I’m joined today by Keith Crawford who is sharing #TenThings he’d like his readers to know about him. I really enjoyed reading this interesting mix, including the rather romantic story of when he first met his wife. Keith’s first novel, Vile, was published in December 2019. You can order a copy of it here. Thanks to Kelly at Love Books Tours for the invitation to take part in the blogtour.
I had two extended periods of homelessness as a teenager, neither of which I would have survived without the help of many extraordinary people who reached out a hand. During the second and longest of these, after a long and cold night on a park bench, I was woken up and chased off the grounds of my old drama school by a pair of guard dogs. I have never climbed over a wall so fast.
I learned to waltz acting alongside a girl who was so pretty I could only bring myself to speak to her when I was in character. Years later, when I’d grown up enough to be able to talk to girls (ie. I’d finally figure out girls are human too), she explained she’d thought this was some sort of weird method acting thing…
In the Navy I had a flight instructor who used to smack the back of my helmet and make me shout “I am a c*nt” every time I made a mistake. Needless to say, he and I did not get along. At the end of flight training, the lads and I hid the snooker queue he used to hit us with! He shouted at us for more than an hour but not a one would tell him where it was. One can only assume training methods are more civilised nowadays (and revenge thus less satisfying).
After having had remarkably little to drink and being almost not at all responsible for the problem, I was once rescued from a bar brawl by a gang of friends dressed on Pokémon costumes. I am happy to say nobody dressed as Pikachu was injured (the police had arrived by then.)
I was injured in service, retired from the Navy, and spent six years using a wheelchair. During this time, I spent one year studying art at a local college, where the director once ruffled my hair and asked the person pushing my chair if I liked milk with my tea.
I was first of my call to the Bar, which means nothing at all to anyone who isn’t a Barrister, but did mean that I had to stand at the head of the queue to bow before the board – a bit of a disaster as it meant I had nobody to copy and my life experience had not included a lot of non-theatrical bowing. The better news was I was given an entirely unexpected £250 cheque that was spent entirely on books.
My second go at studying Art was at the l’école des beaux arts in Paris, where I had a Spanish painting instructor who used to swear at me in four languages when I did something he didn’t like. Sadly, I didn’t even manage to learn how to swear in Spanish, never mind paint.
A work placement with the Crown Prosecution Service turned out to be two of the most depressing weeks of my life. We were working to prosecute people who were violent towards their partners, but the victims rarely turned up to testify, children were almost impossible to protect, and in one case a man murdered his wife just a week after she had refused to testify against him.
I was the first person to study FA football coaching qualifications from a wheelchair. That was until the day of my level 2 exam when it rained so heavily the football field got too boggy for my chair and I had to try and shout instructions from the car park. It didn’t work and, as I finished my PhD shortly afterwards, I never did complete the level 2.
Every man in the room stopped talking the night my then future wife walked into my life. She doesn’t believe me when I tell this story. Two months later, when it was still very much a summer-fling thing, I started learning French (she’s French) – because you never know, she just might be the one. When I first moved to Paris it was on the basis that I would stay for about a year to show my her I was serious about the relationship, and then we’d move to London so I could be a big-shot lawyer. We’ve been in Paris for more than 14 years now. She is a big shot consultant; I write books and look after the kids. It’s cool.
From the back of the book
Elianor Paine is a Magistrate of the Peace in the Kingdom of Trist and a republican secret agent. She has 6 days to subvert her investigation, supplant war-hero Lord Vile, then coerce his adult children to start a revolution, before her masters discover the truth and have her killed. Just how far is she willing to go? And can she change the world without changing herself?
Keith Crawford is a retired Navy Officer, a disabled veteran, a Doctor of Law & Economics, a barrister, a stay-at-home Dad, and a writer. He has written for collections of scholarly works, academic journals, and newspapers including The Economist. He has had more than thirty plays recorded or produced for stage, been listed in a variety of short story competitions (in spite of his hatred of short stories), and runs a radio production company, www.littlewonder.website, which regularly runs competitions promoted by the BBC to help find, develop and encourage new writers.
In 2014 he was lecturing at Sciences Po in Paris and negotiating a contract to write a book on banking regulation, when he and his wife discovered to their delight that they were due to have their first child. Rather than writing more work that would only be read by his poor students, and then misquoted by politicians, he decided he would do his bit to stick his fingers up at the patriarchy and stay home to look after his own kids rather than the grown-up kids of rich people. Two more children swiftly followed. Keith has discovered that if you recite Stick Man backwards you get the lyrics to AD/DC’s Highway to Hell.
This (looking after the kids, not satanic rites with Stick Man) allowed him to support his wife’s career, which appears to be heading for the stratosphere, and also gave him the space to write about swordfights and explosions. And spaceships. All of which are more fun than banking regulation. As an extension to his work in radio production, he set up his own small press, and his first novel, Vile, was published in December 2019. More novels will swiftly follow, like buses in countries that don’t privatise the bus companies.