Neil Patterson was born 15 miles East of London near the River Thames. As a child he played on the tidal mudflats which, since Roman Times, had been a depository for man’s detritus . Neil was fascinated by the many items that he found whilst mudlarking, old coins, bottles and buttons. He found pieces of clay pipes that Londoners used to smoke Tobacco, which was introduced to Britain in the 16 century. The fragments of clay pipes fired Neil’s enthusiasm for History.
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As a book bloggin’ and book luvin’ Princess, I’m always curious to find out how authors got the ideas for their books. Can you tell us how you got the idea to write your book?
The story began to creep into my consciousness around 5 years ago. It was really a series of images and thoughts, the outline of a boy living in squalor in East London at the end of the Victorian era. I began to consider what life felt like for him, what lessons he was learning and how this could play out in his adult life. These wonderful ramblings would occur as I was walking my lovely dog Harry H, around and about the inspiring coastal region of NSW Australia where we live. I don’t think that I am bonkers, but one day I saw a cheeky young boy pop into my head. I named him Alfie Norrington and today he is the main character throughout The Alfie Norrington Series with the first book in that series Becoming Alfie having been released less than a month ago.
Can you tell us a little about the main characters of your book?
Apart from Alfie, who develops a tremendous set of values and a robust moral compass through Becoming Alfie there are a number, I will list the,
Alfies eldest brother Jack is a solid support to his younger brother and a true mentor. He has strong political views and lives them, is an exceptional leader, a man of principles.
Elsie is Alfie’s Mum. Strong, determined, loving to her children and uncompromising when it comes to her view of right and wrong. Elsie is best described by the phrase “Salt of the earth”
Alfie twin sisters are delightful characters as is Victoria, Jack’s beautiful girlfriend. Alfies brother Fred, who went to war and suffered terribly from “War Neurosis’plays an important part in the book.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would that be?
Be loud and proud about your work. Believe in talents and write something every single day.
What would you say is one of your interesting writing quirks?
I laugh a heck of a lot at my writing, my characters, even the situations I place them into. I am a little obsessive, (strange combination of words there Neil) and my poor wife has difficulty talking to me when I am in the zone. I become uncommunicative as I can only focus on the words I am writing and thinking, listening and talking is just way too hard.
Do you hear from your readers? What do they say?
I do hear from my readers their feedback is brilliant. I write to entertain. This has always been my goal. If my writing entertains me then I assume it will entertain anyone that reads it. I launched Becoming Alfie in our local community hall. Over a hundred people showed up on a wet and windy Saturday morning three weeks ago, most of which I didn’t know. I have received dozens of emails from locals who bought a copy, read it, love it and want to know when I am planning to launch the second book in the series. That feedback is pure gold for my soul.
What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
At school we has an English teacher called Mr. Hemmings. He was quite debonair, he wore a cravat and an open neck shirt, he even rolled up the sleeves on his jacket! He wore a full ginger beard , was rumoured to be having an affair with a younger teacher in the English department and carried himself on an elegant cushion of air. Mid-way through the second term of year nine for the first time in eighteen months he addressed me directly in front of the whole class. “Patterson” he looked at me pensively “ You should drop English Lit and pursue a subject closer to your intellectual capabilities. Can I suggest woodwork?”
I was devastated but, as you can tell, have recovered fully.
What has been your best accomplishment?
Nearing the end of writing a four part series of around 400,000 words. It feels tremendous for a while….but then there are always more peaks to conquer, more crocodiles to wrestle, more stories to write.
Do you Google yourself?
Of course I do. Not every day, or even weekly, but I do have the odd surreptitious peek every so often just to check if I haven’t died yet.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Six in total if we include the first two chapters of a story about time traveling dinosaurs. Don’t ask.
Fun question – if you were princess or prince, what’s one thing you would do to make your kingdom a better place?
I would eradicate poverty.
Do you have anything specific that you would like to say to your readers?
Thank you for reading. Visit my website as it houses loads of interesting stuff. www.alfienorrington.com