Colin freelanced for many of Australia’s leading magazines, as well as working in radio and television. He published humour such as THE BEGINNERS GUIDE TO FATHERHOOD before becoming a full time novelist in 1990. His likens his fiction most closely to Ken Follett – books with romance and high adventure, drawn from many periods of history.
Colin travels regularly to research his novels and his quest for authenticity has led him to run with the bulls in Pamplona, pursue tornadoes across Oklahoma and black witches across Mexico, and go cage shark diving in South Africa. Colin’s latest print novels are SILK ROAD, and STIGMATA, published by Atlantic in London. His first novel ISABELLA published as an eBook original is already a bestseller.
The two daughters who starred in his book somehow survived his parenting techniques and are now all grown up and living in London.
We’re huge fans of your 14 Steps to Follow Before You Decide to Have Children, tell us a bit about your book, The Beginner’s Guide to Fatherhood.
I was writing a regular column for the Australian Women’s Weekly about my experiences with my 2 daughters, who were only little at the time. It was the biggest women’s magazine in the country so I was getting well paid for it. I used to say that even from the age of 3 they were paying their own way! I may be one of the few parents who even ended up with a small profit. The book is a collection of some of those columns plus other pieces I did for various magazines on the tribulations of fatherhood. It did rather well and I feature don a few national talk shows.
What has been the most challenging aspect of fatherhood?
I never felt old enough or responsible enough to have children. I still don’t and they’re adults now.
Travelling with kids – what are your top tips?
My wife and I actually took a 3 year old and a 5 year old backpacking around Turkey for a month. We gave them little backpacks with koalas on the back and told them any toys they wanted to take they had to carry with them. So they both had these little yellow school bags full of Barbie dolls. Whenever we were waiting anywhere – a Turkish bus station for example, they’d pull out their Barbie dolls and play quite happily. The Turkish men were fascinated with these blonde big breasted plastic dolls, especially when the girls undressed them. We always drew a big crowd.
The biggest problem in travelling with kids is the bathroom arrangements. My advice is not to give your children anything to eat or drink for the whole time you’re on vacation and you won’t get into any trouble.
You were born in north London, but moved to Sydney, Australia. What were the pros and cons of family life living down under?
Wildlife. The girls were tutored from the time they could walk about snakes. They had two close brushes with snakes and both times they remembered to the letter what they were told. The other problem is spiders. My oldest daughter is terrified of spiders so Australia really isn’t a very good place to live. She has a husky voice now because she spent half her teenage years screaming.
You’re a well-known published novelist, what inspires you, and who are your heroes?
Ken Follett and Wilbur Smith. I write books like that. I’ve done okay, I’ve published over two dozen novels and been translated into 23 languages and had some massive bestsellers, but never really hit the big time in the UK for some reason. My latest novel comes out in January under the name of Alexander Cole.
If you could have written any book in the world, what would it be?
The Bible. Imagine the accrued royalties!
What three pieces of advice would you give to expectant fathers?
When my wife and I were walking crying babies around the house at three in the morning she would say to me: ‘This is just for 18 short years.’ At the time it was our private joke. But let me tell you: that 18 years flies past way too fast. No matter how exhausting it gets, you may miss it one day.
What’s the one baby product you couldn’t have lived without?
Wet Ones. Oh, and the baby-taser. Only kidding.
What’s in the pipeline for you next?
I am producing a lot of my books online these days, I published Isabella, Braveheart of France, my first book independently and it’s got great reviews and gone gangbusters – so there will be a lot more. You can check out what I’m doing here.
How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?
I was blessed with 2 amazing and beautiful daughters, the career I dreamed of and I’ve travelled most of the world – I am, in short, an incredibly lucky man.