I have lived and breathed adventure stories since I was a child, from the exploits of wandering rabbits in Watership Down, through the Narnia books and Biggles, I have always been captivated by the wonderful worlds that great writers conjure.
As I grew up, I developed a taste for several authors but hit the jackpot the day I stumbled, quite by accident, on my first Dirk Pitt adventure. Nobody recommended Clive Cussler to me - I just spotted a good looking paperback cover one day whilst browsing in my local bookshop. Then to find that there were numerous other stories....and that Clive was still alive and writing more...wonderful! Added to the likes of Hammond Innes and Jack Higgins, I realised just how good adult fiction could be.
My first serious writing attempt came in my late teens and, looking back now, it had some nice touches but generally wasn't very good. I learned a lot about the process of writing, which meant it wasn't a complete failure.
By then I'd left school, gone to work in London for a large bank, got very, very bored and quit to go to university, where I studied scriptwriting for stage and screen. Novels on hold and a few years of producing movie scripts, television serial ideas and samples....again bounced back by countless agents and coming to nothing, although I remember getting a few stages through a selection process with a movie script and having a telephone conversation with someone from one of the large US film studios, who was kind enough to spot my potential and bother to arrange a call that basically said,'not there yet...but keep going.' In hindsight, it was a wonderful gesture although at the time I remember thinking that it was just another brush off.
Another ten years passed, with a large chunk of this time being spend providing for a growing family and moving through several jobs. By this time I had pretty much given up on the dream of becoming as published author....I could have papered a wall with the number of standard rejection letters I had received from literary agents by then, and for many of these years I gave no thought to writing anything else. I worked for the probation service, dealing with all types of offender before moving on to working with the victims of serious crime, or their relatives in cases of murder or manslaughter. I learned some valuable lessons about human frailty, and courage. Working with young offenders, and victims, led me directly into a teaching career. I came to understand that catching children young enough to change behaviour was the key to keeping a lot of youngsters out of prison. I was always busy, at work or at home with my kids, but the writer inside me would just not lay down and die.
Maybe it's just me, or perhaps it is the same for every writer, poet, artist or actor. Being a writer, for me, is not about having a choice; it is who I am. It has nothing to do with money, or popularity, although I fully intend to keep going until I can make a living as a writer but it is best summed up by the only answer I have ever been able to give people whenever they ask me what I do for a living. For example, years ago when I explained to someone that I worked for the probation service, they would say, 'Oh, so you are a probation officer.' I would reply, 'No, I am a writer. I just work for the probation service to pay the bills.' I am, and always will define myself as, a writer.
Anyway, to cut a long story short (incase you are growing very bored of reading this by now) in this 10 year period I wrote my first decent, complete adventure/thriller novel called RACE AMAZON. It was self-published in January 2010 as a paperback and then released on Kindle in 2012. After fantastic success, and inclusion in the #1 bestselling HOTBOX, I have just re-released it as a duology (RACE AMAZON: False Dawn & RACE AMAZON: Maelstrom), which will allow me to offer an affordable paperback option via CreateSpace.
The next book in the series was released in February 2015 - SKELETON GOLD: Scorpion is the first book in the new James Pace duology. I will also be launching my new Ian Flyn sci-fi thriller series on 1st April 2015, with the first duology - Book 1, UNDERWORLD: Chimera. The final part of the SKELETON GOLD duology, called Dark Tide, will be out in June 2015 and the final part of UNDERWORLD, called Extinction, will be out in September 2015.
I enjoy writing, as well as need it, and I am grateful for anybody who gives up their time and money to read my work. I will be releasing at least one new James Pace duology and one new Ian Flyn duology each year from now on, as well as additional thrillers and poetry anthologies in between. I will do my best to make each new book better than the ones before. Collaborating in the HOTBOX with top authors like David Leadbeater, Mike Wells and CR Hiatt has only served to fuel my passion for writing!
Thanks for taking the time to read these thoughts. You can follow me on Twitter (rysamoke) or Facebook, to keep an eye on how the books are coming, or pop over to www.andylucasbooks.com! Best wishes.