Can you tell us about yourself?
Hello! I'm Keith A Pearson, and I've been writing full-time for almost two years after publishing my first novel, The '86 Fix, back in 2016. I'm due to release my twelfth, Waiting in The Sky, within the next six weeks. Somehow, I've managed to sell 250,000 books along the way – who knew there was such a market for oddball British authors and vaguely believable tales!
Are you working on something now?
My latest novel is titled Waiting in The Sky, and it centres around a guy called Simon Armstrong – an alien who has endured humans for thirty long years but is set to return to a home planet he's never visited before. It's safe to say events don't entirely unfold the way Simon assumed they might.
I had intended to secure an agent for Waiting in The Sky, but traditional publishing is a painfully slow process for an impatient man. So, I published today through my own imprint, Inchgate.
Which six books will you take to the Island?
Notes From a Small Island – Bill Bryson I can't recall how I came to read Bryson's first book, but I frequently go through periods where I prefer to read non-fiction over novels. Notes From a Small Island tells the story of a young American visiting the UK for the first time, but with Bryson's quirky observations and dry wit, it's so much more than a travelogue. I've subsequently devoured everything he's ever written.
1984 – George Orwell. This is the first novel I read as a teenager and actually enjoyed – ironically, in 1984 as part of our English syllabus at school. It coincided with a big-budget movie adaptation starring John Hurt, and an accompanying top-ten hit by the Eurythmics. I think the commercial hype at the time ignited my interest in the book, and that interest has stayed with me to this day. I must have read 1984 at least a dozen times.
Killing Floor – Lee Child. Killing Floor is the first book in Child's Jack Reacher series, which I stumbled upon in 2013. I read all eighteen titles in the series within seven weeks, and that remains my most prolific spell of reading to date. So many authors have tried to copy Child's formula for thrillers featuring an ex-military loner, but none come close to Reacher.
If I Never Met You - Mhairi McFarlane. I'm not a massive fan of rom-coms, but I broke my reading habits when I spotted If I Never Met You on a 99p Amazon deal. It remains the best 99p I've ever spent on a book. Mhairi McFarlane's brand of humour is uniquely wicked, and I subsequently chuckled my way through every one of her novels.
11/22/63 – Stephen King. I have a confession to make here – I've always found King's novels to be a bit hit-or-miss. I've enjoyed a few, but I've also given up halfway through too many. However, 11/22/63 was a fantastic tale. Having written four time-travel novels myself, I know how hard it is to construct a unique premise and a believable plot, but King really hit the spot with this one.
Mr Quiet – Roger Hargreaves. I can't recall if it was the TV cartoons or the books that sparked my initial interest in the Mr Men stories, but I absolutely adored them all. Despite being part of a large family living in a small house, I was quite a solitary child, preferring to spend time on my own. For that reason, my favourite character was Mr Quiet – even now, I can still relate to the little fellow.
What disc will you take to the Island?
I guess if I'm stuck on a desert island, I'd want something positive and uplifting. So, I'd take a copy of Baz Luhrmann's single, Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen), which is more a series of life lessons than a song. My kids know the lyrics word for word… probably because they're forced to listen to it most nights while I prepare dinner.
What will be your luxury item?
Do socks count as a luxury item? One of life's simple pleasures is slipping on a brand-new pair of cotton socks—that, and climbing into a bed with freshly laundered linen.
Which fictional character will you meet?
Two essential tools every author needs in their armoury are an inquisitive mind and a vivid imagination. I can think of no literary character who possesses both those traits in such abundance as Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. I think four hours spent in Anne's company would be a real eye-opener.