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How Can you Spot Good Reads from a Choice of Millions?

Eastbourne resident HEATHER FLOOD is proud of her husband Tony’s achievements as a journalist, Sky TV executive and author so she decided to sit him down and interview him.

HEATHER: Can we start this interview by you recalling your time at Sky Television?

TONY: I was Sky’s Controller of Information until 1991. The job required me to liaise with the media, answering their queries and providing them with stories about those appearing on Sky and Eurosport.

HEATHER: You must have rubbed shoulders with a lot of famous people from showbiz and sport.

TONY: Yes, but most of the showbiz stars I met, such as Petula Clark, Cher, Des O’Connor, Linda Gray from ‘Dallas’, Brian Conley, Patsy Kensit and comedians Frankie Howerd, Al Murray, Jimmy Carr and Joe Pasquale, were through my work as a journalist – AFTER my time at Sky. While at Sky, I interviewed mainly sports personalities including World Boxing Champion Lennox Lewis, Ryder Cup golfer Brian Barnes, Roger Black, who won gold medals at both the World and European Championships, and World Snooker champion Dennis Taylor.

I also interviewed on camera Jimmy White, Stephen Hendry and Barry Hearn while helping to organise one of Sky and Eurosport’s biggest sports events, the first World Snooker Masters.

HEATHER: Who were the most charismatic stars you met?

TONY: Muhammad Ali and George Best. They had a special aura and Ali lit up any room he entered.

HEATHER: What about the nicest?

TONY: That would be June Whitfield – she was a real sweetie. The kindest man I’ve met may surprise many people because he played the much-hated psycho Richard Hillman in Coronation Street. Yes, it’s Brian Capron, who is a lovely guy. He and Dec Cluskey of The Bachelors, another Sussex resident, have been very helpful to me.

HEATHER: Why did you decide to become an author?

TONY: After I retired as a journalist when I left the Sunday People in 2010, I continued writing theatre reviews but there was still a void. I filled it by becoming an author. If you remember, Heather, you suggested the storyline for my first book, a fantasy adventure called Secret Potion. You felt Harry Potter fans like yourself would welcome some more magical exploits.

Heather & Tony Flood with Brian Conley

HEATHER: I spent most of my time as an author writing children’s books, but you switched genres by writing a celebrity book.

TONY: That came about when a publisher suggested I tell the stories behind the stories of showbiz and sports stars I had interviewed and written about as a journalist. It resulted in ‘My Life With The Stars’, which proved so successful that I brought out a second edition called ‘My Life With The Stars – Sizzling Secrets Spilled!’ The new edition adds revelations and updates about Elvis Presley, Kylie Minogue, Eric Morecambe, David Walliams, Rowan Atkinson, Peter Andre, Brian Conley, Des O’Connor, Bruce Forsyth and Harry Redknapp.

HEATHER: Then you switched genres again to write crime thrillers.

TONY: Yes, I started with Triple Tease, which was endorsed by best-selling crime writer Peter James. That encouraged me to follow up with Stitch Up! – Killer or Victim? and Fall Guy – Who Really Killed His Wife? All three books feature compassionate, under-pressure copper DCI Harvey Livermore but are each self-contained stories with their own twists and turns.

HEATHER: How did you come up with such colourful characters?

TONY: I let my imagination run wild, particularly with Stitch Up – Killer or Victim? Suave security consultant Denton Kerscher is labelled a double murderer by police after his two former girlfriends are killed, but other suspects emerge in a lecherous fashion house owner, a besotted estate agent, a ‘Walter Mitty’ hospital porter and an egotistical stand-up comedian.

HEATHER: Apart from unique characters, what other ingredients can help to make a good fiction story?

TONY: I like to inject plot twists, thrills and suspense, plus sharp, witty dialogue to break up the tension. Above all, the storylines and the characters must have credibility.

Heather with Tony Flood & actor, Ben Miller

HEATHER: Where can people buy your books?

TONY: They are available on Amazon.co.uk and other websites as both paperbacks and Kindle e-versions. I like to keep the prices as low as possible with the e-versions reduced to £1.77.

HEATHER: Just like best-selling authors Peter James and Tamara McKinley have helped you, so you have encouraged other authors as chairman of Anderida Writers, based in Eastbourne.

TONY: It has been a pleasure. Many Anderida members have become published authors and several of them, including me, were among the seven who formed The Collective to jointly write family saga Driven by Desire, set in Italy in the 1920s and containing conflict, passion and kidnap.

HEATHER: How difficult is it for new authors to become published?

TONY: It’s reasonably easy and inexpensive to get published through KDP Amazon which prints on demand.

HEATHER: But publishing is just the start, isn’t it?

TONY: You’re so right. There are almost four million books published each year and many writers find it difficult to make potential readers aware their books even exist. Ironically, among the millions of books written by unknown authors are some real gems that would be enjoyable reads. I would urge readers to check out new authors on Amazon where they can read a free preview of the first few chapters of e-versions by simply clicking on the ‘Read Sample’ box which is usually underneath the image of the book.

HEATHER: What else can readers do to find good reads by unknown authors?

TONY: Take the time to look at the reviews and endorsements books receive. I’ve been fortunate to have my books recommended by best-selling authors Peter James and Ellie Dean, actor Brian Capron, comedian Al Murray and former world boxing champion Frank Bruno.

HEATHER: What is the best review you’ve received?

TONY: Two stand out. Theatre producer-director Patric Kearns said: “Triple Tease is a brilliant thriller. It’s also wickedly funny, steamily sexy and impossible to put down.” And true crime writer Jeannette Hensby said: “Tony Flood has created one of the best modern-day fictional cops in Harvey Livermore, who has earned the praise of top author Peter James. Tony’s Fall Guy is a captivating read by one of my favourite authors and I fully recommend it.”

HEATHER: Thank you, Tony. Now, it’s your turn to make the coffee while I return to my own writing.

 

* Tony Flood’s books, with links to the e-versions which are on offer at Amazon for £1.77, are as follows: