Text Box: McCoy in Majorca, last June. Bleary-eyed but full of bonhomie and last night's San Miguel




After Dinner Speaking

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Text Box: The Boy McCoy
When the only crease in my face was the one in the photo.
Text Box: If you look on the After Dinner Speaking page of this site youíll see Iíve done a lot of Ďstand upí in my time, mainly after dinner work but Iíve also done the clubs and a few theatres. This is me and Roy Hudd at the Leeds City Varietiesí Good Old Days. Roy's in his Max Miller outfit, I'm in my street clothes. Iíve appeared at that great old theatre many times.



Text Box: I  used to be a building and civil engineering contractor, which isnít the most obvious background for a writer, but there you go.  I was also a  freelance artist, among other things designing greetings cards for just about all the worldís major card companies. Iíve painted portraits, cartoons, cute kids, animals;  I did the covers for the large print and audio versions of Annieís Legacy and The Fabulous Fox Twins. In fact Iíd paint anything but our house.


 'How  long does it take you to write a book?'  I wish I had a quid for every time I've been asked that question, and another quid for, 'Where do you get your  ideas from? '  The  answer to the first question is about six months, including all the editing. Regarding the ideas, your guess is as good as  mine. I just wish they wouldn't come at three o'clock in the morning.  I have a pencil and pad at the side of my bed and I've learned to write the ideas down without opening my eyes. It's a neat trick ó a lot neater than my nocturnal writing, which is often a bit tricky to decipher. 

The third most asked question is, 'What made you start writing?'  ó now there's a real tricky one. I always thought I had an aptitude for writing, but it never seriously occurred to me that I could ever write an actual  book. I used to do copy writing for various greetings card companies (I was the one who thought up the naughty jokes and verses) and, in the eighties, I wrote a series of comic monologues that got me into after dinner speaking, but writing a whole book?  No, never thought it would happen. What did happen was that  the vivacious Valerie, (aka my missis, that's her on the left) broke her leg. She's the only person I know who went into hospital sound in wind and limb and came out with a leg broken in two places. She tripped on a step that shouldn't have been there and, I being a builder, knew the step shouldn't have been there. The step contravened building regulations, which I always thought were invented to give builders a hard time. Anyway the hospital coughed up some compensation and Val treated me and our youngest lad to a computer. All computers should come with young lad included, they don't work otherwise.  The computer arrived in December 1996. By the end of March 1997 I'd written a humorous book called THE FABULOUS FOX TWINS. It started out as me messing around on the word processor, and took on a life of its own.  The book wasn't an instant hit with publishers, in fact it wasn't published until 2002 (Severn House) , by which time I'd had five other books published by Piatkus Books, the first being COBBLESTONE HEROES which came out in October 1999. My tenth book, a saga called CHANGE FOR A FARTHING (Piatkus), came out last May and an eleventh, TRIPPER, (Allison & Busby) the second in my Mad Carew series,  is due out on December 5th 2005.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Text Box:  Guess who's playing the dashing hussar in the photo on the left?
Bit of a clue - he won a Best Supporting actor Oscar for playing Barnardo, the leader of the Sharks, in   West Side Story.
answer at bottom of page.  (Just in case anyone's interested.)
Text Box: My after dinner speaking and stand up comedy led me into the theatrical world where I did all sorts of odd telly jobs. For example I was Lady Tara's last butler in Emmerdale. No prizes for identifying the young hussies  who are blatantly trying to  chat me up in this photo. It was a Christmas Special of  Last Of The Summer Wine, and the circus has come to town.









Apart from my two crime books I'm known as a saga writer. I  guess the definition of a saga   is a story that  covers a long period of time .  It comes from the old Icelandic  way of telling stories of great myth  and legend. My sagas are pretty much based on the great myth and legend of Yorkshire in the forties, fifties and sixties, the  days  when  you could leave your door unlocked without fear of being robbed. This was mainly because there wasn't   much to steal ó you rarely  saw a thief running up the street with someone's mangle under his arm.  This type of book comes under the general genre of 'Romantic Fiction', which most people take to mean love and kisses etc.  This ain't necessarily so. A romance is a fictional and wonderful tale, a story that passes beyond the limits of ordinary life. A romancer is a person who talks extravagantly ó OK, a liar if you like. My stories do include love and family affairs, but they also include murder, rape, theft,  poverty, cruelty, despair, revenge, adventure, happiness, laughter and great fun. The Romance label means that 90% of my readers are women, which is brilliant, but men tend to shy away from my sagas because they think they'll be too soppy. In May, the paperback of a saga called JACKY BOY will be published by  Piatkus. Fellers, have a read of that and email me to tell me if it's soppy.

I've now got  a crime series on the go. I wrote the first one, MAD CAREW, about five years ago, but we couldn't find a publisher. Anyway about a year ago, David Shelley, then at Allison & Busby, read it and liked it. Sam Carew,  the eponymous hero, is something of an oddball private eye. He's an ex-detective sergeant who was kicked out of the force due to a practical joke gone wrong, and who has gone to work with for his dad, who's a builder, only Sam's still got detective in his blood. His private life is all over the place and he finds his building expertise a help in solving a crime that cost his dad his life. The second book in the series, TRIPPER is a bit darker than the first and comes out in December.





Text Box: I place just as much value on the comments I get in letters from my readers  as I place on the professional reviews; after all the readers are the ones who actually buy my books. Having said that, according to records, last year,  about 120,000 of my books were borrowed from British libraries.  I include some of the comments and reviews on my books page. 

Last April, Diane Allen of Magna Large Print asked me if I'd give a talk at the opening of the Hawes library. Never one to miss a cheap joke I said I didn't realise they read that much, but I agreed to go along. Maybe my lame joke got to the ears of the good people of Hawes because only six people turned up - and this included Diane, her daughter Lucy, her Auntie Margaret and Auntie Margaret's next door neighbour.

In September I'm due to speak at the NAGS conference in York - I'm not even tempted to make the obvious joke - it's an acronym for National Acquisitions Group, they're the people who buy the books for the libraries so I need to keep in with them. I just hope more than six turn up. If Diane's Auntie Margaret's reading this, feel free to come along and bring your next door neighbour.



                                                             Oval: Who's the dashing hussar?
It's good old George Chakiris 


Text Box: This is Stephen Lewis who plays Smiler. You probably know him better as Inspector Blakey from On The Buses. I've just persuaded him to say, 'I 'ate you Butler.' He didn't take much persuading.


Text Box: email:   ken.mccoy@ntlworld.com













This site was last updated 09/05/05