I'm delighted to welcome today's guest to the blog as they're celebrating the release of their latest book! So cool!
Check it out...
Michael Davies began his career as a newspaper journalist, going on to edit numerous publications. Since moving into fiction, his writing has appeared on stage, screen, radio, the printed page and online.
His debut play, Rasputin’s Mother, won the national playwriting competition and subsequent work includes scripts, novels, radio plays, songs and short stories.
Current work in development includes a new two-hander musical, The Zodiac Club, and a double-bill of original plays. Michael recently completed for publication the posthumous release of Desmond Bagley’s ‘lost’ novel Domino Island, published by HarperCollins.
He wrote the book and lyrics for Tess – The Musical, an adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s classic novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles, which received sell-out workshop performances at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s studio theatre The Other Place and was scheduled for a UK tour in 2020 – before coronavirus put a stop to that.
Discovered after more than 40 years, a vintage action-adventure novel set on Domino Island – a Caribbean paradise toppling under murder, corruption and organised crime…
‘Like a dream come true – an undiscovered Desmond Bagley novel … and it’s a great one!’ --LEE CHILD
Bill Kemp, an ex-serviceman working in London as an insurance investigator, is sent to the Caribbean to verify a life insurance claim that will make property magnate David Salton’s young widow a very rich lady.
As Kemp begins to discover that Salton’s political ambitions had made him a lot of enemies, and that his friends are reluctant to reveal themselves, local tensions around the forthcoming elections spill over into protest and violence on the streets – and murder.
Is this all a deliberate smokescreen for an altogether more ambitious plot? And who is the enemy in their midst? As events begin to spiral out of Kemp’s control, even his army training seems feeble in the face of such a determined foe.
Discovered after more than forty years, Domino Island is a vintage tour de force by one of the world’s most successful thriller writers.
Who are you and what do you write?
I’m Michael Davies, and I write all kinds of stuff. I spent 20 years in newspaper journalism but since escaping office life, I’ve written novels, scripts, stage plays, radio plays, short stories, theatre reviews – pretty much anything that’ll keep my career going!
Where and when and how did the writing life begin for you?
I’ve always written and was lucky enough to land a job on my local newspaper soon after leaving school. I got three years’ old-fashioned journalism training there and I haven’t stopped writing for a living since.
How has the journey to this point been? Can you give us a basic rundown?
It’s one of the tropes of newspapers that every journalist yearns to write a novel. Well, I did. Fortunately it’s still in my bottom drawer, but it did give me a kickstart in my creative writing life (as opposed to non-fiction, which remains a large part of my work). I wanted to move into television so took an MA in scriptwriting, and I’ve been juggling media and genres ever since.
What's been the hardest part of your writing/publishing experience so far? And the most enjoyable?
Getting noticed is unquestionably the biggest problem, and there’s rarely a shortcut. I wrote nine scripts in two years on my MA and none of them has been made, but they’re all serving a purpose, partly as training and partly as calling cards when it comes to meeting producers and commissioners. There’s no escaping the dreaded networking – you have to learn to get good at it – but it does become just a part of the job. Most enjoyable? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy being wined and dined by a publisher, or winning an award, or being met with a wave of enthusiasm from a literary festival audience...
Would you go back and change anything?
I’m not really one for regrets: we are where we are for a reason, and because of what’s gone before. Having said that, if I did it all again, I might try making the jump from newspapers ten years earlier.
Where would you like to be in 5 years time? And 10? Or, what are your plans for the future?
Desmond Bagley, whose book this really is, would spend ten or eleven months a year travelling and researching the next novel with his wife Joan, then a few short weeks writing it – fast. Seems to me there are worse ways to live your life...
What's one piece of advice you'd give to new writers just starting out?
Don’t get hung up on landing an agent. Nobody will push your work as enthusiastically or authentically as you, and as long as you don’t have an agent, everything you make is yours (less tax, national insurance, expenses etc etc etc). Also, I once heard someone recommend spending ten per cent of your earnings from writing on a luxury that you wouldn’t otherwise buy. I must admit I do like that idea and have tried to carry it out, although it can be quite difficult as it can feel self-indulgent or frivolous – but then, why shouldn’t I indulge myself if I’ve sold something?
And most importantly...
Ketchup or Mayo? - Ketchup.
Night or Day? - Mmm – tough one. Probably Night.
Inside or Outside? - Inside, especially at the moment.
Dogs or Cats? - I’ve changed. Today it’s cats. But I’m willing to be persuaded back.
Twitter or Facebook? - Twitter.
e-book or Paperback? - Paperback. Daft question.
Sun or Rain? - Depends on mood, but if you force me, Sun.
Keyboard or Pencil & Notebook? - Keyboard.
Comedy or Drama? - Both.
Chips or Chocolate? - Neither. (That, of course, is a lie.)
Want to guest blog or be interviewed? Got a cover reveal or book coming out?
Get in touch today!