Name: Sam Cairns.
Age: Younger in mind than the age on my birth certificate.
Where are you from: North East England.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc:
Only basic qualifications taken at school. Have some City & Guilds and work related qualifications. Married with three kids. (All over twenty one)
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I was chuffed to bits when my first childrens book ‘The Witch With The Wonky Broomstick’ got best seller status on amazon.com, then .co.uk a few weeks later, for one of the childrens book category’s.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Started writing when I got hurt working down the pit. I was bored so wrote a story based on pitwork. Went back to work and forgot about the story and writing in general. Then years later I was hospitalized for a month and had to go on long term sick due to an illness. Then after being told I couldn’t go down the pit again because of the illness, I started writing.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I don’t consider myself as a proper writer. Yet. I call myself a wannabe writer. The ‘I am a writer’ tag will come when I earn enough money to pack in work or have enough books out there to feel recognized for my writing.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Boredom when unable to work. It was then I realized I had an imagination and got smitten with the writing bug.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I think that’s for readers to say. But I like to write dialogue based stuff, scripts and books that attempt to show the reader what is happening or make them feel as if they are there, in the action.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Regarding my first book, ‘The Hearts Live On’ the title came from the men that worked in the pits. Pits don’t have a heart. But the men do. Even though pits have gone, the books intention is to see the memories and hearts live on.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The only novel I have is the 55,000 word unfinished project on my computer. But the message in ‘The Hearts Live On’ is to enjoy the journey of pitwork; to recall the memories, or for those who haven’t experienced pitwork, to get an insight into what it was like. (Or is, for those who still work in countries where there are still pits)
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic ?
I was a miner for fifteen years. And I went through the year long strike. Trust me when I say this book is written from experience. One day, I will complete a book I started based on the strike. (20,000 words to date)
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Yes for ‘The Hearts Live On.’ It was based on men I knew and things that happened. I was there. I saw so much. Laughter, pain, sorrow.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Probably script books. I started off mainly writing two person sketches for a writing group then began writing stories which in turn led to writing poems and chapters of hopefully future books.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
One of Gordon Doherty’s Legionary series.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
There’s a few I have met via facebook and its groups, but I don’t want to add any names for the fear of missing out someone. But I think ‘the reading new authors’ thing has really came into it since I was given a Kindle for Christmas a couple of years ago.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I am waiting for illustrations and putting the finishing touches to a childrens book, then have another one ready to edit onto computer, then work on it.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
A regional television executive producer was supportive and helpful many years ago, but being honest, nothing ever came of it. A writers group I was a part of were helpful and supportive. And I have found some authors on facebook very helpful.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I would love it to be! Right now, it’s just a dream. But it’s a dream that I will passionately try to make come true.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, but would like one day, to produce ‘The Hearts Live On’ in DVD format. A local film producer planned to make it a few years ago, but the project got binned when other paid work came in. The dream is still alive though. I just need someone who has the time and skill to help me get it made and out there for all to see.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
It started after reading a book that a lad wrote whilst working at the pit I was at. I read it and thought ‘I can do that.’ I was on long term sick at the time, so began writing. Reading script books also helped.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Entitled ‘The Spooky Sponge’ it’s about an eight year old girl, Annie, who hates getting a wash. Then her mother buys her the ugliest sponge on the planet. But it ain’t no ordinary sponge.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Not in the writing, but finding time to do it is challenging as I work long hours in my day job.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
It’s hard to say The favorite. There’s a few whose work I really enjoy; Bernard Cornwell. Gordon Doherty. Peter Tinniswood, Tess Gerritson. But if I was strapped to a chair and in fear of being fully waxed and had to say one, I would probably say Simon Scarrow. Like the others, his work is so descriptive in an almost ‘I am there’ way.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, but if someone pays me to do so, I will. And I will guarantee a finished piece of work at the end of it. (I have seen many people get grants and never produce a piece of finished work…Really does my head in.)
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Publishers for both of my current books, but working with an illustrator for the childrens book I am presently working on, and hopefully for future books.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Sorry to repeat this, but time. And to be fair, since I have started using and being published on Amazon, I really need to switch off from facebook more. I must find or come up with some kind of punishment for myself if I don’t find the self discipline to not keep wanting to look at facebook to see if anyone else has added another unimportant and at times worthless comment.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned how people’s perceptions changed. During the last few months at the pit I was mainly writing poetry. This used to result in some stick from the other strapping butch men working underground. I used to even mock myself at times! Then when some of my work started appearing in local newspapers, attitudes changed. Those same men would then say how they enjoyed reading whatever I had wrote. Then they would tell me stories of things that happened down the pit…just in case I ever wrote about the pits. It was and still is a nice feeling to be recognized, even though I am nowhere near where I want to be in the writing world.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
I don’t think I am in a position where I can give advice to other writers. But I would say follow the age old advice of write about something you know to start with. And do something I fail to do myself, limit social media time and write and write and write.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I sincerely hope they enjoy my work. If the words are funny, I hope they laugh. If sad, I hope they cry.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
White fang, when I was at school.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Anything funny makes me laugh, but getting up for work makes me want to cry at times. Okay, that was just a joke…I think, but I don’t like anyone seeing me cry. Yet when hearing or seeing some of the things that happen in the world, wars, terrorism, disasters, etc. my heart cries a multitude of unseen tears.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I once met an old soldier who served in World War Two and was on the beach during D Day. The words he spoke during this short meeting were amazing. I could do nothing but admire his courage. I would love to talk to my deceased grand-father who went through the horrors of World War One. As a child I was told by my father that my grand-father never spoke about the war but used to go ‘over the top’ every night and wake whoever was in the house as he relived his night-mares, screaming and shouting every kind of swear word in lifes’ dictionary of bad language.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Something simple like ‘Here lieth the best writer on the planet.’ But if the person reading it is the radio producer who put a cross through every page of my comedy sketch and said it wasn’t funny, just after it had been performed in front of a hundred strong audience, who were all in stitches, well then I would like the words to be ‘Wish You Were Here.’
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Love football, but regarding playing, the body will not do what the head tells it now. Well it might, but I think I wouldn’t be able to move for about a week after!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
The Patriot is one of my favorite films. I enjoy all Mel Gibson films. I like shows such as Bottom with Rik Mayal and Ade Edmundson. I like nature programs. And war documentaries fascinate me.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Ouch. Got to be careful here. I love, and I mean LOVE Chocolate…I am a chocoholic. (But also diabetic) I have three shredded wheat every morning, so I guess that could qualify as my favorite. Colours. Hmmm. Red? Blue? Yellow? Any that look nice. And as for music, I like all kinds, depending on my mood. I can listen to classical just as easy as rock. But I don’t like rap music. Sorry anyone who raps. I just can’t get into it.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Would love to have been a professional footballer but that was just a dream. In reality, I always wanted to be a part of the Police Force. Tried a couple of times, but couldn’t get in.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I don’t but I need to get them. And soon!
Amazon Authors Page USA http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00S5NICCW
Amazon Authors Page UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00S5NICCW