James Follett was born in 1939 in Tollworth Surrey, he lives in Surrey with his wife, two black and one ginger cats. He was blinded in an accident as a child but his sight was restored in his early teens.
He trained to be a Marine Engineer and also spent some time hunting for underwater treasure, filming sharks, designing powerboats at Pioneer Designs Godalming till 1975. ( Where this was, I have yet to find out, and if he found anything,) David Williams See The James Follett timeline for when all these events happened.
He did build a boat in his garden called a Pacemaker, the boat was 22 foot long and was complete with four-berths and powered by a Ford 100E Anglia engine. The boat was due for launch on 25th July 1964 at Walton.
This is the boat that he built and a very young James, he was 25 at the time according to the newspaper that this came from.
James Follett in 1982
James Follett 1982 ? just before Earthsearch II is broadcast
James Follett from Paper dated 26th January 1982
James did writing technical material for the British Ministry of Defense ( MOD ) before becoming a full time writer in 1976. James has written some twenty plus novels ( Which as you know is just not enough, 2 novels a year would be much better, mainly because there would be more book shop shelf space with his books on ) David Williams
Numerous radio plays and television dramas. With the very successful thriller Mirage, and Tiptoe Boys which was filmed as WHO DARES WINS.
For the last NINE years James has been in the top band of 100 authors for most borrowed books from public libraries in the United Kingdom. In 1997-2003 there were only 130 authors who qualified for top band with only 104 in 1996. James novels have been translated into 11 languages and he is one of the few British authors whose books have been published in China and Japan.
He was the creator of the BBC Radio 4's widely-acclaimed SF saga Earthsearch, now in production as a TV drama series. James lists one of his interests as being an amateur radio user with the call sign G1LXP and his other big hobby collecting postcards.
I'm a fairly rare beast because I'm equally at home turning out radio plays and documentaries, TV scripts, screenplays, commercials, and novels. I'm primarily a storyteller -- the medium doesn't matter although all have conventions and disciplines that are very different.
When I succumbed to a bug that I'd been trying to ignore and finally wrote a story, it was natural I should turn to writing it as a radio play. Being blind for as a kid and having spent many hours listening to Radio 4 (or the Home Service and Light Programme as they were known then) I had unconsciously absorbed the radio writers' craft. Much to my astonishment, the BBC bought my first offering, and two more in rapid succession before the first one was broadcast.
It was my agent who wanted me to branch out into TV and novels although I was happy ploughing a radio furrow. Her view over thirty years ago was that radio drama was nearing the end of its days even though Afternoon Theatre was attracting audiences of around a million. She asserted that there would always be thriving market for novels. So, with the help of the agency's senior partner and the insistence of an editor chum for a publisher, I wrote a novel -- a task I approached without great enthusiasm because it was a lot of work. Six months if I recall for a first draft whereas a radio script could be written over a weekend of frenzied activity.
Then one book became two, then three and so on. The figure is around 22 now but I haven't counted. Translation, backlisting rights started to flow in but I had an efficient Rottweiler of an agent to take care of that. About three years ago, when the BBC inadvertently infringed my copyright and didn't have a legal leg to stand on, they sent around the head of copyright to see her and apologise.
Your question: "... is novel writing art, craft or just business? Which comes first?" misses a vital point -- the ability to tell a story comes first. Art? I don't know. Craft? Most definitely -- a craft that can be learned. And, in my case because I'm much too mild-mannered, the business side is best left to an agent.
There's another essential element and that's the love of telling stories. I write only to please myself and consider myself fortunate that about two million readers, not counting Japan and China
"All these snide comments from Dave Williams sprinkled across this website like cow pats in a meadow about my collection of boring postcards stem from the fact that he has seen it and is consumed with unseemly jealousy. In fact I've not been able to add to the collection for two years because boring postcards are so damn difficult to come by. The last one was a magnificent colour picture of a row of beach huts near Bournemouth. Any reader coming across a boring postcard is urged to send it to me at:
James Follett Marjacq Scripts LTD
34 Devonshire Place
London W1N 1PE"
He and Andrew Sachs are building up the world's finest collection of boring postcards. The book of boring postcards has now been in production for some twenty years. This is mainly because some of the early postcards have now become interesting and have had to be dumped.
The title of the book is "The Yawn", publication will never happen.
Please let me know if any of this information is wrong or just plain incorrect.
New Projects Latest Novel Very Short fiction Novels by Decade Novels by Cover Fiction Samples
Radio Plays Audio Bibliography: Radio Radio Play Directors
James Follett A-Z Radio Characters James Follett A-Z
James Follett Time-line Earthsearch Links
Home E-mail James or Dave