Thinking Plainly’s Authors

Dear all,

It is my pleasure to introduce you to Rufus Garlic and Alfred Duff. If you would like to connect with us on social media, you can find all our details on our websites:

Rufus Garlic

Rufus Garlic, author, invites you to take a quick breather in life’s great steeplechase and read about what makes him tick:

For years I wrote like a clapped out old car – started, faltered and stopped; started, faltered and stopped. Not once did I ever finish anything, didn’t even come close. Then a decade ago life dealt me a few swift mule-kicks and left me feeling as if I had done the Everest descent in a loose-fitting barrel. Wrapped in the blue-grey fungus of my despondency I sat myself down to write and, for once, did not stop. I just persevered. I set out to write a 100,000 word novel and ended up with a 300,000 word monster. The thing had grown in all sorts of organic directions as I penned it. It was a vast, unruly bay tree. So, obviously, what I needed to do was to start with the intention of writing a 40,000 novella and then the end product would be a novel of the requisite length. I had a fresh idea, new characters, some time off work. The result was 120,000 words: The Disappearance Club or A Polish Detective in London.

I write about the thin, troublesome line between good and evil, about the capacity of good people to do awful things when survival is at stake, and of forgiveness and of forgiveness withheld. Sometimes I high-tail it in quite the opposite direction and write for humour’s sake and to make my friends laugh. I write because I enjoy it and because it keeps me off the streets and out of the public houses…at least, until nine o’ clock Interestingly, I cannot write a single line of any quality after that time.

I was asked to provide a photograph of myself and have endeavoured, for three weeks, to take a flattering one. I have now given up in dismay – a flattering one is not possible – hence the excrescence you can see. I even considered dying my hair for the picture (rare vain moment) but could not be arsed in the end. They are funny little teasers, grey hairs, aren’t they? You find and pull out that first one and then it’s like trying to stop the Niagara with a tea-strainer – they just deluge all over your head.

Anyway, this novel of mine… The Disappearance Club or A Polish Detective in London, is a rather serious work (underneath the humour and japes) and asks you, in essence, to consider whether a good man should die or, indeed, whether a bad man should live. The choice was mine, is yours, and has been the major characters’. Interestingly, men and women seem to choose rather differently so whichever gender you are…why not read it and pick for yourself one side of the divide or the other.

Happy reading.

Rufus Garlic.

Alfred Duff

My earliest memory is being useless at just about everything, especially school. I became used to being put safely at the back of the class to gather dust and make way for brighter and more gifted children. It was a strange introduction to learning and when I look back now, I wonder how some teachers of such young minds could have so little patience. But away from school my childhood was full of adventure and imagination. Many of the stories that now occupy my mind can trace their roots back to the games my older brother and I would play across the carpets of our bedrooms. It would take me several hours to march my army down the passage to do battle with his…of course being the older brother he seemed to win most of these battles. We had many great games and life was good outside school.

At age nine or ten things at school seemed to gradually improve; I was diagnosed with dyslexia and received special tutoring one day a week when the headmaster begrudgingly allowed me to leave class to visit a teacher who cared and knew just how to explain things to me. At the same time I found myself in the class of a rather unique teacher. He seemed to throw away the rulebooks by which my early education had been governed and instead read exciting stories about ancient Greece. He also spotted that although I lacked in most subjects, my creative writing wasn’t half bad. Before long I was writing a story about a man in search of an abducted princess. It wasn’t the easiest story to write since I decided to give the reader the opportunity to pick his or her own path through the story. Each chapter ended with a cliff-hanger and gave the reader two choices and two pages to turn to as a result…this led to multiple plot threads and many alternative endings!

Speaking of choices, mine took me away from writing for a long time, although in one way or another it somehow crept back into my life without me realising. I became a typical straight out of school teenager with poor grades and no clue about what I wanted to do in life. I fumbled through several jobs until I finally decided to do something drastic…to join the Royal Navy. I could almost write an entire book about the RN, but for now let’s just say I had some of the best and worst days of my life on Her Majesty’s ships. I am glad I did it, and I wouldn’t swap my experiences for the world. For one thing, during this time of floating around the world a light was switched back on inside me and I began to write fiction once more.

I left the Royal Navy after four and a half years service and soon found work back in London. Several more years and several more jobs passed by and I had built up quite a collection of ideas and stories in my spare time. Then one day on a trip to renew my passport I finally realised that my ideas would always remain just ideas, unless I devoted my time to committing them to paper. It has not been an easy road and at times I thought it impossible, in fact a part of me still does, that part of me is still the little boy at the back of the class gathering dust, but against all the odds here I am! I simply hope you enjoy the stories that have been inspired by everything from battles on carpets to adventures at sea – each one some thirty years in the making.

Alfred Duff