It’s ten years on from The Road to Cromer Pier, and Summertime Special Show Director Karen Wells has two potential headliners, but both have issues. Dare she take the risk? And Karen herself is at a crossroads. Will her mother Janet ever retire and allow her to run the pier theatre? Meanwhile Janet’s nemesis, businessman Lionel Pemrose still has designs on the pier theatre, but he is facing growing financial problems. Bank manager Peter Hodson is haunted by a past indiscretion, and calls in recently widowed turnaround expert Tom Stanley. Can he keep the indiscretion a secret? Tom is bereaved and has recently been made redundant from his own firm. He is too young to retire, and after years of long hours, suddenly finds himself unemployed. He pours his energies into the assignment, which could be his last hurrah. Old enmities, loyalties and past mistakes surface as the future of the pier theatre is once again under threat, and those involved must deal with unresolved issues in their lives
Did or do you like to read comic books / graphic novels? Which ones?
Only as a kid. I had three brothers so we had a mixture of comics. I think the Beano was my favourite, but we also had the Hotspur, Dandy and the Topper if I recall. Later on, I enjoyed war books like Battler Brittain, and I’d always liked the Ladybird history books like Henry V and Richard the Lionheart.
Whom did you inherit your love for books/reading from?
I’ve never been a prolific reader to be honest, something which my mother gave me grief over. I did discover the Famous Five books, and really liked them, Jennings & Derbyshire too. My father was a keen reader of historical memoires, and bored my mother rigid by reading them out! I still tend to favour biographies to fiction, although I’ve enjoyed books by Goddard, Haley and De Mille. Hardly works of Shakespeare, but I prefer writing to reading!
When you need a murder victim or someone you can diagnose with a serious disease or someone who is involved in a fatal accident do you sometimes picture someone nasty you have met in real life and think ‘got you’ LOL?
Well, that’s not quite my genre, but no, I don’t think that I have in that way. I seem to write strong female characters, but they aren’t drawn from people I know. I guess that there is a lot of me in certain male characters, Paul Warren in The Road to Cromer Pier, and Tom Stanley in The Road from Cromer Pier for example. Warren draws on my childhood Cromer holidays and Stanley because I’ve worked in business turnaround a lot.
One of my plays, He’s Behind You, has a very irreverent time poking fun at privatisation and the civil service, and does reflect on my view of those organisations.
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
Tricky things names. I once had to change a character’s name from Jim as I’d already got a Jim elsewhere, and I have quite a lot of characters in my books, so I need to be very careful. A schoolboy error you learn from. Find and Replace on Word comes in very handy!
The Murgatroyd name in Pen Pals came out of the need for a strong northern name, and I spotted the name on a fish and chip shop in Leeds. The bank manager Peter Hodson in the Pier books comes from the first bed and breakfast we stayed in, Hodsons in East Runton. It was the village filling station too, but it closed long ago.
For the main baddie name in The Road to Cromer Pier I was so concerned that I might inadvertently pick a name that was the same as a local resident that I went for quite an obscure name to hedge my bets. If there is a Lionel Pemrose out there, I apologise!
Do write other things beside books (and shoppinglists 😉 )?
I don’t do lists. My wife loves them and drives me to distraction!
When I was nine years old, I told my mother that as I liked composition and drama, I wanted to be a Playwright. She suggested that I’d better work hard and get a proper job, so I did. My love of writing was rekindled when I began writing pantomimes for Walkington Pantomime Players in 2010, and I have now written eight. My debut play, He’s Behind You, was performed in 2016, and is now published on line. Both Pen Pals and The Road to Cromer Pier were originally plays, now converted to novels. The plays are also available to perform. The Road from Cromer Pier is the first that I’ve written as a novel only, so I moved from ‘planster’ to ‘pantster’.
If a movie or series would be made from your books, would you be happy with the ‘based on’ version or would you rather like they showed it exactly the way you created it?
I think that I’d be pretty tolerant, because the joy of seeing my work performed, particularly to a live audience, is something I’ve loved when my pantomimes are performed. Hearing audience laugh at something you’ve written has to be the best feeling, and reading written reviews about the novels keeps me wanting to write more.
But I guess there are limits, and we’ve all seen films that are nothing like as good as the book, so I’d certainly be an active participant in the process. I have pitched the pier books to a west end producer, so I might yet find out!
Who would you like/have liked to interview?
I’d probably say someone like Cameron MacIntosh, because I love musical theatre so much. We’ve seen Les Mis more times than I can remember, and Hamilton both in London and San Francisco. Getting someone like that to critique my work would help me be the best I can be.
Do you have certain people you contact while doing research to pick their brains? What are they specialized in?
For The Road to Cromer Pier, I interviewed a cast member from the show between performances, an Australian juggler called James Bustar, because the book is so much about the cast of the show. The Cromer Pier Theatre were incredibly supportive, and discussing how the show went together was invaluable too.
I do use the internet a lot too, from coming up with locations to working out plot lines. Without risking spoilers there were a couple of legal and medical situations I needed to research for The Road from Cromer Pier which I found the answers for on the internet. It is frankly amazing what people can get up to…
Is there someone you sometimes discuss a dilemma with?
My long-suffering wife mainly! I know that she will tell me if a plot line is feasible or not, although frankly fact is indeed often stranger than fiction. My editor for The Road from Cromer Pier, Clare Dyer did a structural review of the plot, and gave me a large number of points of improvement which I tackled head on, but generally my instincts are pretty good, and I wrote it using my long standing business experience, which helps.
What is more important to you : a rating in stars with no comments or a reviewer who explains what the comments they give are based on (without spoilers of course)
Ratings without reviews (good and bad) annoy me a lot, because feedback is the only way I know if the reader likes my work or not, and if so why. As an independent author with limited finances those reviews really do determine the degree of commercial success you have, in particular Amazon reviews. The Road to Cromer Pier was rated at 4.6 at one point, but I had a single one star and a two star rating which has dropped it to 4.4, without any explanation as to why they rated it so badly when others loved it.
Thank you, Martin Gore and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the author
I am a 63 year old Accountant who semi-retired to explore my love of creative writing. In my career I held Board level jobs for over twenty five years, in private, public and third sector organisations. I was born in Coventry, a city then dominated by the car industry and high volume manufacturing. Jaguar, Triumph, Talbot, Rolls Royce, Courtaulds, Massey Ferguson were the major employers, to name but a few.
When I was nine year’s old I told my long suffering mother that as I liked English composition and drama I was going to be a Playwright. She told me that I should work hard at school and get a proper job. She was right of course.
I started as an Office Junior at Jaguar in 1973 at eleven pounds sixty four a week. I thus grew up in the strike torn, class divided seventies. My first career ended in 2015, when I semi retired as Director of Corporate services at Humberside Probation. My second career, as a Non Executive Director, is great as it has allowed me free time to travel and indulge my passion for writing, both in novels and for theatre.
The opportunity to rekindle my interest in writing came in 2009, when I wrote my first pantomime, Cinderella, for my home group, the Walkington Pantomime Players. I have now written eight. I love theatre, particularly musical theatre, and completed the Hull Truck Theatre Playwrite course in 2010. My first play, a comedy called He’s Behind You, is now available on: https://www.silverbirchingtonplays.com/product-page/he-s-behind-you-by-martin-gore
Pen Pals was my first novel, and a second, The Road to Cromer Pier, is now available in all three formats. It was. officially launched on Cromer Pier itself, coinciding with the new season of the Summertime Special Show.
I’m an old fashioned writer I guess. I want you to laugh and to cry. I want you to believe in my characters, and feel that my stories have a beginning, a middle, and a satisfactory ending.
Twitter – https://twitter.com/AuthorGore
website – http://www.martingore.co.uk