What can you find here? Reviews of new and not quite so new Sherlock Holmes novels and collections. Interviews with authors, link to blogs worth following, links to where you can purchase my books and some reviews of my work garnered from Amazon sites. Plus a few scary pics of me and a link to various Lyme Regis videos on YouTube...see what we do here and how....and indeed why!!! Next to the Lyme Regis Video Bar is a Jeremy Brett as Holmes Video Bar and now a Ross K Video Bar. And stories and poems galore in the archives.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Mike Hogan interviewed.....

Mike Hogan is British, but he has lived most of his adult life abroad: Japan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand mostly. His obsessions are: classic films, Shakespeare, anything to do with Ancient Rome and the process of writing. he writeswrite comedy because he loves sparky dialogue and thrives on misunderstandings. He has written a trilogy of Sherlock Holmes novels which also feature Winston Churchill.

You have lived most of your adult life abroad. How did that come about?

After studying English Lit in a remote home for the bewildered in mid-Wales, I found that I was thoroughly unfit, and completely untrained for any sort of paid work in the UK. On the day Mrs Thatcher invaded Number 10, I flew to Libya to teach English. A couple of years later I took up a university job in Japan, then made birdhouses in the Philippines and finally was academic director of a group of schools in Bangkok. I retired a year ago.

What do you miss about England?

Theatres, pubs; I know I'm supposed to say Marmite or Scotch eggs, but you can get them at my local supermarket, albeit at a terrible price; proper bookshops (long may they last); ploughman's lunches; waitresses saying whatever you want is 'off'; Patrick Moore on the xylophone.

You are a devotee of Ancient Rome. How often do you visit the Eternal City? What is its appeal?

I went to Rome (and Pompeii) for the first time a couple of years ago; it was like coming home. I'd been mad on Rome since I was a kid: I made a Roman centurion with Plasticine from a plaster St George one time and my mum went mental. I admire Roman toughness, self-confidence and religious tolerance (aside from occasional, unseemly bouts of throwing to the lions).

I know you enjoy writing comedy, particularly comic dialogue. Which authors, in that vein, do you enjoy reading the most?

Patrick O'Brian - I suppose he's not best known as a humorous writer, but he is a master and commander of character, and that includes humour because people are funny creatures who say and do silly things. I don't read much in the humour genre, though Bill Bryson can make me laugh out loud. Then there's the Bard, of course: A Midsummer Night's Dream is my favourite.

What would you say was your biggest challenge in writing your Sherlock Holmes pastiches?

Avoiding cliches, while netting a chuckle or two. My view is that Watson, having lived cheek-by-Persian slipper with Holmes for seven or so years (in 1887, when my first three books are set), might be forgiven a little exasperation with his friend's eccentricities and self-absorption. I wanted to explore the tension that must exist whenever two people of wildly different backgrounds and habits are thrown together for so long. I suppose that means my Holmes is less cuddly than Jeremy Brett, and Watson is less accommodating than Edward Hardwicke, but I hope that they are still likeable. Also ACD lived and wrote his times; he didn't have to explain or show Victorian thought processes and obsessions. Holmes' poor opinion of women is legendary, and very much the norm in Victorian male society; the British male had won the lottery of life, and they tended to look down on lesser mortals such as women, Americans, or, Lord help us, the Irish. I had great fun pitting Holmes (in The Deadwood Stage) and then Watson (The Giant Moles) against proto-feminists, and both against Irish republicans in The Jubilee Plot.

Winston Churchill obviously plays a big part in your Holmes trilogy. Were there any false starts with other historic figures or was it always in your mind to incorporate Churchill?

I read a news report that said a significant number of people believed that Holmes existed in real life, and a ridiculous number thought that Winston Churchill was a fictional character. It occurred to me that an account by Watson of Sherlock meeting Winston and validating his existence as a real person might be fun as a short story. It grew.

And what next for you/ What is in the pipeline?

Another Holmes, I think, as they are great fun to write, but first a book set in Ancient Rome in 475 AD starring Romulus Augustus, soon to be the last emperor of Rome. I've just completed a coming-of-age story set in and around the Old Vic in London in 1963, Penny for the Guy Mr Olivier. I'd like to extend that story either further into the Beatles' era, or perhaps to long-haired, flared university life.

Visit Mike's web site:

Sherlock Holmes and Young Winston: The Deadwood Stage is available from Amazon UK, Amazon USA and all book-selling websites and bookstores everywhere.

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