Welcome Mick Arnold – Author of latest novel A Wing and a Prayer
Please welcome Mick to my blog.
Mick is a hopeless romantic who was born in England and spent fifteen years roaming around the world in the pay of HM Queen Elizabeth II in the Royal Air Force before putting down roots and realizing how much he missed the travel. This he’s replaced somewhat with his writing, including reviewing books and supporting fellow saga and romance authors in promoting their novels.
He’s the proud keeper of two Romanian Were-Cats, is mad on the music of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, and enjoys the theatre and loving his Manchester-United-supporting wife.
Finally, Mick is a full member of the Romantic Novelists Association. A Wing and a Prayer will be his second published novel, and he is very proud to be welcomed into The Rose Garden.
The Air Transport Auxiliary Mystery Club!
Four ladies of the Air Transport Auxiliary bond over solving the mystery of who was responsible for the death of one’s sister. Battling both internal forces and those of the country’s mutual enemies, the women find that both love and dangers are cousins cut from the same ilk.
This is a sweeping story of love, death and betrayal set against the backdrop of war when ties of friendship are exceptionally strong. A Wing and a Prayer…
What is your book about and how did you come to write it?
I came to write this story as I’d been unable to get back into writing a work-in-progress after being ill and was watching tv when a program on the Air Transport Auxiliary came on. After watching it, I started rooting around on the internet and ended up making a few notes. Shortly after, I found I’d started the beginning of what would become, ‘A Wing and a Prayer’.
How would you describe the genre – and if you were one of its characters who would you most like to be?
That’s actually tougher to answer than you’d think. I’ve heard it described as Saga, Historical, Historical Saga, and it charted in the Amazon Top 100 for War Fiction. You could call me, confused, but I don’t think that’s a genre. Personally, I tend to think of it as Historical Saga, as that seems to cover all bases.
Who has been the most inspirational person you know?
Tricky – in the interests of continuing to breathe, I’d have to say, my Lady Wife. If we’re talking about who inspired me to write these novels, then in the main, it would be an author by the name of Elaine Everest. She too writes sagas and it was she who encouraged me to try my hand at something other than the romance I had been writing. In my life, overall, perhaps that would be Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, one of life’s great survivors and artists. I’ll never reach anywhere near his heights, but I do seem to be a bit of a survivor.
What genre do you enjoy reading the most?
Obviously, I enjoy my sagas, though these are a relatively new addition to my reading life. Ever since I discovered him, I’ve loved the novels of Terry Pratchett and can still easily lose myself in the weird and wonderful world and characters of his Discworld. This doesn’t mean to say I’m a fan of fantasy at large, as I’m not. I’d say I read more Women’s Fiction/Romance than anything. I especially love the novels of Sue Moorcroft, Jill Mansell, Carole Matthews, Bella Osborne and the like.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve only been writing seriously since about 2013, which was when I was lucky enough to join the Romantic Novelists Association and a place on their New Writers Scheme. I’d toyed on and off for a few years before that, but me and writing seem to like spontaneity as after I’d finished reading a romance by Annie Sanders called, The Xmas Factor, I found myself first trying my hand at writing. The results of that remain on my hard drive, you’ll be relieved to hear.
Where do you find the best place to work and focus upon your writing?
Are you ready for this? I swear it’s true. I’ve tried the normal places – quiet rooms, and variations thereof. These don’t seem to work for me. My normal place to write, is with my laptop on my, wait for it, lap, whilst sat on the sofa in the lounge – with either the tv or the radio on. I seem to do my best work with something on in the background, usually a favourite film. The same goes when I’m editing, as I like to begin by listening to AC/DC! Don’t worry, few of my fellow authors can’t believe it either.
When do you find the time to write?
I’m not currently in a ‘normal’ job, so I have plenty of time to write. However, when I was working nine to five, I’d mostly write non-stop at the weekends. That was tough, but it had to be done, if I was going to get anywhere.
How do you focus your work – for example do you write straight from the heart or do you plan before you start?
Plan. What does that word mean? Sorry, but I’ve tried planning and the most I seem able to manage is the 1st and last chapters, everything in between seems to come of its own accord. So, by definition, I’m a proud panster.
What amount of time do you spend researching before you write, or do you draw solely on life experience?
Unfortunately, for more than one reason, we haven’t invented time-travel yet, so I can’t draw on hardly any life-experiences for my saga stories. I was in the Royal Air Force for 16 years, so I know a certain amount in regards to what goes on in the military. Though the Air Transport Auxiliary wasn’t a military organization, there are similarities that allow me to use at least that experience. Everything else is research, research, wine and more research. This doesn’t mean that I don’t begin writing before I’ve finished researching. Perhaps it would if I planned, but I don’t, so there’s just as much planning goes on in my books as I continue writing and evolving the story.
What would be the one solid piece of advice you would encourage a new writer to do?
Write, all the time. Don’t stop, just keep writing. It would also be helpful if you read as much as possible in the genre you would like to write in. Finally, don’t try and write something which is a current ‘in-thing’. By the time you’ve finished, it’s very likely to no longer be selling.
What would be the one thing you would advise a new writer to do when searching for a publisher or agent?
Develop a thick skin. Seriously. Why? Because you are very unlikely to get picked up on either the first book you pitch or to the first agent or publisher and though you will get some rejections which contain useful advice, most will be generic. It’s a hard thing to get used to, so I’d say you should prepare yourself for a ‘no’, that way, when you do get something positive through, it’ll feel all the better for it. Also, ask yourself, do you need an agent? It’s probably harder to get an agent than it is to get that first publishing contract. Finally, don’t give in.
Thanks Mick for taking the time to answer my questions. I really enjoyed your answers and I’m sure everyone else will.