Featured Interview With Michael Tappenden
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
Currently living in South London but originally from Kent – The Garden of England. Went to a 1950s English grammar school (lots of work, rugby, discipline and occasional corporal punishment – the days when you lifted your cap to your teacher in the street). Destined nay programmed for University entrance and left to join a gang of Irish labourers on building sites, an assistant grave digger and gardener, joined the Parachute Regiment of the British Army (a year in the mystical deserts of the Middle East followed by a civil war in Cyprus). Left to become a graphic designer and then Course Leader at the University for the Creative Arts. Learnt to play the alto sax (with more passion than expertise) and sat down one day and decided to write.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I cannot remember a time when I did not have my nose in a book. To be fair, apart from cinema and radio, that’s all there was. No TV. No social media. Just words and sounds and music and the silver screen. I think in many ways I was lucky. I developed a love for the language and had my imagination constantly massaged. School/college/ letters home from foreign parts/certainly gave me the opportunity to write and I did so at every opportunity. It took me a long time to realise that I could write seriously and actually had something to day.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
My favourite book of all time is Treasure Island. I so wanted to be Jim Hawkins and still do. I have just purchased a copy from the Folio Society. Mouthwateringly beautiful. The look. The smell. The sound (did you know that paper manufacturers used to put straw into the wood pulp to make the pages crackle). The feel. Magic.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
One published (Pegasus to Paradise) and another on its way (this latter one a bit like giving birth – I would imagine). P to P however is historical fiction based on a true story. A D-Day hero returns to his family but damaged by war. The initial euphoria of survival against all the odds is soon replaced with the challenge of surviving together in post-war England. Ordinary people in extraordinary times. Conflict of duty, drama, courage, humour and unconditional love.
Problem was, this was my own family and even though my parents (the hero and heroine of my story) were no longer with me, it posed considerable problems. What exactly was the truth? Could I portray my parents as fallible human beings? What effect would this have on me, their son?
I can tell you the process was cathartic. I laughed with them, wept with them, shouted aloud at them, protested and for the first time in my life, understood them.
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