Writing’s great – it’s being a writer which can be a bit of a nuisance. The part where you look at a blank page and make up stories is essentially a positive experience. It can be frustrating of course, if the stories do not come when bidden, but it is what writers choose to do, what they feel they need to do.
It’s a great pleasure to welcome author Jeff Connor to my website today. Jeff is an experienced national newspaper journalist and non-fiction author with a sackful of sports books in his back catalogue. He’s also an old friend and colleague of mine from my newspaper days and, when I found Jeff had written his first novel, I was intrigued to find out more.
Tell me a little bit about yourself as a person and your background as a journalist?
I am from a North Manchester lower class family so naturally I was born with the curse of candor which has caused me a few problems down the years. I must hold a world record in company sackings!
I went straight into newspapers at 17 (from Bury Grammar School) and after that it was the regular routine in the ‘60s: local paper, regionals and then nationals. I think when I met you (Chris) for the first time, you were on your way up and there were plenty of people in the North West Evening Mail on the way down!
I was lucky because newspapers were changing, for the worst, when I had to finish. Suddenly, page design was more important than subbing and writing and back benches were manned by people who knew little about the protocol of the newspaper business. I am not sure, but I would guess that The Sun, when I worked there, was the only national in which Subs were Kings. Any reporter hoping for a job there had to be prepared to have their golden prose totally re-written! After Wapping in the ‘80s, unions lost their powers and management could virtually do what they liked: wage freezes, staff cuts, 12-hour days, ‘evening’ newspapers coming out at noon and dailies published at tea time. I despise Murdoch, but unions, particularly the print unions, were just as much to blame for all this.
After all, he pointed out, they are not likely to buy your books are they? They are just going to want to promote their own.