I started my working career in Architecture, where with ink stained fingers and an adjustable setsquare I turned the architect’s concepts into technical drawings. Eventually the drawing boards were abandoned in favour of computers which led me down the slippery slope into information technology.
Much later, one of my bosses said that if he wanted anything computer related doing he would ask me, but if he wanted anything artistic he would ask someone else. From his point of view I suppose he was right, to him I was the guy that kept the servers running, but it wasn’t who I was. Computers were things that allowed me to raise a family, in other words they were a means to an end. Perhaps it was at that point that the artist in me started planning an escape, I can’t remember, but I never forgot the architect’s statement. Even so, it was some years later that I started to write.
I never really lost my childhood love of stories and the imagery that they produced, I just locked it up for a while to feed my kids. Now the artist gets to run freely around the keyboard every day.
People who have known and worked with me have asked me how I manage to build a story that fills an entire book. Quite frankly, I’ve never really thought about it until now, so here’s is my stab at a short answer to that question.
There’s a line in Peter Gabriel’s song Slowburn which goes “We tried making movies from a volume of stills” and that is probably the best summing up of the process I go through. And how, you ask, does this relate to writing a book? I begin with a rough idea of the overall plot and where I want to finish up. Then I imagine a series of scenes which serve as the main milestones in the plot, these are the stills. Then I join them together to create the movie. Sounds easy, I think I’ll write another book.
Thanks Peter, the imagery that the lyric conjures up for me has lived with me since 1977 when we used to sneak into the music room at college during lunch break to listen to your album.