Q1: Tell us all about yourself, what makes you tick, and what you like doing when you aren’t writing.
Ans: I’ve been writing fiction ever since I retired from academic life as a Professor at the University of Liverpool. As a scientist I published numerous papers and books, but fiction calls for a different skill set. I love language and I really enjoy the challenge and all the research that’s involved. When I’m not at my desk I could be gardening, playing the piano (modern jazz), fly-fishing, or going on long walks – that’s when I work out most of my ideas. I don’t have a regular writing schedule – 4000 words a day or anything like that – I wait till the story inside me has really built up a head of steam, and then I write almost without pause. Once a week I still drive to the University to participate in real-life science, and I lead a writers’ group in the evening, which is both enjoyable and very helpful. I’m also a member of Chester Writers.
Q2: Tell us about your family – married? Kids? Where do you live?
Ans: My wife is a retired physician, and she too has a second career as an artist. We live in a late Victorian house in a beautiful part of North Wales, not far from Llangollen. We have 3 children and 8 grandchildren ranging from 2 to 13 years old.
Q3: Word on the street is you have a picture book out with Fox Tots. How did that come about?
Ans: Well, we’ve always had cats, and although we give each one a name I have a habit of calling them by weird alternatives, like Bummus McBaggus or Crungo Pots. After a bit I started to collect these names and it seemed like I had the characters for a children’s book. Cats aren’t pack animals but to get them all in one place I hit on the idea of a community in the Scottish Highlands, there to escape rising sea levels. Each cat had a story, so I called it The Canterpurry Tales. I gave the cats accents they’d acquired from their owners. Then I put in an overarching threat, which only Bummus McBaggus, an ordinary black-and-white moggy, has the courage to face. The book was huge fun to write. Usually they take many months but I finished this one in about two weeks. And it’s beautifully illustrated by Martin Preston. I expect parents as well as older children will enjoy reading it.
Q4: Are picture books the only genre you write? Tell us about your other books.
Ans: I mainly write thrillers. I’ve published over 40 short stories and 4 novels: Footprints in the Ash (UKA Press, to be republished soon by Yolk Publishing), NH3 (Rickshaw Publishing), The Man in Two Bodies (Fingerpress), and The Domino Man (Fingerpress). I have another 7 novels awaiting publication and I’m in the ‘thinking phase’ of the next one.
Q5: Where can people find you? (give all your links)
Ans: I have a web site (stanleysalmons.com), I’m on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1526436.Stanley_Salmons) and I have a room in the 3D virtual bookshop environment Inkflash (inkflash.com/StanleySalmons).
Q6: Most important – where can we buy your books?
Ans: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository, and Waterstones bookshops in the UK.
Excerpt from ‘The Canterpurry Tales’ in which Bummus McBaggus meets Sergei Whiskersoff, the Siamese pet of a Russian ballet dancer:
Bummus nodded. “You’re a survivor, all right, Sergei.”
“Exactly. The world ends, I will survived.”
“Tell Bummus how you got out, Sergei.”
“Hah, when Royal Ballet is flooded, my womansk she pack her bags and put me in basket and we go to station. I am looking out of holes in basket. Train is full, this I can see. Every people is crowding into carriage, sitting on floor, standing in aisle. My womansk she go absolutely completely off head. She is scream she has First Class ticket and she is shout for guard until someone tell her to shut it up. Whole journey she is sobbing—is getting on my nerves. At Glasgow I do the very big miaowing, and she open basket to see what is problem. I make the leap and run like crazy. I am pussycat. Like you say, I know to survive. Humans not.”
“Do you miss her?”
“A little. Most of all I miss ballet. I do a little dancing myself, you know, in wings. Copy dancers on stage.”
Pete Gumbo looked interested. “Go on, then, Sergei. Give us a twirl.”
The ones who’d just come in sat down expectantly.
“Well, it is long time, and I am out of practice…”
“Go on, Sergei, old fruit,” Pete insisted. “Don’t be shy.”
He composed himself, ran across the cave floor, did several fine leaps, and twiddled all his legs in the air. There was a scatter of enthusiastic applause. He strode back, smiling modestly, and gave his silky coat a lick.
“That was wonderful, Sergei,” said Bummus.
“Awesome,” agreed Pete.
“You like?” he said, flashing his blue eyes. “I show you my speciality.”