Please welcome John Searancke to my blog. Thank you, John, for sharing with our readers today. 

Tell us a little about yourself, where you live, spouse, kids, work, etc and how you started writing?

I was born in 1943 at Derby Royal Infirmary, and thus a war baby. I lived my early life in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, a market town in Leicestershire, but was sent away to be educated at Kings Mead Preparatory School, Seaford and afterwards at Rugby School that bastion of English education. Later commissioned into the Territorial Army, I have been variously a hotel and restaurant owner, director and chairman of a marketing consortium, and latterly a partner with my wife in a commercial legal services company. I have enjoyed my working life in England and Switzerland and now live with my wife Sally in West Sussex and northern Tenerife, where for five years I occupied myself as restaurant critic for a Canarian newspaper.

I had long wanted to try my hand at writing a book, probably much as many others do. I decided to try to make that dream come true, and sketched out my first book, the manuscript of which was summarily rejected. I then learned of the requirement for a skilled editor, and was lucky to be put in touch with one such. She guided me through an almost complete re-write and the book was picked up and made it into print.

My first book, Dog Days in The Fortunate Islands, charts the stories of moving my family and dog to live on a small island in the Atlantic Ocean, and which received much acclaim.  It is available in paperback and e-book formats.

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Prunes for Breakfast is my second book and records the life and times of my father throughout WW2, including a cache of unpublished personal letters with details of his landing in Normandy, fighting through the bocage and later capture and incarceration in a German POW Camp. It is available in paperback, e-book and audio formats.

Front Cover FINAL jpg

The Reluctant Hotelkeeper is my third book, just released, and forms a prequel to Dog Days in The Fortunate Islands. It is available in paperback and e-book formats.

Front Cover FINAL

What are you currently working on?

My third book, The Reluctant Hotelkeeper, has just been published, so I am busy with my US publicist, Margaret Daly Designs, who is doing a tremendous job of steering me through the pitfalls that seem to exist to trap the unwary. My next job will be to complete my family tree, which so far goes back nearly 400 years.

Do you have a special author style of writing? Do you work with a outline or plot, or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?

My first book, Dog Days In The Fortunate Islands, was done in a very freestyle and unstructured way. I admit to knowing nothing. Fortunately, my editor managed to knock it into shape as a saleable manuscript. When I decided to tell the WW2 story about my father and his escapades through Normandy and prisoner of war camp in Prunes for Breakfast, I needed to be a lot more structured with much research, which took me to the battlefields of northern France to trace his footsteps. My third book, just out, The Reluctant Hotelkeeper took a lot of effort to manage stories into some sort of timeline over thirty-five years. It was hard work, particularly for my editor. 

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

There was no research for my first book. A huge amount of research went into my second one, including an extended visit to the battlefields of Normandy, where I finally tracked down the exact spot where my father had been captured back in 1944. As for my third, I drew on a plethora of happenings and events and brought them together over a period of months to form a story line.

Do you write in more than one genre? Describe your usual writing day please and thank you.

When I am writing, I need to concentrate as hard as possible, as it does not come easily sometimes. Interruptions are not very welcome, but they happen nevertheless, either with a steady supply of cups of tea by my long-suffering wife Sally, or the barking of dogs or a thousand other things. I do half a day writing, usually the morning, though sometimes it gets extended. I do not have a dedicated writing room.

What genres are your favorites to read?

I like legal/crime thrillers, almost anything by Bernard Cornwell, and stuff about the Dark Ages in Britain. Manda Scott comes to mind here – she is a captivating writer. 

What are you reading now?

I am just finishing the Boudica series by Manda Scott. Next will be her epic about Joan of Arc.

Tell us the authors who inspired you to write and how they inspired you.

I have almost a full set (missing just one) of original Alexandre Dumas – he can really spin a tale.

Any sage advice for a fledgling author?

No, I would not presume. I am a fledgling myself. But, if you want to write, then go for it. You will sink or swim – but get the best editor that you can afford.

If a movie was made of your book, who would lead the cast and be the best suited?   

I would choose Hugh Grant because he has a bit of a sense of humour and could bring some charm to the role. If he could be persuaded to bring along his ex, Elizabeth Hurley, then my delight would be complete.

Vanilla or chocolate?

I am a recovering chocoholic. (I’m not there yet but only sugar free chocolate now :). 

If you won the lottery, would you still write? What places would you go? Charity donations?

I suppose it depends on how much. Lottery wins nowadays are ridiculously vast. I would love to do a slow motoring tour around Europe. We do give to a dog charity and other charities featuring the UK. My wife is currently banning me from writing another book, but who knows?

Tell us everything you want your audience to know. What do you like to do when not writing?

We divide our time between West Sussex in England and Puerto de la Cruz in the Canary Islands. Switching between the two leaves us no time to get bored or jaded – life seems to be ever full. We are very lucky in that respect, and there is so much to do at both ends.

You find yourself on a desert island, which three people would you wish to be deserted with you and why?

Jack Reacher – he would have plenty of skills to look after me on the desert island, and perhaps even get us off it.

One real life person that is not a family member or friend.

Any competent boat builder would be very welcome to join us! 🙂


Social media links for John Searancke :

Website          Facebook         Twitter          Pinterest 

Dog Days in The Fortunate Islands Pinterest board:

Prunes for Breakfast Pinterest board:

The Reluctant Hotelkeeper Pinterest board:

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