Tony Fyler knew he wanted to be a writer after reading the Ladybird ‘Peter and Jane’ books. In his mind, Jane was an alien princess sent into exile to save her planet, and Peter was an evil robot duplicate, secretly sent to wipe her out and begin a reign of darkness across the galaxy.
Pat the Dog was actually the President of the Algonquin Alliance of Shapeshifters, protecting Jane from Peter’s evil intentions.
Surprisingly, Ladybird rejected his proposed plotline, and Fyler tasted the bitterness of rejection early.
Nevertheless, at the age of 24, inspired by Douglas Adams, and beginning to read some whipper-snapper called Terry Pratchett, Tony began writing a comic fantasy novel. It was featured several times on a BBC Radio Wales book show, and critiqued positively by publishers including HarperCollins, Pan MacMillan, Transworld and Orion. In talks and re-writes for a year with HarperCollins, Tony’s first novel was ultimately rejected by them.
He became a journalist to spite them.
Then began what he now looks back on fondly as the Bitter Whinging Years, where he wrote nothing creative, and was often heard, sitting in a chair, to mutter “I have given a name to my pain…and that name is Pratchett.”
During those years, he qualified as a radio journalist, worked in BBC TV, wrote for a motoring magazine despite taking five attempts to pass his test, betrayed his early Socialist convictions by working for a commercial nursing agency, joined a shipping trade union two days before a car carrier sank in the English Channel, worked for a fostering charity and ended up writing and editing a magazine for the Royal Institute of Navigation, despite not knowing his left from his right, and getting lost on the way to the interview.
He also started up a professional editing business – Jefferson Franklin Editing – and has made a living telling other authors what’s wrong with their novels.
Now, nearly 20 years after his initial brush with writing success, he feels that the publishers have probably suffered enough from being denied his work. It’s time to start writing again, and to make a name for himself pursuing his true passion – making people laugh so hard they start to think, by writing comic fantasy novels that blend the real world with the mythical, fictional and/or religious worlds in which people believe.