Darlene Foster's Blog

Guest Author: Geoff Le Pard

Posted on: October 4, 2020

Today I am excited to feature Mr. Geoff Le Pard, an author of prose, poetry and memoir, a blogger, an excellent gardner and an all around good guy who loves his dog. Mr. Le Pard has a great way with words. He has recently released a new book, The Sincerest Form of Poetry, and has kindly agreed to answer a few questions.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, perhaps the Reader’s Digest version.

Ah, the difficult personal bit first, eh? I’m a former lawyer, happy to have put down the quill pen but happy too to use the absurdities of a pompous and self-regarding profession for inspiration in my writing. It also pays the bills still so I’m not knocking it. Much. Nowadays, I try and believe it when I call myself a writer but, odd for someone who once wore his pretentious facade like a coat of armour, I still struggle with imposter syndrome and tend to whisper it, in case it triggers a little too much sniggering. My writing career overlapped with my legal one and probably – no definitely – accelerated its end. The writing piece started in 2006 like a clunky gear change and has accelerated until I reached third where I currently cruise happily. To wring every last drop out of this motoring analogy, I’m now happily enjoying a pretty full tank of ideas, an open road of time to write and a satnav that lets me choose the direction my writing takes. Happily, the flat tyre of writer’s block hasn’t struck and I avoid the fender-bender of agent rejections by sticking to the back roads of indie publishing… blimey, I milked that, didn’t I? I’ve twelve published works: six novels, three anthologies, one memoir of me and my mother and now a book of poetry. They are, of course, the Rolls Royces of literature… honestly, I will stop that now and all available on Amazon.I’ve been married for thirty-cough years to a woman whose erudition, sense of humour and lack of a sense of smell have kept us together all that time. We have two adult children, one married, one trying to get spliced if only that witch, Rona Pandemic would back off a little and a small menagerie of pets, led by Dog, an eleven year old mixture of fishy breath, randomised barking tests and infinite love, plus two Methuselah old cats (twenty-two and going strong even if their fleeces are now more corduroy than cashmere) and a tortoise whose passion for my trainers says more about her than me. 

2. What or who inspired you to write in the first place?

In July 2006, my wife was told by our children they wouldn’t be joining her, as they had done for several years, at a summer school run at Marlborough College, one of Britain’s poshest public schools (Princess Kate Thingy went there). This had taken place during the first week of the school holidays and while the three of them had gone off, I stayed and crunched a bit more legal nonsense. She wondered if, this time, i might like to join her. We’d just started ballroom and Latin dance classes and they did a week’s intensive course during the morning, leaving her to do something arty and me… well, look at the brochure… to do something in the afternoon. I still don’t know what drew me to the ‘Write a ten minute radio play in a week’. The woman who ran it was a touch eccentric but she taught the basics, got us writing and performing and I loved it. I was buzzing – my first experience of finding out the joys of immersing yourself with others addicted to writing. But the week soon ended and the children returned from wherever they’d been invited so we could all go to a house in Devon we’d hired. While they splashed about in the hot tub and my wife played about with her textiles, I pulled out my laptop, took one of the ideas I’d had while on the writing course and began to write. I wrote in the evenings, at weekends. I got up early and wrote before cycling to work. I wrote in airports while off on business trips and in hotels while struggling with jet lag. Inside three months I’d written a novel of 130,000 words! It was utter crap. But it was my utter crap. After that, I went on courses – meeting other nascent authors at Arvon and at the LSE before I did a creative writing MA at Sheffield. The book I wrote for the course was my first published work, Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, a comedic coming of age story set in 1976, that has autobiographical notes in its genesis. That was 2014. I started blogging then, too. And what about that first book? I rewrote it countless times and eventually the story that I wanted to tell pop out. I published it earlier this year, a dark thriller Walking Into Trouble. 

3. Do you prefer writing poetry or prose, and why?

Neither, or both. They are very different. One – prose – is an intellectual process, that’s like any creative skill, trying to explore ideas in a subject of which I will never be the master, always the pupil but always enjoying the process of learning on the way. The other – poetry – is capturing an emotion, an idea, a sense of the moment. It might be very personal – the love of another, loss, longing; it might be a personal passion – sport, Dog, politics, climate change; it might be humour, the need to see the absurd in live’s clumsy tapestry. I want to do both but one comes naturally and I can always tap into it, the other emerges unbidden often when I least expect it.

4. Has your father´s poetry influenced yours in any way?

For sure. He was debilitated by his perfectionism and I’ve determined to be good, or as good as I can, but not perfect. He used poetry to convey his loves and I have followed suit. He wasn’t afraid to use obscure, sometimes grandiose language to create the imagery he wanted and I’ve ignored voices, esp of poets of much regard on courses I’ve undertaken who try and drive me into the utilitarianism of coming phraseology. For someone who resisted many calls to write, he loved reading his work if he felt it worked for his audience, but he was rubbish at it; I’ve made myself passable as a performance poet and enjoy the process of communicating my poetry as a spoken format and not just written. Mostly however he was driven to keep writing and I’ve followed that lead. I’ve often wondered what he’d have thought of mine. Probably ‘not bad, boy’ would be high praise, but only if he genuinely felt I deserved it. He would have been a harsh but entirely fair critic.

5. If you could choose a fictional character to spend a day with, who would you choose and why?

Pooh or Paddington; they are my sort of philosophers and I could do with some of their calm, offbeat wisdom in this jigsaw-puzzle of a world – as well as enjoying some communal honey or marmalade treats

6. Tell us about your next writing project.

How long have you got? I’ve finished a novel that is a sort of modern sci-fi/magical realism romance, titled ‘The Art of Spirit Capture’. It’s been edited and read and currently is, like all my novels, in purdah, namely a three month hibernation. Every time I write or edit a novel, I leave it for three months before I go back to it. After the next read through, I will have it professionally edited and then it can be published. I might ask for beta readers, if anyone is interested, but it won’t be for a few months. While that bubbles away, I’m deeply immersed in a comic fantasy involving a trainee exorcist, Pearl Barley who has appeared in short fiction on my blog. Set in a parallel world to today – so a lot of features are familiar – Pearl works for a secular exorcism agency, Spirits Release at a critical time for the business. Not only is the Government looking into regulating exorcists but there is a surge of spirits that refuse to pass to their chosen hereafters and the possessions are beginning to overwhelm the likes of Pearl’s company. The question is, is this surge merely a cyclical boom or a manufactured explosion with sinister undertones. Only Pearl with the help of Sharon, a deceased hairstylist who has taken up residence in Pearl’s hair and her personal personality enhancer in the shape of a mirror that allows Pearl’s reflection to help her out can find out the truth, while battling sprites and possessed gnomes and sort of falling for a red-headed weather manipulator who may or may not be what she seems. This is book one, provisionally titled Pearl Barley and the Surge of The Spirits, of maybe two or three and I plan on writing the second immediately I finish the first. That book, also provisionally titled Pearl Barley and the Georgian Goblin will take Pearl to the next stage of a conspiracy that is revealed in book one. Enough said, for now. Behind that, and almost certainly to be published before Pearl will be the next anthology of short fiction. For the last three years I’ve brought together short stories and flash fiction that I’ve written for my blog into anthologies. The first one Life, In a Grain of Sand came out in 2017, then there was Life in a Flash and Life in a Conversation. This one, Life Sentences is with my editor and should appear in time for the Christmas rush!! And behind all of them, I have a three quarters finished thriller based on my experiences at the London Olympics which, someday, I’d like to get back to… whew…

Geoff´s latest book of poetry. Don´t you just love the cover?

Famous poets reimagined, sonnets of all kinds, this poetry selection has something for all tastes, from the funny, to the poignant to the thought-provoking and always written with love and passion.

All of life in one easy couplet

To write poetry I need inspiration. Often that comes from my appreciation of the craftsmanship of other, better poets, whose skills I aspire to emulate. For this anthology, I have chosen two such sources: in part one, the search for Britain’s favourite poem led to the publication of the top 100 and I have used a number of these to craft my own take on those beautiful and inspirational works; in part two, my love of the sonnet form, fostered by reading Shakespeare’s gems has provided a selection covering many topics and themes. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed creating them.

You can purchase this book here:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Geoff in his garden of sunflowers

Geoff Le Pard started writing to entertain in 2006. He hasn’t left his keyboard since. When he’s not churning out novels he writes some maudlin self-indulgent poetry, short fiction and blogs at geofflepard.com. He walks the dog for mutual inspiration and most of his best ideas come out of these strolls. He also cooks with passion if not precision.

Geoff is a prolific writer and here is a selection of some of his books:

My Father and Other Liars is a thriller set in the near future and takes its heroes, Maurice and Lori-Ann on a helter-skelter chase across continents.

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle is a coming of age story. Set in 1976 the hero Harry Spittle is home from university for the holidays. He has three goals: to keep away from his family, earn money and hopefully have sex. Inevitably his summer turns out to be very different to that anticipated.

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

In this, the second book in the Harry Spittle Sagas, it’s 1981 and Harry is training to be a solicitor. His private life is a bit of a mess and he’s far from convinced the law is for him. Then an old acquaintance from his hotel days appears demanding Harry write his will. When he dies somewhat mysteriously a few days later and leaves Harry in charge of sorting out his affairs, Harry soon realises this will be no ordinary piece of work. After all, his now deceased client inherited a criminal empire and several people are very interested in what is to become of it.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

The third instalment of the Harry Spittle Sagas moves on the 1987. Harry is now a senior lawyer with a well-regarded City of London firm, aspiring to a partnership. However, one evening Harry finds the head of the Private Client department dead over his desk, in a very compromising situation. The senior partner offers to sort things out, to avoid Harry embarrassment but soon matters take a sinister turn and Harry is fighting for his career, his freedom and eventually his life as he wrestles with dilemma on dilemma. Will Harry save the day? Will he save himself?

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Life in a Grain of Sand is a 30 story anthology covering many genres: fantasy, romance, humour, thriller, espionage, conspiracy theories, MG and indeed something for everyone. All the stories were written during Nano 2015

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Salisbury Square is a dark thriller set in present day London where a homeless woman and a Polish man, escaping the police at home, form an unlikely alliance to save themselves.

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Apprenticed To My Mother describes the period after my father died when I thought I was to play the role of dutiful son, while Mum wanted a new, improved version of her husband – a sort of Desmond 2.0. We both had a lot to learn in those five years, with a lot of laughs and a few tears as we went.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

More of Geoff´s work can be found on his Amazon Author Page

Geoff Le Pard’s Amazon Author Page

Follow Geoff on his entertaining blog:  https://geofflepard.com

and on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/geoff.lepard

You´ll be glad you did!

96 Responses to "Guest Author: Geoff Le Pard"

Thank you for hosting this Darlene. I’m very grateful

You´re welcome. My pleasure!

Geoff LePard has exactly the kind of droll humor I appreciate. He didn’t come right out and say it, but I believe he thinks he has adopted a nobler profession in the writing life: “I’m a former lawyer, happy to have put down the quill pen but happy too to use the absurdities of a pompous and self-regarding profession for inspiration in my writing.”

The book covers are spectacular! I must investigate this author further. Thanks, Darlene! 🙂

I too love his wit. You will love this author, Marion. I really enjoyed Apprenticed to my Mother. Read my review on Amazon.com

Enjoyed this interview, Darlene, and I love the cover of Geoff’s new book!

Thanks, Stevie! I knew Geoff would provide great answers.

Thank you Stevie. My cover creator is a very talented young chap!

Well done, Darlene and Geoff…I haven’t read his work, but am sure I would enjoy it. He’s quite a character! Excellent book covers…xx

You would love his work, Joy. Thanks.

thank you Joy. If you do find something I hope you enjoy it.

How could you not want to read the works of a fellow who would love to spend a day with Pooh or Paddington as they are his kind of philosophers. 😁

I know! That was just the best answer.

Dare I recommend a post I wrote in homage to Michel Bond Paddington’s alter ego, after his untimely death and my debt of gratitude to him. His granddaughter contacted me afterwards to thank me, which had to be the best moment of my blogging career to date
https://geofflepard.com/2017/06/28/michael-bond-creator-of-paddington-bear-1926-2017-inmemoriam-michaelbond-paddingtonbear/

Thank you so much for sharing the link so that I could learn of your experience with Paddington. 😊

Great author! I very much enjoyed My Father and Other Liars! Thanks for sharing!

so glad to hear, Christa. Thank you for the support!

Glad to hear you are a fan!

Fun interview, Geoff. Thank you Darlene for hosting Geoff today (or is it tomorrow) Never know with you Europeans

Oh both and neither…. I can’t work out the one hour between here and Spain

It was fun to interview Geoff! It´s complicated but we are ahead of you by a few hours. Then there´s daylight saving time, yikes!!

Great interview with Geoff Loved his motoring analogy 🙂

Did you? I rather felt I’d stretched it beyond breaking. Glad you enjoyed, though

I really find individuals who re-invent themselves and pursue a passion, fascinating! I love Geoff’s comments about the difference between prose and poetry. Poetry is “capturing an emotion, an idea, a sense of the moment.” Beautiful. Thanks for sharing his thoughts and his work!

Thank you Patricia. It’s a pleasure to throw out a few thoughts and gratifying if they resonate somewhere

I´m glad you enjoyed Geoff´s interview. As I said, he has a way with words.

This was a very enjoyable interview to read. Thank you Darlene and Geoff!

Thank you. So glad you enjoyed it

A great interview with Geoff, Darlene. I enjoyed the motoring analogies, they are so very Geoff. Pooh and Paddington are also my favourite philosophers and I have furry and cuddly tributes to them both.

I’m not surprised you have homages to those two and I’m rather glad they aren’t part of your sinister doll collection… *shudders

Anyone who would love to spend time with Pooh and Paddington is tops in my books!

Reblogged this on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and commented:
Enjoy going behind the scenes of Geoff Le Pard’s writing career and be entertained by his usual flair for turning the mundane into a nugget of humour. Geoff has just released a collection of poetry and you can find out more by heading over to Darlene Foster’s blog…#recommended

Wonderful and a great start to the day thanks Darlene and Geoff…x

Thank you Sally. It was lovely to spend time here…

PLeased you enjoyed it but I had great subject matter! Thanks for reblogging.

This was fantastic to read. I was lucky to have met Geoff a few years ago at a blogging get together, but I wasn’t aware of his background at that stage. I always enjoy his blog and this gave me an insight into the great writer that he is! Thanks 🙂

Thanks Debbie. That bash seems a lifetime ago.

You were so lucky to have met him in person. I´m sure he is as charming in person as on the page.

Yes he was utterly charming and very clever Darlene!

Looking forward to the next book already. I can highly recommend The Sincerest form of Poetry.
Great interview Darlene 💜

It’s lovely to see Geoff here, Darlene, and learn a little bit more about what makes his engine purr. He is quite a prolific writer of material that’s easy and usually fun to read.

It is good to get to know more about the famous man. (or is that infamous?)

Thank you for the great intervie, Darlene! There are great books on board. I am not very close to poetry, but the thrillers and the anthology will do it for me. Have a beautiful week! Michael

Thanks, Michael. There is something for everyone in Geoff´s collection!

Thats true, Darlene!Thank you for the interview, and remembering me. Enjoy your week!

hopefully always something for everyone Michael…

I am sure, Geoff. Thank you for writing so interesting books. Michael

The cover is entertaining. It sounds as though Geoff has found his later-in-life calling. I wish him the best of luck with his writing. And those sunflowers. Wow. Impressive.

I know. I love those sunflowers. Geoff is a fabulous gardener and he often features his lovely garden on his blog.

Thank you Diane, I think I probably have. As I write, the garden calls for some autumn tidy up, one cat is nudging me, probably not to go into the garden but find some biscuits and dog is snogging in his bed. Life is good, I cannot deny it.

This is a lovely interview, Darlene, and Geoff, what an impressive role model your are. Good luck with the just published volume (it looks fun) and your new project.

Thanks, Cath. Geoff is a great role model and his books are wonderful.

Aw Cath what a lovely thing to suggest. A role model. Ill tell my children and wait until april before the laughter subsides. And thank you for the good wishes

Another fab interview with the always entertaining Geoff. Always fun to read. Hugs xx

He certainly keeps us laughing!

So lovely to meet Geoff here, Darlene, and I love that he would like to spend a day with Pooh or Paddington. Toni x

The ultimate toast (honey) and sandwich (marmalade) feast. Thanks Toni

That was the best answer ever!!

My gosh this was fun to read. In fact, I’m gonna go back and reread it! Your questions were terrific, Darlene and Geoff’s answers were funny and erudite and witty and intense and right on. The back roads of Indie publishing – so much better than mainstream for sure. And I feel so great that I teach creative writing to adult students because I have seen them get inspired the way Geoff was inspired when he just happened to take a writing class and zoom off from there. Keep on writing and keep that passion for your craft!

I’m so pleased you enjoyed this Pam. I just knew Geoff would provide great answers to my questions.

Hi Pam. Thank you so much for your comment. Those classes are an essential step on the road, to continue the metaphor a gas station if you will. Having thought I might like to try writing for pleasure, my biggest mental hurdle was to overcome the sense that it might be seen as somehow childish, not serious for a grown man with a serious job. Like taking up computer gaming or lego building late in life. Being on a course with others like myself with confidence inspiring tutors brought me out of the closet in ways no one else could. So on behalf of those you’ve encouraged as I was, thank you

You gave me goose bumps in your comment here. But I’ll admit, I have seen grown men and women CRY when they discovered themselves through their writing. Taking a creative writing class can be “mind-bending” and change the world for those who dare “let go” and release their creative energy. I feel honored to watch this process happen in my classes.

You had me at ‘loves his dog’. Now that’s a poet I can relate to. Nice to meet you, Geoff.

Yup, any man who loves his dog, is a friend of mine!

This interview was so much fun–a true delight! The photos are wonderful, too, the first one in particular.

Thank you Liz. My daughter is always catching him trying to clean me up!!

Oh my I want to step into the computer and have a chat with Geoff. I was giggling, intrigued and inspired all at the same time. It strikes me that Geoff could have carried on in law should he not have been so open to a fork in the road. Clearly no flat tyres ( or tires for that matter) on the highway of writing for him! A wonderful introduction which I enjoyed very much.

So for my next dinner party, I should invite you, Geoff, Pooh and Paddington. What a great conversation that would be.

I’ll look forward to it! 😊

It’s all down to Darlene’s incisive questioning! Thanks Sue, nice to meet you here.

That’s fascinating

Thanks for the interview Darlene….really enjoyed it….love the pics!!!

Glad you enjoyed it, Kirt!

That was an outstanding interview, Darlene! Anyone who loves sunflowers, Pooh and Paddington, dogs, poetry, and has a witty sense of humor, is the best – that would be Geoff.

THanks, Jennie. That sums him up perfectly! I´m sure he´s not perfect (he was once a lawyer after all) but he does have some admirable qualities.

‘As close as is humanly possible to perfection’ Dog, 2020

Haha!! You’re welcome, Darlene!

Thank you Jennie. Very generous

You’re welcome, Geoff. Well deserved!

Those are great photos—I like the one with the dog. 🙂

A man and his dog is always a great picture.

Dog says thanks… I sometimes think he shoulder be the published author!!

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