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In the Booth with Ruth – Pete Sortwell, Author

Pete Sortwell

What’s your writing background? When did you begin writing and what inspired you?

I’ve always wanted to write since I was at school and a book my father wrote was in the school library. I was hooked after seeing that.

I read the Burglar Diaries by Danny King ten years ago. I love it and the diaries that followed it. I thought it would be nice to write then but never did anything other than think about how great it would be to have written it. I’d never read anything that had made me laugh off the page before.

My writing background is that I started in 2010 after spending another year thinking about how good another friend of mine, Polly Courtney’s book was. It all started late one night (3am) on an iPad in the bed at work that I was supposed to sleep in but spent more time looking at the ceiling wondering if I should get up and shout at the kids above who were making a racket. I wrote the first chapter of my novel, So Low So High that night. Once I was three chapters in I had a panic about writing a novel. I couldn’t think of anything worse than writing that many words and it being utterly shit. So I sought out Byker books, who produced the mighty Radgepacket. I’d read some of Danny’s short stories in this collection and decided I’d write one and see if I could get it in. At this point I didn’t know anything at all about the world of submissions and sent in a 1st draft story that was in itself pretty poor and that was before we look at technical skills, spelling and grammar. I got a kind email back from the editor suggesting I join a writing group. I did. Then in September of that year, I spent the month writing ‘Win-Win’ and submitted it. It was published in Radgepacket volume 5. That as they say is the start of it. I won’t waffle on about the journey as it has been such a whirlwind with so much packed into it. We’d both be bored by the time it finished.

How often do you write? And how do you manage to fit in writing among other commitments?

I write every day when I’m in writing mode. Minimum of a thousand words. Editing mode I edit a minimum of three thousand. How do I fit it in? I stay up late. Sleep is the one thing that goes out the window when I’m writing. But the way I see it is, I’d only be up pacing the house or flying little helicopters or something, so I might as well do something positive with it.

In which genre do you most enjoy writing?

I like writing humour. For a long time I didn’t like to say that as I thought I’d sound like one of those blokes who thought he was funny but ain’t. But that’s the long and short of it. I like to write humour, there I said it. It is what it is.

Having said that though, I do like writing serious fiction too. My short story ‘Noang lish’ was runner up in a swanky flash fiction competition in 2011. I wrote that for my mum as she thought ‘win-win’ had too much swearing in it.

What draws you to write in that genre?

I like to make myself laugh while I’m working. It’s also nice to make others laugh from something they read. I think that’s a fairly hard thing to do so I’m happy when it happens. Laughter is a good thing and if I can spread some then I’m content.

Can you tell me about your current project(s)?

The ….. Idiot Reviews is something of a new concept (if I do say so myself). It’s certainly something I haven’t seen before. They’re essentially comedy novella however, they’re written entirely in the format of a person leaving a review. If you didn’t guess, it’s written by a load of idiots who live in a village, work in an office, are the government, etc etc.

What are your writing plans for the future?

Once I’ve finished the two novels I’ve got left to do in the trilogy, the two e-books that need doing and the editing of all of that. I’ll be trying my hand at scripts. Whilst I’ve been writing I’ve set goals. I use the plural purely because I keep obtaining the ones I’ve set. Although I’m not trying to be big headed here, I’m just saying that I never thought I’d write anything, then I wrote. I never thought I would get anything published. I took advice, grew a thick skin, took more advice, and wrote something worth being published. I never thought I’d write a novel, but with a lot of effort, determination and drive to finish it, I was able to. Then getting it published was another thing. At first, I thought it would NEVER happen. Now that has too. Hopefully, my new goal of getting a script that I like finished and in shape similar to the books of scripts I’ve got on my shelf will be achieved, and I think you can guess what the one is after that but I’m in the stage of really not thinking that is something that could happen to me at the moment. Who knows, all I have to do is keep going, the only way it will definitely not happen is if I stop trying and I won’t be doing that.

Where can people find out more about you?

Twitter: @petesortwell

Facebook: click here

Amazon: click here


  • Pete Sortwell’s ‘In the Booth with His Book: Who Likes Short Shorts?’ interview can be read here.
About Ruth Jacobs (296 Articles)
Author of Soul Destruction: Unforgivable, a novel exposing the dark world and harsh reality of life as a drug addicted call girl. The main storyline is based loosely on events from my own life. In addition to fiction writing, I am also involved in journalism and broadcasting, primarily for human rights campaigning in the areas of sex workers' rights, anti-sexual exploitation and anti-human trafficking.

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  1. Comedy and crime writer, Pete Sortwell, is in the booth with his latest book: Who Likes Short Shorts? | Ruth Jacobs

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