I was born and grew up in Liverpool, and my first vivid memory is hearing Help! by The Beatles being played over the sound system of a holiday amusement arcade when I was five or so. Music has been a big part of my life ever since.
I have loved writing from an early age, and wanted to be a journalist when I was in primary school. Much later, I studied biology at university, but I had no intention of pursuing a career in biology or science in general, and my favourite part of the scientific process was writing up the findings of experiments and field work. After graduating, my first job was as a writer… but not the creative kind. I was a software technical author in the computer industry, which involved writing user manuals for complex computer systems. Later I became a market analyst, writing business research reports for big IT companies. All the while, the creative writer was patiently waiting his turn!
For my first job, I spent seven months on secondment in upper New York state, which was a big change of scene. I learned to drive in the U.S. and regularly drove up to Canada to visit friends. I also spent lots of weekends in Manhattan, immersing myself in the excitement of the city. One evening, in the famous Studio 54 nightclub, I bumped into a man with a shock of white hair, who was wearing formal black tie and dinner jacket. He stood stock still on the dancefloor while everyone danced around him. It was Andy Warhol.
Music has always been a passion. I consumed vinyl from the age of ten and became a regular concert-goer in my teens. I always loved to sing, but that didn’t happen until mid-way through my forties, when I joined an a cappella choir, The Royal Harmonics, based in Windsor. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was also the cue for the creative writer in me to make an appearance.
My debut novel, The Fifth Voice (2014), is the story of how the dysfunctional lives of four singers are transformed by the inspirational power of music and friendship. It received some great reviews, reached the top 10 on Amazon’s literary fiction (humour) best sellers list, and was shortlisted for Independent Book of the Year by Writing Magazine in 2015.
As I was working on the book, I exchanged emails with my favourite novelist, David Nobbs (RIP), the celebrated television comedy writer and best-selling author of the Reginald Perrin novels and many more. He liked my work and was kind enough to give me a lovely quote for the cover.
The Enduring Influence of Ken Potts is a sequel to The Fifth Voice.
For the last 25 years, I have been a regular visitor to Lundy Island, visiting for a week or two at a time, three times a year. Sometimes I go with family, but most of the time I go solo to write new material for my books. I stay in one of several properties that look out to sea, and though it sounds like a cliché, I find I can immerse myself in the writing to the exclusion of all else for several hours a day. With no roads, no TV, and no internet connection, and with the island generator going off at midnight, the island is the perfect escape from all the hubbub of modern life. Lundy is also very beautiful, so if inspiration is needed, walking the island is an ideal way to get the creative juices flowing.
I live in a pretty village on the Thames in Berkshire, and like nothing better than spending time in my local pub.
I have a daughter who lives in Oslo and is a dancer with the Norwegian National Ballet.
The Enduring Influence of Ken Potts by Paul Connolly is available now.
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