To the narcissists amongst us this may come as a surprise, but the vast majority of us don’t usually like talking about ourselves. Therefore, the thought of selling yourself on a page of A4 paper feels somewhat awkward.
So when my friend, Tony Higginson, suggested I write an Author Bio to accompany my work and help inform potential networks of who I was – a step I arguably should have taken 18 months ago – I needed a little guidance on what to include in said bio.
Tony has been a god send to me in terms of making sense of the writing world, which – as you will be able to tell from my blog – is fairly new to me. He has helped me discover my identity as an author – not so much in terms of my writing style and ideas, but how I can develop as a product, a platform and a person in this crazy new world I find myself in.
Tony has been generous and kind with his time, open and approachable with regards to his vast knowledge and experience around publishing and schools and specific and timely with his feedback and support – all in the name of supporting a fellow north west bookish person and for this I am truly grateful. If you need a friendly face and some cheery northern humour – Tony is your guy! So of course, when he informed me of the ideal make up of an author bio, I scribbled some mental notes and got to work on it, treading carefully so not to fall into online dating profile, but mindful for it not to be a snoozefest.
How much to say? What is appropriate… or rather, what isn’t appropriate? Am I even that interesting? Just some of the questions I asked myself on this peculiar little journey.
However, I’m pleased to say, I made it… and after all of that, it doesn’t feel awkward after all.
Having confidence in your identity, your experiences and your expertise is nothing to squirm at. We should embrace it. I’d actively encourage anybody reading this to try and write their own bio – author or not. It’s quite fun, reflective and great for articulating who you are, where you’ve been and where you want to go. And if you feel your toes curling up, stick with it, that feeling will ease off.
I’ve included my author bio below. Where it will take me, who knows? I hope to accompany it with a synopsis of my book(s) for potential publishers, which I’ve also been working on. But right now, just the fact that I’m feeling more like an author after adding this key element to my arsenal, feels pretty good.
Ciao for now folks,
My name is Nathan Parker, a 32-year-old father of one from Blackpool, Lancashire. I’m recently married to my beautiful wife, Nadina, so beautiful in fact, let’s just say it’s a good job I have my sense of humour to rely on. Family has always been central to my universe, but since becoming a dad I feel as though life makes far more sense than it used to. I thoroughly enjoy spending time with Sonny, my son who is 18 months old – watching him develop and learn brings me a joy I never thought was possible. With any luck, one child may become two – or more – as the years go by.
I’m proud of the fact I was born and raised, schooled and now live and work in sunny Blackpool. Despite its perception as a town with challenges – a perception which is accurate on many fronts – in my thirty-two years I have seen and experienced community, resilience, strength and good times in this town.
I am a Youth Worker by trade, graduating from Canterbury Christ Church University with a first-class BA honours degree in Youth Work and Community Learning and Development. For ten plus years I have worked alongside young people experiencing some of life’s toughest challenges and, although now working at a strategic level, I work hard to support and empower the young people of Blackpool and the Fylde Coast to create their own stories; with informed choices, broadening horizons and challenging inequality within the systems young people are bound.
My journey into writing began officially in 2017 when I was tasked with making a creative pledge to myself, to write it down and tell the workshop within which the task was set -which I’ve since learned meant I was 90% more likely to see it through… sneaky devils!
The pledge I set myself was to write a short story. Fast forward 12 months and I self-published my first novel; The Disappearance of Timothy Dawson, The First Book in the Granville Series. A fictional ‘anytown’ but certainly shaped from my knowledge of Blackpool.
The book enabled me to tell a story which was burning inside me; a tale inspired by personal and professional experiences told with realism through a world of fiction. My writing style is to take real life adversity, emotion and grit and weave it into stories filled with twists and turns, relatable characters and places which feel familiar to most.
I would say I’ve always loved to read, which wouldn’t be too far from the truth. I began my childhood as an avid reader, although it wasn’t the classics which hooked me in – ten year old Nathan was more of a Goosebumps fan. And I still read now; with a common, nightly routine of a few chapters before bed. My current read is Michael Connelly’s The Poet.
However, there was a huge void in my teens. A black hole within which books, reading and writing didn’t feature. School, Sports, Friendships, Hormones, whatever it was, I stopped reading and it wasn’t until my dad encouraged me to read again in my early twenties to help address a sleeping problem that I picked up To Kill a Mockingbird and fell in love with books all over again.
Truth is, I believe if the stories I write were available to fifteen-year-old me, I never would have stopped reading. I needed real life, I needed danger and I needed topical issues which explained life to me – adversity, relationships, risk and reward. This is what I strive for in my writing. I have been privileged in many ways in my life, but I have also seen and experienced challenges which I seek to harness and weave into my writing, so that one day a young reader may pick up my book and find connection, comfort or hope.
My debut novel The Disappearance of Timothy Dawson was shortlisted for Lancashire Book of the Year 2019, a feat which I am so very proud of.
The best part? The book prompted young people – young men in particular – to become passionate about reading. Am I the most qualified, technical writer in the world? Certainly not. But I believe my stories are raw, relatable and real and there is a gap in the young adult fiction market, which needs filling.
I’m currently working on the second book in the series and am enjoying working alongside schools, delivering talks and workshops to students looking at motivating the next generation to pick up a pen, or a book and allow their minds to wander.