[Interview] Mick Drake, author of All`s Well at Wellwithoute
Mick Drake was born in the West Midlands and grew up in Sutton Coldfield.
After leaving school he followed a career in retailing before gaining a degree in fine art. Finding it impossible to make a living as a budding artist, he returned to retailing, managing supermarkets for several years before leaving to set up a conservation scheme in Wolverhampton and joining local government.
After he gained a degree in management studies, he and his family moved to Lincolnshire where he works in Economic Regeneration encouraging the development of businesses in the county.
Currently, he is working on a sequel to his first published novel, All`s Well At Wellwithoute (Authorhouse, 2006).
In this interview, Mick Drake talks about his writing.
When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
I wrote my first novel when I was in my twenties whilst I was unemployed for a year. I was unable to get it published but writing has been at the back of my mind since then.
An illness five years ago gave me the opportunity to start writing again — the bug has never gone away — I would love to be able to write full time.
What are your main concerns as a writer?
I want the reader to enjoy sharing their imagination with me — reading is a creative activity that completes the process of writing — that`s why it was important for me to get published. I want the reader to go away pleased by their experience — enthralled by the twists in the narrative — amused by the characters and situations — to have had a good time!
How would you describe your writing?
My writing is in the tradition of English comic writing.
I read widely, but I enjoy comic writing best – when it`s well done it can lift your spirits and still have something to say about the human condition and perhaps you remember that something the more because it isn`t cloaked in tragedy or high drama.
My target audience is anyone who enjoys well crafted comic writing — particularly people who enjoy humorouswriting without the excessive use of swear words and graphic sex scenes.
Who would has influenced you most?
Anyone who aspires to writing in the comic genre has to acknowledge the profound and lasting influence of P. G. Wodehouse whose comic timing and superb skills as a writer have never been surpassed.
How have your personal experiences influenced your writing?
I enjoy life — like everyone I`ve had my share of tragedies and disappointments, but I see no need to dwell on them or the darker side of living on this teeming planet.
For me, humour and satire are the most effective means of deflating the pompous, the prejudiced, the greedy, the vain, casting a light which is perhaps harder to dismiss than other forms of drama or criticism. I use and exaggerate personal experiences to comic effect — I also make stuff up!
What are the biggest challenges that you face?
To get my book sufficiently well known, so it has the opportunity to become widely read.
I deal with these challenges by taking opportunities such as this to promote my book – last year on May 19, I was at the Lincoln Book Festival — my book is also available on Amazon and I talk about my book on the Meet the Author website. I`m always on the lookout for promotional opportunities.
Do you write everyday?
Recently, I`ve been busy getting my book ready for publication and promoting it — I hope to get back to regular writing soon.
How many books have you written so far?
Just this one — All`s Well at Wellwithoute published in November 2006 by Authorhouse.
Wellwithoute, the ancestral home of the Dangwell family is surrounded by creditors: Lord Dangwell is in dispair — his only hope is to persuade his son Harold to marry Veronica, the poetic daughter of Lord Entwislethe richest and rudest man in the county. Veronica`s poetry is driving Lord Entwisle to distraction so he will pay handsomely to see her wed.
After numerous twists of fate Harold is drawn into his father`s web of intrigue — will he escape before it`s too late?
The book took me two years to write and a further three years refining the text and finally getting it published.
I`m currently writing a sequel which will feature the Dangwell family in further adventures.
What did you find most difficult when you were working on All`s Well at Wellwithoute?
I enjoyed writing the book, so I wouldn`t say it was difficult — perhaps the most challenging thing with comic writing is to introduce comic situations and twists of plot whilst maintaining a level of plausibility in situations and characters.
I also enjoyed creating the house and characters of the Dangwell family and creating the house in visual form on the cover of my book.
What sets the book apart from other things you have written?
My unpublished novel was a serious study of adolescent angst — it did have some funny moments, but these were mostly unintentional!
What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?
To date it has to be getting an agent and getting pubished — an incredibly hard thing to do — my agent says he has 450 unsolicited manuscripts a month — he only picks 12 new writers a year.
How did you get there?
By persistence and determination and ignoring numerous rejections by agents and publishers.