Hello and welcome to Jamie Gray Writes…the virtual kettle is on so pull up a chair and accept my thanks for taking the time to visit.
I apologise in advance for my incessant witterings about penguins, and cruising, and the theatre, and poetry, and…well I’m afraid I have plenty to say about pretty much everything if I’m honest.
In the famous words of Abba…’I’m nothing special, in fact…’
Well you know the rest. But very briefly I have spent my life doing lots of different jobs and participating in a myriad different hobbies and pastimes. I’m a great believer in the concept that you don’t have to be good at something to enjoy it…but if you are then other folk may enjoy what you do too.
I enjoy writing…well informal and rather random jottings may be closer to the mark. But I think the world would be a much better place if we didn’t all take things too seriously (except maybe our heath…and our finances…oh and possibly our relationships…okay enough) but specifically I reckon life should be fun most of the time.
Having spent many years behind the scenes helping to create that little bit of magic in the theatre, I decided I wanted to continue to entertain when I retired. We folk who live in the dark corners of the backstage area always have plenty to say and many tall stories to tell, so writing seemed the natural choice.
I didn’t plan to write an entire novel…let alone two.
Having never been much of a reader I’ve always found ‘People Watching’ the most entertaining way to keep myself amused whether at work or on holiday. It was my dear lady wife who suggested that maybe I should commit to writing down some of the more interesting situations I’d witnessed…I think she got a bit fed-up of me regaling her daily with the silly antics of other people.
So record them I did.
I quickly discovered that writing is infectious, and once I’d started I just couldn’t stop. At first I just recorded things as they occurred (or as I remembered them) A thousand words quickly became two thousand and so on. Then I began using my imagination, creating a story around the anecdotes and developing characters to carry the plot forward. It was, and still is, really great fun.
My first book, ‘The Other Side of Me’ was born out of my time working backstage in the theatre.
So much goes on behind the scenes at these wonderful entertainment venues I just had to share some of the fun I’ve experienced during my 20+ years helping to create that little bit of magic with pieces of coloured plastic and a paint brush.
The creation of the characters and their back story was the hardest part. But I soon found myself fully immersed into their way of thinking, and I just loved the way they did exactly what I told them to do.
The lead character, ‘Freddie’, definitely has my sense of humour and he was probably the easiest to create…but I’m particularly fond (and proud) of Oscar and Uncle Roy and the relationship they have and the fun they both bring to the story.
For my first attempt at an entire manuscript I was very pleased with the outcome, which of course prompted me to discover and develop a new project.
Since my dear lady and I have retired we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to go travelling. In order to keep family and friends updated as to where we were, what we were doing and, more importantly, letting them know that we were safe and having fun, I kept a daily online blog. But this was no ordinary blog (heaven forbid) as both writer and reader would have lost interest very quickly if all I was doing was recounting a ‘factual’ report about yet another visit to a museum or church…or posting pictures of the ‘best food ever in and exotic location’ kind of way.
So I was thoroughly guilty of indulging in a certain amount of artistic licence (well, quite a lot if I’m honest) and my blogs started to include a few bizarre fictional characters along the way and a back story to go with them. I even had a go at poetry…of the nonsensical variety of course.
Then I came across a ridiculously cheap 85 night cruise around South America, a last minute deal I just couldn’t resist. As there were only 34 port stops during the whole trip it meant I had plenty of ‘sea days’ to indulge my furtive imagination. And so my second book/novel, ‘Penguins & Panamas’ was almost complete by the end of the holiday.
Without a doubt people are the biggest building blocks for every writer. They are the influence for all plot lines and scenarios…and for me personally I doubt I could write anything if it were not for other folk providing the input to get my imagination working. The things they do and say provide so much material it becomes impossible to leave anything out.
‘Penguins & Panamas’ is generally a work of fiction, but I made a conscious effort to describe the ports we visited as accurately as I could, including the things we did and the different places of interest we attended.
I wanted the reader to find some useful aspect to the book even if they didn’t enjoy the story line.
Having said that this is a work of fiction, I have to mention that a lot of the influence for the characters and their actions are based on particular situations that were actually witnessed. Some of the more bizarre happenings are therefore not as unrealistic as they would appear at first. Yes…some folk are really that unkind and even mercenary. And no…the author doesn’t always do or say the right thing.
Both books are available from Amazon in paperback or Kindle format. If you are a regular contributor to a book review site I would be happy to supply a copy for a fair and honest opinion.
As an aspiring writer I’m always happy to receive constructive feedback with regards to this website or my writing in general. Please feel free to…..