I signed up for a short story writing course at the Friends’ Centre when it was in the Lanes, almost ten years ago. The tutors were encouraging and I learned a lot. My first published story was in Alt-Brighton by Queenspark Press in 2006. My partner treated me to a meal at Bankers in Western Road to celebrate. The first time I felt like a writer was when I read out my winning story to a full theatre at the Ilkley Literary festival in 2009. The audience laughed at the right bits. It was a great feeling.
I won a poetry competition in 2010. The first prize was the publication of an anthology of my poems. Unfortunately I told the publisher that it would be a very slim volume as I’d only ever written one poem. They kindly agreed to publish a book of my short stories. I called it ‘Brighton Shorts’.
In 2011 I was approached by Thorny Devil Productions. They had read my stories and wanted to make short films of three of them. ‘Shrinking Violet’ was screened at both Cannes and the Hollywood Short Film festivals this year. Louise Jameson and Annette Badland will be in the second film which is set in a charity shop in Brighton. I am currently writing the screenplay for the third one.
I used to enter a regular monthly short story competition run by a publisher in Northern Ireland, Spinetinglers. Entry was anonymous and I chose the name ‘Centurionman’ as I live in Centurion Road, Brighton. My stories won or were placed a few times and I received an email from the head of the company, offering me a publishing contract. My first ebook was published in September and I called it ‘Centurionman’. It reached number one briefly in October on the Amazon chart. It’s available on Kindle or iPad for £1.29. Some of the stories are inspired by people I’ve encountered in Brighton.