Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school, etc. Let them get to know the personal you.
was born and grew up in Nottingham, England, which is about two hours north of
London. We lived in government housing in a poor neighborhood. My role models
were my mother’s revolving boyfriends, who sometimes lived with us. I fell
through the cracks at my local school and learned about life through domestic
My abusive childhood and my violent adolescent years shaped
me. I became a nasty product of that environment. As a coping mechanism, at
fifteen, I started drinking alcohol, and I hated the angry person I became.
After graduating high school, I wanted no more
institutional education. I skipped college, and in a moment of clarity, I
hitchhiked across Europe. Everything I owned filled my backpack, and I walked
across Europe with little money. I found jobs
picking grapes at a chateau in the south of France, worked as a kitchen porter
on a luxury yacht, and played music for money in the subways of Paris.
Later, I returned to England, went back to school, and earned
my degree in hospitality management. I was fortunate to gain management positions
with Best Western hotels, onboard Princess Cruises ships, and travel the world.
I became an avid SCUBA diver and lived on a Caribbean Island, where I met the most wonderful woman who completes me. After thirty
years of marriage, we retired and moved to Florida, where I played tennis, line
dancing, lawn bowling, and the Ukulele.
My story proves we don’t have to be a product or victim of
our surroundings; we all have the power to change. We need to get out of those
surroundings and meet more excellent people.
What inspired you to author this book?
books inspired me to write my memoir. I read the memoir titled “Educated.” I
related to the young girl who was held back from school so she could work in
her father’s scrap yard. She yearned to go to school, but she had to abide by
her father’s rule while simultaneously being a victim of abuse from her older
brother. I identified with the young girl, struggling in her intermittent
classes and being abused.
Immediately after reading Educated, I read the novel, “Where
the Crawdads Sing.” I resonated with the young girl who practically raised
herself after her drunken father abandoned her.
After reading these two books, I became empowered by those
characters who turned their lives around for the better. I empathized with
those two young girls and felt inspired to write my story.
Two years later, I published my story titled “It Wasn’t
Easy, But I Made It.”
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Where did you get the
inspiration for your book’s cover?
As a young boy in the 1960s in Nottingham, England, we
rented a house with two bedrooms and an outside toilet. It was just one of
hundreds of in-row deteriorating public houses. The second-story brick walls
swelled, and house bricks fell into the street and shattered on the pavement.
The nails that once held the roof slates deteriorated, and the roof slate would
slide down into traffic. In the early nineteen seventies, as these uninhabitable
homes became vacant, the local government boarded up the ground floor doors and windows with corrugated metal panels. As a
young boy, I felt like my life was like those homes, with no
maintenance/support and waning. So, I worked with a graphic designer to create
of a deteriorating brick wall with a silhouette of a downtrodden young boy in
front of the wall.
Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?
My wife, Susan, has significantly influenced me as a writer. Susan is a
librarian. She has supported me through my writing endeavors, provided gentle
guidance, and suggested direction.
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What were the struggles or obstacles you
overcame to get this book written?
My biggest struggle in writing my memoir was being honest with myself. I had a
lot of guilt, shame, and embarrassment in my life, as I’m sure we all have.
Writing one’s memoir is personal. I struggled with telling my readers the truth,
how evil my mother was, and how her poor judgment in parenting changed the boy
inside me. There were some instances of personal abuse from a trusted youth in
the neighborhood. At first, I included his violations but then removed them and
later wrote them back. I often told myself, “If I am going to be honest and
write my memoir, then I should just be truthful and do it.” I negotiated with
myself and said, “If I am still embarrassed when I complete my book, then I will
use a pen name as the author.” The thought of using a pen name hid my shame. It
helped me to continue writing, and I became more honest and open in my writing.
Another struggle I had was what my loving wife said when she read my draft and
read about shame. Then I received advice from a fellow writer; she said, “There’s
no shame in telling your truth!” I took these words to heart and overcame my obstacles.
I included all the remorseful events that changed and formed my life and used
my real name as the author.
Tell your readers about your book.
Paul’s mother was full of frustration and
hate, constantly telling Paul he wasn’t wanted and reminding him, “You should
never have been born!”
Paul watched his mother’s boyfriends come
and go. Some stayed for a while and physically taught Paul the harsh lessons of
street life. One boyfriend taught Paul how to beat other children with chunks
of house bricks, slices of roof slate, and a homemade axe. He learned to accept
physical victimhood and abuse as a way of life. His young, undernourished body
was weak, but his mind stayed strong.
Physical and mental abuse haunted Paul in
his early teenage years. He became introverted and socially awkward, carrying
mental baggage that made him feel unwanted and unloved. He protected himself by
lashing out at anyone who tried to comfort him.
One day, Paul was allowed to break away
from his old life and start a new one. He didn’t know exactly where to go or
what to do, but he was sure he had to find the courage to change and break away
from the past that defined him. Paul began to find contentment traveling
through the countries of Europe, though he was still plagued by nagging demons.
He caught himself talking to his internal, tormenting voices, always telling
himself, “I’II show them!” Hating the person
he had become, Paul struggled to overcome the burdens of his past.
To his shame, Paul recognized that he
emulated the violent actions of his abusers almost to the point of murder. A
rude awakening of this violent act changed the young man. He realized that his
anger and violence would soon sentence him to a lifetime in prison, regardless
of which country he was in, so he committed to turn his life around.
As he worked and traveled throughout
Europe, Paul found accommodations with many friendly, open families. He yearned
to be a part of a loving family, but he was mentally wary of people. Though he
yearned to be loved, he didn’t want to get tied down with relationships,
marriage, or children. He decided he could find contentment as a loner. He
would live in solitude with his thoughts and somehow shed the past by
developing a new code of optimistic principles to live by.
With his new code, Paul returned to
school and earned a degree. He had no educational support during middle and
high school years and often fell behind in his studies. As a result, he
struggled and taught himself how to learn from books and college lectures. He
persevered, earned his degree, and, with his new skills, found a job that
provided opportunities to travel the world on luxury cruise liners. After a few
years circling the globe, he became a SCUBA diving instructor on a Caribbean
Island. Always looking for a place to call home, Paul took on the challenge of
building a house with his bare hands in that faraway corner of the world.
Paul explains in detail how he cast away
his nagging demons. He read self-help books and became his therapist.
Confronting profound diabolical truths, he dismantled the stigmas that plagued
him. Paul learned to accept the actual person inside him, a happy young man who
was yearning to get out.
Paul’s story has adventure, travel, grit,
determination, and success and shows readers that we have the power and
authority within us to change our lives.
Paul’s tale would not be complete without
his delightful pursuit of love and marriage to a most unlikely soulmate.
unimaginable for the average person today to truly comprehend the struggles and
hardships the author endured. His life story will move you for sure. It’s gut-wrenching
at times. Yet, you will be amazed by the author’s strength, determination, and
motivation to improve his life. It’s one of those books you have to read.
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Who is your target audience, and why?
My target audience is anyone who may seek a change in their lives. I am not the most intelligent man, but I know we have the power and authority to change. The power to move away from wrong role models, to live in better surroundings with more excellent people, and to have the authority to scribe new principles and disciplines to start our lives over.
It is a hard step to take, to leave everything behind and walk into the future with nothing except belief in oneself. I made that step and believe I became a better person for it.
What do you consider your most tremendous success in life?
My most tremendous success in life is my soul mate, Susan. Before meeting her, I decided to live in solitude because of my deep mistrust of people. I thought I was content being a loner in life. That was until I met Susan. From the get-go, Susan never wanted anything from me except to love me unconditionally. I couldn’t believe such a wonderful woman loved me like she did. I feel so lucky. Susan completes me as a human being. She is my success!
What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?
I believe I am a part of a
distinct group of writers who write about what they know, and they write
honestly and truthfully.
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