Tuesday, September 11, 2018


Wednesday, March 13th 2013. That was the day I first wrote about a new project called COWBOYS CAN FLY, an adaptation of Ken Smith's novel of the same name. Five years down the line, and despite the love from everyone who's read it, it has never gone into production. That's why producer Sean Langton and I are now looking to make the film ourselves.
You never really know where a project will go when you start it and each journey is different, but I absolutely love the optimism a great idea can ignite. Here's what I had to say about the novel five years ago. 


A few weeks ago a friend phoned me up and asked me to read a short novel he had bought the rights to, with the aim of me writing the screenplay later in the year.

I was told it was an erotic gay novel about a 14-year-old boy and his first love and I knew it wasn't something that really appealed to me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not homophobic, far from it in fact, it's just not a subject matter I have an interest in writing. I've never even attempted a rom-com for goodness sake. Anyone who is familiar with my writing knows I like to write dark character-based drama, the dark side of human nature and what we do to others because of our own selfish needs and desires. A romantic story of love and friendship couldn't be further from my comfort zone. But as I'm as good as my word I read the novel so I could at least give my friend my thoughts on it.

The book surprised me! In fact, it knocked me for six. So when I'd read about halfway I phoned my friend up and told him I was writing the screenplay. That was all it took, just half the novel, to get me hooked.

What appealed to me was the growth of the relationship and how both boys learnt from each other and grew into men. It wasn't pornographic, it wasn't overly erotic, it was just a wonderful love story of two friends. It reminded me a lot of growing up in the Leicestershire countryside, staying out all day during the summer, exploring, adventuring and climbing trees, days that my parents didn't have to worry about where I was or what I was up to. Those were the days of true freedom modern children, in our overprotective society, will never know. And reading that novel took me back to a time I long thought I had lost.

I finished the novel yesterday and I still know I've made the right choice to write the screenplay. You might be offered something that isn't your cup of tea at some point in your career. Don't turn it down. Explore the story and see if there is something in it that surprises you, something that grabs your attention and resonates with you so strongly you have no choice but to follow it through. You just never know.

If you are wondering what the book was that grabbed my imagination so, then you should hunt it down and read it. The book is called Cowboys Can Fly by Ken Smith.

Happy writing!

Tuesday, September 04, 2018


Judging by the number of phone calls, emails and messages of support I received, last week's blog seemed to resonate with a lot of writers. It made me realise that thinking of quitting writing is more common than I first thought. It's something most writers tussle with at some point in their career. It also made me think about how much pressure us writers (new and professional alike) put on ourselves to earn a living from our words.

Taking a step backwards felt like a failure, the last resort only to be taken when the desperation to succeed becomes unmanageable and all your options are finally exhausted. I was convinced that all the work I had put in over the years had been for nothing, that my dream job was over and I'd never work again. That's why I was determined to walk away for good, to end the torment once and for all, because I didn't think I could go through such a huge disappointment like that again. I now know this was an extreme reaction to what was nothing more than a stumble in the rollercoaster ride that is being a professional writer. I needed to take a step back, reassess where I was, where I wanted to be and how I was going to get there. Most of all I knew I had to take the pressure off myself to give myself breathing space and find my mojo again. A full-time job is going to do that.

Deep down I knew I could never really give up, that in one form or other I would continue writing. But what I discovered from those that reached out to me, is that even the most successful writers have had to take a step back at least once in their career. There's no shame in it, it's just a blip, an experience that will help you move forward again when you're ready. A lot of writers have second jobs, whether they're related to what they want to do or not, so they can continue to do what they love unpressured. Working a job that isn't in the industry has an advantage as it gives you a break from the intensity of writing and thinking about writing, allowing you to relax and your creativity the freedom it needs to flourish.

Equally, as you're trying to forge a career it's easy to think you haven't made it while you're still working a full-time day job. The truth is that if you're working you're earning, which in turn will allow you to write without the pressure of where your next mortgage payment is coming from. Believe me, you don't know what a relief that is.

At the end of the day, you have to do what you need to do to keep writing and also bring the money in to pay the bills. If that means going back to a full-time job temporarily to find your feet again, then that's what you have to do. It's what I'm going to do.

Happy writing!