Carol’s Close Up with Author Ian Ayris



                                      Ian Ayris

Ian Ayris was born in Dagenham, Essex, in August 1969. Having spent most of his childhood more interested in kicking a tennis ball about the school playground with his mates than actually learning anything, he managed to leave the public education system in 1985 with but two O’ Levels and a handful of C.S.E.’s,

And a love of writing.

His academic achievements set him up nicely for the succession of low paid jobs he has maintained to this day. These jobs have included a three year stint as a delivery boy for an electrical company, five years putting nuts and bolts in boxes in a door factory, one day in a gin factory, and three months in a record shop, He has spent the last sixteen years, however, working with adults with learning difficulties, and in the meantime, has become a qualified counsellor.

Ian’s love of writing resurfaced late in his thirties, in the guise of short stories. He has since had almost thirty short stories published both in print and online, and is currently studying for a degree in English Literature.

Ian lives with his wife and three children in Romford, Essex, and is a lifelong Dagenham and Redbridge supporter.
Abide with Me is published March 19th 2012.

Ian’s novel Abide With Me has been described by many, as one of the most memorable books that they have read in a long time. When you meet Ian you are immediately struck that he is someone who is far too modest about his achievements and his ability. What you see is what you get with Ian. A lovely family orientated chap with a heart of gold and we were lucky enough to be at the Tonbridge Literary Festival with Ian this weekend and he also brought along his one of his sons who let me say now is a proper credit to him and his wife! Hi Charlie!


So come on Ian would you advise others  to take a writing course at college or University?

I’m actually taking an English Lit. Open University degree at the moment, the last module being Creative Writing. Next up – Advance Creative Writing.  The answer to the question, however, is probably ‘yes’ and ‘no’.  There is a lot that can be learnt on these sorts of courses about the structural elements of writing, especially story construction, character formation, and stuff like screenplays and radio scripts, and the like.  All very interesting.  But beyond all that, you need the spark – the imagination, the fearless capacity to write what is inside you. Not sure a course can teach you that.  For that, you need a teacher, and in this life, they come in many guises . . .

Because of your hectic lifestyle can you possibly have a routine for your writing – same place, same time?

Since ABIDE WITH ME was published, and the incredible response it has received, I’m trying hard to establish a writing routine.  AWM, you see, was written amdist absolute chaos. Lines written in my head at bus stops, in the school playground waiting for the kids, queing up atTescos, on the train. Or up through the night surviving on coffee and biscuits.

 My life is a bit simpler now, since the littl’un started school last August. I do a bit of cleaning, some shopping – Tescos every bloody day – and then I sit down at the computer for an hour or so. If I can keep off Amazon, and the social networking stuff long enough, I’ll try and knock out a thousand or so words a day.  But my way of writing is purely intuitive, so I sort of have to wait for the words to come. Hard to have a workable routine or wordcount when it comes like that. I’m trying, though :)

What’s your favourite nibble whilst you’re working? What keeps Ian Ayris ‘on the ball’?

Purple Yorkies, Double-Deckers, any sort of biscuity thing, really. If it’s got chocolate on top, so much the better.


Which character in your book did you like most and why?

Kenny is my favourite. He is my hero. In the book, he is the only character that stays true to himself, even though that sense of self is severely distorted by the limitations of his body and his mind. If I could see the world through the eyes of Kenny, just for a day, I’d be a very lucky chap.


Has becoming  published changed your life and is it all you expected it to be?
Getting published hasn’t so much changed my life, as changed my perception of myself. A lot of demons were slain in the writing of ABIDE WITH ME. Having it published – accepted outside of myself – squished them right into the ground. In that sense, my life has changed forever. Which is nice.


Do you admire or look up to anyone in particular?

I admire anyone who lives this life true to themselves, however that might manifest.


Pet Hates?

Exclamation marks and semi-colons. The punctuation of the devil.


How do you relax?

Being a househusband during the week, and working twenty two and a half hours in a residential home every weekend doesn’t allow for too much relaxation. Although my wife would say being a househusband during the week and working twenty two and a half hours in a residential home every weekend is more than enough relaxation for anyone. We beg to differ on the point, mostly. When I do get time to myself, however, walking, reading, and yoga are my main pleasures.


What do you consider your finest achievements?

Aside from having three wonderful children and a darling wife, I reckon stumbling through the last ten years as a househusband without the kids being taken into care is quite an achievement. Oh, and ABIDE WITH ME getting published. That’s great too ;)


What do you keep in your pockets?

It’s a tracksuit bottom day today – hence the answer is ‘holes’. Though I’ve an unsettling feeling I’ve a pound coin stuck in the lining somewhere towards my left foot. My front door keys went down inside the lining a couple of months back.  I had to do a yoga shoulderstand and wriggle me legs to get them out. We live in a terraced house, so this little performance was carried out in full view of the rest of the street.


My kids really are very proud of the things I can achieve. And so is my wife.


What words or phrases do you most overuse in speech or writing?

My biggest midemeanours are ‘and’, ‘all’, and ‘just’. My first drafts are littered with them. But they help me keep the writing flowing, even if they are commonly stripped out in the final draft.


What single thing would improve the quality of your life right now?

A Purple Yorkie and Double Decker combo.


What is the most important lessons life has taught you?

Fear nothing.


Greatest fear?

See above :)


Ideal dinner party guests?

Dmitri Shostakovich, Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Stephen King, Sojourner Truth, William Blake. What a laugh that would be, eh :)


What are you writing now?

At the moment I am finishing writing my first Kindle  novella – ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF JASON DEAN. Hopefully, it should be out same time later this year, or early next.

And let me tell the readers I have seen a chapter – absolutely fantastic! What are your plans for the future?

My next assignment is to begin the sequel to ABIDE WITH ME, with a first draft hopefully completed in the new year, or thereabouts.


And just to have fun. That’s the main thing, eh :)

Thanks Ian. It has been lovely, as always, to have a chat with you. Good luck with everything and see you soon hopefully!

Ian’s contact details

Abide with Me

3rd May, 1975. Eight year old John watches his beloved West Ham win the cup, whilst at the same time, Kenny tumbles out the front door of the house opposite, blood all over his face.
Fourteen years later, both boys’ childhoods ripped apart in the broken streets of London’s East End, John and Kenny find themselves frontin up local gangster, Ronnie Swordfish.
John’s got a lifetime of hurt to put right – for him and for Kenny.
But with John layin on the ground half unconscious and Ronnie with a sword to Kenny’s head, whatever way you look at it, it don’t look good . . .
ABIDE WITH ME is the story of two boys forced to walk blind into the darkness of their shattered lives . . . and their struggle to emerge as men.


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