My book is the first from my Insights Collection entitled, Insights from the Engine Room. Lessons learned from rock and roll. It’s about my 30 plus years in the music industry and it’s about the opportunities that came Simon Cowell’s way and the mistakes U2 made. It’s about watching David Bowie as a fan in the 70’s and working with him as his publicist and understanding first hand what makes him the most innovative artist of our time. It’s about what I learned from working with these people.
Tell us something about yourself.
I come from Manchester in the north of England. I was lucky, my job became an extension of my hobby. I got to work with some of the world’s leading artists, working in the music industry was all I ever did. When the industry changed I decided I wanted a change too, and I wanted to live in the USA. I was fortunate enough to be granted an ‘Alien of Extraordinary Ability’ for my services to the music and arts which meant I had a green card straight away. Now I had to decide what I wanted to do !
What inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired to write by the people I met in the US. All of a sudden my life had slowed down and the great thing about getting older is you have the time to think! I had the adventure of a lifetime and an education I wouldn’t change for the world but the time had come to reinvent myself. I wanted to be able to use my experience and put something back. I started to blog some of the stories and lessons and it kind of evolved from there. I thought if people wanted to read this and it allowed me to write what could be better. A cathartic release in a way for me.
How did you publish this book? Why did you decide on that publisher?
I was originally going to self publish but ended up going with a local publisher who helped with the ‘stuff.’ The layout, the copy writing etc. My book was already written. I didn’t want to write a book, I wanted to write my book. I wanted it to be about my life and about my experiences. Also I was in a hurry to have the opportunity to go out and speak and once I made my mind up I was unbearable, I needed to get going. It probably stems from the instant nature of the music business where you get given a record and you have to get out there and make it happen. What I missed out on was the ability to promote it the way I should have. My fault entirely.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
To answer the two questions in one. I don’t think I ever thought about being a writer but when I decided to write I ended up with another three titles as I was writing. I didn’t need to do any research, more de compartmentalize things in my head, what was entertaining and yet informative. There’s none of the backstage TMZ stuff, we have enough of all that and the people I worked with were far more interesting than the train wrecks!
What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?
The hardest part of writing the book? My laptop seized up on me and the ancient borrowed desktop where the egg timer kept popping up and freezing. Not conducive for allowing you to write freely! Apart from that telling myself to slow down as I frantically hammered the keyboard. Once I’d made that decision to write the book I was totally fired up. It was an incredible feeling and made me want to write for the rest of my life. Hopefully if people get at third of the satisfaction reading my book as I did writing it we’ll all be very happy.
Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?
I think what I learned from writing the book was probably that it made me more grateful for what I had achieved. It was such a rollercoaster of a ride and so much happened that it allowed me to appreciate the opportunity I had to turn a hobby in to a career. It taught me so much about how to hopefully teach others.
What are you reading now?
Sadly all I am reading now are books related to music by way of research.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
I want to write a book on my Manchester. I’ve never really told my story before but just done interviews for others. I also want to write a book about what happened to the music business. I’d love to hear what others had to say when I asked them.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
The best advice I could give others I’m afraid sounds like a cliche but you have to be passionate about what you do. From my own personal point of view I write like I speak. I wanted to be the same person in the book as I am in everything else I do. What you see is what you get, I’m comfortable with that. It frustrates me when people kind of put you on a pedestal because maybe your job was a little bit more exciting. I’m an ordinary kid from Manchester who was given an opportunity. For me also humor, I like to laugh and I wanted that in the book. ( Is that advice?)
What are you doing to promote your latest book?
I want to do as much public speaking as I possibly can. I want to be able to tell those stories …. ‘ When I first met Simon Cowell he was in his early thirties, he’d been bankrupt twice and he was living with his parents.’ I want them to inspire others and be given the opportunity to be in front of people and tell them what happened first hand. Again another cliche I know but I do want to make a difference in my own little away.