John Dean is an award-winning journalist, a writing tutor and mentor and the author of ten crime novels. He is also an administrator for The Global Short Story competition, run by Darlington company Certys.
John's Amazon page HERE
Tell us about your proudest writing achievement.
That moment in 2004 when the letter arrived from Hale telling me that after all those years of trying, and all those rejection slips, someone wanted to publish a novel by me. Doesn’t get any better than that and I still get the same rush when I get something accepted.
What are your writing strengths and weaknesses?
I like to think I am a good storyteller and am always learning my craft. The big weakness is I write too slowly, should just crack on with getting the story down. The intricate business of crafting and editing can come later.
Do you use your own experiences in your books?
Very much so. Life provides so many people, so many scenes and so many places that it cannot fail to inspire ideas.
I plot them carefully in advance but I regard it more like a road map and there may be other routes to take as the story unfolds and the characters start to talk and act.
Who’s your favourite crime author?
I’m a bit of a traditionalist on this one. Got to be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for Sherlock Holmes, the finest detective ever.
Are there any more children’s books in the pipeline?
Haghir the Dragon Finder, which deals with a group of hapless dragon slayers diversifying into rescuing damsels in distress, is part of a trilogy. Just depends how this one goes, I think. I love writing them.
How did the Global Short Story competition come about and what is your role?
Myself and colleague Gary Shove had the same idea at about the same time, a monthly competition that spans the world. Four of us are involved now, the two of us and Keith Blundy and Mark Etherington, and it’s been running for more than five years, has paid out more than £7,000 in prize money and has showcased some brilliant talent.
I am the administrator, and novelist Fiona Cooper is our judge. If people wish to enter, they can do so at www.globalshortstories.net and we run a social networking site for authors at www.globalwriters.net (where you can find details of the ebooks we publish).
Speaking as a writing mentor, what qualities must a successful writer have?
Always be willing to learn, never be afraid to try something different and always bear in mind that good writing is good writing because of the detail it contains. Little lines, images, lines of dialogue can bring it crackling to life. Oh, and never ever write padding! And never use exclamation marks when they are not needed like there.
What are you working on at the moment?
Currently working (slowly) on my next DCI John Blizzard book, set as usual in the fictional northern city of Hafton.
What advice would you give to an aspiring novelist?
Never give up.
John Dean, who lives in North East England, is a novelist with ten crime books to his name, all published by London company Robert Hale since 2005. The most recent were The Railway Man, To Die Alone and The Secrets Man.
To Honour The Dead is due out in November 2012, published by Robert Hale. He also wrote children’s comic fantasy Haghir the Dragon Finder, published by Certys and to be found as a Kindle ebook on Amazon. John Dean’s personal site as a novelist is www.johndean.ning.com
John Dean was talking to Maureen Vincent-Northam, co-author of The Writer's ABC Checklist.