Interview with David Coles, UK Author of The Diamond Seekers

davidWhat is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?

David Coles, born in Leeds, UK, live near Leeds having spent my boyhood in Lincolnshire, lived in Glasgow, Scotland and Scarborough, Yorkshire.

Please tell us a little about yourself (something different not contained in your bio).

Father of 3 daughters, 7 grandchildren and twin great grandsons. Married twice. A died-in-the-wool computer freak – by profession & hobby.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

More writing, reading (f&sf, historic & a little crime) writing, messing with computers & writing.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?

The latest book is ‘The Diamond Seekers’ – but you know about this from review coverJack Everett’s (my writing buddy) interview. We’ve signed contracts for first and second books in a series to be published simultaneously, working titles are ‘Damaged Goods’ and ‘Damage Limitation’ – British crime involving a DI White.

DG: a psychologically damaged Iraq veteran comes to Britain in pursuit of an imaginary love and causes mayhem. DL: a locked room murder committed by a magician? Oh yeah!

Is this book part of a series?

Certainly is, number 3 on the drawing board as we speak.

Would you share a blurb with us?

A magician commits a locked room murder? Interesting. But a locked room murder where the perpetrator is provably on the other side of the world? Now that is some trick.

And to fill in the idle moments; from the previous novel, there’s ‘King’ Richards out to get even and the sister of the guy he’s just watched die – now what’s she doing?

 Would you share a short excerpt?

A pleasure… local color in York, county town

Leroy spent every daylight hour exploring his new neighborhood, the York warren of lanes known locally as the Snickelways. It was partly such a change from the somewhat run-down Midland city areas he had known for so long. The almost heaped-together jumble of modern housing and twisting alley ways and literally ancient houses and shops was something quite beyond his experience.

Once a resident truly knew their way around, it was possible to traverse the centre of York in minutes, unobserved, swapping time zones from the early fourteenth century of Our Lady’s Row to twenty-first century stores.

The area was home to the Hole in the Wall pub, the lantern tower of St Michael’s church which used to guide travelers across the marshes, the small carving of the printer’s Devil above a corner shop. A random walk would take Leroy from the Hole in the Wall to the Precenter’s Court lined with elegant old – and expensive – houses furnished with old street lamps and the most stunning view of York Minster imaginable.

As he walked, he noticed the blue plaques with dates and the names of famous occupants. The oldest date he saw that afternoon was 1610 and the most notorious name he recognized was Dick Turpin, a feared highwayman of the eighteenth century. He was disappointed to see that he was not the dashing thief of legend but the lowest of villains.

Do you have plans for a new book? Would you tell us a little about it?

Being one of a pair of co-writers has advantages. Jack’s working on the first draft of the third book in the DI White series, I’m working on the first draft of a sf. book, working title: Buccaneer. We have two sf books in a series which have more than a passing resemblance to the work of Jack Vance, a superlative writer – in fact, these two books are featured on the Jack Vance website. The third involves a planned theft from an interstellar tourist liner but leads to something far more macabre.

 How long have you been writing? And who or what inspired you to write?

My first short story was at 14 – it took 5 nights after homework on the kitchen table and was returned forthwith. The first published work was in 1971 so that’s 42 years ago. They were short stories to start with and it was John Carnell’s collection of ‘New Writings in Science Fiction’ that started me off. And that was how I came to meet Jack Everett – a short story in a New English Library competition was published in a magazine we both read. We lived 3 or 4 miles apart and Jack called me on the phone. We found that we enjoyed many of the same authors – Jack Vance for instance.

How did the decision to write as a team come about?

Jack was into novel length stuff and I guess I went along for the ride. We wrote an absolutely unpublishable novel together and never stopped laughing from start to finish. What better hobby can two guys have?

What do you enjoy most about writing as a team?

Neither Jack nor I had any very close friends at the time we started and we developed a very brotherly relationship. It’s a shared experience which has kept us close for well over 30 years and of course, with 2 people, it’s 4 times as much fun!

Can you briefly describe your writing process as a team?

It’s changed over the years. We started out writing alternate chapters with the objective of leaving the other with an impossible situation to get out of. That gradually changed into one of us – more than likely it would be Jack – writing a first draft and the other following on behind, filling in the cracks and applying the gloss paint. That has worked very well but we’re now into a third process; one or, as at the moment, both of us, write the complete first draft and hands it over to the other for a second layer and added material and also fact-checking.

Whichever method, anything that seems wrong to either of us is changed or removed.

Are there any particular challenges to writing as a team as opposed to writing solo, or do you find it easier?

No question, it’s far easier, far more enjoyable and there’s no such thing as writer’s block.

 Are there times during the writing process where you disagree on how things should progress? How do you resolve that?

If we can’t agree, it’s out. First, last and always.

Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?

Yes we do. Mostly when they request the chance to review. Many of our readers are Americans and we can usually send them the book as an eBook because postage costs an arm and a leg.

How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books? Who designed the Cover of your books?

Those that we publish through, which is a not-for-profit co-operative, are usually my design and work. One of the covers I like the most is JihadUK which has an oil- painting-effect picture of London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral on fire. Unfortunately, several readers confused it with the Washington Capitol, one even taking me to task for damaging an American monument and complaining that it looked just like a painting! Can’t please everyone.

Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?

Yes and yes. Though where it’s people who might recognize themselves, we seek permission; usually, they’re flattered. I was on holiday some years ago in Greece where they idolize their children. A waiter was bringing our meal, 2 trays held aloft in both hands and his 3 year old son came up and hugged him round the knees. He was immobilized until the little boy let him go. That went into a book.

Is there a certain Author who influenced you in writing?

Jack Vance, Jack Vance and Jack Vance. There are plenty of others but Mr. Vance stands head and shoulders above. He writes poetry, he hides cruelty and the macabre behind beautiful words. Ordinariness is changed to quirkiness.

Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?

Paperback with eBook a close second.

What is your favorite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?

That’s difficult. Jack Vance’s ‘Tales of the Dying Earth’ probably ranks top and I’ve read it 3 times and it’s not a small book. Why? Because of all the things I’ve already said about Jack Vance.

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Why or why not?

Rarely. There’s so much that has to be left out of a movie. The only recent one that adhered to the book was ‘Lord of the Rings’ which was 3 movies.

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it? (eBook, hardback or paperback)

Just finished reading ‘Surface Detail’ from Iain M Banks. He’s a favorite author but have to confess to some disappointment, it seemed to me to be a little self-indulgent.

Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn’t finish?

I never finished Alistair Reynolds’ Terminal World. Sorry Mr. Reynolds, I had always enjoyed his previous books.

What do you think about book trailers?

I rarely see them. Jack & I tried one but I don’t think it contributed much to the sales.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?

Keep going. Don’t get discouraged. If necessary, drink! And join a group of similar aspirants.

Do you or would you ever use a pen name?

Yes. Everett Coles writes our f&sf, Jack Everett & David Coles (and occasionally the other way round) our mainstream. There’s at least one other which must remain a mystery.

If your book was ever made into a movie, what actor/actress would you like to see play the main character(s)?

In ’The Diamond Seekers’ I’d like Michael Gambon to play the self-styled Italian prince, George Cloony (has to be since the likeness is remarked on!) to play Philip Madden, George Sewell to play John Jenkins, the MI5 man and Myleene Klass (ok, she’s a presenter, singer & pianist) as Astrid. You notice their mostly British, mostly TV.

Have you ever considered writing in a completely different genre? If so, what would it be and why.

We already write in several genres: f&sf, historic, crime, thriller… Jack says we’re the only author/s he knows of to write crime in the past, the present and the future.

Do you think the current popularity of eBooks will last or do you believe it is just another passing trend?

I think it will continue and I don’t believe it has peaked yet. For every person who prefers the look and the feel of a paper book, I’m certain there are two who like the neatness of an eBook reader and their fantastic capacity.

Considering Traditional Publishing vs. Indie Publishing, do you think one has a clear advantage over the other? If so, please elaborate.

For people like us – Jack & myself – it has to be Indie. The traditional publishers have made  a mess of the system. They’ve merged and taken over and treated books like packets of potato chips and jars of coffee – make as much money as they can and move on to the next as quickly as possible. A few years ago, I heard an established author saying that she was only ever as good as her last book – once she flopped, she was out – and she was. Indies do it for the sake of the thing, not to make a fortune, which is what traditional publishers used to do 25 years ago.

Would you ever consider writing on your own rather than as a part of a team?

I don’t think so, unless Jack stole my wife! The buddy system is just too good.

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what did you do about it?  

In the days before the ‘team,’ yes. I went on to write some cover feature projects for the amateur electronics press which was my other hobby at the time and actually paid better.

Where can readers follow you?

Your blog details?
Your web site?                                                                                 
Your facebook page?!/david.coles.505
Your Goodreads author page?                                                                                                             
Your Twitter details?
And any other information you wish to supply?

I’d lay my soul bare for you, Carol, but I’m pretty certain I don’t have one


Buy Links for The Diamond Seekers:

Barking Rain Press:



Carol 1


Thank you for taking time out from your busy schedule to share with us today, David. It has been a real pleasure having you here on our blog. I hope you will visit again in the future.

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