Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Interesting Or Just Unconventional?

Last month at Nottingham Writers' Club we were given an excellent talk by Siobhan Logan entitled Author at Work: the business end of writing. One of the pieces of advice she gave out was concerned with creating your writing CV. Today I've acted on that information and rewritten my profile. I've tried to make myself seem more interesting but I don't know if I've achieved that.

You be the judge:

Although he spent thirty five years as an engineer (a notoriously illiterate profession which communicates in abbreviations and acronyms), Keith Havers now applies his grammar school education in his occupation as an author. He has had short stories published in various magazines and anthologies and has also run writing workshops and judged several competitions.

Keith was born in Tamworth, Staffordshire where he inherited a rustic sense of humour from his Norfolk-born father and a healthy cynicism from his mother. He now lives with his wife in Nottingham where his time is split between being a writer and a college supervisor.

Despite working in the electronics industry for many years Keith is wary of the current obsession and reliance on technology as he believes it can stifle creativity. Also, he doesn't like the idea of carrying a gadget in his pocket that is smarter than he is.

In his spare time he likes to take a brisk bike ride and relive his sporting achievements as a Triathlon and Powerman competitor. But his main form of exercise these days is entertaining his two grandchildren – a far more exhausting activity.

Keith's website is at

His blog is at

He is also on Twitter @KeithHavers

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

One Day In June

I'm really pleased to have one of my longer stories in The People's Friend this week. I got the idea for it in a rather unusual way.

As some of you might know, 2016 saw the 50th anniversary of England's historic football World Cup victory and there were several books published on the subject. Although I'm no longer a football fan I browsed through a few just to evoke a few memories of the time. One book that caught my imagination was The 1966 World Cup Final: Minute by Minute written by Jonathan Mayo. This not only recounts the experiences of the players over that eventful weekend but also those of ordinary people around the country.

Some of the team do not even know whether they are playing or not on the morning of the match. At breakfast some try to catch the eye of manager Alf Ramsey but he is giving nothing away. Some people still have to work of course. There are the firemen in Maidstone who are called out shortly after West Germany score the first goal. There is a bus driver and his conductor, finding themselves with no passengers, who try to find a house on their route where they can watch some of the game. As Kenneth Wolstenholme announces that it's all over, a policeman loses his helmet in the crowd.

As soon as I read these extracts I wanted to write a piece of fiction in a similar style. But what event could I choose? The only time I could think of, where the whole nation was glued to either the television or radio, was the 1953 coronation. So I created a group of characters in situations all over England who, in their own unique way, were affected by the events of the day. I hope I made it entertaining. Thank you, Jonathan Mayo.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

No More Excuses

It's time I stopped making excuses and got back into regular blogging despite the fact that this is my busiest time of the year.

There are A Levels and International Baccalaureate going on at the college where I'm an exam invigilator. During these two months I'm still determined to keep up my short story output for the womags. Nevertheless I'm sitting here typing this post while switching between commentary of Notts v Leics in the One Day Cricket competition and England v Ireland in International One Day Cricket. I'm also trying to keep up to date with progress of the Giro (Italy's equivalent of the Tour de France).

Another ongoing project is the sequel to my children's novel Youthopia which I'm hoping to complete before the end of the year.

 By the way I have a story coming in this week's People's Friend. (Dated May 13th). It's a story with a horse racing theme. I actually received a slap on the wrist from editor Shirley Blair for not alerting her to the fact that this is a date specific story. It didn't occur to me that they would have preferred to publish it during Grand National week. Oh well. Lesson learnt.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A Guest Post And A Plug

Ironic isn't it?

I don't seem to have time to write my own blog but I'm a guest on Womagwriter's Blog today.

I had the pleasure of meeting Patsy Collins a few weeks ago when she and Gary passed through Nottingham on their travels and a chance remark by me led to her inviting me to write a post for Womagwriter.

She also very kindly offered me a chance to mention my book Youthopia.

Please go and take a look.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Reading List

Where do people get the time to post on their blog several times a week?

Just lately, if I'm not writing for magazines, then I'm reading, and included in my reading list are several self-help books on writing craft. Over the last year or so I've collected a few by writers that I know on the internet or that I've actually met. I'm still working through some of them and here they are; all highly recommended of course:

Easy Money For Writers and Wannabes                      Maggie Cobbett
The Little Book of Freelance Writing                             Susie Kearley
Kindle Direct Publishing for Absolute Beginners           Sally Jenkins
Editing the Red Pen Way                                            Anne Rainbow
Stories with Twist Endings, How to Write and Sell Them  Linda Lewis
Give Up Ironing                                                         Kathleen McGurl
The Short Story Writer's Toolshed                                 Della Galton
From Story Idea to Reader               Patsy Collins & Rosemary J. Kind

Alternatively, if you fancy a bit of children's adventure or you know an eleven to thirteen year old who would, then try this:

My author's page is now on Amazon here.

Paperback £6.50
Kindle Edition £1.99

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

An Adventure Story For Children

Youthopia is a TV programme which showcases the talents of children from all over the country. But what is its real purpose?

Seven youngsters, whose average age is only twelve, find themselves in an adventure they will never forget.

Find Youthopia on Amazon.

Or read a preview here.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Back To The Classroom

I've recently taken advantage of a couple of writing workshops in the Nottingham area so I thought I'd share my experiences with you.

Sue Moorcroft Writing Commercial Fiction
Thursday 20th October Waterstones Nottingham

Award winning novelist and short story writer Sue Moorcroft was in Nottingham for the launch of her latest novel The Christmas Promise which was to take place that evening. In the afternoon she took a group of us through the stages of getting a book published. She reminded us that in order to sell we had to entertain and that we must assess our readership in order to hook them to our story.
A particularly encouraging piece of information from Sue was that it is an advantage to have been published in magazines. Amongst other things it gives you publishing credits, you become accustomed to rejection and it gets you an audience.
She went on to talk about pitching, literary agents and attending literary festivals. She explained about what to put in a cover letter and then talked about building your internet platform i.e. website, Twitter etc.
A very worthwhile three hours.

Stephen Booth Crime Writing Workshop
Saturday 29th October Long Eaton

Award winning writer of the crime series featuring police detectives Diane Fry and Ben Cooper, Stephen Booth was booked by Erewash Writers for a whole day of creative writing.
Stephen taught us how important characters are to a story. He explained how it is the character that drives the plot – not the other way round. He gave us some examples of questions we might ask about our main character as a way of finding out what sort of person they are. e.g. What kind of car do they drive? What books do they read?
He told us that if we want to imagine how to commit a murder we must inhabit that person. He also covered point of view and story construction.
He related a few tales of how involved the fans of his books become with the characters and the comments they make either via e-mail or in person at book conventions.
Apparently there is a hierarchy of murder victims according to how sympathetic readers are to the characters. Top of list are cats, dogs and other animals. Readers get most upset if an animal is hurt or killed. Next come children followed by teenagers and then women. It appears that male murder victims do not evoke much sympathy from readers and so the author has to work very hard to arouse any feelings that they might feel for the unfortunate person.
It was also interesting to learn that he doesn't plan his novels.
Again, a very productive experience.

I recommend that you watch out for any writing events in your area. You can always learn something from successful authors.