Neal Davies Interview

I was born in New South Wales Australia and my parents moved to Victoria when I was four. During my childhood I found myself unsettled both at home and school and at the age of fourteen I left school to join my Father and brother at a brickyard where I worked stacking bricks.

What inspired you to write?
To me, reading was an escape from emotional turmoil when I was younger. One of my favorite authors back then was Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes was and still is my hero. I dreamed of one day having my own super sleuth, so I guess that's where it all began.

Did the inspiration to write come to you suddenly, or had you been thinking about it some time?
My first inspiration to actually put pen to paper was when I was working with teenagers in a boarding-house and then later as a counselor working with teenagers who were having issues with parents.
The one hour sessions just weren't enough time for these young people to grasp the concept we were both working toward. So I wrote a book they could take home and read and share with their parents as well. The book was written in a manner that either the teenager or parent could pick up and obtain new ideas to use when communicating with each other, and then I wrote a program based on the same format.
Once I began writing books it became an addiction and still remains that way.

How did you tell your story? In other words, did you use an outline, or just write your story from start to finish?
When writing my murder mysteries, I initially have an outline of who did what to who, how they did it and how it will be solved. Once I have the basic story, I'll jump from one chapter to another as each idea pops into my head. Then in the last stages I'll add emotions and senses by asking myself what the characters feel, hear, see and touch.

Did you receive any encouragement from family and friends, or did you work on your book alone?
My writing is my own but I've had incredible support and input from some wonderful friends who have read my books prior to publication. I must say my wife Cathie (also my new Publisher) has been behind me from the beginning and I'm not sure if my journey as an Author would have been possible without her.

What was the most difficult part of writing your book?
Getting the right editor for my work. I'm lucky to have a wonderful editor now who is also my proof reader and I think my next book will definitely be the pick of the bunch.

What was the most enjoyable aspect of writing your book?
I love getting into the character's head to the point of having a chuckle or a tear because you've brought a specific line to life. I also love traveling down the writing road toward the unknown which will only present itself when it's ready to.

Did you experience any personal transformation after the book was published?
Yes. I began to miss my characters and have problems giving myself a break from writing the next book.

What’s something that gets in the way of your creativity?
Not a lot really, if I wasn't writing I'd be painting and there are lots of other ways of being creative. Perhaps the only thing that gets in the way is when you have an appointment you need to go to and you think of this great story line just minutes before you leave. But I do make sure there's always a notebook and pen in the car.

What strategies do you use to deal with criticism?
I had one critic write on my first novel five words "I couldn't get into it". I looked at it and thought to myself: if this is the best they can do then why do it at all? I like to think everyone can get something out of criticism as most criticism is useful when used as a learning tool but it must have substance or the writer should ignore it. I will often ask people I trust to tell me if they see what the critic sees too and if they don't, I'll ignore it. If they do, I'll analyze it and work on it but I'll never let it eat me up. As for the five letter criticism I received, I could see it had no substance and the person certainly lacked creativity so I ignored it.

Where did you grow up and what is your favorite/worst childhood memory?
I grew up in Croydon Victoria Australia and my favorite memories were spending time talking with my mother. She had a wonderful brain and could talk on just about any subject. She was the kindest and most gentle person I've ever known. My worst childhood memories came from the belting I would receive from my father. I guess I was an obnoxious child who, I believe, may have had ADHD; and he was a son of a drover who had been brought up the hard way. I wish I was as wise then as I am now and I would have kept my mouth shut rather than say, "that didn't hurt" because the next lot certainly did.

Do you have a favorite quote?
My mother used to say (starting to sound like Forrest Gump) that we'll always have hills to climb in our lives but imagine how boring the journey would be if the road was dead flat the whole way.

What is your favorite show on TV?
Sherlock without a doubt.

Favorite movie?
I would have to say Ghost, and as much as I love one of our favorite Australians, Paul Hogan (Crocodile Dundee) I am so pleased he didn't take the lead role in that movie when it was offered to him.

Favorite book?
Anything and everything Arthur Conan Doyle has written.

Who would you want to meet if you could? Dead or alive.
If you are speaking of writers, I would love to meet Arthur Conan Doyle. If I can meet Kelsey Grammer, I'd try to talk him into playing Sebastian Cork in a TV series.

Is there a talent you wish you had?
Not really, I work hard at most things I set out to do and I'm pleased with who I am.

What’s something about you that would surprise us?
I suffer from Chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Describe yourself in 3 words!
Empathetic, determined, loving.