Today I’m delighted to welcome Gary Locke to Me, My Books and I:
Gary Locke was born in the bustling village of Hazel Grove, near to Stockport in the North West of the United Kingdom. He is the author of the humorous Paul Day Chronicles series of books, which are set in the fictional, bustling village of Holly Grove, near to Stoneport in the North West of the United Kingdom! (I am reliably informed that any similarities between Hazel Grove and Holly Grove and/or events and people in the books are purely coincidental!)
Gary’s thirst for writing surfaced at an early age and his earliest “classic” piece (“Why Roald Dahl is my Hero”!) is still fondly remembered by his primary school teacher. It was the first of many, memorable school time literary “attempts” as creative writing fast became his favoured subject.
After leaving college upon completion of A-Levels, Gary embarked upon a “career” in the high flying (and highly exciting!) world of finance and administration. (Yes, he did work for the RBS group, but had nothing to do with its ultimate financial meltdown!)
A timely redundancy a couple of years back coincided with the birth of his twin daughters and gave him the opportunity to seek part-time employment whilst also being a part time Mum Dad!
This working arrangement has also allowed him time to focus more on his writing and, after working in various genres, Gary decided to begin self publishing some of the “comedy” themed Paul Day Chronicles books that he has written.
Gary has plans for publishing further humour based books (Paul Day and not) and is currently also putting the finishing touches to a science fiction based thriller. If only there weren’t so many nappies to change……..
To find out more:
Where did the idea for Happily After Ever come from?
In the past I have done quite a lot of sitcom script writing work and had the idea to try and transform that principle into book form. In that respect, I think the book has easy to visualise moments of humour and is very episodic, which makes it easy to flit in and out of.
The story follows a year (2006) in the life of Paul Day who just seems to stumble from one life crisis to another. The humour arises from everyday situations that everyone can relate to, which I think means the reader can empathise with Paul – at the same time as laughing at him! As with all great sitcoms though, I have also tried to include real life moments of poignancy and reflection that hopefully bring a very comedic character back to being very human.
The actual title is a play on words that refers to the fact that at the start of the book Paul is coming to the end of another doomed relationship with a girl named Everlyn (who calls herself Ever) and the title asks whether he can live Happily After Ever?
Who designed the cover and why did you go for that particular design?
The cover was designed by a good friend of mine called Andy Tiplady who is a graphic designer. I wanted to have the effect of a collage of photographs – that almost represent the physical versions of life memories. The pictures relate to individual parts of the story – and so the cover probably becomes more relevant and meaningful after you’ve read the book!
I also asked him to design a “Paul Day Logo” – and he came up with the little “pd” mark that fits onto the top left of every Paul Day book.
If Happily After Ever was made into a movie who would you like to play the lead roles?
It would definitely need to be comedy actors.
I probably see Paul Day as a kind of age 30-ish Matthew Perry – in hapless / nothing going right for him mood!
Of his love interests / disasters (again all age 30-ish) I see Lynsey as an Isla Fisher type (cute, girl next door), Louise – Catherine Zeta Jones (sexy and sultry) and Ever – Sharon Stone (attractive but dangerous!)
For eccentric headmaster Mr Langden I’d go for Christopher Lloyd in mad-cap Back to the Future mood!
I know that none of these actors are age or nationality appropriate – but that’s what these casting directors get paid all that money for!
If you had to write it all over again, would you change anything?
After finishing writing it, I learnt that books of a similar humorous genre are usually around 50k words long – and Happily After Ever is actually c170k words! So, if I could plan it all again, I would probably approach it like a traditional series of books. As it is though, the high word count has allowed me to release some of the individual episodes separately (Love is Like Fireworks, The Stag Do, Football is like SEX and Fate… Bloody Fate) – which work as isolated stories but also give a “taster” of the full book. So I suppose Happily After Ever is really like the box set of all those episodes (which make up about half of the book) – with lots of exclusive episodes and material!
What makes Happily After Ever stand out from the crowd?
I think the episodic nature of it and the way that it does feel like reading a sitcom makes it different from most other humour books out there. I didn’t set out to try and write the kind of book that changes your life (there are enough great books out there that do that already) – but, hopefully, it is a book that will enhance it whilst you are reading it!
Why did you start writing?
I have always had a very active imagination. And whilst this is satisfied as a kid by dressing up and creating made up Star Wars scenes (yes, I was ALWAYS Han Solo!), society frowns upon you doing this as an adult! Therefore I found that writing is a real (and acceptable) outlet to release your creative side. If I don’t do any writing for a week or so, then I start getting real withdrawal symptoms! (If only there was a non-writing patch you could wear to help!)
Do you have any writing quirks?
Because of my twin, two and a half year old daughters, I have to write as and when I can. This means that if things are really flowing then sleepless nights are a common occurrence! I’m not sure how quirky this is, but my favourite place to write is in the garden – with pen and pad. (Yes, I often get very wet!!) It is a time consuming way to do things – but whilst typing things up you are almost editing straight away!
If you could live in any time period, what would it be?
Wow, that’s hard. There are numerous points in history that I would like to live in (or, at least, like to visit) – from the days of the Roman Empire to the middles ages or industrial revolution and world war periods.
I would also love to see what the world was like in the beginning – long before mankind arrived, dropping crisp packets everywhere! And to see what the future has in store for us. Will it be as grim as every sci-fi book leads us to believe it will be?
I also seem to recall life being so much more simple and exciting in the 1980’s – so maybe I’d like to revisit then to see if that was really the case.
I suppose I could do with a time machine really!
If you could travel anywhere in the world to do research for a book where would it be?
Las Vegas! I have been before but admit that I didn’t have much time (or inclination) for research!
Paperback or eBook?
You cannot replace the feel and smell of a paperback (especially a well-loved classic that you revisit after a couple of years on the bookshelf) but I have to say I favour eBook. You can carry your whole library around with you. You have the choice of font / size / colour etc. You have an in-built reading light. And, from an author’s point of view, your book does not live or die based on just its first few weeks of sales – that, more often than not, are based on how good the marketing campaign was.
I think the eBook will grow and grow and those nostalgic feelings that we have for paperbacks will one day be replaced – by the plastic touch and odourless smell of kindles etc. (Well odourless unless you forget you’ve left it in your gym bag!)
Hot or cold?
I prefer hot chips and cold ice cream!
I much prefer the warmth of summer but believe you have to live through winter to really appreciate it…..you have to enjoy a little bit of everything to really enjoy a little bit of anything!
Listener or talker?
To be a good friend there are times when you need to do both. In general though, I probably listen more than I talk.
Sweet or savoury?
Any half-decent dietician will tell you that lots of both are essential parts of any diet! If you were twisting my arm – I’d go for savoury.
Any last words for your readers?
I’d like to say thank you to anyone who has bought and enjoyed any Paul Day Chronicles books – especially to those who have taken the time to contact me about them. It really is a pleasure that in this age of technology there is a quick and easy link between authors and readers and I will never get bored with chatting to people who love books.
For anyone who hasn’t read anything from the Paul Day world then, if you like light-hearted books that make you smile and laugh, I think you would really enjoy them.
Thank you so much for being here today Gary, it was a pleasure to have you on my blog.
Now check out the book:
“Love, Life and Lots of Laughs!
For Paul Day, there’s never been any such thing as a normal year.
But could 2006 be the exception to the rule?
Could 2006, now at age thirty, be the beginning of all his plans going smoothly, and become his first real successful and happy year?
Not if his usual brand of life chaos has anything to do with it!
Follow him as, per usual, he turns every ordinary event into an extraordinary drama.
From diamond ring purchases to internet dating, via stag dos and bungee jumps, punctuated with ill-fated encounters with the law and perpetual career struggles.
As usual it’s one riotous, laugh out loud, calamity quickly followed by another!
And then there are the women.
Soul mates, childhood sweethearts, sexual deviants, internet dates, girls from nightclubs, women from work….so many women!
You’d think that one of them must be the one!
But which one?
Happily After Ever is a comedy epic that proves that bad luck, brutal fate, being at the wrong place at the wrong time, combined with exceptional stupidity, can be a dangerous cocktail!
And through the normal, everyday, events that somehow turn into outlandish and comical episodes, along with quirky observations about pretty much anything and everything, you’ll probably find that there’s a bit of Paul Day in all of us!
Happily After Ever includes the short stories Love Is Like Fireworks!, The Stag Do, Football Is Like Sex! and Fate… Bloody Fate! – and a whole lot more!”
Happily Ever After! – Paul Day Chronicles is available now and can be purchased from Amazon.