Name Danny Kemp

Age. I am sixty-three and feeling every second of those past years

Where are you from?

I was born in Camberwell South East London on the 29th July, a Leo, and whether or not that influenced my parents choice of name I’ll never know.

A little about your self

I passed the 11+ and went to Shooters Hill Grammar School, where the best thing they ever taught me was how to play Rugby, fight and enjoy sport.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

Where to start; Friday, just gone. A photographer from The Kent Messenger came as that newspaper are running another article on me. I was contacted last Wednesday by a commissioning television editor with a mind of serializing my novel, but the contract I have with the film production company may preclude that. The two are now speaking to each other. I recorded another lunchtime American Radio interview last week. This coming Wednesday, 29th August, I’m on HFM radio giving a lunchtime interview in the UK.

I have four remaining signing engagements with Waterstones from the original sixteen.  This Saturday, 1st September, I’m at Waterstones Market Harborough.

Last week, Waterstones compared my writing to Graham Greene.

From August 24th until the 18th September Waterstones, at Nottingham, have a special crime book signing events tour. I’m included amongst Peter Robinson, Louise Welsh, Lee Child, John Connolly and Mark Billingham. My name is the only ‘unknown’ there and I’m the only one with a Saturday date.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I started in 2006 as a result of a Road Traffic “Accident” that left me unable to earn a living driving a London Cab for almost four years. I had nothing else to do.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When my novel, The Desolate Garden, was published.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

Awkward question for me to answer. The one that was not published was probably because I had watched the Godfather too many times. I had a love of Italy and was fascinated my the thought of a woman in charge of a huge conglomerate business empire built from a Mafioso background.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

Hmm, not sure. I have been told that my style is an old-fashioned English quintessence. Perhaps that’s how the Graham Greene and John Buchan comparisons were drawn.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

My agent and I discussed it.

Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

No, not really. It’s a fictional story and there to be enjoyed.

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?

Some parts are based on factual events and places but, in the main, is pure innuendo and lies. Or, is it?

Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

The central character, Lord Harry Paterson is a bit like me and his nemesis Judith Meadows is based loosely on a woman I once knew.

Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?

I read an enormous amount when I was younger and alI have left a mark.

Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

None. I have enjoyed many different writers but there is no-one I would consider as a mentor.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I haven’t read a newspaper, let alone a book, for years.

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

No, as I said I haven’t had a chance to look.

Fiona: What are your current projects?

My stories from The View From The Cab are to be published along with, I hope, my poems, but their inclusion is the decision of my publisher. I am writing a short story, probably no more than 20,000 words that I may be able to tempt that TV commissioning editor with, if the film contract will not allow for serialization of The Desolate Garden.

At the back of my mind is my third novel which I started before TDG was published and is about 60,000 words in, but unfortunately, due to all the marketing and promotional work I’m involved with, I haven’t been able to open it since.

Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

I am a believer in God.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I would love to be able to say yes to this, but even if all things come together then I only want to write one more story. I’m sixty-three and not lived a wise life. I would like to spend what time I have left in an enjoyable way, not in a pressurized situation.

Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

No, but I would never have taken the advice of my agent and his choice of editor. Having said that, everything is okay now but lots of mistake could, and should, have been avoided.

Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

No idea.

Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

I’ll be generous; you can have the opening line of this short story that I’m working on.

‘The first time I saw her was forty years ago to this very day, but it is not she who lays in this coffin; she is in my memory, and will never die.’

Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Yes, this short story opens with a very erotic scene and the word f.u.c.k. is used twice in dialogue. Both the extent of the sex, and the swearing, I found alien to write but it was necessary to open and set the tale.

Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I haven’t got a favorite, it changes with whatever mood I’m in. Sitting here answering your questions I can see John Fowles writing The French Lieutenants Woman. Don’t ask me why though, because I could’t explain it.

Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

Yes, with the book signings I must have travelled 2000 miles already.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

For good bad or indifferent, I chose the design.

Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The proof-reading and the editing. I’m not grammatically educated well, my skills have improved but I’m still not completely comfortable with apostrophes and general punctuation. If anything my narrative is too long in sentence form and could do with breaking up with more commas or full stops.

Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Never use an editor whose work you don’t know. Never trust advice, find out for yourself. Oh, never put coloured heading as Chapter Headers, but that is another story in itself.

Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

No, I’m not an advisor. I’m not that clever enough to be one.

Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

If you like my work then tell others. If you don’t want to own, it in a physical sense, or don’t have a Kindle on which to download it, then ask your Library to stock it for you. They will if you ask.

Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?

Stayed driving a London Black Cab and IF I could have devoted the same amount of time to that job, that I have in all the promotion of The Desolate Garden, I would be a much richer man, than I now am!

THE DESOLATE GARDEN is available on forty internet sites and in bookshops such as: Waterstones, Hatchards, Foyles, Blackwells, Barnes&Noble as well as Independents, one of which bears the Royal Crest; Heywood Hill Ltd. In Mayfair London, very near an old MI6 Headquarters building.