Tuesday, 19 February 2013

A Very British Blog Hop 2013

Welcome to A VERY BRITISH BLOG TOUR 2013 – a collection of blogs, books and authors who are surprisingly very British.
Paul Anthony invites you to take part in ‘A Very British Blog’ by visiting and supporting the websites of authors involved in the tour and who are dedicated to turning out some of the finest books available in Britain today.
Each author named at the bottom of the page has asked been asked the same questions but the answers will obviously all be different. You merely click on the author’s name at the bottom of the page to see how they have answered the same question.
By the way, we British have certain conventions, traditions and procedures that are expected. There is a dress code in the reading of this British blog and you are expected to comply with it.
For example… NB… (You may chuckle if you wish)
Gentlemen will wear suits, white shirts and dark ties. (Military ties are expected wherever possible). Ladies will wear dresses (one inch above the knee, no higher, no lower) and floral summer hats. A break for TEA and cucumber sandwiches is expected at some stage and is permissible. The list at the bottom the page is not a queue. We British hate queues and will accept them no longer. It is an invitation and you are expected to accept that invitation and support the home-grown product. Now then, let us proceed in an orderly fashion. As you know, we are all very boring and staid in Britain, aren’t we?
Well, there’s a myth about the British and your starter for ten Stuffy, class conscious, boring, staid! But is this still relevant in today’s world? Let’s find out from our wonderful writers what they feel about it.
So, without further ado, here are the questions from THE VERY BRITISH WRITER:

To Michael Diack:

Q. Where were you born and where do you live at the moment?
A. I was born in Lancaster and I grew up in nearby Morecambe.  I went to university at Manchester and after graduating, I eventually managed to get a job abroad working in Oman.  My girlfriend is Danish so on my leave I’ll fly home to the UK, check my house is in order and then fly to Denmark and spend my time there.   Guess I spend 205 days in Oman, 80 days in UK and 80 days in Denmark. 

Q. Have you always lived and worked in Britain or are you based elsewhere at the moment?
A. I lived in Britain up until the age of 23, when I got a job in Oman as a field geophysicist.  For the last 4 years I’ve averaged less than 80 days in the UK.  Technically I’m a resident of both countries but I always come back to the UK every leave, as I miss my friends, family, bacon, alcohol and the greenery!  I guess my job might eventually take me elsewhere one day too, just hopefully not somewhere dangerous.

Q. Which is your favourite part of Britain?
A. It has to be the Lake District.  Every year during high school my friends and I would go camping and spend a weekend in the Lakes, I love the scenery.  With my degree and going on regular geology field trips I got to go to a lot of amazing British places, from the Welsh coastline to the Scottish Highlands and down to the Devon coast - there is some real beauty to Britain and it’s easily a match for anywhere else I’ve been in the world.  Favourite city has to be Manchester.  I love the fact that it’s big, but not too big, so you can walk everywhere in the city centre.  London is a great city, but just too big and manic for a small city lad like me.  

Q. Have you ‘highlighted’ or ‘showcased’ any particular part of Britain in your books? For example, a town or city; a county, a monument or some well-known place or event?
A. The main Super Spud city in the book is called Mt. Hiba and it’s based in a rubbish tip in Manchester.   Most of the place names for the Super Spud cities reference names from places in Oman that I’ve worked – Hiba, Birba, Harweel.  I do try and reference as many British things as possible from James Bond, King Arthur, London, Wales, Manchester Airport, British Airways and Murray Walker. 

Q. There is an illusion – or myth if you wish - about British people that I would like you to discuss. Many see the ‘Brits’ as ‘stiff upper lip’. Is that correct?
A. I think maybe you’re right, especially by people who haven’t been to Britain and they’ve just seen the television programmes or Hugh Grant, and they think we all go round saying ‘gosh’ and ‘blimey’.  I think it’s funny though and to be honest there is worse things we could be stereotyped as.  As a northerner, I know there is a friendly jokey banter about ‘posh’ southerners so if us northern Brits think some of us as ‘stiff upper lip’ then undoubtedly that’s the rest of the world will be thinking too.

Q. Do any of the characters in your books carry the ‘stiff upper lip’? Or are they all ‘British Bulldog’ and unique in their own way?
A.  One of the Super Spuds who lives in Mt. Thames, London is called King Charles and he is quite posh, everything he says ends in ‘blimey’ or ‘bugger off’.  But he is the only posh one really, although there is also King Arthur and he loves nothing more than eating raspberry scones with cream and drinking tea down by the lake.  Most of the characters reference popular culture, there is G-Bat (Batman), Han-so-slow (Hansolo) and G-James (James Bond) so they all have mannerisms based on their respective character.

Q. Tell us about one of your recent books?
A. The Super Spud Trilogy, three books in one, is about magical potatoes that come alive once they’re placed in their foil packaging and not eaten by their use-by date.  Their personality is determined by their flavour, so steak and spinach flavours are packed with iron and become strong and soldier-like in their persona.  Tuna flavours are enriched in omega-3 brainfood and become very smart.  There are loads of different flavours and characters.  The Super Spuds are forbidden to be seen by humans so they live in our rubbish tips and go about their own adventures.  It’s a satire and also references nearly every popular film and television show I grew up with: James Bond, Batman, Robin Hood, Star Wars, Star Trek and Disney (to name just a few).  It’s been well received for its originality and humour, although not all get the humour and quirkiness.  It’s a book for adults and young adults, there is no sex or swearing but a lot of cartoony violence so it probably isn’t appropriate for those under the age of ten.

Q. What are you currently working on?
      A.      Currently I’m writing an autobiography of my last 5 years, from an unemployed graduate desperately seeking work to working in a desert in the Middle East.  I’m also writing a fantasy novel set in the desert and always some short stories. Hopefully I’ll get to publishing them this year.

Q. How do you spend your leisure time?
A. Depending on the time of the year I’ll go skiing with my friends or sailing.  Mostly, as I get 3 weeks leave at a time, I’ll just relax with my girlfriend at home and play computer games, poker and board games with my friends.

Q. Do you write for a local audience or a global audience?
A.  I guess for a global audience.  I’d love to be featured in local magazines and I’ll certainly work on getting in contact and asking if I could write any articles.  At the moment, my US Amazon ranking is better than my UK one so I think I need to work on becoming more noticed in Britain.

Q. Can you provide links to your work?
A. Of course, here they are.

Links to me:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheSuperSpudTrilogy
Twitter: @Superspud_book

Links to the book:

amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=the+super+spud+trilogy&x=0&y=0
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=the+super+spud+trilogy
Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Super-Spud-Trilogy-Michael-Diack/9781780033273
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-super-spud-trilogy-michael-diack/1109465435?ean=9781780033273

To see how our other authors responded, click on an author’s name below.

9. John Hanley
10. Terry Tyler
11. Geoffrey West
12. Maria Savva
13. Bev Spicer

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