Interview: Bryan Pentelow

Tell us a little about yourself and your
background?
I was born on the
Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire border in the small town of Raunds. This is an
area unknown to most people living in England never mind those from other
countries. It was well known to thousands of American airmen during and after
the Second World War as part of the largest concentration of air bases in
Europe. I grew up knowing almost as much about the U.S.A. as I did about the
country of my birth and the US air force played a large part in my development.
My teen years coincided with the birth of the Mersey Sound and like every lad
of that era I was in a rock group. We played a mixture of R&B and covers of
chart hits in village halls and USAF base PX clubs. I then spent three
gloriously enjoyable years training to be a teacher followed by five years
realising that teaching was very badly paid. When our first child, our daughter
was born I left teaching and became a salesman for an educational supply
company.
A career in sales and
marketing followed which in general was fun, broadened my horizons and supplied
me with a steady stream of new cars. It came as quite a shock when I retired
and had to buy my own.
Being an independent
author is great. Having spent a life in sales having to fit in with the
customer’s likes and dislikes (they are always right) I can now express my own
opinions or at least those of my characters and if the world doesn’t like them
it can do the other thing.
Which writers inspire you? 
        
I like a good story with
believable characters who become friends who I care about. I also prefer books
with some humour and a proper conclusion even if it’s a cliff hanger. You won’t
find shelves of great classic authors in my collection as most of them bore the
living daylights out of me. My current favourites are Neal Asher, Randolph
Lalonde, and Steve McHugh. All are excellent story tellers with staggering
imaginations who can sweep me out of the everyday to worlds of adventure and
mystery. I like to learn from my reading and be entertained so the death
recently of Terry Pratchett has deprived me of future visits to his Disc World
and the plethora of fascinating characters that inhabit it. These writers cause
me to look again at the human condition, to take a different view and look from
a different angle. If any of these writers are unknown to you I recommend that
you dip your toe into their waters and be prepared to be sucked into a roller
coaster experience.    
When did you decide to become a writer?
Years ago when I realised
that there were so many things I wanted to say and my lack of skill with
spelling and grammar need not stop me. It then took me more years to decide
what to write about then further time making excuses for not actually starting
till it became a case of put up or shut up. I would say to all those out there
convinced they have a book in them to write it! You’re not a writer till your
words are down on paper or an e-reader so write it. Then you are a writer.
There is no guarantee that you will be a great or even a good writer that is
for others to judge, but you will be a writer.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
Oh definitely part-time. With four grand children
and a house and garden which have the habit of growing and falling apart by
turns the chance of being a full time author is a distant dream. I try to write
something every day be it replies to emails, interviews like this and even more
of my current book. But I must hold my hand up to being lazy and there are
always piles of new books to read, new places to visit, people to meet and my
wife and family to consider. Travel, friends and conversations are bread and
meat to an author. Without them I could spend my life staring at the wall
waiting for the muse to strike. Without a life what would I have to write
about?
Do you work to an outline or plot
or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
Yes, but it’s very vague and my characters have a
way of detouring from the straight and logical and mapping their own course. I
know the beginning and usually reach the intended conclusion but the road
between has many twists and turns with bumps and swerves along the way. Characters
need attitude and baggage to make them real and interesting and this will
enable them to find their own route. A road to Damascus moment may help a story
line but if the people continually chop and change their ways and attitudes
without good cause then chaos ensues and the plot falls apart. Even in fantasy
logic and rules are necessary and timelines must be observed.
Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers? 
Yes. Write reviews
yourself and offer a copy of your eBook to the author you have reviewed. If you
get a good review from a kind person send them a free copy of your next book by
email if you can get their email address. This takes time but you will build a
list of people who at least don’t hate your style. Encourage reviewers they are
a rare bread and deserve to be rewarded for taking the time to read your book
and then write an opinion.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
Ok, so I’m lucky I haven’t had a bad one yet so I have to talk
about the good ones. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the
people who write reviews, even bad ones. A review proves that some kind soul
bought the book and read it. This is justification for the lonely key pounder
that their efforts were not a complete waste of time. I have only one minor
gripe about reviews form Americans and that is about spelling. I have read many
books by US authors and have become used to transatlantic spelling and usage so
can discount these variants as part of the colour of your English. However this
doesn’t appear to be reciprocal. I’m sorry but we spell colour with a u in it
and many other similar words as well. These are not spelling errors even form
me who has always had a disregard for the conventions of dictionaries. Read
more books by British authors and get over the differences. These add colour to
the narrative. Above all read and please, please write reviews, it makes our
day when we get one.
How can readers discover more about you and you
work?
I have a website http://bryanpentelow.wix.com/bryan-pentelow, an
author’s page on facebook and goodreads. There are various bits of biography
scattered across the web but if you care to drop me an email to
penworkspublishing@gmail.com I
will send you some FREE READS which include short biographical pieces and
previews of my books. I am also happy to answer questions about writing and
public speaking which is another of my strange hobbies and for which I have won
several prizes. You will also find news and reviews of other Indi authors that
I know and like so they are not an endless tide of self aggrandisement.
Any Comments for the Blog readers?
Read on you lovely
people. Read everything you can and try these new authors. You could discover
the next best seller before any of your friends which has to be worth some
dinner party bragging rights. And for us poor lonely pen pushers in our spider
haunted garrets write your comments and reviews. After all if your review is
published you will have joined the writers club.
Any feedback for me or the blog?
More power to you. It is
so hard to become known as an author so sites like yours are a godsend. Keep it
up.

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