Name and age.
My name is George Rigby, but I write under the name G. G. Rigby. The G comes from the Gordon Clan. They came from up around Aberdeen somewhere in the distant past. I’m seventy-seven years old in May.
Where are you from?
I was born in a village called Royton, before it got gobbled up and became part of Oldham which in turn got gobbled up by Greater Manchester.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m one of six children, two of whom died in childhood; one at six months the other at eighteen months. I attended Sts, Aiden and Oswald RC School in Royton where I received what I would call at best a minimalist education. College was never mentioned and the only two children to qualify came back because their parent’s couldn’t afford to keep them there. But it was during and just after the war and in those days money was tight all round.
Your latest news.
Not much to tell. Maybe I should get out more. Flowers are coming up. Family are doing well, one grandson and his wife and daughter have just emigrated to New Zealand and good luck to them and another has just had a baby. A normal day in the Rigby family.
When and why did you begin writing?
I didn’t start writing until I was sixty-four, when I had to stop work because of arthritis and realised I had a chance to start telling all those stories stacked up in my head, the ones I said I would write one day but never got around to. Thanks to word I can now upload what’s on my mind and hope people like reading it.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I never consciously considered myself a writer. If writing makes one a writer then I suppose I must be one – good, bad or indifferent.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I read something in the newspaper about a young man overdosing on heroin and the story grew from that.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Again this isn’t something I have tried to cultivate. I doubt many people do. We probably pick up niblets of style from the authors we read in the genre we write in, but to consciously try and copy an author would surely distort our own style. Me trying to emulate the style of famous crime writers would only make me a poor imitation of them.
How did you come up with the title?
The title of my first novel (I have completed nine, five of which are on Kindle) was Street Wise. I later found there were numerous titles with one or both of those words in them and so I changed the title to Who Killed the Candyman? The candyman being an old nickname for a drug pusher
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I don’t knowingly search for a message to pass on. I would just like my readers to enjoy the moment without having to think I’m preaching or trying to leave a message. However, if the reader takes something meaningful from my writing I trust it’s something good. If any of my novels carry a message it might be the one I’m about to upload to Kindle – “Inhuman Acts” – the message being one of hope amidst an ocean of fear and despair for two homeless children in a world where life is often cruel – and cheap.
How much of the book is realistic?
I think we always put something of ourselves into our work, even if it is subconsciously. A few things are done purposely, but when I read back through my novels after the passage of some time I have to smile at certain parts and think, “I know where that came from”.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Most of my writing is sheer fiction, although there are some things that come pretty close to the truth. The novel, “Nowhere Safe”, came to me after a passing remark made by a woman at a dinner I attended. The idea for the novel now in the hands of my editor and which will be uploaded to Kindle soon was sparked by a brutal event in Brazil a few years ago.
What books have influenced your life most?
Discounting the bible, I wouldn’t say books have influenced my life. They have certainly enriched it, but they haven’t persuaded me to go in any particular direction. The stories I have read have encouraged me to write better novels. I have read my share of “How Too” books and taken in the tips I found to my liking. Stephen King’s book “On Writing” is in my opinion the best how to book on the market. At least it’s the best one I have read.
If you had to chose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I’ve read some good crime writers – Ed McBain, Ian Rankin, Elmore Leonard, Raymond Chandler and dozens more. I think they have all mentored me in one way or another.
What book are you reading now?
Robert Ludlum’s The Osterman Weekend, but I’m making hard work of it. In my humble opinion it’s not one of his better efforts. I personally think the first one hundred and sixty pages could quite easily have been condensed into one hundred. But who am I to tell Robert Ludlum how to write and how long his novels should be. Over the years I’ve had great pleasure reading the man’s work. But as I always say, you pays your money you’re entitled to your opinion.
Are there any new authors that have grabbed your interest?
New-ish. Like Michael Connelly, John Connolly, John Grisham, although they aren’t that new are they? But that’s probably my age. I’m biased toward the older writers. They’re writing gives me a buzz. It’s earthy, raw, and draws me in from the first page.
What are your current projects?
I am waiting for my latest novel “Inhuman Acts” to come back from the editor. Meanwhile I’m working on my next book with the working title “The Stranger in the Tea Cup”. And having some fun with my friends on Facebook.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside family members.
For that I have to go to my lifelong friend, John Moloney who lives on Vancouver Island in Canada. I have known John ever since we started school together and he’s been a constant friend. If anyone has mentored me it is he. He’s the one I send my work to before anyone else sees it. He’s the one who will tell me straight if it isn’t up to scratch. He’s the one who loves the red pen, and when the manuscript comes back I sometimes think he’s had a nose bleed over it.
Do you see writing as a career?
Not at my age, but I am sorry I didn’t begin writing forty or fifty years ago. Now it’s all about enjoyment and if people appreciate my work that will be all the vindication I need.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I’ll tell you when it comes back from the editor. I’m only twenty-three chapters into the one I’m writing now and the chapters are usually only four or five pages long. I’ll probably go back and look at things when I’m about thirty or forty thousand words into the novel.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Through reading, I think. Over the years I have read some wonderful books – and some not so wonderful. I think it was the not so wonderful ones that gave me the urge to write my own. Funnily enough, after all the crime books I have read the novel that sticks in my mind the most is Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man of the Sea” I wanted to pat him on the back as he struggled up the beach to his house at the end of the story, his heart full of pride in his achievement.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I can do better than that. If you follow the link you can see all my work. http://www.ggrigby.com/
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Everything. If it was easy it wouldn’t be worth doing, and the satisfaction you get when you finally write “The End” is the best feeling in the world – although the work has only just begun.
Who is your favourite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I find it impossible to pick a favourite. As I said earlier, I like so many and they all bring something different to the table. I could throw many more authors into the mix, but in the end they would only be names. To me, though they are stars, every one.
Do you have to travel much concerning your books?
I’m afraid my travelling days are over. In my younger days I travelled the world, now I only do it in my mind. I do like to visit Torbay once a year, though, and in twenty-ten I travelled to London when I was short listed for the Harry Bowling Prize for unpublished authors. Margaret and I stayed at a four star hotel overlooking Hyde Park, it cost us a fortune but we had a wonderful holiday. I didn’t win but the banquet was worth the train fare.
Who designs your covers?
A great cover designer called Kit Foster. I wouldn’t use anyone else.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
There’s nothing easy about writing a book, although it can’t be as hard as dying, can it? Different people find different aspects of writing a book more difficult than others. Some stumble over the plot, I don’t bother with it. I start with a premise and allow the book to write itself as I get into it. (What if this and what if that) Also characters come to me as I go along, and once I have a character I expand on it to give me something to get my teeth into. For my own benefit I give him/her a name and a form, hair colour, height, weight etc. where they come from, how they talk and a few more characteristics to help me along and off I go until the next character pops up.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned never to write another book – but I can’t take my own advice. What writer can?
Do you have any advice for other writers?
If you go into writing, go in whole heartedly, because if you’ve got any writer in your blood you’ll be in for life, and remember, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Just that I hope my scribblings give you as much satisfaction as writing my novels has given me. If you visit my Blog site I would be pleased if you could drop me a line. I like nothing better than a reader asking a question or commenting on something you liked – or didn’t, and if you take up one of my novels you might like to leave a review on my author page on Amazon. Authors live or die by them; they are the life blood of our writing life.
Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Not any more. I used to breed tropical fish and exotic birds, but that was many years ago. Now I have it all to do to see my five children, nineteen grand-children and thirteen great grand-children, the latest one hardly four weeks old.
What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Right now I’m enjoying watching reruns of Rebus, Life on Mars and the best thing to come out of Canada since maple syrup – The Murdock Mysteries. I also like F1 racing, football and cricket. The fishing programs, River Monsters and Extreme Fishing are something I rarely miss. The rest of the time I spend in my box room working on my computer (banished there by my wife while she watches her programs). The films I like are – yes, you’ve guessed it – crime films, and you can’t beat a good western. Shane and High Noon were probably the two best westerns ever; with the Magnificents even close behind. I don’t mind the modern films with their special effects but I wouldn’t travel far to watch them.
Favourite foods/colours/ music.
I used to like Rogan Josh, but my stomach won’t allow me to eat it now. I used to like Monk fish, but I don’t fancy taking out a second mortgage to pay for it these days. My favourite colour is blue, the colour of a cloudless sky. My music tastes are not today’s music, I’m afraid, although there are plenty I like, but my heroes are people from a distant era, like Nat King Cole, of who Frank Sinatra one said if he had been white he would have been the biggest star in the world. I love the big bands too, going back to the thirties and forties. I love the voice of Billy Holiday, or Lady Day as she was known. Coming more toward the present the groups of the sixties and seventies, and my top man of that era, Bob Dylan gave me much pleasure. I have many more but that will do for now.
If you were not a writer what else would you have liked to have done?
I haven’t seen the Grand Canyon, the pyramids and a thousand other things. I would have liked to see the Peace River in British Columbia and Alberta, and a little known valley at the tip of BC called headless valley because in the nineteen thirties were found dozens of corpses all with their heads missing, but mainly because now it’s supposed to be one of the most peaceful places on earth. I would like to go up the Amazon River to Manaus and visit the opera house, built with money made from the rubber trees growing there. I would love to visit Machu Picchu in Peru. I could go on all night. There aren’t enough years left in my life to do what I would love to do.
Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My blogsite is http://www.ggrigby.com/ I hope some of you will come and visit me. You’ll all be welcome.