cosy in there if truth be told) I got him to tell me about his background and what started him writing.

Apparently he is a retired miner and antiques dealer - I love antiques but refrained from making the obvious remarks.  :-) He's never had any formal training in writing, however one morning he woke up and started to write 'Shakespeare's Cuthbert. It was entered on the Harper Collins Autonomy site and eventually got a gold star. Due to a lot of encouragement from there, the Cuthbert series emerged.

Like Patrick I still have friends from Authonomy years later.

Comedy is his genre and I can vouch for that having read and heard some of his jokes. Having seen the mess the serious people have made with their lives he is of the opinion that we all need an escape route and he will continuously taunt us with comedy until we give in and smile or at least giggle.

Then I asked Patrick where his characters came from (I've read some of the series and trust me they are hilarious). He explained they were basically an amalgam of all the people he had met and worked with over the years; also that a title should always suggest the content of the book, so that a potential reader can see the cover, read the title and pretty much know what to expect. The covers have been specifically designed to show that there are golden laughs within. You just need to open the book to enjoy them.

After we discussed the beautiful garden and then the redhead for a while, I asked Patrick if he had any favourite parts in the Cuthbert series. Yes he had! It was the references to ancestors.

Apparently.... Cuthbert has a best friend named Percy who is a red haired self- proclaimed gardener, anyone who isn’t a gardener is declared ‘Non compost mentis’ by him. According to Percy, his ancestors have influenced many of the major events in history. For instance, he has revealed that Noah was a racist bigot who would only take two of his family because they had red hair. :-)

Whilst the family squabbled over who should go, the Ark sailed. Promptly grabbing a passing albatross, the family reached the high ground in Norway and began the Viking race. This is why the albatross is considered unlucky by the rest of civilisation. The Vikings were thoroughly misunderstood. Their boats were only made that shape so that they could transport cucumbers from Norway and the hoards of cash and treasure were the result of selling vegetables to the monks in the North of England.

Patrick considers his comedy to be thoroughly old fashioned in that anyone can read it without being offended. His books have been compared to Tom Sharpe and Terry Pratchett which is great and even Wodehouse has been mentioned. Oddly enough he has never read Wodehouse but remembers a very early Jeeves and Wooster on black and white TV. 
I love Jeeves and  Bertie Wooster and Aunt Agatha and all. Talking of TV evidently they haven't had a TV set for over fifteen years which is a huge advantage because they use the time for writing and there is no danger of inadvertently copying something from a programme only half heard. (True enough.)
I think the lack of food and drink was getting to Patrick because he started to go into his own little world... 
I am a great reader and have always been, I found Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall fascinating, it was like entering Thomas Cromwell’s home and sitting by the hearth observing him and his family. Wilbur Smith was always a great storyteller. I will read fact or fiction depending on my mood at the time. 
I started to doze in the comfortable chair as he reminisced about his reading preferences, then I was suddenly bolt upright wide awake. Paula had pushed open the door of the shed and had been outside listening. Patrick changed track.....

The greatest influence on my life is my beautiful wife Paula, (Aka the redhead) even though she has been in a wheelchair for most of our married life she has edited my books, won gardening competitions, cooked, cleaned, raised funds for The British Heart Foundation and provided the stable base that I need. She is fiercely independent (Latin for a terrible patient) and drives her mobility scooter like Basil Brush on speed. She has just been warned by town centre security to slow down but the real police think she’s great.

You know what? I could suddenly see the real love between these two as they gazed at one another lovingly. I suddenly felt like the proverbial gooseberry. I began to get the feeling that the locking in the shed was purely propaganda for my benefit. 
I asked Patrick about links to the books whilst still keeping one eye on the redhead just in case there was any sudden movement but all was good.
"The three links below are for e-books and three more books have been submitted." said Patrick and Paula almost in unison.
Shakespeare’s Cuthbert             
Cuthbert How Mean is my Valley
Cuthbert Tee for Two in the Valley
I finished up the interview with Patrick, as Paula backed up her motorised scooter. With Patrick beside her and me trailing behind we walked up towards the house for a well earned cuppa.
Maybe Paula wasn't the tyrant Patrick makes out she is after all :-)

Laters Potaters


A visitor to my door asked "Have you seen 

the light?" Being a bit grumpy I replied "For 

goodness sake man If you've lost something 

put posters on lamp-posts like everyone