From a very young age, I have always wanted to write. Poetry, scripts and stories have always been important to me. My mother read to me the adventures of the Secret Seven and Alice in Wonderland and My father bought me my first poetry book, Silly Verses for Kids by Spike Milligan. The first script I read was Quatermass and the Pit by Nigel Kneale (1960); though I will admit I thought I was borrowing the novel when I took it out of the library. Realising that the film had a script was an epiphany. As my writing abilities progressed, I wrote scripts alongside my poetry and short stories. I found I had a talent for dialogue which I worked on developing through writing stage plays to test characters. In 1999 I adapted one of the ‘tester’ plays into a screenplay for a short film that was produced by Underground Film Work. It premiered at the St Annes Pleasure Island cinema and was entered into a number of film festivals which lead to it being included in the catalogue for the Edinburgh film festival. I continue to work alongside other amateur filmmakers to help them develop their scripts. In 2006 I was hired to write a book about James Bond that was published alongside a calendar and sold through WH Smith.
In 2006 my first novel for children was published by Ivory Moon. Unfortunately, the publishing company had to fold, and the rights returned to me. I was very keen on the new technologies that were enabling print-on-demand service. So, in 2012, I decided to try self-publishing. I am not opposed to traditional publishing and there are books I am working on that would suit this root, however, the books I was working on were not aligned with the market at the time, so I have stayed with self-publishing for the time being.
In 2017 my first novel for children, Mathamagical, was used by 8-year-old magician Issy Simson as a prop on Britain’s Got Talent.
Since the publication of Mathamagical, I have published two more books for children, Anagramaphobia: at word’s end, and ‘Twas the Night of Halloween. Alongside these titles, I have published a poetry collection, The Book of Colin, a book version of my ‘Saboteur Awards Short Listed’ spoken word show 2001: a space ode and ditty, and the anthology-styled novel Blood Ink.
I have been commissioned to write screenplays for short films, written stage plays, radio comedy, comedy sketches, poetry for the Nationwide Building Society, and written & performed stand-up comedy. In 2021 I ran the writing room to create a script for a Pantomime at Blackpool and Fylde College where I took on the role of lead writer and script editor.
In 2022 I have been commissioned to produce a short film script based on ideas from the film’s producer. Filming started on this project in May 2022 with postproduction expected to be finished in August 2022. The producer is intending to enter the finished product into the film festivals.
I founded the ‘The Blackpool Horror Society’ while studying for my BA Hons Degree in English Language, Literature and Creative Writing (Lancaster University) to help fellow writers and students develop their skills by pushing them to write outside of their comfort zone. I work with the members to build confidence in their writing ability. Running the events, I encourage all members to be vocal in critiquing others’ work. I also give advice on ways they might be able to improve the piece they share or recommend markets they might consider submitting their work to. Chairing the meetings has been a rewarding experience.
I also record a weekly podcast (The Ash & Col Podcast) which dives into the creative processes of old horror and sci-fi short stories alongside Dr Ashley Lister PhD, and other guests include award-winning writer Ramsey Campbell and ex-Coronation Street actor turned master cheese maker, Sean Wilson.
Recently I have been working with magician Russ Brown to set up a regular open mic poetry night at his magic themed bar in Blackpool. The inaugural night of ‘Magical Words’ was very successful.