What might well rank as the best question I've so far been asked has arrived in my inbox, and although it's a beast, I'm going to answer it anyway - because it's so good, it deserves a response.
It's this - what do I really think of myself as an author?
I did wonder if my correspondent was a fellow hack, as it's a great reporter's question. It's short and sharp, straight to the point, and it doesn't allow for refuge in bumbling or dull lists of facts. It cuts straight to the soul and demands an insight to a person.
(I shall remember it for future interviewing!)
However, enough evasions and time for an answer. So, deep breath and here we go -
(Why did I once promise to always be honest in these blogs?! Anyhow... )
In honesty, the answer is this - I think I'm a mid-ranking, jobbing and adequate author.
My self-report goes; I reckon I'm pretty good at plots - can put together a decent story, with some pace, intrigue, mystery and a surprising twist or two. I'm a bit behind that on the characterisation front - I tend to get more interested in the plot, which can be a weakness.
I do reasonably well with the sense of place. People often tell me my love of Devon and the south west comes through clearly in the tvdetective books, and I'm very glad about that.
Another factor in my books is that I think I give people an insight into what the world of TV news can be like. I know readers like that, and I enjoy it, too.
So, in summary - an adequate wordsmith, who can turn in a decent piece of entertainment, which is going to keep a reader entertained for a few hours on a holiday beach, but never going to win top awards in a blaze of lights.
Which - perhaps bizarrely, after that painful burst of self-analysis - I find that I don't mind at all. Because...
For me, writing has been a personal journey. It started as a challenge to myself, to see if I could get published. And it's taken me so amazingly far - into education, and travel, and the theatre, and charitable fundraising, and so much more - and I've learnt so much about myself, it's been a joy.
It's a whole new world to me, one which has fulfilled one of my personal tenets of this strange thing called life. Savour it, delight in it, do your best with it, and never ever waste it. Always keep on exploring it.
And that I think I've done, and hope I shall continue to do.
But finally, on the honesty theme, there is one more important thing to mention -
It's a huge thank you to all those kind readers who have tried the tvdetective books, said they enjoyed them, and encouraged me to keep writing. Although this blog has been all about my favourite subject (i.e. me), none of what I've been privileged to experience could have come about without you.
So - thank you.
Don't forget, if you've got a question you want to ask about my books, education work, or any area of my writing, you can get in touch via the contact page of the site - www.thetvdetective.com/contact.html
(And please, don't feel obliged to try to better the question that prompted this blog - I'm not sure my emotions could withstand another such battering quite so soon!)