If I'd known that Dave was going to give a Command Performance every time he posted a blog I wouldn't have volunteered to go next. He's a hard act to follow.
On top of this I've been trying to upload this post for several hours now but kept getting some obscure error. Then, in the middle of this, we had a severe electrical storm which blew the power for two and a half hours, while I was juggling cooking dinner. I spent the next couple of hours with my four sons aged, 14, 16, 18 and 22, playing cards and scrabble by the candle light. It was fun. The moment the power came back on we all retreated to our rooms to work on our computers. There's probably some deep philosophical conclusion I can draw from this.
Meanwhile, I firmly believe that Story is King. I see myself as a craftsman. If I stop while I'm reading to think 'Wow, that's an evocative turn of phrase', then the writer has thrown me out of the story. It is like waving a flag and saying 'Look at me. Aren't I clever?' The greatest compliment a reader could one of my books would be 'I felt like I was really there. I had to keep reading to find out what happened.'
When I wrote my fantasy trilogy, 'The Last T'En', I was operating on instinct, plunging from event to event, carried by the power and passion of the story. Since then I've become more analytical and understand why something works. If I find an author who makes me forget I'm reading a book, I'll buy all their books and read them in chronological order to see how they develop as a writer.
The great thing about being an author is that, unlike an elite sportsperson, a writer can improve with age. I hope to still be writing at ninety and discovering new authors!