I live in Walderslade, a village outside Chatham in Kent. I have been married for 23 years and have two sons of 18 and 15. I was born in Chelmsford, Essex and at the age of 6 months the family moved to Loose in Kent. I attended the local schools and attained 5 O’levels and many CSE’s. From school I went into Further Education and studied Business and Finance and attained the BTEC Diploma. Whilst studying I had a Saturday job in Woolworths which is where I met my wife. My first full time job was at Nationwide Building Society as a cashier and I worked my way up to Mortgage Advisor but couldn’t seem to advance any further (I found out later that the manager didn’t want to lose me although he encouraged me to apply for other jobs within the company. He actually quashed a promotion by telling a fellow manager I wasn’t ready. When I told him I was leaving he offered me a £1000 pay rise) so after 6 years I moved on to the Alliance & Leicester. My career progressed rapidly during my time there and I became a Financial Advisor before getting the chance to manage a couple of branches. I found the Branch Management fairly stressful and asked to return to Financial Advising 18 months later. I was starting to become disillusioned with the whole industry and target based income but didn’t know anything else so I decided to try moving to another bank to see if it would reignite my enthusiasm, and after 6 years I moved to Lloyds TSB. Unfortunately, this destroyed my love for the Financial Sector, the people were lovely but I was working between 11-13 hours a day, making very little money and not seeing my children so I realized that I needed a change. Thankfully my brother-in-law was able to get me a job maintaining escalators on the London Underground and I have been there ever since working permanent nights.
Do you use your “real” name
Yes, although I did consider using the name Roberto Baldini as this was a nickname given to me a years ago by my old football team. It sounded exotic, but decided against it as I think people who remember me would be more curious if they knew I’d written a book.
Genre’ Self-published or publisher
Book Guild are publishing
What have you written,
‘Anything is Possible’ is about an ordinary guy, Matt Preston, who is infatuated by the soap star Abbey Jones, after a chance meeting where Matt makes a fool of himself they are thrown together by a terrifying experience and feelings develop. Matt doesn’t believe relationships between Stars and ordinary folk are possible so Abbey has to overcome his beliefs if they have any chance. The story details the trials and tribulations facing them. Will they end up together?
Tell us about your favorite main character
I love all my characters. Matt Preston is similar to me with some improvements.
Where can we buy or see them
In the UK I believe it will be stocked at books shops such as Waterstones and WH Smith. Online you can buy from the Book Guild Website, Amazon, Waterstones, WHSmith, Foyles, a couple of German Websites, Hive, Wordery, Book Depository and many more. There are a number of Websites that offer free delivery anywhere in the world so anyone should be able to get a copy.
When did you first decide to write and how long after that did you publish your book
Started writing in 2001. Finished that at the end of that year and gave it to a friend to read. After she liked it I told a friend from work what I’d done and he mentioned that he knew a proof reader. He gave me her details and I sent her my work. Unfortunately, she was in the process of gutting a house and holidaying in India so you couldn’t get to it for around nine months. One day the manuscript landed on the doormat with a covering letter. One part of the letter sprung out at me whilst skimming though it, I saw needs totally rewriting. I assumed that the whole thing was rubbish so I put the letter down. After half an hour I plucked up the courage to read the whole letter and found out she really liked it and it was only 1 paragraph that needed rewriting. I spent the next 6 months making alterations here and there until the end of 2003 when I felt happy to submit it to different Literary Agents. I finally got a publisher in September 2016.
How many books, Titles
‘Anything is Possible’ will be released on 28th June 2017. I am 75% through my second book and have completed outlines for another 2. Anything is Possible and book 2 have the potential for sequels and I have ideas for both.
Favorite childhood book or Author
As a youngster, I loved the Alfred Hitchcock and the 3 Investigators books. If I remember rightly they were written by Robert Arthur.
Favorite adult book or author
Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
Can you tell us about any challenges in getting your first book published?
After the book was proofread I sent it to a great many Agents and no one was interested. This was a massive knock to my confidence so I decided that I would wait until I retired and maybe self-publish when I had the money to do so. A couple of years later the memory stick where the book was stored disappeared so I feared I would have to rewrite it. Last year a good friend of mine, Cheryl Butler, told me that she was having a book published and convinced me to try again. I managed to find some old hard copies and I spent a few days improving the book. Thankfully the Book Guild liked it and the rest is history.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change
The only thing I would change is approaching publishers earlier. I could have published a great many more books by now (hopefully).
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
There are a few elements of the books that are based on real life experiences such as Matt works in a bank and I suffered from the same condition that affected him.
Do you write from an outline or do you fly by the seat of your pants
I always write out the story in short form over say 40 pages and look to pad out the story from there. It isn’t set in stone because I may change elements as I go along but I need an outline otherwise I’ll lose direction.
Would you care to share your best and worst review
I haven’t had any reviews yet apart from friends and family. Everyone seemed to enjoy it which made me wonder when I couldn’t get any interest from agents that people were just being kind. The only person with no personal connection to read it was my proof reader, Alexia Lewis. After a few rewrites she was convinced that it was good enough to be published. I did once see an advert offering a critique service. You had to send a maximum of 20k so I selected the best chapters instead of a continuous story and their response was the story was disjointed. I should have sent the first twenty thousand words!
How do you come up with characters names
On the whole, the names are a mixture of people I have met in my lifetime. The main female character, Abbey Jones was different. The Christian name would have been our daughters if we’d have had one and the surname was selected specifically for part of the story that you will understand at the end of the book. Sorry no spoiler on that one.
How do you come up with ideas for your writing
The first book was the result of a dream where I woke up before its conclusion. The next day was spent wondering how it would end and how the situation arose. To my surprise, I felt the need to write about it, (before this I had no compunction or desire to be an author), this unearthed a passion in me that I never knew existed. I have outlines for other books and they all have some element of life experience in.
How much research do you do
I haven’t had the need to carry out much research so far but one of my future books will need a fair amount of medical knowledge.
What is the hardest thing about writing
Finding the time to write. I have a family life as well as a full time job to juggle so the family and writing have to fight for spare time.
What is the easiest thing about writing
I would say that you are creating something from your own imagination so you can go where you want to and not be constrained by other people’s orders.
Do you ever get writer’s block
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block
I don’t know if this is good advice or not. I will either take a break or move on to a part of the book where I have ideas.
Do you have any advice for other writers
Don’t be put off by negative comments reviews, it is easy to quit and it is only someone’s opinion, everyone is different so no matter how good your work is there will be likes and dislikes. I firmly believe that if you are passionate about writing and throw your heart and soul into your work you WILL succeed. Another tip is to support other Authors. I started following other authors on Twitter which lead to Facebook and now my friends consist primarily of other Authors. We retweet and share each other’s posts to increase awareness of our work. My motto is I will share other Authors work because if I don’t like it there is always a chance one of my friends will and so on.
I love playing sports such as football, cricket and tennis. I am a big film buff and love American TV shows such as Suits.
If you were a car what make would you be
Nothing too flashy but very reliable like a Mini maybe.
Have you ever been told you that you look like a famous person? Who
Years ago, I was told I looked like Jessie Birdsall. He was a British Actor who starred in various TV shows. Recently Hugh Jackman posted a picture of him circa 10yrs old and relatives stated that it was the spitting image of me at that age.
If you won the lottery what would you do
I would probably have my dream house built and spend the time writing and visiting different countries with my family.
Describe yourself i.e. (Hoarder, OCD, scatter brained)
I am a Gemini so I have a split personality and different traits. Certain items are hoarded. I keep packaging for toys and games consoles so when they are sold they will be worth more money. I can be obsessive about things too except organization which is not a strong point.
If you were to time travel, what would the Era be
I would like to go back to the 70’s or 80’s.
I like too many to pick one over the other. I Like Daryl Hall & John Oates, the Eagles, Ed Sheeran, The Beach Boys, Billy Joel, Pink Floyd, Daft Punk and Prince amongst others.
Steak and chips
Do you Eat at your desk
Dog or cat
None I have very few designer clothes and dress casually, borderline scruffy.
Describe your dream office
It would consist of a giant TV and plenty of storage for my DVD’s, books, comics and of course a desk with a computer. Optional extras could include a pool table and some games consoles
If you were ask to design a writer’s retreat: Where should it be
Somewhere in the countryside but within a close proximity to a town. Probably somewhere in America as there is more space.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rob-