Ask the Author: Nigel Stewart
What would you like readers to know about you?
I’m 61 and live in North-West England, about 7 miles from the sea in a small town called Kirkham. My children, Alana and Jacob, are at University (or were until lockdown) and I love them both with all my heart. I have a day job, boring beyond words – but necessary for now. Music is another creative outlet for me; I’m a pianist and songwriter. I love walking, especially along a shoreline or over hills and dales. Then, some of the usual mundane things apply – cooking, reading, photography, good beer and wine. I’m a coffee addict.
Currently reprising The Last Kingdom (love those Danes) and Ozark on Netflix.
We will publish my second novel this summer. It’s called The Lines Between Lies – a thriller set in modern Britain, it deals with the fractures in society and family, and the way one man fails to deal with them.
I’ve nearly finished my third novel, working title “Four by Four”. It explores the nature of enduring friendship and how those relationships intertwine with family life.
And, while out walking around the lanes and clifftops in South Wales last autumn, I devised the idea for my fourth novel, which is currently sitting as a synopsis in my head.
What is your book about for those who haven’t read it?
Colouring In is a tale of underachievement and rootlessness. James Clifton is a talented artist, but he has dropped into life in the “real world”. Instead of seeking outlets for his creativity, he keeps them closeted. As he drifts along being nothing, he receives a letter from out of the blue. And then Laura is in his life; everything changes. Set in 1990, Colouring In deals with love and loss: it’s a romantic story – not in the hearts and flowers sense, but because it deals with emotions, imagination, and intuition.
What has been your inspiration for writing it?
When I started Colouring In, I seemed to be surrounded by people who were good at things, but were too consumed by their day jobs and family and finances to be better with their talents. What united them was a frustration and resentment about that. On a personal level, I had just passed 30 and realized that a much-cherished adolescence was long gone, but I was clinging on to it without a real reason. Then a very dear friend was killed in a road accident and that felt like a door had been slammed shut on my youth; it was gone forever. I was no longer performing in bands and felt I needed a creative output, so writing a novel made sense because it was new to me and a massive challenge.
What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write?
That’s tough because my favourite scenes would be spoilers if I mention them. Let’s just say I really enjoyed writing scenes with great highs and lows of emotion. I also really enjoyed re-writing a completely new version of a chapter that editor and I both felt had the right spirit and belonged in the plot, but too long and indulgent. Making it sharper, wittier and wiser without losing the plot or the reason for the characters’ interaction was terrific.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
Have a plan and stick to it. Research anything and everything that needs to be factual. Get help: ask people about your ideas and what you’ve written and listen carefully to their thoughts. Challenge yourself and your writing but be kind too. Don’t rely on social media for your marketing. If what you’ve written makes you laugh or cry, or smile because it’s good – then what you’ve written is funny and sad and very good indeed.
My debut novel is titled Colouring In and it was published in August 2019 in collaboration with Purple Parrot Publishing, a local indie-publisher I’m proud to work with. I’d originally self-published it in 2016, having started writing it in 1990! It didn’t actually take me 26 years to write the book – it sat untouched for long periods in which I doubted its worth. The story of its birth and evolution is here:
Colouring In is available on Amazon, Waterstones, and other online retailers – links at end of this mail – any search for ‘Colouring In Nigel Stewart” will find it online. There are some really kind reviews – all positive.
The author photo that appears on the cover is here, plus another I had taken for promotion.
I increasingly don’t use Facebook but am on there as Nigel Stewart, and occasionally post items about my writing. My Twitter and Instagram accounts both use @menigestew as the username – I use both accounts to project my writing, as well as personal life.