We need to move with the times, don’t we? Time was when feverishly writers scrawled the idea for a book on the back of a cigarette packet. I had to jot down the germ of ‘The Investigations of the Para-Usual’ (‘The IPU’) on the back of an e-cigarette box.

The story in ’The IPU’, in fact emerged from a bunch of observations. How, for example, a trade newspaper for opticians could be more aptly formatted so that the headline appears in oversized text with the copy size diminishing every subsequent line of the article. Finding connections between the observations, I found I had the basis of an investigation, the backbone of a mystery (surreal) comedy. An investigation headed by a professor, an academic outsider with radical ideas, believing that he is about to discover all of life’s remaining mysteries. I felt the story needed some compelling hook. The professor’s hope is to enlighten, but in his quest to know everything, he threatens the existence of the planet. I thought this might be the angle – a singular story in which the force for good (the professor) becomes the force for bad. And, conversely, the people and organisations that oppose the ambitions of the professor therefore become the forces for good.

I imagined ‘The IPU’ as I would a film, constructed within a three-act structure.

I hope that my observations work best in book form. I tried for many years incorporating them into a sit-com and before that into mock-documentaries. I had some success in finding a TV producer to work with and Andrew Gillman, the director of probably the second-most brilliant comedy sketch series of all time – ‘The Day Today’ (assuming that ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ is the best). But I didn’t get a commission from a broadcaster, after all.

I look forward to moving with the times and becoming part of the Inkshares community. The crowdfunding-publishing model is such a great idea, understanding completely that authors who want to self-publish will get there on the back of reader-confidence, helping the writer to focus on the writing. I’ve written 14 drafts of ‘The IPU’ and hope it’s as good as I can make it. But, it’s very difficult to see your own work completely objectively. I would love and appreciate any feedback on the story and the characters and hope I might be able to offer valid feedback to others in return.

[Pre-order a copy of The Investigations of the Para-Usual (The IPU) and I will donate 10% of book sale profits to Green Energy research.

An honourable pledge, you might think. Took you until the last few days of funding to make the offer. Smacks of desperation to earn some pre-sales.

That’s a bit harsh, though, isn’t it? This started as self-aggrandisement and now I’m feeling like I’m on self-trial. Why the pledge to Green Research, anyway? The IPU was written as an entertainment novel, but the politics of Climate Change is very much at the heart of it. The ways politicians, big business, the media and academics block the paths to pursuing alternative, renewable energy. Just a few days after signing up to CO2 emission reductions at the Paris Summit, the UK Government was issuing licences for fracking under National Parks. It’s not enough to trust Governments to act. Perhaps people need to face up to investing directly?]