"Off-Key was originally a screenplay called "All I Ask" which I wrote eight years ago, based on the album "Balloon Man" by British Saxophonist Iain Ballamy. I completed it with help from the wonderful Northern Film and Media. However I still felt I hadn't truly captured what I wanted to express and so began the fairly torturous process of turning the screenplay into a novel.

I think it's best described as a jazz rom-com . . . which is possibly a category I've invented. Please get in touch if you know of any other examples. It was primarily written in response to countless films, books and television dramas written about musicians by people whose closest experience of being one was watching " The Spice Girls Movie" or seeing The Rolling Stones at a 70,000 capacity football ground. I also wanted to capture the heady sense of arrested development that being in a band can lead to.


My first attempt, in 2009, to turn my screenplay into a novel came out at a mere 40,000 words and was woeful. For the next four years under the watchful eye of people within the industry I learned my craft. The finished work is just shy of 108,000 words. This sounds a lot but, actually, it's only a little over the average for a first novel (usually about 80,000 words). It's not Tolstoy's 'War and Peace' (560,000 words) or Littlejohn's 'The Wit and wisdom of Richard Littlejohn' (seven words). Think of my book as a little like me     . . . slightly  plumper than average.


The Author in 2006.

The Author yesterday.