Doing It Yourself (and Doing It …)

In this new (and bonus length) episode of We’d Like A Word, Paul and Stevyn talk to authors Jake O’Kelly (in the studio) and Andrew Chapman (via phone) about self-publishing, the value of beta readers and the importance of good covers. We also talk about gay fiction and about writing sex scenes … because so few people seem to do it well and a great many authors (including your hosts) haven’t yet been brave enough to try. Why is writing a sex scene so hard? (Oo-er) And is it more difficult to write sex scenes that are outside of your comfort zone e.g. a gay author writing a hetero scene? It’s a fascinating discussion. Oh, and apologies for the slight background noise – there was a very excitable radio show going on in the studio next door to us.

Available as a podcast from Thursday 21st November on iTunes, Spotify, Anchor FM, Google podcasts and wherever good podcasts are hosted.

As always, do get in touch if you fancy answering this show’s brain-teaser or to suggest topics for us to cover. Email us at wedlikeaword@gmail.com plus you can find us on Twitter and Facebook as @wedlikeaword.

Paul, Jake O’Kelly and Stevyn

Andrew Chapman

Jake O’Kelly is the author of The Smell of Good Decisions, a near-dystopian near-future thriller set in his home town of San Francisco in which four people become the unwilling victims of a military experiment to weaponise the human olfactory system. He was formerly the head of publicity for Amazon Publishing and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). He now works for online developers Mozilla (creators of Firefox and other well-known software). Website

Andrew Chapman, with the full support of his family, gave up his job to ‘have a go’ at being a writer. He has self-published two very well received books Tripping the Night Fantastic – a booze-sodden and occasionally surreal whodunit – and The Accidental Scoundrel in which the hero discovers that, in order to marry his girlfriend, he has to join her eccentric father’s gang of gentlemen thieves. Andrew’s next book has recently attracted the attentions of traditional publishers and he hopes that he may not have to live in a caravan for much longer. Website

Useful links mentioned in this episode:

99Designs – to get book covers, logos etc. designed

ACX – to get affordable audiobooks made

The Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award

And here are the San Diego Comicon photos that Stevyn mentions (and it was 2008 not 2005 – his memory isn’t what it was, obviously) …

Photos Copyright (c) Stevyn Colgan

Books mentioned in this episode:

Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin

The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst

Taken by the T Rex by Alara Branwen and Christie Sims

List of the Lost by Morrissey

Scoundrels: The Hunt for Hansclapp by Major Victor Cornwall and Major Arthur St John Trevelyan

Writing advice from Anthony Horowitz

We try to ask our We’d Like A Word guests to share a writing tip for other authors and aspiring authors.

This one comes from Anthony Horowitz, who you can also hear at fascinating length on our podcast which is about Life After Death: Giving new life to classic characters after their original authors have died. Like Anthony Horowitz does with James Bond and Sherlock Holmes.

David Bramwell’s Odditorium, weird bum reading and Jacob Rees Mogg

Dr David Bramwell

‘A small Odditorium’ featuring Dr David Bramwell. In this episode author, musician, truth-seeker, Utopian and all round oddfellow Dr David Bramwell discusses bum readers, the world’s largest underground temple, a haunted moustache, Jacob Rees Mogg and singalonga Wicker Man. And we’ll be asking … is Milton Keynes the new Stonehenge?

Our competition question is: What is the official term for a bum reader? Listen to the podcast and email your answer to wedlikeaword@gmail.com


Anthony Horowitz on James Bond & giving life after death

Anthony Horowitz looking like he’s up in front of a firing squad. Picture taken at the wonderful Noireland international crime fiction festival in Belfast.

Anthony Horowitz admits he’s a killer. Dozens of times over. The thing is, we’re not just talking about the dozens and dozens he’s dispatched in the pages of his many books or TV shows like Midsommer Murders and Foyle’s War. But that’s all I’m saying here. You can hear his startling revelations from his own mouth on the latest episode of We’d Like A Word.

Our official topic is life after death – whether it’s right for new authors to give extended life to characters after their original authors have died. Anthony Horowitz does it – and does it well – with Sherlock Holmes and most recently with James Bond in Forever and A Day. (You can win a copy of that in the competition – details on the podcast.)

But we talk about a lot else and a lot of other authors, in particular Sophie Hannah, who has brought Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot back to life.

You’ll also hear Anthony Horowitz read from his James Bond book, let slip his views on Brexit, villains and where he writes.

Graham Norton – can celebs write good fiction?

Graham Norton and Stevyn Colgan on We’d Like A Word

It’s Graham Norton! Yes, that Graham Norton on We’d Like A Word. Talking about his own writing and whether celebrities can ever be good authors? It’s on the radio at 7pm UK time tonight (Wednesday 8th May 2019) Wycombe Sound 106.6 FM. And then via the podcast afterwards.

Graham Norton – comedian, TV star and Father Ted legend – tells us about his other life as an author. He’s written two novels – Holding and now A Keeper. But are they any good? Are they funny? Are they even supposed to be? Do celebrities famous for something entirely different make good writers? Graham Norton may be hilARious (he is), but can he write? You’ll have to listen to this episode of We’d Like A Word to find out. He reads from his second novel A Keeper, talks about how he writes, how he gathers material and about Ireland. There’s also a competition to win one of Graham’s books – but you’ll have to listen to find out.

Writing advice from Will Dean

Some of our We’d Like A Word guests have been kind enough (and sometimes we’ve been organised enough) to provide their writing tips for other authors and aspiring authors.

This one comes from Will Dean, the author of Dark Pines and Red Snow– who you can also hear at fascinating length on our podcast which asks – Is Scandi Noir still Sandi Noir if it’s written by a Brit?



Our first episode – with Will Dean

Our first podcast episode of We’d Like A Word is now live around the world – well, online anyway. Our first guest is Will Dean, the author of Dark Pines and Red Snow – two dark thrillers set in the claustrophobic Swedish forest featuring newspaper reporter Tuva Moodyson. The topic for this episode is: Is Scandi Noir still Scandi Noir if it’s written by a Brit?

On this episode Will reveals his writing secrets, his creep book and the title of his third book (not out yet). And the answer to the competition. (So listen in.)

The picture is a teaser for an exclusive video from Will Dean just for you, dear listener. Coming soon.

The We’d Like A Word podcast is available on seven or so platforms, including Anchor, Google, Spotify, iTunes / Apple Music and others. Just search for it by name in the usual place you find your podcasts. Or click on the link below. And you can contact us via wedlikeaword@gmail.com

On the radio (with Will Dean) …

The first episode of We’d Like A Word is broadcast at 7pm tonight (UK time) on Wycombe Sound 106.6 FM. If you’re one of the 50,000 #Wycso listeners in the south Buckinghamshire region of England, I hope you can join us. (If you’re not in that patch, don’t worry, the podcast will be released tomorrow.) We’re kicking off with Will Dean, the author of Dark Pines and Red Snow – two thrillers set in the Swedish forest featuring newspaper reporter Tuva Moodyson. The topic for tonight’s show is – Is Scandi Noir still Scandi Noir if it’s written by a Brit? Will lives in a Swedish forest himself – he built a cabin there – and writes surrounded by moose, trees, snow, more trees and more snow. If you want to know what his third book will be called – listen in. There’ll also be a competition. Again, you’ll have to listen. (That’s Will with Paul (eek! where’s his beard gone?- half of We’d Like A Word – below, at Will’s Red Snow book launch in the excellent Goldsboro Books. Goldsboro is well worth a visit if you’re near Leicester Square or Charing Cross Road in London.)

Paul Waters and Will Dean at Goldsboro Books

An introductory word…

Paul and Steve in the Cardora studio, with Celine holding a clapper board.
Paul & Steve in the Cardora studio, with Celine on the clapper board

We’d Like A Word is a podcast and radio show from Paul Waters and Stevyn Colgan about books and words: the words we write, the words we read, the words we say. We hear from writers, readers, editors, agents, poets, lyricists, publishers, speechwriters and everyone interested in words. And yes, we read a lot of books. And give some away in competitions too. Click on the play button to hear our podcast introduction.

Then email us at wedlikeaword@gmail.com or follow us/like us/get in touch via Twitter or Facebook @wedlikeaword It would be lovely to hear from you.