I was born in Belfast N.I on 15th January 1939 delivered at home by Dr Frederick Smith, for whom I was named. We lived in one of the thousands of 1860 era tiny slum like terrace houses typical of the city. I lost my mother the same year on Boxing Day, we had been at war with Germany for four months.
Please introduce yourself and the story behind your books!
My story spans the first fifteen years of my life. Of being adopted by my eldest sister and her husband, and taken to live in England. Growing up through the war years, and later attending a total of fifteen different schools. To finally returning to my family in Belfast and regain my family name of Rodgers. Finding myself a stranger with my father, brothers and sisters. At the age of fifteen I joined the Royal Navy as a Boy Seaman. To offer more details would to give away the purpose of my book “Lily & Me.
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
It was many years later I felt the inspiration and need to record my story. In 2000 I was attending a legion Remembrance Day dinner, there were several speeches talking about the Second World War and the Korean War. There was no mention of the First World War, when my turn to speak came, I felt the need to address that, my father had served in France from 1916-19. However, I knew so little of my family history I could only make brief mention. This was I believe the moment when a seed began to grow in me to learn more about my own history.
How do you deal with creative block?
I have authored three books, two memoirs and one fiction. I can’t say I have really suffered a period when I couldn’t write. Of course I’ve had many times when I just didn’t feel like writing.
What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
Other than missing words lacking comas etc and probably poor grammar I don’t recall any big errors, but remember I attended fifteen schools.
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
I really don’t have anything to offer, in both my memoirs I kept the title and covers simple.
How has your creation process improved over time?
I think like most things we do, the more practice the better we become. I look back on my first book and sometimes think I could have explained some parts better etc.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
I think we all feel a little hurt when receiving a critical revue. I have been fortunate in this area having to date only received positive revues. Oh, a few people have mentioned my incorrect use of sentences etc. But I don’t dwell on it.
What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
Clearly for me the best was learning about my family and my past. You must understand I was removed from my home and siblings. In my early years I greatly lacked the sense of belonging, of being a part of a loving family. This was probably the worse part, learning of what I had missed. Most surprising was my journey of research and writing my first book. It was a most exciting time and so revealing, it gave me a real sense of myself.
Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
It has to be both,I needed to feel satisfaction in the story I was telling. It was also important that the reader could visualize the images and situations I was portraying. Balancing the two. Never easy and I wondered so often if anyone would ever want to read my book. I suppose that is quite natural when writing a first book especially when it’s essentially about oneself.
What role do emotions play in creativity?
This was a challenge, I spent many a restless night deciding whether or not to include a particular incident within the pages. In the end I decided on being truthful and write down the events as they happened. However, I did not include one very serious incident, which ever since I have question myself as to why not??
Do you have any creativity tricks?
Not really a trick, perhaps creative. I struggle with my first chapter, I was aware the first chapter was what kept the reader turning the pages. I decided to begin the book using the last chapter as the first. I believe it has worked out well.
What are your plans for future books?
I’m over 80 years old and health is not great, I do enjoy blogging and writing letters to the editor. However, I have no ideas or plans to write anymore books. But we never know when we might change our minds.
I served total of 23 years in the Royal Navy and RCN. I have been to the other side of the world and back have sailed under the arctic ice, surfaced through the ice on a submarine, have play soccer on the ice. I married in 1963, and divorced in 1969, I won the custody of my four year old daughter Caroline. I remarried in 1972 we had a second daughter in 1973 Susannah. My wife Linda and I live in a little cottage in Abram Village, Prince Edward Island. We have been married 47 years, our two girls are grown and moved on. We live with our two dogs, Yoda a 11 year Keeshond, and Rosie a four month old Caren terrier mix. I have self published three books, two memoirs one fiction.
In my interview today I talked only about my first book “Lily & Me” my second book follows on where the first left off “The Royal Navy & Me” Finally four years ago I attempted my first work of fiction “Chapter XI Armageddon”