Today we welcome Colin Garrow as we travel to north-east Scotland, uncovering how Santa Claus, back trouble, a mandolin, and Tom and Jerry all have past or present roles in Colin’s life. Check your posture and your breathing, time for action …
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was brought up in Northumberland, England, during the sixties and seventies, but have lived in north-east Scotland for about fifteen years. I’ve done a lot of different kinds of jobs, including working in a fish factory, driving a cab and masquerading as Santa Claus in a large department store. My background is in theatre and drama and I’ve done quite a lot of creative arts work, but most recently my day job is in occupational therapy. For years I wrote stage plays (some of which were performed by my theatre company in Aberdeen) but in 2013 I turned to writing novels and currently have seventeen books available on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble etc.
In which genre do you write?
I write mainly murder mysteries and historical adventures (for adults and children), a bit of horror and a lot of adult humour and innuendo in my spoof Sherlock Holmes series ‘The Watson Letters’.
What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?
For a long time I’ve had back trouble and sitting at a desk to write is not comfortable. A couple of years ago I was offered a ‘standing desk’ at work and when I moved to my current house, I bought one for home use too. Though I still have occasional issues around pain, the act of standing up to write has made a huge difference. It worked for Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Nabokov and Winston Churchill, and it’s said that standing rather than sitting is better for posture, breathing and supposedly adds several years to your life.
What are you currently reading?
I usually have three books on the go at a time – one to read during my lunch break, one to read at home and an audiobook to listen to when I’m driving. At the moment I’m reading Lee Child’s ‘Gone Tomorrow’, Robert Crouch’s ‘No More Lies’ and listening to ‘Zodiac’ by Robert Graysmith.
What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?
I play several musical instruments – guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele and bouzouki. I also have a saxophone which I can’t play.
What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?
About thirty years ago, I had some mental health issues. In 2009 I co-wrote a play called ‘No Phones on Planet Pluto’ which explored different aspects of mental illness. The play consisted of ten monologues and one of these focused on the events that led to my treatment for depression. Writing the piece was extremely cathartic and although I’d originally intended it to be performed by another actor, I decided to do it myself and found the experience liberating in ways I hadn’t expected. It made me realise that writing about my own life could be really useful in allowing me to move on.
What is the most amusing, crazy or inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?
While studying drama at university, I took part in a play written by a friend of mine. The play required me to appear totally naked on stage. This is probably the scariest thing I’ve even done, and I remember throwing my guts up before the first performance. However, the feeling I had afterwards, made me think I could do absolutely anything, and the experience gave my confidence a massive boost.
If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?
It would have to be Tom and Jerry (the Fred Quimby produced ones, not the later episodes which I don’t think were as imaginative). These cartoons were a huge part of my childhood and the whole family looked forward to them because they were such fun. One of my favourites was ‘Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Mouse’ which had Tom mixing up a magical concoction to stop Jerry drinking his milk. Classic.
Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?
I’m generally a fairly quiet person and am very comfortable in my own company. This is useful as a writer as (unless you’re part of a comedy writing team), working alone is the only way to do it.
Tell us about your most recent book.
The most recent book is the fourth volume in my spoof Sherlock Holmes series. ‘The Watson Letters volume 4: Revenge of the Hooded Claw’ finds the intrepid due tackling an ocean-going mechanised iceberg, Moriarty and his henchmen and an American Werewolf. The next volume is ‘Murder on Mystery Island’ and finds Holmes and Watson involved in a murder spree with a plot that sounds awfully familiar.
Thank you Colin for joining us on MTA. It was wonderful you and your writing style. –Camilla
The Watson Letters Volume 4: Revenge of the Hooded Claw
Intrepid investigators Holmes and Watson continue their fight against crime in a not quite Post-Victorian, steampunk parallel universe.
In three more adventures, the tenacious twosome encounter an ocean-going iceberg, an American werewolf and a gigantic metal fish, as well as facing old enemy Moriarty, who plans to finish off Sherlock Holmes for good. Adult humour throughout.
Revenge of the Hooded Claw is book #4 in this Victorian comedy adventure series.
Where we can find it the book:
All my books are available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and Kobo.
UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2M00xm9
US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2KtNxSj
Connect with Colin:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B014Z5DZD4
The Watson Letters: https://thewatsonletters.com/
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And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …