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Interview with David Parle, Author and Artist

David Parle signing book
David Parle, Author
Pen Name: Roger Rapel Autographing book

I am excited to have David Parle, Author and Artist visiting on my blog for an interview today. Hello, David. It’s great to have you here.

I would just like to thank you for the opportunity to take part in your blog and answer your questions.

It is a pleasure to share your story and hints for writers and artists. It’s fascinating to me to learn about others and their journeys.  

Let’s get started

  1. Where were you born? Scotland UK
  1. Where was your favorite place to live as a child?
    My father was Irish and mother Scottish as a child spent many school holidays on a farm in Ireland, Great fun driving a tractor and milking cows; plus all the other farm duties, such as hay making.
  2. Did you read a lot of books as a child? I wasn’t a book reader really, but enjoyed magazines and comics.
  3. Did you draw and paint as a child? I loved to draw and paint, but was never any good.

5. How do you keep yourself physically fit?  I love to swim. In my younger days I did martial arts and was very fit.

6. You were a policeman for 30 years. Thank you for doing that. What kept you going? Phew! Hard question. Like most jobs and careers it’s difficult to provide for the family and support them while you work. Sometimes, even when you do your best,  you’re still criticized. That’s when the adage is true; you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I see pictures these days on news reels that only tell one side of the story. Sensationalism seems to sell newspapers and news. They only use pictures that  show the angle they want to emphasize. But hey-ho the public gets the press they want.

7. What was the hardest thing about being a policeman? The hardest thing? Too many to answer, but here goes. Long arduous hours. Leaving home never knowing what time you’d be back home. The expectation that as soon as you go to work no matter about your own home life, they expect 100%. The public expects you to deal with them as if they were the only person that mattered. The list goes on.

8. What was the most fulfilling thing about being a policeman? The most fulfilling? Again many answers but here goes:
Obtaining a confession from a hard criminal. Trying to be empathetic to victims of crime. But one of the most fulfilling was the comradery with colleagues and of course the humour. Some would say sick humour, but that was the only way to overcome and live with the everyday scenes you witnessed and dealt with. All of the emergency services use it as a means to stay focused, for without it you would crumble.

I always remember delivering my first death message to a family as a young officer of a few months, I was told:  “Get in and get out, Do not get involved because you have to finish your shift and deal with lots of other situations.”

I knocked on the door and a woman answered. In hindsight, I should have asked a neighbor or a relative to come a couple of minutes after I went in, but I didn’t.

“Hello, are you Mrs. Jones..”

“Yes, oh no, please no.”

“I’m sorry to tell you that your son has been killed in a road accident.”

Tears flooded as she looked at me. I let her cry on my shoulder. That was it. I had a lump in my throat the size of a tennis ball. I finished the rest of my shift, and dealt with the people who needed my attention. I felt awful. That is why after that day when I delivered a death message, I got in and out, as callous as it may seem. That had to be the way.

9. You give great advice to people who have lost a loved one. What helped you find ways to comfort others. Over the years I have witnessed and been involved in family bereavements. You build up a shield around you and look at life from within that shield. In that way you don’t become personally involved but you can see the grief and sorrow that people are feeling. Death is never an easy matter to deal with especially if it is a close relative or friend. But over the years of dealing with victims of crime you tend to build an expertise on how to handle people. They are skills learned over many years. Trying to say the right thing at the right time; there is no easy answer.  I think many of the emergency service members have their own way of dealing with it.

One of the best ways to help someone is to get them to talk, and you listen, or get someone to write down their feelings. There has to be an expression a release to allow emotions to come out.  As a Detective Sgt for many years the main skill of any investigator is to look and listen. Allowing a grieving person to talk and cry is a great release for them. 

10. What do you do when you think about giving up?Sometimes I just sit and think. But there are times when it all comes on top, I sometimes say that’s it; no more. I give up. I walk away and  talk to myself for a couple of hours, sometimes days. When the cloud of self-doubt has gone, I get on with whatever it was that I packed up. It’s never easy. We all go through it; the day when it all goes wrong and you feel like kicking the door or the cat (not really, but you know what I mean) sometimes shouting. After a coffee or a swim, I calm down and on I go. But no easy answer, I’m no expert.

11. Do you consider yourself a risk taker? Why?
Not really I tend to consider the outcome before jumping. Although as a young dad, my two girls would drag me on the fastest scariest rides in Disney and Busch Gardens in Florida. Although great fun, but now my kids are older, at the age I was then. They say they wouldn’t go on those rides now.

12. If you go to an amusement park, what do you ride first? Which ride do you ignore at all costs? I think I would go on a scary ride, but, you never know I might back out.

About David and His Writing

13. When did you decide to become an author? As a police detective you had to compose long and chronological case reports for the prosecutor. When an investigation is being conducted, the information never arrives chronologically. What seems unimportant at first could be vital later.

It was after I retired that I began to think about writing, and used the skills I learned writing those reports to help me. 

14. Which authors and artists inspire you? Why? I like James Patterson, also Chris Ryan. I like authors that don’t use unnecessary embellishment just to make the pages longer and the books thicker.

What does his auntie’s Australian cousin who wears a green dress have to do with the story set in London? I have to admit that I stop reading books when they become boring with over embellishment.

15.  What is your favorite genre to write? My obvious genre is crime.

16. Why did you choose to write under a pen name?       I used a pen name so as it wasn’t associated with me, personally. My pen name is Roger Rapel. Rapel is an anagram of my surname and Roger for Roger and Out when using the radio on a police call.

17. Do you set goals for yourself for your writing? No, I don’t.

18. Who has been the most help to you as a writer and an artist? My partner, Anna, has been a great asset with my writing and as an artist. She has read and loves all my books.

19. Are you writing another book? I am currently writing a short thriller/horror story entitled “The Headless Horseman.” It is about a woman who is researching ghost stories in the UK.  While in a secondhand bookshop, she buys The Headless Horseman and begins to read it. She finds herself being drawn into the medieval times of feudal England. She is captured by the headless horseman and held captive. She sees another woman getting her head cut off by the headless horseman. It doesn’t look good for her.

20.  What has been your biggest challenge as a writer?The biggest challenge was finding a publisher.

21. What has been the most exhilarating moment as a writer, so far? Being published.

22. Do you outline and plot first or let the characters develop their own plot as you write? Some stories just fall into place others meander.  I thought Gift or Curse was going to be a murder mystery but ended up as a spy thriller. It involved a Tarot Card reader.

One day while in a bank in Spain, I met a woman who spoke English. She was a Tarot Card reader. To help me with my research for my book, she gave me a reading.

“When turning over one of the cards, she said,  “Ooh, there’s a woman coming into your life from abroad.”’

I didn’t pay any notice. I was skeptical.

The next week whilst in the community pool where I live, a new Dutch woman was there. We talked in the pool and exchanged email addresses. That was Anna. She is now my partner and has been for four years. Indeed a woman from abroad came into my life!

23. Here are a few tips for writers:

  • I have rushed to get manuscripts out and have been horrified at the mistakes that I found. Read the manuscript once. Re-read. Read again.
  • Give to a proof reader to read for you and mark the errors he finds. Now read it again. You will be surprised what mistakes you pick up. Put the manuscript down. Leave for a week then read it again. After this break you will  see with “new eyes.” You’ll catch the things that are missing and get rid of the things that shouldn’t be there.
  • Research your subject.
  • Ask yourself are you interested in what you’re writing and more importantly will others also be interested in it.
  • Don’t expect to be an overnight success; it can take years. I chose to write in order to keep my mind active when I moved to Spain.
  • Select your characters real or fictitious and mold them. I chose the central character for my crime books (Jim Broadbent) from my colleagues I had worked with and created his persona from three or four of them. Jim Broadbent is not a knight in shining armour; he is a womanizer and likes his drink, but he is a good hard working no nonsense detective. His downfall was a nice looking woman to the detriment of his marriage. I didn’t want to create another super hero; I wanted someone true to life who has personal problems like we all do. Asked if I’m in the character, I plead the fifth-amendment on that one.

About David and His Painting

Here are a few of David’s paintings:

lake with mountains and trees
Lake with Mountain and Trees “Solace”
Sunrise or sunset
Mountains with beautiful skies “Pondering Peace”
Flowres in vase
Flowers in Vase
by David Parle
red flowers
Still Life Flowers
by David Parle

24. How did you get interested in painting? Painting, good question. Until I met Anna,  I hadn’t picked up a paintbrush other than decorating since I left school. Anna and I went on a long road trip, from Spain through France and Belgium to Holland, Anna brought back loads of paint brushes and arty things she had collected while going to art school in Amsterdam.

I watched Bob Ross, American artist, on UK TV and on YouTube.  With paintbrush and paint in hand, I followed his instructions and tried to emulate his style. I painted what I called “rubbish.” Slowly, I improved after many paint-overs and start overs. I’ve learned to adapt a style of my own.

I use Acrylic. I love landscapes and seascapes but have begun to push myself out of my comfort zone to try my hand at still life.

I want to try portraits but will need to go to lessons for that.

I never reward myself. I’m never satisfied. Like being back at school, I could always do better, ha ha.

25. I think it’s fascinating that you and your partner are both artists. Do you help encourage each other? 

David Parle and Anna
David Parle and His Partner, Anna

Anna and I use separate rooms for our projects but always show each other our work and make hints to each other on various aspects to improve.

26. Do you have any tips for artists? I’m sorry, I’m not qualified to answer that, I’m still learning and class myself as an infant in the adult world of art.

  • Art as they say is in the eye of the beholder, some I like, some I don’t. Not everyone will like yours.
  • Don’t feel a failure because it doesn’t turn out how you wanted it.
  • Don’t be afraid to start again.
  • Practice, practice and practice.
  • If it doesn’t work,  go make a coffee and come back to try again.

26. Who designed your book covers? They are exceptional. I would also like to thank my daughter, Amy who produces all my book covers.  www.amyparledesign.co.uk

Here are a few of the book covers:

woman with long hair wit finger in front of mouth saying sh
Retribution by Roger Rapel
bad feeling
Bad Feeling by Roger Rapel
Missing by Roger Rapel
Missing by Roger Rapel

Link to all Roger Rapel books on Amazon

Cindy, Where Are You?
Bad Feeling
Who Is She?
Gift or Curse
My Caroline
Seat 3F


David, thank you for being here with me on my blog today.  You are an intriguing person.

Please feel free to ask David questions or leave comments for him.

Auto-Biography of David Parle

I was born very young, in Scotland. I lived most of my life in Oxford, UK.  I went to a local school, leaving at 15 with no formal qualifications.

I was born shortly after World War II, in the years of having very little. Those were the days of make-do and mend rather than throw away as now.

To be fair I hated school and couldn’t wait to leave. I always wanted to be a mechanic but my father persuaded me to work in an office. I hated it. I was good with my hands and wanted to use them.

Anyway after a couple of more jobs I joined the Merchant Navy, sailing with P&O on passenger liners as a steward in the restaurant on the SS Oriana. I sailed to Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii, Canada sailed the west coast of the states to Frisco, LA and Acapulco. Then through the Panama Canal to the Caribbean Islands.  Florida then back home. I was 18 and it was a great life for a young man (say no more)

I joined the UK Police and stayed for 30 years spending most of my time as a detective sergeant. I investigated murders, rapes, child abuse, serious assaults and many others. I also served as a tactical firearms officer and worked with the drug and crime squads

I married and had two lovely girls and now one grandson. My wife and I separated after our kids left home. We wanted different things from life so separated on good terms and still talk.

I now live in Spain in the sun with my partner, Anna.

That’s me.

Connect with David:
David Parle, Facebook Personal
Roger Rapel, Website
Facebook Page, Author, Roger Rapel
Email, Roger Rapel

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Interview with Dr. Bob Rich: Writer, Mudsmith, Psychologist, and Editor

“Interview with Dr. Bob Rich: Writer, Mudsmith, Psychologist, and Editor” by Joan Y. Edwards

Today I’m honored to have Dr. Bob Rich as a guest on my blog. He is a writer, mudsmith, psychologist, and has an editing service. He lives in Australia. After reading my blog post, “Errors That Might Escape Spell Check,” he told me he has collected thousands of English words that writers confuse. His website is http://bobswriting.com/

Doesn’t that get your curiosity up? Here we go. I’m going to ask 13 questions.

1. You write books about many subjects. Which three books have sold the most copies? What was your challenge when you wrote them?

My first published book, The Earth Garden Building Book: Design and build your own house has sold hundreds of thousands of copies through 4 editions. It is still considered “The Australian owner-builder’s bible.”

How I wrote it: I started in 1972 as the most impractical fellow on earth. By 1980, when I started to build my house, I had lots of practical skills, but knew very little about building. So, I got a succession of laboring jobs in the building trades. After a few weeks at, say, being a bricklayer’s laborer, I wrote some how-to articles about it in Earth Garden, a marvelous magazine. Then I applied the skill in my house, and changed a job to teach me the next lot of skills I needed. After awhile, I thought to suggest to the publisher of the magazine that we write a building book together. He had copyright of lots of suitable articles, and had already published 8 books. After I posted the letter, I checked my post office box. There was a letter from him — making the same suggestion! So we did it, and the book has turned out really well.


My second book published, and the second highest seller, is Woodworking for Idiots Like Me. It sold maybe 60,000 books between 1994 and 1999. I have reissued it as an e-book, and it won the nonfiction category of the EPIC contest in 2007. It is a collection of short stories that makes most people laugh, but each story leads to an instructional section on some aspect of woodcraft.

Third highest seller is Anger and Anxiety: Be in charge of your emotions and control phobias. This little book has led a great many people out of despair and self-hate.

However, I much prefer writing fiction to nonfiction. Eight of my 14 books are fiction, the latest being Bizarre Bipeds: What IS humanity’s role in the Universe?

2. What triggered a desire to make a collection of words that writers confuse?

My fingers often have trouble keeping up with my brain, and so I can make finger stumbles. Being obsessive (a good characteristic for an editor), I instantly notice them… well, most of the time. Actually, I notice other people’s typos a lot more readily than my own.

Computers have a spell checker, but those things don’t pick up confusions like their-there or quiet-quite. I thought, wouldn’t it be great to team up with some programming genius and produce an automatic tool that does so?

Also, I have a twisted sense of humor. I just LOVE it when a serious publication states, “The value of early identification, diagnosis and intervention… cannot be underestimated.” I do have this theory that the writer meant “overestimated,” but then maybe SHE has the twisted sense of humor. So, I was collecting such malapropisms in the way others collect jokes.

3. Are you considering publishing your lists of commonly misused English words in a book? I think it would be helpful, if you published a book that listed sentences with the words used correctly and incorrectly. You mentioned that you had thousands of words for the letter “S.” Perhaps each letter could have 10 samples.

Well, I am still waiting for the programming genius to come along. Trouble is, the program would need to have a human-like understanding of syntax, grammar, all the fine points of language. I don’t think endless lists are fun to read (unless perhaps if you are a computer that has a human-like understanding of language).

Here are commonly misused words from my list. Most of these are homophones like “salary” and “celery.” Finger stumbles like “sash” and “smash.” Meaning-related ones like “saved” and “freed.” Anagrams like “said” and “dais.” People often confuse different grammatical forms, for example “sarcasm” and “sarcastic.”

1. said/dais.

2. salary/celery.

3. sash/smash.

4. saved/freed. Or raising/upbringing; ravish/devastate; tenuous/tentative.

5. sarcasm/sarcastic. Other examples are things like California/Californian; teacher/teaches.

6. cause/’cause. illustrate another source, like its/it’s.

7. bill/Bill. I am sure William wouldn’t mind being paid, but… And Ken may be smart, but the word is different from ken.

8. a bout/about; recur/re occur; preconception/pre conception. A space can make all the difference.

9. pin/p=in; artichoke/art[choke. Sometimes a symbol gets in through a finger stumble, and divides a word into two legal ones.

10. knots under/knot sunder. This is a different space problem from 8. “The knots under the parcel became undone” makes sense. Move the s from one word to the other, and you have a problem.

4. When “editing for content,” you look closely at plot, characterization, description, language, readability, organization, and dialogue. Can you usually tell with the first 1,000 words which of these will probably need the most help in the whole novel?

I get a very good feel for the technical competence of a writer within a couple of paragraphs. This includes characterization, the use of point of view (POV), the use of elements of writing like description, dialogue and action. However, the more subtle aspects like plot, continuity and the maintenance of tension sometimes seem all right at first, but prove to be poorly done further in the book. To counter this, for many beginning writers, the first few chapters are the worst, then the book improves.

It is actually a good idea to start writing in the middle, and introduce it later!

5. When editing a manuscript and you get to a point where the writer starts repeating certain errors, do you keep noting it for them?

That depends what I am being paid for. I often suggest to my client that we stop, I get paid for the work I’ve done, and the client applies the lessons to the whole manuscript, then sends me a new sample for a probably lower quote. But then, I am the world’s worst businessman.

6. What does an editor do when they do a “line edit?”

No, it is nothing like line dancing.

This means focusing entirely on picking up mechanical mistakes: spelling, punctuation, syntax, incorrect word usage, repetitious or awkward language. Trouble is, because I am obsessive, I can’t stop myself from also commenting on other stuff, even if I don’t actually get paid for it. Told you I am a terrible businessman.

7. I found that even I confuse certain homonyms. I put it’s when it should have been its. I know the right ones. However, when I was reading my manuscript, I missed it. Other people who critiqued my manuscript didn’t catch the error, either. Do you have any hints that might help writers catch these and similar errors?

It’s always easy to miss your own mistakes. Edit swaps or a professional editor help.

In the 1930s, a big publisher intended to produce the error-free book. They went over and over and over it… and the publisher’s name was misspelled on the title page!

It helps to put a document away and allow it to get cold. It also helps to read without meaning, just focusing on language. One way of doing this is to read from the end forward. I actually did that for galley proofs for my first few books. Now I don’t need to.

8. Who has been the most influential in encouraging you in your writing?

Oh, it didn’t happen like that. I’ve described how I started writing nonfiction. I started writing fiction because I didn’t want to cheat on my wife.

I was out of money, and out of a job. A friend suggested I should train as a nurse. But I live far from the relevant places, so that meant staying in a nurse’s home attached to a teaching hospital, and that was full of gorgeous 18-year-old girls. I had a choice: make a fool of myself running after them, or doing something creative and challenging with my free time. So, I started writing short stories.

I now have my own style, but early on, I enjoyed studying the writings of Asimov, Heinlein, Tolkien, Dick Francis, Hemingway, Conrad…

9. What are three things that help increase your creativity?

For me personally, I need to rein it in (funny how many people write “reign”). I tend to get TOO creative for my own good.

Everybody has oodles of creativity. You don’t need to increase it, but to unshackle it. The trouble is that modern society suppresses it. Creative children are more trouble to keep in line. Creative students ask questions, do things differently. Creative citizens go against herd actions, protest, see things differently, refuse to be brainwashed into being good little consumers and wage slaves.

The best way to unshackle your creativity is to throw your TV away.

10. How has living in beautiful Moora Moora, Australia inspired and helped you in your writing and your other jobs?

It has been wonderful to live in a place of beauty and power, but I like to think that wherever I am, I can draw inspiration from my experiences. I gained as much as a writer from being a nurse as from living at Moora Moora. Every experience is potential fodder to a writer.

11. What has been your proudest moment as a writer? As a psychologist? As a mudsmith?

For a long time now, I haven’t done much of being proud. I’m not bashful about achievements, but put them in their proper context, which is, “So what.” We are not on this planet to make money, gain honors, win power, status or fame. Those are all tokens in a Monopoly game. The aim of the game is to give us opportunities to grow, to become better people.

Here is another way of explaining what I mean. In New York, there is a school for gifted children. Three days a week, they go to an ordinary school, three days to the special school. At the latter, they deal with the same syllabus, but at a much deeper level, and using wonderful resources not available to others. Why do they spend half their time in an ordinary school? So they can learn to fit in with people not blessed by stellar IQs. They are taught that their high intelligence is luck, and doesn’t entitle them to arrogance. They learn to be tolerant of others, and are encouraged to make friends, fit in, be kind without even seeming to be.

12. Do you find yourself using your psychology knowledge in building your characters?

Well, there is only one of me. I do all of what I do, and they all reflect me. My writing has enhanced psychology, and my psychology has enhanced my writing. The main requirement for both creative writing and psychotherapy is empathy, so yes, they feed off each other.

13. If there was a question you wish I’d asked you, what would it be? Please answer this question, too.

Question 13? OK, I am not surreptitious (that’s one of my confusions!)


First, I am a professional grandfather. Four young people are genetically related to me, but I have hundreds of “grandkids,” all over the planet. The picture I sent you shows Ella with me. She is no genetic relation. I exchange regular emails with an 18-year-old in Saudi Arabia, a 17-year-old in Canada and a 19-year-old mother of two in Britain. There are many others. It gives me great pleasure that contact with me helps them to improve their lives that had been full of misery.

Second, at least since 1972, I’ve been a strong environmentalist. This planet only has two kinds of people: Greenies and Suicides. For many generations, humans have stolen from their descendants. We are those descendants, and ALL the trouble you see — irrational wars of hate, resource wars, climate change, resource depletion, the pollution that’s killing us, and many other problems — are the consequence of a culture based on greed. If we want to survive, we need to change to a culture based on compassion and simplicity. Above all, do no harm. Live simply, so you may simply live.

Thank you for joining me today, Dr. Bob Rich. This interview was fun and inspiring for me. I know it will be for my readers, too.

Thank you for reading my interview with Dr. Bob Rich.

Here are three of Dr. Bob’s more recent books.

Bizarre Bipeds: What IS humanity’s role in the Universe? Is a novella and three short stories. We are definitely NOT the crown of creation. The novella, Liberator, stars the perfect mammals, whose planet has been invaded by monsters from space. Guess who the monsters are?

Sleeper, Awake is an award-winning report from my visit to the future. Of course, no one would believe I can do that, so I presented it as fiction.

Cancer: A personal challenge is for everyone, because we are living on cancer planet. It is for those who want to reduce their chances of getting cancer, for those who love someone with cancer, and for those battling with this monster.

Celebrate you
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2012 Joan Y. Edwards