Grantham Journal Big Interview: My own story, by writer Ian

Author Ian Maber with his new book.
Author Ian Maber with his new book.
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Author Ian Maber lives in Barrowby with partner Hilary and has two married children who live locally.

He moved to Grantham in 1979 and became head of art and design at Grantham College. In 1996 he became a creative director for Sony Playstation US and over the years has travelled the world working in animation, and the film industry, including Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks.

How did you discover you have a talent for writing?

I don’t know if I would describe it as a talent for writing. In Christmas 2012 I was encouraged by Hilary to write my first book. I started rather nervously thinking I would soon run out of words, but never stopped until two months later I had a 93,000-word novel. I grew up in a back-to-back in the 1960s in a mend and make do society, no iPad, mobile phones or modern technologies today’s children have. I eventually became a teacher and combined my experiences as a newly qualified teacher with my school days. The result was a humorous book called S.C.U.M.S. (St Christopher’s United Modern School). To date it has been downloaded over 1,500 times on Amazon (there is a copy in Grantham Library).

What genre do you work in?

I’m interested in people and the way they react to situations. Eric Chappell (creator of Rising Damp) commented that I was very influenced by dialogue and that came through in my writing. To date I have written and published two novels. The second was a murder-mystery so I suppose the answer to the question is more about style than genre. I have written several short stories, again dialogue based, and was shortlisted from over 1,000 entries in a recent competition.

Where do the ideas come from?

Hmm... sometimes from experience, sometimes life, but often a desire to write something a little different.

Tell us about your latest book.

The latest book, just released, is called The Bloodline Legacy. It is a fictional novel, part based on fact. A young couple inherit a house from an unknown aunt. While exploring the house they discover a Chinese puzzlebox, and after finally opening it discover six photographs. They set out to discover the significance of the hidden photos which leads them to a trail of murder, secrecy, intrigue, suspicion and greed. It also unearths the darker side of Beth’s family, and the connection with the fated Romanov Dynasty. Each chapter introduces a fact which slowly teases the reader to look for the link until finally the novel reveals a surprising twist for both the young couple and the reader. Once again there are a variety of strong characters featured as the couple travel the length and breadth of the United Kingdom in search of answers. I didn’t think my timing was right to seek a publisher with a book highlighting a very controversial subject of the demise of the Romanov family, especially in the current political climate surrounding Russia. Hence it was self-published on Amazon Kindle and Lulu.

Did it take long to write, do you follow a strict routine?

The Bloodline Legacy took much longer than the first novel, because it involved considerable research - which also became another task with conflicting historical reports. It took about six months to write (not counting endless nights of proof reading). I like to write first thing in the morning when things are fresh in my mind and I frequently work at night.

I think this is determined by what people call ‘writers block’. If I find a lack of drive or ‘the block’ I tend to look for any short story competitions as a new stimulus. I belong to Grantham Writers and Sleaford Writers groups, both of which set monthly tasks. so that keeps me thinking. In fact I seem to be addicted to writing now, which I suppose is a good thing since I have finally decided to see how far I can go with it as a career.

What are you working on now?

For the past 18 months I have been working with a friend on a new children’s fiction book. We have worked together many times before internationally in the software, technology, and computer games industry. Both of us are trained illustrators, but I write the tales and concept and Lloyd illustrates them. The first book is nearly finished with others already in draft form. My colleague is the creator of Super Ted and illustrated The Tale of Gemima Puddleduck and the Under Milkwood series, so we are targeting a high quality product. The Sapplings books are written for the 7-14 age group. Entering into a world of fantasy and imagination, children are taken into a magical realm hidden away in a cottage garden. It has strong characters, whose job it is to help nature from one season to the next. The books have many loveable characters who often battle against the revolting, badly behaved neighbours, the Grindburgers. Current interest has been shown by Dreamworks animation.

I have many amusing stories and tales I have written and also some from my career. I would now like to present them as series of humorous talks, so if anyone is interested please contact me either by email at hilandian@outlook.com or call 07833 451800.