Monday, 7 July 2014

Delusion is what keeps us going.

Delusion is what keeps us going - Terence Blacker

Today in The Society of Authors I read a fab article by Terence Blacker on how sometimes the your greatest eery as a writer is your everyday self. Although he does go on to point out that your everyday self is also a help! The sentence which caught my eye is what I have used to open my blog because it struck a cord with me and I am sure it is something all authors identify with.

It has been a fair while since I last blogged. I had a holiday in Kefalonia which was fab. A perfect place to unwind and forget about the world. I even switched off from plotting my next novel. Instead I managed to catch up on some reading. I was slightly disappointed by my selection. I read:

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain which was excellent. My only excellent choice. It tells the story of Ernest Hemmingway's first wife. Behind every great man then is a woman and this is her story. It is well worth the read! It also reminds me that I must read some Hemmingway.

The Light Between Oceans - M L Steadman- I read such good reviews I think I imagined this to be a life changing book. I think I'm going to stop reading reviews from now on! It was an okay read. What would you do if you were desperate for a baby and one washes up next to your remote lighthouse? It makes you think but it didn't keep me gripped and was quite predictable.

At the bottom of the pile was The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones. It was like reading an episode of Downton Abby- Which I would quite enjoy but it just didn't interest me and finally The Silent Tide by Rachel Hoar. It was a pleasant read but I can't say I would recommend it!

So all in all not great on the reading front, but I ticked a few off my list. I feel like a right negative nancy with all these not so great reviews. I think half the problem is that when I read such good reviews for a book I expect so much more out of it. I suppose thats another reason to get some bad reviews for your book - it really evens it out.

The grammar course is going… well I wouldn't say well. I have kind of stumbled but I am sure to get back on it. I really need to get to the punctuation bit and move on from the modal auxiliaries, but I suppose I need to learn the basics first.

Anyway a bit of a boring blog post today but I will be back with tales on how my current WIP is going! 

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Knowing your conjuncts from your disjuncts


Knowing your conjuncts from your disjuncts!

So I have finally paid for the Grammar at Work course! It’s hell (which means it's actually a very good course). I did the starter test and I got 53%  - not bad but I have to admit a lot of that was guess work. I have vowed to myself that I am going to give my all to this course. I’ll know by Conjuncts from my disjuncts by the end of it. And with any luck I’ll also know where to place comma’s which seems to be the worst of my flaws. I won’t lie – I tried the first module. You really have to concentrate and quite frankly it left my brain in a state of shock. I’m going to battle through the metal block though and hopefully come out shining the other side.

In other news I have been critiquing a book for someone in our writing group and I will be working on Poison in the water – my current WIP! Deadline to go to an editor is September 2014! So not long. The plan is to edit a final copy for end July. Start writing the next Chupplejeep in August/September and work with Poison alongside it. I also need to get some more twitter followers! 1000 is my goal by the end of the year and I need a few more reviews for Bittersweet. My goal is 17, so I need 7 more! Anyone out there read it and fancy writing a review on Amazon?! And I also need 18 facebook followers! Come on people – help me out here! I have to admit marketing has taken a back seat but I’m hoping by the end of the year I’ll be in a comfortable enough position to take things slower!


GT has also taken a hit in regards to sales! Although the paperbacks are now selling quite well over the last quarter. How bizarre. Could I put it down to Monsoon weather in Goa so less visitors out there? It didn’t happen this way last year – so what has changed? Thoughts on a postcard. Anyway positive thoughts! I have things to get on with!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Time to bite the bullet

Anyone who reads this blog will know that my punctuation is terrible. This has to change. Gone are the days of me justifying that this was fine so long because it was all about the storytelling. If people can't make sense of what you are trying to say because your punctuation is screwed you are never going to be able to tell a good story. 

I say this after an 8 person critique of one of my forthcoming novels. I tell you it was an eye opener. two glasses of wine just about took the edge of as I accepted constructive criticism about my novel. After sitting on the information for days I eventually opened my mind to the comments and when i started editing my manuscript I saw things in a new light. This is a definite must do - if you are part of a writing group. No one critiques as hardly as other writers! except for agents that is. 

Admittedly, the general consensus (after they berated me about my atrocious punctuation!) was that the story was good. The main bits I worried about such as characterisation and writing dialogue got a thumbs up but the punctuation got a big thumbs down. I need to get this sorted. So it's time to bite the bullet and start that punctuation course. I am going to sign up over the weekend and start Monday. 

I have been super lame at blogging recently but I have been busy. For starters I have been creating character profiles for my Chupplejeep series. That in itself has been arduous. I am trying to be an organised writer though and by putting all the settings, locations and characters on easy to read excel documents I am hoping this will save time later when I am writing the series and need consistency. I  have a terrible memory. 

I have also been working on Under the Coconut Tree - book 1 in the series and Poison in the Water. Poison is currently with my sister for comment. She is taking her time with it but her deadline is approaching. Fingers crossed she likes the story. She is another vicious critic! 

June means finalising Poison in the water to show to my publishers too so along with learning how to punctuate its going to be a busy month! Watch this space. 

Monday, 28 April 2014

The benefits of reading a bad book...

The benefits of reading a bad book...

I have been thinking about reviews as in a recent writing group one of the writers referred to the horror of receiving a one star review. I wanted to say that it happens, but I didn't and since then I have been mulling over this  'review' society that we now live in.  Recently I  read three books that have annoyed and bored me. At first I thought of all the hours I had wasted reading them. Then I remembered the benefits of reading a bad book. Years ago I read a best seller and I found the book so dull and annoying that I realised that all reviews are subjective. It was one of the first incidents in my life that made me believe in myself and it gave me the courage to pick up a pen and write a book.

But this notion of bad reviews is something that plagues all writers. Unless you already have the skin of a Rhino. Whilst I have read some reviews saying how well my first book was written, I have read others saying it was badly written. I myself, have mixed feelings about my first book- after all it was just that - a first book. I discussed this with H and surprisingly he was supportive. 'Would you rather not have published Goa Traffic'  he asked?  It was the right question. If you regularly read this blog you will know that publishing that book has taught me so much I would never regret publishing it. He then went on to remind me about how impatient I was when I did publish it. It kind of ruined the moment. But it made me think of my options. I have self published so I could remove it from public consumption and rework it before publishing it again. However, I see that as going back when all I want to do is move forward and the majority of reviews have been positive and it's selling well. In fact it's funding this writing hobby/sideline that I have going and I am hoping to put some of the profits back into various charities in Goa.  I have a full time job and other books to work on and perfect - will going over my first book  be any use? And if I do do that what am I saying to people who have read it and enjoyed it? Your review is not good enough? I don't like the idea of that! The only downside of not going back to make your work the best that you can, is the fear that it may put some readers off any future work. I've been wondering about this but I have come to this conclusion: In my opinion every author has a voice. An individual voice. Readers will like this or not. If they are unsure they may try a second book of yours. If they hate it they probably wont like much of your work even if you go back and change it because they don't like your voice/style. Yes my first book was littered with 'head hopping' and other no-no's that give writers nightmares, but that was me then. Will I always be judged by my first book? Maybe but then again maybe not. My current work in progress is very different to my first novel and they may be easier to read because of the realisations I have made along the way, but has my voice/style changed? I doubt it - underneath it all - my novels are still just my stories!

I do think that whatever you publish you should be proud to put your name to. But that pride can fade with time. Now, I am proud of The Bittersweet Vine - I have more confidence with this book but what happens in two years time when my writing improves further (because lets face it honing your writing skills is an on-going process)  and I am no longer as proud of it as I am now. Do I change my name and start again?

All authors will know we are our own worst critics. Art is subjective. If someone loves your work then chances are that someone will hate it also! As an author you have to accept that there will be some great reviews and some not so great reviews. To prove my point have a look on Amazon at some of your favourite reads. I can almost guarantee you that they will have received bad reviews as well as good. Don't even get me started on some of my favourite reads which have an average of 3 *'s when they blatantly deserve a 5! I guess as a writer or any artist for that matter you just have to take the rough with the smooth !

Monday, 14 April 2014

In a Nutshell - Social Media for Authors

In a Nutshell – Social Media for Authors

As an author I like nothing more than completing a book and starting on the next. Yes I am concerned with sales of my existing books (Goa Traffic and The Bittersweet Vine) but do I want to put time into promoting them? The honest answer is no. I don’t. I find it all rather laborious. All I want to do is sit down and start writing my next book.

If you are an author (Trad or Self Published) you may feel the same. There are two ends of the spectrum: If you are lucky enough to be published by a large publishing house with a large marketing budget behind you then hurrah for you they will probably do most of this for you. Or at least set you up with a webpage, twitter account etc. They will retweet, like and share your posts and ensure you have a following. If you are self published and have done everything from choosing the book cover to getting it on the correct distribution channels, at this point you will  be responsible for getting your own web page up and running, along with your twitter account and Facebook page and no one will tell you about this or give you any support or guidance. It's tough and you have to do it yourself. In the middle of this spectrum are the smaller publishing houses which will do the hard work of getting your book into print and will advise you on what to do to get yourself out there but they wont do much for you. They will just expect you to do it yourself. 

Since publishing Goa Traffic myself  and having The Bittersweet Vine published by Thames River Press I have realised the importance of social media. Over the last three years through reading, experiencing and trial and errorI have picked up a few bits and pieces. I am no expert, but what I have learned I am going to share with you.   There are several reasons you have to get involved with social media.   They are

1 – Creating brand awareness for your pen name
2 – Publicity for your book- which ultimately may lead to sales
3 – Increasing the chances of word of mouth publicity – which is the best and cheapest publicity out there
4 – Social media is the cheapest form of advertising there is (or so I think! This does not include any money you attribute to your time! Because, like writing a  novel it will take time)

It is for these reasons above that I use Social Media (SM). Now there are a gazillion forms of social media you can use but my comments only relate to the ones I use below as I have no experience on the others. They are:

Blog – If you are reading this blog then you are probably familiar with this. It's like an on-line journal
Facebook – Here you can have an author profile/fan page. If people like your page – when you update this page i.e book signing at Waterstones, this will come up on the news page of anyone who likes your page. You can do giveaways, reviews, post pictures etc.
Twitter  - Here you can have an author profile. Tweet (Tell people what you are up to, share links to good sites and share pictures with a public audience)
Good Reads – A book review site where you put the books you have read or are going to read on virtual shelves. Here you can have an author profile linked to your books, conduct book giveaways join forums and groups all about books. 
Pinterest – It’s all about pictures and visuals. You create a profile and virtual pin boards where you pin pictures that you like to boards. I have a writing board, a book marketing board, a Goa Traffic Board, and author board.
Google Plus – A bit like Facebook you can have a public profile and add people to your circles, share writing tips and news stories.
Linked in – A professional networking site. This site has some great groups that you can join for authors. I have had the most engagement and blog views from this site even though I rarely use it.

Other sites I am looking to use are:

Shelfari – Like Good Reads as above
You Tube – Post videos of a reading of your book or an author interview.

So where do you start? Well this Blog post will give you a flavour for improving your social media presence, skills but it wont give you the basics of how to set up an account etc. To do this have a look at various ‘for dummies’ books or cheaper e-books or Google it. Nicola Morgans’ ‘Tweet Right’ e-book is fantastic and targeted at authors as well.

Once you are set up on one or more of the above you can't let your accounts gather virtual dust. You need to utilise them to your advantage and to do this I have summarised my key findings and tips below:

  • ·         Who are your social media supporters? Okay so you've sent a tweet, put a post on Facebook (FB). Who retweets (RT) you? Who likes or shares your status update? Know who these people are and return the favour. Listen to what they have to say. Also target them. If its something specific they support about you make sure they get your messages because they will tell their audiences about your news. Yes, they will act as your mouthpiece – and promotion is always better when it doesn't come directly from you. Why? Because it is more believable. Also this breeds word of mouth advertising which is crucial to building 1) your brand/exposure and therefore popularity and 2) sales.

  • ·         Make friends through SM with other authors (I am not great at this) I have met, in the virtual world of Twitter,  two successful authors. One did a guest post on my blog and one also hosted part of my blog tour. Instantly reaching out to a whole new audience. This way you can create your own little SM community . You’ll also have a set of like minded people or a bunch of readers you can call upon when you need.

  • ·         Start conversations. Don’t just talk at people. If you met someone in the street would you just go on at them about your book that just got a five star review? No. So read their posts, respond to their queries (Always respond to direct questions- its rude not to, and ask questions and it doesn't all have to be about writing and your book. Remember:

  • ·         Be yourself. Readers will buy your books if they like you- don’t be a one dimensional character. You know how characterisation works. You need to be well rounded for people to like you and therefore find your ‘voice.’ People want to hear what you have to say. Again you know about this from writing.  You need readers to like you to 1) be your supporter 2) look at the books you have written. You can only do this if you are authentic and genuine and don’t talk about yourself incessantly. (Which I have done myself! so I know this is not a good move.)

  • ·         Build your brand name – This is your pen name. Like Coca Cola and Cadburys – like Sophie Hannah, like JK Rowling – brands you know and love you have to be aware that your name is your brand. I know authors like to keep ourselves private and of course you can still do this. But you can provide a glimmer of that personality. Why not?  If they like you they are more likely to be a supporter.

  • ·         Use characters – Got a serial or trilogy out? Create a Twitter account/Facebook page etc in the name of your protagonist. Use their voice. Post things they would like. Speak as them. As authors we all want to get inside our character’s heads. This will kill two birds with one stone.

  • ·         Web presence. To improve your brand you must have a website. Someone gave me this advice on my blog when I first started writing and I really believe this has improved my presence and book sales. We live in an e-world. You need a website to showcase your works- It really is like having a shop front and adds to your credibility. Have a look at other author websites for inspiration (see mine here). And dont eb afraid websites are easier to set up than you think. Many companies, like Go Daddy offer a full package with templates for web building as well. 

  • ·         Be a lover not a fighter – You will get a few tweets or comments and reviews which are not favourable. Do not try and defend yourself. Not everyone will like what you have to say and you have to respect that. If you don’t it will just become ugly. And will put people off you. Trust me you don’t want that to happen. Here all publicity is not good publicity. So remember whatever you post before you do so think first as to whether you want to be known as the author who said… (A note on being opinionated - which is different from responding to critics - here being opinionated helps.  You will get more followers and engagement if you don’t sit on the fence all the time. I haven’t managed controversy yet to create a stir, but I am sure some people are great at this without being hugely offensive. And remember people want to hear your voice so speak up!). But always remember if someone has taken time to engage with you respect what they have to say even if you don’t always like what they have to say.

  • ·         Be the Jewel in the Crown. And by this I mean give back – add value to your audience. For example this Blog Post and my ‘In a nutshell’ series was created to give back. Yes, pay it forward. I am not an authority on everything and mostly it’s just passing on tips that I have found useful etc. Initially I thought that I didn't really know enough on topics to pass it on via a blog, but now I just roll with it.  I put my thoughts out there on my blog because they may help someone or provide entertainment at least.

  • ·         Credit your sources.  Repost links to articles, blog posts. If you read a good blog post and you repeat what they say always quote them and provide a link to their blog. Remember always pay it forward.

  • ·         Forums are not old skool! I once thought this, but it’s not true. Log on to writing forums like Wattpad and Writing Forums and get chatting. I did this before I joined Abingdon Writers. Now I rarely use them but where else can you have easy interaction. Join in discussions. Forums are the best way to get your social media juices flowing. Blogging is another simple one. On blogs you can just be yourself, find your voice and be who you are. It’s not staged like a website but still adds value to your brand. Comment on blogs too.

  • ·         Commenting on people’s blog posts and talking in forums leads to interaction and therefore engagement. You need engagement for people to take notice of you. Think of it like a hook in the first chapter of your novel.

  • ·         I haven’t seen you for a while! Being on social media is one thing but as I said earlier you need to keep the information flowing. Don’t do a Houdini. With Blogger you can schedule posts to be posted when you want. Write five in one sitting and drip feed them out.  Tweet – someone tells me 7 times a day is what you need to get noticed. I don’t do this but I know I should. You need to keep the content of your social media fresh and relevant to stay in peoples minds. Plus you need to keep the information flowing because this will encourage engagement and interaction through familiarity. Remember out of sight, out of mind.

  • ·         Cross Pollinate! This is what I refer to when making your post information rich. Add links like I have dotted through this blog, reference articles you have read and link up your accounts! You can use Twitterfeed so that every time you post a blog it automatically puts a link on twitter. You can also link your Goodreads account to your blog posts so they show up on your page and your Google plus account. Use widgets (bits of HTML (computer speak)  you can paste to your blog/website to add buttons and logos showing readers which SM sites you are on so they can follow you there). You can even use Hootsuite to manage all your SM sites. However, before you link everything up think about your audience and what you want to tell each audience. If you have different followers on Twitter than your blog think about whether you want to send the same message to both audiences? Would you send the same query letter to four different agents? Personally I don’t link my Facebook page to my blog or twitter. I just add updates and links manually. I do post my blog updates on Goodreads, Google + and Twitter.  But, for writers, I don’t think this is a huge thing – so cross pollinate away! 

  • ·         Don’t spread yourself too thinly – If you are just starting out pick one or two sites to get involved with I suggest a blog (although it can be labour intensive – it will help you with your writing and help in letting off some steam) and Twitter.  Twitter is not my favourite but it gets you out there. From there you can get involved with other sites.


And finally… don’t expect all this hard work to immediately correlate into sales! You have to be continual in your social media approach. You have to be patient. You can put free software like  Google Analytics on to your website to track where your audience is coming from, how long they stay on each webpage etc. But remember with every tweet, with every post, like and share you are creating a brand for yourself.


That’s all from me. I hope you have found this useful! If you like this post, remember to find me on: 

Twitter : @marissadeluna or click here
Facebook : www.facebook.com/marissadelunaauthor
Become a friend or fan at Good reads 
Find me on Pinterest: Marissa de Luna 

Ohh and you can buy my books here!


Monday, 7 April 2014

Location, location, location


I hope you enjoyed reading my previous blog post  as part of the My Writing Process Blog Tour. Be sure to check out the writing process of @Martinlastrapes and @timarnot on their blogs too. Their writing process should be published on their blogs today so check out my last blog post for links to their sites.  

Another article from the Crime Writers Association Newsletter caught my eye and this time it was written by psychological thriller writer, A J Waines (www.ajwaines.co.uk). In this issue she wrote about the importance (or not) of the setting of a book. This Friday at the Daunt’s Book festival in London they had an interesting talk about location and setting in novels. Sadly I will miss it. However Waines article gave me something to ponder. She mentioned how the Nordic and scandanavian crime novels have a great setting geographically. Like I have said before you can’t help a bit of weather to help create atmosphere and the culture of a place can link into the way a crime is solved (Think of the Italian laid back Montablano and the Ladies No.1 Detective Agency compared to CSI and Morse – they all draw on their locations as to how the crimes are solved ) but Waines goes on to say that you can create atmosphere anywhere. The geographical setting doesn’t have to be paramount to the story.

This is true. Although I do like to have a setting. Especially if it is exotic. As a child watching Poirot on his adventures always enticed me. Evil under the Sun with Peter Ustinov is still my favourite Poirot!  – Goa is a big part of my life and a big part of The Chupplejeep Mysteries – after all the series is set in one of the local sleepy villages and to me this setting makes the novel what it is. By using Goa as the setting not only do you get to explore the local cultural nuances and the behaviours of people (which I can assure you is very different to anywhere else I have seen) but you get to go back to a more simpler way of living, you get to explore themes that would be relevant to your reader but in a different cultural context, for example how people perceive adultery, murder and so forth.

If you have only ever written books set in one location perhaps write a short story set in another. This is a fab writing exercise. I had great fun doing this for Indian Diaries and perhaps I will do the same when I am off on my summer holidays somewhere in the Med this year. 

Also on an aside note I went to the Oxford Literary Festival on new Indian Writing. It was a fascinating interview with two Indian authors  Prajwal Parajuly (author of The Gurkha's Daughter and other stories) and Anjali Joseph (author of Another Country). It was fascinating and good to know that Joseph reads self published authors recognising that there is good writing out there that has not been published with mainstream publishers.  It was interesting to hear about the  pros and cons of Indian writing in English. The stereotypes that litter such novels (Typical of Chupplejeep I suppose), but good to know also that the stereotypes sell also. That is what the market wants. I suppose stereotypes do exist - and something like cosy crime which is what Chupplejeep is lends itself to this type of stereotyping. ANyway it certainly gave me something to think about in regards to The Chupplejeep Mysteries! 

Also loving The Book Thief which I am currently reading. If you are looking for a good book to read then give this a go! 


Monday, 31 March 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour!

Today is The Writing Process Blog Tour Day. This blog tour is where writers and authors answer questions about their writing process. One of the founders of my writing group, Gabrielle Aquilina, posted hers last week. Her blog is fab and worth checking out. You can take a look at her writing process here:


Here’s a glimpse into my writing world!

What am I working on?

Poison In The Water is a thriller and is my current work in progress. It’s set between travellers Thailand, glamorous Hong Kong and the bright lights of London.
The book tells the story of Celeste Renshaw, who thinks she has it all; the dream job; the fairytale marriage and money to burn.  But she stumbles on a secret that challenges everything she knows to be true.

My other project is a collection of flash fiction set around India which accompanies a collection of photographs. I’m working on this with photographer and good friend, Urmi Kenia. You can see one of the work in progress stories and pictures on my website. We hope to publish this collection later in the year.

I am also working on a light-hearted detective series set in rural Goa. Under The Coconut Tree is the first book in the series entitled The Chupplejeep Mysteries. In the book we are introduced to the loveable Detective Chupplejeep and his assistant Police Inspector Pankaj as well as a whole host of endearing characters. In Under The Coconut Tree Detective Chupplejeep is charged with finding the killer of Sandeep Shah, but with threats from the new Commissioner, his fortieth birthday approaching and a girlfriend who is desperate to see a ring on her finger, Chupplejeep is feeling the pressure.

I hope that Under The Coconut Tree will not only be an entertaining read, but it will also give the reader a glimpse into rural Goan life. I grew up in Goa and so I hold this place close to my heart.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I like to put a fresh spin on topical themes. In my last novel, The Bittersweet Vine, I focused on the rare phenomena of hysterical amnesia and Goa Traffic concentrated on child trafficking. As well as providing escapism for the reader, I like to make the reader think what they would do in a similar situation to the protagonist.

Why do I write what I do?

I grew up on detective fiction from Nancy Drew to Point Horror. Now I love novels full of suspense such as those written by Sophie Hannah. I also love Alexander McCall Smith’s No.1 Ladies Detective Series which I took inspiration from for the Chupplejeep Mysteries. I enjoy writing what I would like to read. For me a book should be pure escapism, where the story transports the reader to a different world and takes them on a roller-coaster of a ride through a multitude of emotions.

How does your writing process work?

I love writing and I hate editing. So as soon as I finish a first draft I usually get an idea for another book. I usually scribble down a rough plot-line (in about 20 bullet points) and then have to use every ounce of willpower not to start writing the next book. I use the plot-line described above as I go, and of course it changes as I write. The further I get into the plot, the less I refer to the plot-line bullets, but I know if I get stuck I have something to refer to. Generally the end result is wildly different to what I had first imagined. Mostly this is because the characters take on their own personalities and pull me in different directions. At some point mid-manuscript I draw a little spider diagram with the protagonist in the middle and all the relationships plotted out around them. This way I can clearly see the way the characters interact with each other. I also add motivations and any major characterisation to it, which makes for an easy reference tool.

Editing is laborious as my first drafts are terrible. I usually have at least three edits before the manuscript is in a readable state. Sometimes I’ll go through and just check dialogue or characterisation on an edit and forget everything else. Other times I do a ‘deep clean’ edit and examine each chapter to within an inch of its life. As you can probably tell from this post my grammar is shocking! I have a million grammar books. It just doesn't sink in. Next on my to-do list is to complete a course in grammar. Because of this I usually have to get a proof reader to look through my work before I send it out.

I work full time so finding time to write can be difficult. I usually set myself deadlines by when I need to finish certain drafts so that I keep the momentum going. I finish work slightly earlier on a Wednesday and so most of my writing is done then. But mostly I snatch and hour where I can, because a Wednesday evening is never enough!

Thanks for stopping by! Continue with the tour on the blogs of these lovely writers (see below) next week!

NEXT WEEK

Martin Lastrapes

Martin Lastrapes is a best-selling novelist whose debut novel, Inside the Outside, won the Grand Prize in the 2012 Paris Book Festival. 

You can see his writing process here:


Tim Arnot

Tim Arnot claims to remember the Sixties, although that almost certainly means he wasn't there. In his defense though, he does claim to have been very small. He had a college education from which he spectacularly failed to get any qualifications at all. But that didn't stop him from going on to be a successful writer of programs for computers and apps for iThings (if you buy a train ticket in the UK from one of those touchy-feely machines, there’s a good chance that Tim wrote the software inside it – unless it screwed up, in which case it was someone else).

At school, his teachers described him as "Quite good at English."

Tim lives in Oxfordshire with his kindle and a collection of iThings.

You can see Tim’s writing process here: