Today we sit down with author Geoff Le Pard. We are going to learn about his work, his inspiration and a bit about this interesting, and prolific author.
Please enjoy this edition of 20 Questions:
Q1) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I can be precise 24th July 2006.
Q2) How long does it typically take you to write a book?
At the start about 4 months. I had no idea and just wrote. Now, I have an idea about all sorts of technical stuff and go back and fiddle so probably nearer 9 months
Q3) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I’m clear headed and ready to go first thing but Dog isn’t as considerate so it never starts before midday and, in practice I get most done from about 7pm to 1 am
Q4) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have a system for reviewing/editing: I write on my laptop and first read is there too. Then I print and read. Then I read out loud. Then I repeat. All amendments are on screen (my handwriting is on the extreme end of unreadable)
Q5) How are your books published? (traditional, indie, etc.)
Q6) Where do you get your ideas for your books?
My first is autobiographical in terms of setting and the character of the hero (at the start – my imagination then took flight!). The others all come from a simple incident that makes me think ‘what if…’
Q7) If you don’t mind sharing, when did you write your first book and how old were you?
2006, July to November. I was nearly 50
Q8) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
All sorts. I love cooking, baking especially. My garden is a joy. I walk miles with Dog keeping fit and mulling over ideas. I love London and take great delight in nosing around its unique corners. The theater draws me in, ditto cinema. As a family we love food and indulge ourselves often. Scotland is a draw too and we holiday there every year taking in a different part. My wife and I love ballroom and Latin dancing. I’m never happier than when I surrounded by people talking, having a good time. There’s never a bad time for a party. Helping run the Bloggers Bash has been a joy. I volunteer at the local Youth club (I’m trustee too, of this and other charities) I’m a total sports nut, going to rugby cricket and football regularly. It’s a wonder I write at all…
Q9) What is your favorite book?
Nope, too hard. However, the book that made me laugh the loudest and longest was John O’Farrell’s Things Can Only Get Better
Q10) What do your family and friends think of your writing?
Proud and slightly dotty.
Q11) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Being possessed by my characters. I had no idea they were in charge rather than me.
Q12) What do you hate most about the writing process?
Back ache and it’s made me a perfectionist
Q13) How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
7 and 2 are ¾ done plus one short story anthology. To date I’ve published 2 and the anthology. As for as favourite I suppose it is the next one.
Q14) Do you have any suggestions to help us become better writers? If so, what are they?
Listen to the rules and remember there are no rules.
When you start a novel, just write, don’t ponder. That’s why Nano is so useful as a tool
Beta readers are saints and sinners: they should be deified when they spot a flaw; they should be treated with caution if they try and suggest a solution
Q15) Do you get feedback from your readers much? How and what kinds of things do they say?
Yes, before I publish. I don’t listen to flattery as it really takes me nowhere, however kindly it is meant. After all, if someone thinks it works I’m not likely to change it. Constructive opinions are always welcome. Mostly I’m looking for plausibility. I don’t want to ask my readers to suspend their belief too much
Q16) What is your preferred reading audience?
Anyone who reads it, frankly.
Q17) What do you think makes a good story?
As above plausibility. Even fantasy has to be credible in its own context. Take Gone Girl: great premise and crap finale as it became utterly implausible. Plot attracts me but wooden characters kill a book. And I LOVE a good twist
Q18) As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Ice cream salesman, train driver, International cricketer (I’m still hoping for the call up)
Q19) Where can we find your books?
Amazon/Barnes and Noble. I believe Kobo too
Q20) Will you give us an excerpt from one of your favorite works?
Here is the first chapters from an upcoming book due out towards the end of this year:
Buster and Moo
“James? You free?” Landen Powell took half a step into his room.
James Franks waved her to stop. He scribbled something in his notepad, then slipped it into a desk drawer and shut it.
“Do you want some water? Or coffee?”
He didn’t meet her gaze. “I’m busy. Is this important?”
Landen hesitated. They’d agreed to talk before four and it was now nearly five but his unexpected aggression confused her.
“If it’s about tonight, I’m flat out. Work, in case you’re wondering.”
She nodded but didn’t move.
“Yesterday. The partners’ meeting. How did it go?”
“For fuck’s sake, can’t you …?” James squeezed his eyes shut. “It’s delicate right now. I—we—have to be careful.” He tried a smile but it held no warmth. “Some silly mutterings from a couple of juniors. I’ll sort it.” The phone rang and he glanced at the number. “Oh for fuck’s sake.”
“Do you want me …?” She reached for the phone.
“Leave it.” He jabbed at the red disconnect button, silencing the ringing. “I’ll sort the others, Landen. Don’t stress, all right? So, nine? As usual?”
She shook her head. “I agreed with Mervin …”
The phone went again and James again pressed the disconnect button. “Christ. Can’t he give it a rest?”
“Do you want to me to go?”
His shoulders sagged. “No, he can wait. Look, if you’ve got to go play happy families don’t let me stop you.”
Landen wanted to scream. “I could tell Mervin I need to be in a meeting …”
“Don’t put yourself out on my behalf.” James’ hand hovered over the phone. “I do need to make a call. Henry. Is there anything else?”
“I’ll be ready at eight? What’s Henry want?”
“Nine is better. Henry is being an arse. As usual”
“Do you want me to call him?”
“Can you? Put him off. Tell him I’m … I’m … I don’t know, make something up.”
“What’s he after?”
“He doesn’t need to be ‘after’ anything. He just likes yanking my chain. Tell him I’ll call tomorrow. I …”
Landen’s mobile rang. She glanced at the screen. “Talk of the devil. Shall I take this?”
“Hi Henry, it’s … what? No, he … but …” She held the phone away from her ear and put it on mute. “Carol’s told him we’re having a meeting. I—”
“Fuck. Give it here.” He held out his hand for her phone, which she handed over. James’ expression had changed; his two thick black eyebrows scrunched in a deep frown.
“Henry? Hi. Yes, I … look, just a minute, that’s bollocks. I … wait.” He covered the handset and said to Landen. “You’d better go. This may take a while. I’ll drop this back to you when I’ve finished.”
Landen stepped out of the room and shut the door behind her, wondering what that was all about.
Carol appeared from her work station. “Sorry. You know what he’s like. What’s he after?”
Landen shrugged. “I don’t think it’s work. Henry sounded really pissed off. We’ve sorted the final terms of the Harmiston Holdings’ sale, give or take some boilerplate. Maybe James’ estimate is too high?”
Carol shook her head. “He leaves that side to the finance people.” Carol smiled and turned back to her seat, leaving Landen wondering what to do and how she was going to explain another late night to Mervin.
“So what’s her excuse this time?”
Mervin Stiles regarded his brother Miles with distaste. “Work. She’s very driven. Always has been. And now there’s this partnership business on top …”
“I don’t get this need to continually prove she’s the greatest at whatever. Is it ego or money or both with her? You’re just as bad.”
“You. You pretend to go along with her ‘career woman’ shite but you hate it, don’t you?”
“It’s important to her. To us.”
“Yeah, and getting published is important to you, but it doesn’t consume you like this consumes her.”
“There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious.” Mervin hated defending Landen when in many ways he agreed with Miles. If only his brother could try to have a little empathy.
“Not what you said at Christmas.”
Mervin’s heart sank. “I was just sounding off then. I’d had one rejection to many, that’s all. It’s not what I really think.”
“In vino veritas. And you were very much enjoying the vino.” Miles toyed with his ponytail and pulled off the band. Mervin hadn’t noticed how obsessed with it Miles had become until just then. “So you don’t want children? That was, what? Another piece of fiction?”
“It’s not right just now.”
“Neither of you are getting any younger. You should be at it like rabbits.”
“I wish you’d not be such a smug know-all pillock. If …” Mervin stopped himself. He wasn’t falling into that trap.
“I’m your older brother, and that’s my job description. Anyway, Mum expects you to do the business and give her grandkids. It’s not like I can.”
There is was. The dig. Playing on Lise’s inability to have kids. Mervin ignored the self-pitying tone. “Since when did either of us ever do what Mum wanted?”
“True that. Okay, I’ll mind my own business. But Landen’s 30-something, yes? The clock’s ticking—loudly.” Miles stood. “I’ll get us a refill and you can tell me about how you really are the new undiscovered Grisham.”
Mervin spun the dregs of his pint in the bottom of his glass. He didn’t know which was worse: picking over his latest rejections or having to defend Landen’s zealotry about becoming a partner in her law firm.
Miles returned and put down the drinks. “I know what you need to do. Get a dog. A fantastic baby substitute and it’ll be sure to make her broody. Or jealous.”
“She’s already broody. Once we have a decision on her career we’ll talk again about timing …”
“Fuck me, don’t tell me you’re going to have a meeting about it? I can just see the agenda. After the apologies, it’ll be item two: conception.” He mimicked Landen’s Canadian accent, “’Mervin, have you carried out the SWOT analysis? How are we positioned on positions? I’m told the missionary is the position of choice amongst those trying to conceive.’ That along with kale smoothies and loose underpants.”
“You know, we did talk about getting a dog.” Mervin patted his stomach. “I could do with some exercise. I think for once you might be onto something.”
Miles swayed back in his chair. “Hang out the bunting. Have I just done something right?”
“Maybe. I’ll let you know. Cheers.”
“Cheers. Now, I have an email address I want you to promise to follow up. It’s a literary agent and she said she’d love to hear more about your book. Crime is right up her alley, apparently.”
“How on Earth do you know an agent?”
“I don’t. But Lise has been auditing her books. I might be indifferent to your skills with the pen but Lise has your best interests at heart.”
Mervin took the scrap of paper. “I love your girlfriend. Tell her she is a wonder and far too good for you.”
“I think we can all agree on that.”
Mervin smiled at his brother, wondering, not for the first time, why Miles couldn’t stop being unfaithful to someone as kind and considerate as Lise.
About Geoff Le Pard:
Geoff Le Pard started writing to entertain in 2006. He hasn’t left his keyboard since. When he’s not churning out novels he writes some maudlin self-indulgent poetry and blogs at geofflepard.com. He walks the dog for mutual inspiration and most of his best ideas come out of these strolls.
Where to Find Geoff’s Books:
You can find Geoff’s newest book, Salisbury Square here:
My Father and Other Liars is the second book by Geoff Le Pard. Published in August it is available as an ebook and paperback here:
His first book, Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle can be found here:
This is Geoff Le Pard’s 30 story anthology, covering fantasy, romance, humour, thriller, espionage, conspiracy theories, indeed something for everyone.
His books are also available here: