Interview with Colin Baines
Tell us a little about yourself: who you are, what you do
Who am I? Well, I’m quite a private person I suppose. I have a wonderful family who keep me endlessly entertained in one way or another and I’m never, ever bored. I’m a big fan of films, football and British history.
What jobs have you held or do you currently hold?
I am lucky enough to have always had a job. I have worked for the government (nowhere near as mysterious or daring as it sounds), was a marketing manager for a good few years, and currently run my own small business.
Do you find it difficult to balance writing time with other responsibilities?
Very! As I’m self-employed I tend to work a lot of hours in any event. I try to write notes to myself whenever I get ideas, then work on them in the evenings or at weekends. Sometimes they make sense, other times I wonder what on earth was going on inside my head.
What made you choose the time period of between the two world wars?
I think it’s a very interesting period – before mass communication (particularly television) became accessible to all and started to make the whole country look, sound and act more alike.
Where did the inspiration for Harry Cocque come from?
If I told you the real story you’d never believe me! Or maybe you would. It started as a bit of a private joke but then it just grew and grew like Topsy. And people who eat too many chips.
What did you enjoy most about expanding on your characters’ universe beyond the first three stories?
It suddenly dawned on me that there were (almost) no limits as to what they could get up to. This was both very liberating and very scary at the same time.
Do your characters ever surprise you?
I’m probably more surprised by the fact that very often a story ends up moving in an entirely different direction to that which I originally intended.
Was self-publishing your first choice? What made you choose it?
Yes it was always my first choice. As a complete novice I thought it would be the perfect way for me to ‘test the water’.
Do you have any advice for writers who are just starting out or are struggling with their own projects?
There are days when absolutely nothing works, but be patient and things will change. Also, don’t be afraid to go back and look at previous work again and again.
Any final thoughts?
You might be interested to know that Harry tweets! What would they have made of Twitter in the 1930s? Or an iPad? Or Bargain Hunt? We can only imagine…
Colin Baine is the author of Harry Cocque: That’s Reet Boy!, a collection of short stories written from the perspective of an elderly man named Harry. This collection focuses on Harry’s childhood in Dorset where the author himself resides.