Hello and welcome to “WHO’S ON THE SHELF?” with yours truly, Nonnie Jules! Since we are a book club, we had to offer something that included a book shelf. A lot of interviews merely cover an author’s work or an individual’s career stories. Here on this “SHELF,” we get down and dirty and ask the questions no other interviewer dare ask. We ask the questions that you want to open up a book and find the answers to on your favorite authors and fellow book club members, but no one has dared to cover them. WE get personal! Because when you sit on the RRBC “SHELF,” YOU are an open book!
Today, I have with me on the “SHELF” our Current “SPOTLIGHT” Author, GORDON BICKERSTAFF! Gordon comes bouncing in to the tune of JAILHOUSE ROCK (with Elvis, of course), because of some info he shared with me during our interview. I just want him to feel comfortable…and at home here.
NJ: Before we get started, how does the “shelf” feel to you? Is it comfy?
GB: So far so good. I’ve taken my acrophobia pills, headache pills, truth serum, done my exercises, and I have a large glass a of Shiraz at the ready!
NJ: Well, that all sounds great so, here we go! Let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name?
GB: Birth name Gordon Ferguson Bickerstaff. No pen name, unless you mean my STATE PEN, prisoner #987654321 aka Tricky Bicky III.
(Not sure what Gordie aka Tricky Bicky did, but my buddy here, Quickfinger Bill, is on standby!)
NJ: Tell us where you were born? Do you still live there now? If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?
GB: Born in Glasgow, central Scotland, and currently living about 15 miles from where I was born. Glasgow used to be in a terrible state but it is much better now.
NJ: Are you married or single?
GB: Married to Emily for 40 years.
NJ: (I wonder if Emily knows about his stint in STATE?) Kids or no? If yes, how many? Sons or Daughters?
GB: I have two daughters. One is a physicist and one is an accountant. I am proud of them but also greatly relieved. I know when I am no longer here, they have everything they need to live good lives. Both are well balanced, confident and kind. They have a good mom who guided them well. They are both married, and I have one granddaughter and one grandson. One from each daughter. Like me, they believe in everything in moderation!
NJ: Well, aren’t you a proud Father?! I always love to hear dads go on and on about their kids, especially their daughters. I have one of those dads at home. And Gordon, since you have a granddaughter, you should definitely gift her mom with a copy of “THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE TO RAISING (ALMOST) PERFECT DAUGHTERS!”
It’s an awesome guide! So, out of the two daughters, which is your favorite? (And be honest…I’m sure they’re not reading this interview).
GB: I most certainly do have favorites. My favorite physicist is my oldest daughter, and my favorite accountant is my youngest daughter. It’s tough.
NJ: What a great response! I was holding my breath there, for a minute. So, any pets? What kind?
GB: None at the moment. For 18 years we had a West Highland terrier, and a couple of years ago she had to be put to sleep after a stroke. It took us almost a year before we could walk again down the pet food lane in the supermarket. Naturally, in my first book, “DEADLY SECRETS,” I created a special role for her, and even used her real name, and some of our experiences with her.
NJ: Oh, how sad. We have a couple OF 4-legged babies and one is nearing that age, where, sometimes I’m afraid to go upstairs to her room…you know? But, glad you were able to keep yours alive in your book. So, share with us your favorite food.
GB: Emily cooks a fantastic fillet steak with fried mushrooms, a few French fries, some greens, home-made tomato chutney. I love it.
NJ: OK, and your favorite color?
GB: I live in Scotland so the weather is often cloudy and wet. I love sky blue because it is such a treat – we don’t see enough in our part of the world. Sky blue = lovely day.
NJ: Gordon, I don’t think any of us get enough of those beautiful days, no matter where we live. What’s your favorite sport?
GB: For doing, I used to do judo and was on the university team when I was a student, and even won a Scottish Universities team championship medal. I think I’ve still got a bruise from when we beat Edinburgh in the final – they weren’t expecting to lose. When we lived in Carnoustie, I ran a judo club in a local school for kids. For watching – I watch football (soccer) and tennis. During the Olympics I’ll watch the judo and dream.
NJ: What a great story! Would you like to share with us your favorite TV Show?
GB: ‘FRINGE’ was my kind of show. I like ‘HOMELAND’ and ‘GOT’ and my eldest daughter recently introduced me to ‘SONS OF ANARCHY’. I didn’t fancy it, but she gave me the first season, and it is good. I bought all the remaining seasons. Still watching and enjoying ‘THE WALKING DEAD’ – it’s not the zombies you need to worry about – it’s the humans! Great stuff.
NJ: Well, I’ve never heard of FRINGE and GOT or even SONS OF ANARCHY, for that matter, but HOMELAND, I’ve heard mentioned and as far as THE WALKING DEAD, nope, for me, it’s the monsters that keep me awake at night. I don’t fear humans at all. So, Gordon, who’s your favorite Actress/Actor?
GB: I like Morgan Freeman and Sean Connery – I like quality. I like Rachel Weitz and Judi Dench. When I read James Paterson’s Alex Cross books – I hear Morgan Freeman in my head speaking for Alex Cross, and telling me the story. Almost like an audio book.
NJ: I haven’t read nor seen Alex Cross in a movie yet, but have heard good reviews. Maybe I’ll check it soon. Are you a couch potato or workout nut? Be honest
GB: I exercise daily to nourish my body. I am a great believer of ‘everything in moderation’. Too much exercise wears cartilage in my joints, and too little makes my circulation sluggish. I have a small one meter trampoline, and I jog for three songs once or twice every day. I like to jog to the music of ABBA – Mamma Mia – here we go again! It is enough exercise to push my blood to every corner of my body to deliver oxygen and nutrients, and remove carbon dioxide and waste (the real value of exercise).
NJ: Biggest pet peeve that makes you want to stomach-punch somebody?: (For the record, NJ does not condone violence but she does believe in being honest so she has to admit that there are times when she feels like some friendly stomach-punching is a little necessary).
GB: Big peeves such as child and animal cruelty upset me, and would be worth a punch. Smaller peeves don’t bother me. Life has made me tolerant. Now, I don’t care – if someone is an idiot – why bother about other people’s shortcomings if you can’t do anything about it?
NJ: Are you neat or messy?
Emily likes the house clean, neat and tidy – I know my place! I do make a mess when I’m doing DIY (no not deliberately – it just seems that way) but thankfully Emily sees it as her job to clean up the mess. If I had to do the DIY work, and then clean up the mess – I’d probably do less DIY.
NJ: Facebook or Twitter?
GB: All of this social media stuff is new to me. Only started Twittering a year or so ago. Don’t do FB. One of my daughters set up FB for Emily so we can see photos of the grandkids. I’m getting the hang of Twitter, but it does consume time, and I’d rather be out walking, reading or writing.
NJ: Everyone knows the names Mark Twain and Stephen King but how about you give us two names of some INDIE authors that you favor:
GB: Up until this year I didn’t read indie writers. I read mainstream paperbacks. I have read a lot of James Paterson, Lee Child, Patricia Cornwell, Tess Gerritsen, and similar writers. So I am behind the curve with indie writers. RRBC has opened my eyes, and I have started to read indie on a Samsung tablet. I’ve read and enjoyed several, but if you only want two – Kim Cox, Maggie Thom.
NJ: What is it about them that you’ve come to like?
GB: Publishers require most traditional published writers to stick to the formula. So I have noticed repetition. Indie writers can publish equally well crafted stories, plausible, good characters, entertainment, and not be channelled into repetition. In that way they are more refreshing.
NJ: Name two favorite INDIE books that you’ve read:
NJ: ONE good INDIE book you read that was so good you wished the entire world would read it:
GB: I’ve read very good indie books but there is only one book that would definitely appeal to everyone in the whole entire world. It’s called… em… Oh dear… I’ve deleted it from my tablet.
NJ: What was so great about it?
GB: It was free, and it had a really lovely cover.
NJ: After you read books, do you post reviews?
GB: Having read a lot of paperbacks – I didn’t. Now, I’m reading indie, I have and I will. I still read mainstream paperbacks, but don’t review them.
NJ: What do you think readers should base their reviews on?
GB: What they have enjoyed. Characters, story, ending. I don’t like books with vague or unresolved endings. I don’t dwell on the negativity.
NJ: Are you one of those who are afraid to be honest in their reviews lest the author gets upset with you, or is honesty your best policy, especially in reviews?
GB: I don’t worry, and I’m sure most authors accept that reviews are subjective. Give ten people a book to review, and you will get ten different perceptions. I am honest, but never overly critical. I spent over 30 years assessing students, and I know that negative comments and criticisms are worthless. Positive does produce improvement. If a book is rubbish I wouldn’t bother to review. If I bother to write a review it is because I liked the book. I don’t delve in nitty gritty specifics. I accept that on one reading, I will not know/understand every nuance in a book. I enjoy my reading, and I don’t want to be bogged down with nit-picking. Time is too precious to waste.
NJ: Read any poorly written books lately?
GB: I have started a couple that I didn’t finish. I am a bit fussy about what I like as a reader, so a book should not be condemned as poor because I personally couldn’t get into it.
NJ: Well, from all the mentions above, we know that you are an author. How long have you been writing?
GB: I’ve done two academic books. Three fiction novels with a fourth on the way! Academic stuff for 30 years, fiction for 5 years. I hear all my former students shouting, ‘… and we thought it was all fiction.’
NJ: What books have you written?
GB: First three books are a trilogy. ‘Deadly Secrets’/’Everything To Lose’/’The Black Fox’. Although each one is a stand-alone story in its own right, there are story arcs that move through the trilogy. Available on Amazon, Nook.
Deadly Secrets Amazon US
Everything To Lose Amazon US
The Black Fox Amazon US
NJ: Which one do you think is the best?
GB: ‘THE BLACK FOX’ brings story arcs from the first two books to a satisfactory conclusion. I like good endings. I played around with several endings. Took advice from a few people, and created an ending that I am very pleased with. I think I’ve done a great job with main character Zoe Tampsin. She is a Wonder Woman, but with human flaws. Anyone interested in my experience of writing a trilogy can find more here http://www.pinnacleeditorial.co.uk/2015/02/writing-trilogy/
NJ: Do you have a blog or website?
GB: Yes, click here. A small repository for sample chapters etc.
NJ: Name three great online resources or organizations that every author should belong to:
GB: RRBC, Twitter, and Facebook.
NJ: Which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?
NJ: How were you helped by them?
GB: See my piece ‘WHAT RRBC HAS DONE FOR ME‘… here
NJ: Since you’re sitting on the SHELF, you’re obviously a RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB member, so what do you think of the club?
GB: Supportive, and encouraging. Every author should join.
NJ: I agree, Gordon. RRBC IS the place every author should join! Have you come across any other online entities like it?
NJ: Would you recommend it to your friends and family?
NJ: OK, this shelf is getting hard on my hiney, so we’re going to wrap this interview up. Any final words?
GB: Thank you for having me. It has been a great experience. PS… I haven’t really been in the STATE PEN!
“UH, Tricky, our research proved otherwise. Now, you take care and stay out of trouble, ya hear?”
NJ: Gordon, thank you for joining me ON THE SHELF today. I’m sure you had a good time (being as though you didn’t end up on the floor…hehehe). To my guests, please support Gordon by picking up a copy of his book below. You can also support by visiting his blog stops on his tour which ends on Saturday. You can find the tour line up here.
Have you joined Rave Reviews Book Club yet? Well, here’s your chance! And since Gordon was on the “SHELF” today, tell them he sent you. Take care and we’ll see you next time, right here on the shelf, with another AMAZING RRBC member!
If you missed Gordon’s RAVE WAVES BLOGTALK Radio interview on BRING ON THE SPOTLIGHT, catch the archived version.
John Fioravanti always does an awesome job with these interviews, and this one is no different so you want to check it out!