Thursday, July 16, 2015
David Page, Author & Poet
Born in London, now residing in Gloucester, England, David Page is the author of over 6 books. He is a talented writer, writing complex plots with funny and provocative scenarios. A veteran of the Royal Navy, David spent 8 years in Her Majesty’s Service, including 2 years in an ex-Japanese Execution Camp in Singapore. For the past 30 years he has been a successful accountant and IT professional in Europe, the UK and the Far East. Currently in the process of writing a new novel, David took the time to talk about his writing and much more…
At what age did you realize you wanted to become a writer?
I don’t know that I did realize I wanted to become a writer until rheumatoid arthritis finally started to physically affect me, and at 60 I found that driving hundreds of miles a week with the stress of working on client sites and looking after complex financial databases, was not something I could continue to do.
I had written a lot of poetry between 1998 and 2002 and even had a publisher interested at one point, but there is no money in poetry, even if successful, and it was always my first love so I stayed in it and cut the poetry out although I am playing about with it, nowadays.
After I left the Royal Navy, I completed a fill-in editing and structure of English course at college - back in the 70s - that gave me the ability to edit, create digests, understand the structure of writing and write a 15,000 word essay, so I knew I could do it. It was to be honest, just a requirement to do something in English with the rest of subjects for the first year.
How do you maintain thoughts and ideas?
I do edit several times during the course of a book for different reasons and my wife reads various random printouts for ease of reading, flow and continuity and she has pushed me to include more dialogues.
I am able to switch hats for editing even though I am obviously not independent of the writing but by the same philosophy I know what I meant to say and how it fits in with the story so it is not a series of disjointed activities as can otherwise happen.
Once I have the main idea for a book I usually just start writing, and eventually I will at some point use a free-mind map and record the major elements, the characters, relationships, possible future flow and this gives me the discipline of working through the book and recording my thoughts and the flow.
Mind-mapping makes me think about the book structure, but also documenting it means I am able to later return to check names, research, what was the structure of a previous book and I hope makes me consistent across several books – such as the Parky Espionage Books.
There is in every book’s time a place when you come to a dead halt. I try to get around that but often it is only by taking a break and then starting as if I was beginning anew that I can break the block and by doing this on my last two books I felt I produced better second halves for both Parky’s Teatime and FYOG – I May Be A Long Time.
Tell us about your books…
My Poetry Book is comprised of the poems I wrote during 1998 - 2002 and was a task undertaken when the writing dried up and I took a break. The title was meant to be humorous and was partly because I could have improved the poems but I liked them as they were, and I didn’t want to go back after a long time and start changing them. The difference in time would have meant they became different poems, although in the end, I did change some of them.
The Parky’s Series title originated when I started to think that Parky’s real name was Peter Pettigrew and I wanted him to have something that would embarrass the hard man. I have originally planned to have him as a Security Agent working in a BR car park who found the Minister of Defence’s daughter in a position that would allow Parky to blackmail the Minister for a better job.
I didn’t really develop that idea but the name Parky stuck and became the name of the series. His history was with the Royal Scots – also known as Pontius Pilate’s Bodyguard – I decided to leave that even though they were later merged (Motto, Nemo me impune lacessit. Latin: "Nobody harms me with impunity".).
The Royal Scots and the motto later provided a background for Parky that leads to him being blackmailed in Parky’s Afters. Parky and Bishop met up in Malaya where both formed part of a killing squad run by the Major, who was subsequently jailed for embezzlement, and in Parky’s Lunch they set up the Major and his Batman together with an Irish gunman, a bent lorry driver and the Boy – all hunted – to be killed. The CIA get involved and so does a Chinese guy – Mr Hoo, and another CIA guy – Huron, but none of them realized that the organizers of the hijackers are an Insurance guru, the Minister of Defense, an industrialist, an international banker and other top people who have bought into the syndicate. Will all of the guys survive ‘The Lady’ exploding and achieve their final aims?
Parky’s Afters covers that the boy survived and stupidly returns to England despite now also being a CIA Agent and holding a US Passport. He is picked up at Heathrow and vanishes under the Defense Minister’s instructions as a traitor where he is held in a secret prison in Kensington and tortured by a team of guys and also by a woman – Gris – who he subsequently finds out, works for Parky.
In breaking him out the Defense Minister is killed and so is the Prime Minister’s fund raiser and to this total is added the Insurance Guru from the previous book. The Boy is finally forced to marry Gris and join the UK Security Service, which has at least five moles operating and a useless Director and Assistant.
Can the moles be found, and added to this, can Neville – a Police Inspector cum drunk – now involved with the Insurance Guru’s wife, stop a serial killer on the loose in London?
Parky’s team has once again been successful; put out to pasture, and held there until the head of Security is changed once again and brings the team back. This time they become involved with the National Crime Agency and helping to combat organized crime, but is ‘Owley’ – the Met Police’s organized crime Commissioner seconded to the NCA – what he seems?
This time the team is forced to rescue an agent from Russia; fight organized crime in the UK and in France; rescue kidnapped women and the finale is set in the Provence area of Southern France – so where does the black magic come in. Will they win and will they still manage to survive as they are finally caught up in crossfire between the CIA and Gangsters?
England is under a Dictatorship with four families effectively controlling the Dictator. Acton Kade is unaware he is the son of a Resistance Leader assassinated by the Government and is now classed as an Outcast working in a Computer Centre. As part of a project he secretly upgrades a wall communication device with more CPU, Memory, Artificial Intelligence and together they start to learn. Deep down Acton just wants to go to work, come home and find some women to relate to although that finally drives him and Wall to start to take on the State.
The Public Safety Correctional Consultants have now taken over from the Brands led Dictatorship with the ex-executives locked away without trial – as is Acton Kade. Sken like Acton is also the son of a dead Resistance Leader and wants nothing to do with a revolution but like Acton is forced again and again to be some kind of hero. In the meantime, Wall seems to have gone berserk and decided he wants an electronic mate, robotic children, and he wants Sken to build them. Sken has fallen in love – he thinks – with Pearlie but now has Mum illegally living with him as well and Mum can’t stand him.
The treatment of Lauryn by her unknown father has made this an Adult book although not in the personal sense of the word. What will happen; will Sken survive; will his relationship with Pearlie overcome his relationship with Royal Naval Experience?
You were in the Navy and have traveled to many places. Which place interested you the most?
The most interesting has to be my two years in Singapore in the mid-60s, although the two Royal Tournaments in the 1970s were also unusual. I was a volunteer for the Far East but due to my age and the Communist Emergency in Malaysia, plus the wars in Vietnam, Cambodia, Lagos, Borneo; the trouble in Rhodesia; the possible invasion of Singapore by Indonesia, which was actually expected as they were already causing and supporting trouble in other countries, meant that I had to wait until a ceasefire was agreed on the Emergency before I could be drafted.
I arrived in Singapore as it was then – still with jungles; wide open in every sense of the word with curfews, Riot Squad training, Service Patrols and Gurkhas stationed in Nee Soon garrison. I was based in Sembawang in a Naval Base about a mile into the main establishment.
It was a very lively place. I was there to work on the wages for the locally employed personnel who were either Singapore or Hong Kong Chinese. One of the issues for me in working with the Chinese was that Chinese people have a Tribal name as in Wong, a Family name as in Kee and a third name, which in the case of my girlfriend, was Joon, who preferred to be called Susan; rather than Wong Kee Joon. I did feel a bit silly one day, when I asked someone why it was called HMS TERROR and he pointed out that it had been a Japanese Execution Camp and the block we worked in was the Execution Block. Given some of the complaints on our calculating pay, some still thought it was.
I did read something later in a book about Mercury 2, which was associated with it, and had been a wireless transmission facility – there was one opposite us. The Sick Quarters were apparently the torture chambers and when they built the swimming pool they kept finding bodies buried. I did get the chance to travel around Singapore although I also was beaten up and robbed.
The monsoon ditches varied between 5 foot wide by 6 foot deep and 1 foot by 6 inches but the only umbrella that could take a monsoon when it struck was a Chinese wooden umbrella. We had a golf course in HMS TERROR, down by the old swamp, and if you were playing in a monsoon you had to watch for the water coming up, to see where your ball landed.
Part of the locally employed personnel stilled lived in the jungle, and we also had people to pay in Malaya so Taff, my senior hand, would drive a Land Rover to them and I had to sit there with the money and the book for them to sign. Given the recent trouble it did get a bit nerve wracking driving through the jungle areas and every place we visited would insist we had a bottle of anchor beer and sat down with the family – at times we were lucky to get back as Taff swerved the Land Rover.
One final piece of funny news was about Chinese names – I am not being racist on this, just recounting the humour – on a formal pay parade an officer stood beside me as I called out 3 names for each person plus any short names and aliases, and with 300 people to pay, I called out nearly a thousand names and none of the Chinese guys could understand me. They looked up at the Chief Steward; he knew what I was trying to say and nodded and then they were paid.
Who is your favorite author?
Terry Pratchett. His sense of humour, ability, and the ease of reading make him someone to treasure. I have attended several Discworld Conventions, met him and people associated with him, and it was an interesting few days.
What are you currently reading?
Terry Pratchett’s Raising Steam and MSDOS manuals.
What are you currently writing?
Having spent two years non-stop writing Parky’s Teatime and FYOG – I May Be A Long Time, my wife has insisted that I take a break from writing and I am currently retro building an old machine from the parts of three different machines.
My next book when I start will have the Series title of Micky Lofts and The Promise Ring will be the first book in the series. It will be set on another world and a thousand years ago and will probably be a ‘blood and thunder’ action book – still to develop it, find the ideas I wrote years ago and the maps and other stuff. Potential characters include a Priest who is partnered to a Lady who prefers to be a Hawk; a psychic who was being hatched in a cave when she was frightened and has ended up in a man’s stomach and a guy who watched his village burnt down after they threw him out because he wanted to fight.
Do you have advice for novice writers?
Learn all you can and don’t expect that the world to beat a path to your door for your first book. Keep writing; keep developing and remember your first draft maybe the point at which you start really writing.
Keep your connections with other writers open; use the Internet for research; plan how you set up your computer for writing – I tend to have a Book, Marketing and Research directory for each book under a top-level Writing directory and BACKUP your machine and writing on a regular basis. Don’t discard work or ideas and maybe have a 4th Directory – Director’s Cuts.
Connect with David…