School of the Ages


Indie Writer Interview: Ian Davies, Gorbachev, Polio, and More

Posted by Matt Posner on October 20, 2011 at 6:05 PM

Welcoming Ian Davies.

What's your name, where are you from, where do you live?

My name is Ian Davies, I reside in the UK.

What do you write and why do you write it?

I like history, always have done except for a period at school when we were studying early farm practices in the United Kingdom which did not tie in with my thirst for how we got to where we are now.

I was more interested in more recent 20th century history, and learnt more I feel, from watching programmes about the first and second world wars than I learnt at school back then.

History and it's effects can be very interesting, and whilst not everyone would agree, learning and understanding or at least making the effort to understand, can very often allow the student to make more informed decisions about what is happening and why in today's society. Why people do what they do, what makes them react thus etc.

History can be put forward in many ways, there is the long winded approach which without any degree of initial interest can make the reader 'switch off' from the subject, then there is the option I favour, the concise overview which can lead the student or reader to want to learn more, even to the extent of encouraging further study.

I TRY to put this subject together to make it interesting and informative without being overbearing or condescending.

History tells us something about the make up of characters. Indulge me as I share this little remembered sense of humour between the' then' two most powerful men on our planet.

Speaking to General Secretary Gorbachev, Ronald Reagan was noted as once saying 'We in the United States enjoy freedom and free speech, in fact someone can come into this Oval Office and say I don't like the way you are running the United States President Reagan. The reply from Gorbachev ..'It's no different in the Soviet Union, people can walk into my office in the Soviet Union and say I don't like the way President Reagan is running the United States.

Apart from history, I have had the privilege of working on an individual biography Michael B, and my own sci-fi story Yesterday Returns which will see the final two episodes released on November 5th this year.

I'd like to hear more about that -- it's serialized, isn't it?

This sci fi story was something I had wanted to put together for a few years. Once 'Episode One' had been completed it seemed ready to be 'set free' as it were as a single short story in it's own right including the cliff-hanger ending. Thel idea then was to put the complete story out in three separate parts, but over time it was decided instead to put the remainder of the story together to complete the story with both Episodes Two and the final part Episode Three.....but is it the end?! ...No plans for a sequel, but will have to wait and see ! In a huge ocean of sci fi stories available this story is indeed like that same small speck in the sky referred to by Commander Brunnel in the opening of Episode One.

Episode Two & Episode Three available from 5th November 2011.

Recommend to readers a book you have written.

I cannot recommend any book, as each person makes their own choices about what they choose to read, but if any one reading this enjoys history, then I would suggest taking a look at Gorbachev-The Rise and Fall of a Hero by I.D. Oppenhiem, for which I was an editor, and if you have a preference for biographies, then I would say that the Michael B title 'Be the Best You Can Be (Polio my Constant Companion)' has been quite well received as an uplifting non fiction with some very pleasant reviews.

Recommend to readers a book by someone else.

Too many to mention, for those who use Goodreads I would recommend all those here that I have listed based on my reviews (again my reviews are just one opinion).

Tell an interesting experience from your life as a writer.

I have found it strange to come across posts on various subjects, but for the most part accept the way things are now and have moved with the times as they have changed.

The one that springs to mind as 'initially' the strangest to see was a post about how to change the format of your book from an ebook for paper copy, not because of the idea of it but that it seemed alien to me having done this the other way round.

When I started writing the first most wonderful thing that happened was the arrival of a word processor. Not a home computer, they did not exist apart from the odd game playing unit, but a machine with a monitor screen which enabled you to type out, edit, print etc and save all your efforts on what then was a floppy disk.

I am certain a few here will remember those. Using around three or four of these disks to save one book as the memory available on them was pretty small.

No internet, no mobile phones...just books which were by definition a thing with pages, headers, footers and a cover of some description ie paperback, hardback or spiral bound etc..but from the moment the old typewriter was allowed to start gathering dust, and the A4 sheets of crumpled paper no longer littered the floor having missed the waste bin they were thrown at, the speed of change has heralded a new dawn for the written word.

Tell an interesting experience from a non-writing job you've had.

Well not specifically from a job, but linked most certainly to my desire to experience other cultures and learn.

My most interesting experience was from a visit to the then Soviet Union.

Having been advised already not to take any photographs at Moscow airport, I disembarked the plane to walk with the other passengers through a line of machine gun wielding Soviet troops to the airport terminal. On arrival there we were greeted by a large Eastern Bloc character (looking like an Olympic weight lifter of days gone by) who then proceeded to scan us and ask many questions about why we were here. 'Vacation' I replied trying not to smile as you would normally at the joy of having some holiday time, through fear of not wanting to upset the balance of the apparent overall gloom which was evident amongst the staff there.

She did not manage a smile, nor did anyone staffing the airport, but we managed to escape the confines of the airport terminal without getting arrested and from a personal perspective, my vacation was enjoyed greatly, though I would recommend the overnight train from Moscow to Leningrad just for the experience of travelling on a train with a stove burning in the corridor to heat the carriage, and with the door open to smoke a cigarette looking out on hundreds of miles of snow glowing from the lights of the train, and knowing should you fall out you would be lost here forever.

If you had a brush with death, describe it.

Brush with death or just a youthful fear of the old school regime?!

One occasion as a teenager ending my school summer holidays, I realized that the physics homework I had every intention of getting to had not yet been started.

That summer had been wonderful and dry and I must admit that the days I spent out on my bicycle had been free of any concern for this issue.

Now here I was fifteen years old and just two days away from potentially being asked to submit my work.

Panic? just a little.

Do I risk waiting to find out if my teacher had been changed for this next year or do I make the effort to avoid what would have felt like heading to certain death on my return to school?

OK exaggeration, but these were the days of corporal punishment so effort was made even though just enough to get me through that first return saved!!! ..and exam passed later that term :)

My current interests at the time I have to admit were largely those of 'glam rock' music bands, in those days of course a band played instruments.....and I still love Alice Cooper, maybe it was the 'Schools Out' track that hooked me!

What are your views about love?

I guess the question is aimed at personal relationships, it's great when it is there/here, but feels very overrated when it is absent. Love of life is far more important to me.

Give me all the links you want to post to promote your work.

Gorbachev the rise and fall of a hero

Be the best you can be (polio my constant companion)

Yesterday Returns - Episode One

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