- Question #1 — Tell us a little bit about yourself: where you’re from, family, job, personal interests, unique hobbies, what you do in your spare time, etc.
I’m married to Helen and we have two daughters who are both at university in the UK. I live in Sheffield, the most beautiful city in the world. We moved here in 2000 to start a church. But later this year my wife and I are moving to North Yorkshire where I’ll be co-leading a rural church plant. In my spare time I love history and walking plus a bit of wild swimming.
- Question #2 — When did you first want to write a book?
I wrote my first book 21 years ago. I know that because it came out in the same month my first daughter was born.
- Question #3 — Have you always enjoyed writing?
I didn’t so much discover that I loved writing as discover that other people don’t love writing! I just assumed everyone could write. It wasn’t until I’d written a couple of books that I realized other people found writing hard or painful. I think by writing. So many of my books started with me wrestling with an issue. But I also love words and the way they work together. Often in idle moments I find myself composing sentences in my head. Apparently this is not normal!
- Question #4 — What book are you reading now?
Yesterday I read a pre-publication copy of a great little book on Christian growth by John Hindley called You Can Really Grow. Today I’m reading Life in the Trinity by Donald Fairbairn. My bedtime reading at the moment is Claxton: Field Notes from a Small Planet by Mark Cocker – a nature diary based in the village of Claxton in Norfolk, England. In the UK it gets dark at around 4:30pm at this time of year (the compensation is it doesn’t get dark until 10:00pm in the summer) so in February reading about nature is a good alternative to being able to go walking.
- Question #5 — What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
When people tell me they’d like to write a book, I always ask, ‘What about?’ And if people don’t know then I discourage them. You have to have something to say. It’s not so much that I choose to write a book as a book chooses to be written by me. That’s just a pretentious way of saying a topic grips my heart and then writing about it feels like a compulsion. I guess ‘calling’ would sound better, but ‘compulsion’ is what it feels like!
- Question #6 — Do you have an interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know if this counts, but I often leave out negatives in a sentence (words like ‘not’). As typos go it’s about as bad as it gets because of course it completely reverses the meaning of the sentence!
- Question #7 — Favorite sport to watch?
That’s easy — cricket.
- Question #8 — Favorite flavor of ice cream?
Don’t mess about with ice cream, giving it wacky flavours or trendy names. Just give me vanilla.
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