It was many years ago that I first began to appreciate better quality writing tools - long before I became a full-time novelist, in fact. However, I still have a delight in using real pens and pencils, smooth paper and a variety of inks.
Six years ago I started using Cult Pens, and I've always been impressed with their cheerful and efficient service, so it was a real delight to be given a chance to work with them on a diary-piece.
The idea is simple: I will write each week about how I work and the things that have happened to me, giving you tips and insights from the world of a writer. One week I'll be writing about the process of planning a novel, perhaps how I research, or how I create a plot, maybe it will be how I invented some specific characters; the next I may be writing about a particularly embarrassing meeting with Marketing or Publicity; perhaps it'll be the torment of a writer trying to wrestle with a specific scene or the horror of dealing with a coffee machine that refuses to knuckle down and do what it said on the box. Whatever I do write about, it will hopefully be entertaining and informative. And because I tend to scribble and scrawl at length, I'll be able to write a bit about different products as I go.
Do I write everything long-hand? No. I have to use a computer for almost every aspect of my work. But I still have to use a pen and paper every day, for the simple reason that I will not trust a mobile phone or tablet with every random thought that sparks while I'm out and about. A notepad is more flexible for me. All planning and thoughts for a book are put on paper first.
So, who am I?
I am the author of thirty-two novels. In 1994, I was a computer salesman with a major handicap: I was unemployed. In the thirteen years before, I had managed to hold down two jobs for five years each, but after those two - well, you can do the maths. And after that many jobs, I knew I was unemployable in my chosen profession. So, at the grand old age of thirty-three, I had to reinvent myself. Knowing I loved books, I thought I should take a crack at writing one.
My first three books about to be republished. The post-it notes show each correction![/caption] My first book was a great one, if I say so myself. THE SNIPER was a fast, thrilling read, rather like a Frederick Forsyth. It had guns, bombs, sex and a plot that grabbed. To my delight, it was accepted by a major publisher over the phone - and rejected two days later in writing.
The book was all about the IRA, and after making the offer, my publisher learned that the IRA had just agreed their first ceasefire. That was one modern thriller that suffered from being too of-the-moment.
Which is why I began to write medieval stories. History tends not to change and get reinterpreted so much.
The latest book comes out in June. A prequel to the series, TEMPLAR'S ACRE looks at the appalling events of 1291, when the last Christian strongholds on the coast of the Holy Land were finally overwhelmed by the vast armies of the Mamelukes. At the same time, my first three novels are being relaunched and offered with their glorious new covers. I will be writing about the work involved in getting these onto the shelves of stores all over the country, and writing about the signing tours I'll be sent on.
If only that was all I had to do. Since this year I have to write two short stories, a novella, two novels and also help plan out a literary festival, I have a feeling I will not run out of topics to discuss. Oh, and two days a week I work for the Royal Literary Fund helping students at Exeter University with their writing skills. No pressure, then!
I hope you enjoy seeing my ramblings here on the Cult Pens website and that my thoughts encourage the writer in you. Do please keep in touch with questions or comments.
As well as collaborating with fellow members of The Medieval Murderers, Dartmoor-based Michael Jecks is the author of thirty three novels in his best-selling Templar series. His latest, Fields of Glory will be published in June 2014 in hardback and Kindle from Simon & Schuster. Expplore more of Michaels' work at: www.michaeljecks.co.uk