Writing is a casual hobby for me and not something I have to do every day, but to see my three books to date self-published and available for Amazon’s Kindle has given me a real sense of achievement. My first release, written under my pen name Alan Lee Ford is a ‘lightweight’ thriller called The Hickory Factor. A friend and co-founder of the Jurassic Coast Writers’ Group, inspirational writer, Sallyann Sheridan, suggested I should have a go at writing a novel.
“But what could I write about?” I asked.
Her simple and logical reply was, “Write about what you know.”
Well, almost everything I know involves the city of Birmingham and the fitted kitchen industry – with a little bit of building industry thrown in.
Birmingham is my home city although I was actually born in Smethwick. If I haven’t been living within the city boundary, I have been working there in one way or another most of my life and almost all of my long-time friends still live there.
I have been involved in the kitchen industry since the late 60s. My first six years of working life were spent as an apprentice plumber. Following redundancy in 1968 I used my experience and knowledge to further my career by joining a city centre Builders’ Merchants. During that time I began designing kitchens using the original Hygena System 70 and Wrighton furniture. I went on to manage a showroom in Solihull, open my own showroom in Moseley and then venture into manufacturing and product design. My latter years have been in a training role and now I am the KBSA designated Kitchens and Bathrooms Expert for the Grand Designs Live show at Birmingham’s NEC and London’s Excel centre twice a year. http://www.kbsa.org.uk and http://www.granddesignslive.com
So naturally The Hickory Factor is all about a Birmingham kitchen designer who finds himself and his son in mortal danger brought about by a family seeking revenge for something he did in his past. I have a sequel partly penned, but no release date as yet.
My biggest project at present is my autobiography. I haven’t led a particularly remarkable life, but there have been some interesting periods. I carry some baggage, like all of us, but have been extremely lucky to have reached my 68th birthday. The story is told in three parts: It’s All About My Parents’ Son – Part One 1947-1962 is available now for the Kindle. Part Two 1962-1980 will be available in 2015 and Part Three 1980 to 2010 sometime in 2016 or later. In part one there is some social history, some social comments, quite a lot about my parents and grandparents and the variety of influences on my life. If you know Birmingham, maybe attended Birchfield Road Boys School in Perry Barr, then there will be something, in fact quite a lot, which should interest you.
My third book is a collection of short stories entitled The Day Trip, Other Short Stories and Poems. There is something for everyone, but all adult stories, not for children.
You can follow me on Twitter @HickoryFactor or download my Kindle books from Amazon: Click here to go to my author’s page http://amzn.to/Z6D4Mz or search for Alan Lee Ford on Amazon.
I was born in Bournemouth, which was in Hampshire but is now in Dorset! I trained as a teacher and am now teaching piano, guitar and music theory privately in student’s homes in the Weymouth area. I play piano and organ in Chickerell Methodist Chapel and lead a small choir there.
I have given talks to local groups since the age of 17.
I am married with 2 grown sons and 5 granddaughters, including twins.
I have wanted to write as long as I can remember and was always writing poems and little stories as a child.
Competition prizes and publications: Won the Silver Salver for adult poetry in the 2009 Wootton Bassett Arts Festival, Wiltshire. (It became ‘Royal’ after I left but I don’t think there is any connection with the two events!) I have had several articles published in The Methodist Recorder, weekly newspaper of the UK Methodist church.
I particularly love writing comic topical and local songs, which I sing in local folk clubs. I have had a hymn tune published and words of a harvest hymn.
Presently am writing a blog and book for novices about public speaking, which was inspired by attending over many years some dreadful talks and ones which could have been much better. These experiences both good and bad are being used as material, which is hoped will help others. Also am writing a novel set in Dorset – finding this much harder to do! I love the JCWs and have found the encouragement very helpful and am reliably informed that my writing has much improved since joining!
Hi. I’m Don Jones. I’m eighty but I look much older. I am a retired (and repentant) bank manager. I’ve been married for over 50 years and have two sons, of whom I’m immensely proud, and a handful of grandchildren who do their best to keep me young, but sometimes just make me feel old.
I started to write whilst still working, but it was mostly humorous stuff and, as you will know, banks don’t have a sense of humour, so it rarely got into print.
After retirement I became a volunteer for adult literacy in a college in The Midlands but also spent three years as a reading help at the local First School. I started to write stories for the children and eventually had some of them published under the title Bookworms and Other Stories (still available as an ebook on Amazon).
Having spent most of my life in The Midlands, I came down to Devon with my wife in 2005 and started a wonderful new chapter in our lives. I joined a couple of writers’ groups but found that Jurassic Writers was the most enjoyable and rewarding. I now write mostly humorous short stories and have been lucky enough to win our coveted Triceratops Trophy, once or twice. I have put together an anthology of some of my work and that is also available from Amazon as an ebook under the title A Quiet Corner. (Never miss an opportunity to sell yourself!)