Saturday, July 30, 2011

Pooh Bridge, The amazing Nigel Lampard

I'm so pleased to introduce to you all the incredible Nigel Lampard, whose brand-new book, Pooh Bridge, is receiving rave reviews on Reviewers have called it thoroughly enjoyable, beautifully paced, and gripping.

So, without further ado, let's meet the man behind 11 5-star Amazon reviews and the wonderful mystery Pooh Bridge.

J: Hello, Nigel. Welcome to my blog! Thanks for joining me today.

N: My pleasure.

J: Who are you and what is your background?

N: As a relatively unqualified product English Grammar School system, I joined the British Army at the age of 16. Four years later I was commissioned from RMA Sandhurst into the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. I had a reasonably successful career and retired in 1999 having attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. I was appointed an OBE in 1996. During my service I served in the UK, Europe, the Middle and Far East and obtained a Post-Graduate Diploma in Organisational Psychology from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.
Trained as an ammunition and explosives expert, I spent most of my commissioned service in command of ammunition related units. By virtue of the types of appointment I held, I had significant contact with the press, appeared on German television and was called upon to speak in public. On leaving the Army l had every intention of forming a management training company with three colleagues but although the company was a success, I soon realised that I wasn't going to have the time to follow a second career and also write. To this end I left the training company and worked in Warwickshire as a civil servant with the Army, advising and guiding servicemen and women in connection with their transition from the Army to civilian life. After eight years in this appointment I chose to retire at the same time as my wife, Jane, and we moved to Leigh-on-Sea in Essex.

J: What inspired you to write your first novel?

N: In the early 1980s I had a posting to Berlin. The city, its history, its people and its isolation in the middle of the then, Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR), intrigued me to such an extent that if it is possible to fall in love with a concrete jungle, I did. On returning to the UK after more than 2 years in Berlin the enduring need to continue the affair with this city by whatever means was overpowering and the only way open to me was to write about it. I embarked on my first novel, Who Needs Enemies (Paul Cameron, a British Army Major in Berlin in 1981 is blackmailed into helping with the escape of an East German citizen from East to West) with enthusiasm but with very little writing experience. I spent many years writing, editing, rewriting, discarding and rewriting again until eventually, some six years after starting, I was reasonably happy with my first novel.

J: What happened when you had finished your first novel?

N: I had caught the bug! I took Who Needs Enemies and rewrote it but this time from the blackmailer’s perspective. With Friends Like You was an interesting exercise and gave me a lot of food for thought for the future. Both of these parallel novels left some unanswered questions so I then wrote a sequel, The Truth About Berlin, which was even more of an adventure because out of necessity to the story I moved out of the safe military environment. In the last ten years I have written a further 10 novels, trying my hand at various genres. I dabbled with the publishing world, as did some of my loyal readers, but as with so many others, to no avail. I wasn’t too disappointed because the bug had turned into an epidemic and I continued to get great enjoyment out of writing.

J: What message are you trying to convey?

N: Am I trying to convey a message? I suppose the general theme throughout my novels is no matter what is going on around us, personal relationships are what life is really all about. However, I would like to change the question slightly and ask: what message do my books give me? I will use my 8th novel, Subliminal, to answer this question. I was walking through Ashby St Ledger, a delightful small village in Warwickshire, with my family when my elder son, Simon, asked me why I had never based one of my novels in the village because as we lived locally at the time, we visited it quite often and he thought it was an ideal setting. One intriguing fact about Ashby St Ledger was that it was where the gun powder plot of 1605 was hatched and planned. As the year was now 2004 I took my son’s idea forward. The year 2005 would be the 400th anniversary of the original plot: what an ideal time to launch such a novel in which I could blow up a few unsavoury politicians – of course the similarity of any of the characters to real politicians would have been purely coincidental! The main character in the book was called Peter Salter (a play on saltpetre being a constituent part of gunpowder) and all went well until Page 44. On Page 44 the characters in the book decided they weren’t going to play ball, and the plot moved away from gunpowder to the subconscious. How do I explain that? I have learnt that I may have a pretty detailed plan but inevitably the characters I create decide their own destiny and invariably it is not what I originally intended.

J: What is your intended audience?

N: My novels have been read by all ages from late teens to ninety years of age and the feedback I get from them is surprisingly similar. Because my novels are about the realities of life I think my readers can relate to the story as well as the characters. I try and retain the authenticities of life in my novels, and keep well away from fantasy – with one exception! I decided to have a go at science fiction so I wrote The Illegal Immigrant – my sons have suggested it wasn’t my best!

J: Where are currently with publishing any of your novels?

N: In September 2010, I was advised by Richard Grayling from Struggling Authors to submit the first chapter of any of my novels to Tim Roux, Night Publishing, for consideration. I chose my 4th novel, Pooh Bridge, because I was particularly pleased with it and also it was the first of my novels in which I completely moved away from any military content. Suffice to say Tim liked it and it appeared on Amazon in April 2011. Tim has said that he will run with all of my novels and the second – I haven’t decided whether it will be Obsession or Copper’s Ridge yet but it won’t be The Illegal Immigrant! – will go to him later this year.

J: Any there any projects forthcoming?

N: Over the years I always meant to get round to editing my novels properly but never really had the motivation, I just got on with writing new novels not expecting to have to delve into editing on a serious basis. But my circumstances have now changed. Over the next year I plan to finish 2 novels I started a couple of years ago, edit a sufficient number of the ones already written so that there is always one or two in the starting-blocks waiting to go. Then if time permits I may start another!

J: Where can we buy Pooh Bridge?

N: At the moment Pooh Bridge is available from Amazon and also from the local book shop, The Book Inn, in Leigh on Sea.

J: What a fascinating interview this has been. Thank you so much for being here with me today, and best of luck with Pooh Bridge, and all of your other books!

N: Thank you for having me.


Sudam said...

Nice to know something about Pooh Bridge and Nigel Lampard. Great he kept the flame burning. Good luck to his book.

Samantha Towle said...

Great interview, was lovely to learn about Nigel :)

Gerry McCullough said...

Fascinating to read about another writer, Jess. Nigel's book title is enough in itself to make me think I'd enjoy his writing.
Congratulations on your excellent rankings, by the way!

Alex Laybourne said...

Good Interview. All of Nigel's books sound interesting. Thanks from brining him to my attention.

Phil Stevenson said...

I served under Nigel when I was in the Royal Army Ordnance Corp. He was a great officer, smart intelligent and with a wry sense of humour. But what a dark horse.
I never realised he was a writer or I'd have approached him with some of mine. Nice to see him doing so well after his army career.

Phil Stevenson