Friday, March 1, 2013

#Interview ~ Roderick Low ~ Rewards and Dilemmas

Today, I'm pleased to welcome my friend, author Roderick Low for an interview. He's here to talk about his writing and his romantic suspense book, Rewards and Dilemmas. First, let's read about his book!

“Hugh Ballater is a successful writer who enjoys international literary success, in contrast to his troubled personal life. After divorcing his wife, he leaves England and buys a house on the Kenyan coast where he continues to write. Finally at peace, he produces some of his best novels from his beachside retreat. With the unexpected arrival of a young Indian woman looking for work, his life takes a new turn. However, their encounter is short-lived as he dies unexpectedly. After his death, the reading of his Will sparks a chain of events that has far-reaching consequences for those closest to him. This love story crackles with intrigue and suspense around the dilemmas and rewards facing his housekeeper – the narrator of the story – and his ex-wife and children.”

Okay, let's get right down to it. Try to describe your book in one sentence:

Rewards and Dilemmas” tells the story of a successful writer whose death triggers events through which he reveals himself to those closest to him in life.

When did you begin writing?

I started to write as soon as I could hold a pencil. My mother, Lois Dorothea Low, was a successful writer who spent long hours in our dining room at home tapping out her romantic stories on an old ‘Remington’. I guess writing was in the genes as I produced a story entitled “Mrs. Blotting Paper” – complete with illustrations – when I was about seven years old. I still have it! But I started to write fiction seriously when I was in my fifties.

Did you have support at the beginning and/or during your writing?

The main and unquenchable flow of support has been from my wife – she is a ‘Chantal’ (although spelled differently!). She is my greatest admirer but also my most intuitive critic. Like most writers, I am very sensitive and don’t take kindly to criticism, but her views are predominantly pertinent and relevant and always expressed from a position of love. I am a very fortunate scribbler.

Awww! You guys are so adorable! Nice that you have a lot of support at home. 

Do you keep track or write reviews for books you read?

I am quite new to the Internet in the context of writing. So, until recently, I would read a book, enjoy it or not, and largely keep my opinions to myself. I am now asked to write reviews (and ask others to review my books!) and thoroughly enjoy the process.

I love giving reviews, unfortunately, I don't get to read nearly as much as I'd like to anymore. The life of a writer is busy. It's great that you give reviews. What is it you love most about writing? What is the hardest part for you?

There sometimes comes a point, while I am writing, when the story takes over and I am just a clumsy, typing ‘channel’ through which the ideas, words and consequences flow. In fact I would say that, if this doesn’t happen, the story won’t really ‘get going’ and usually ends up set aside on a USB ‘stick’ which may, or may never, be resurrected. I have at least six unfinished novels – some of as much as 25,000 words – in that situation.

But when the story takes over, it is like magic. The characters decide what is going to happen and, as they know themselves better than I ever could, I let them take over. One novel, now published, had reached over 70,000 words on a Sunday night and I bleated to my wife, ‘I have absolutely no idea where this is going!’ By the Monday evening, all the threads began to come together and the first draft was completed on Tuesday. But it’s the characters who decide when their story is complete.

I'm very similar to you. My writing is also driven by the characters and they sure do come up with some great surprises, don't they? Okay, why did you choose the genre you write in?

Well, I don’t think I write in any particular genre. I write about things I understand and have experienced – love, loss, comedy, mystery, and various concerns I have for the future and about life in general.

Promises of Love and Good Behaviour” and “Rewards and Dilemmas” are, essentially, love stories. By way of complete contrast, “Going Nowhere” is a funny book drawn from my own perceptions of village life in rural France.

England 2026. After the Discord”, reflects my deep anxiety for our society which, in spite of all its flaws, is something I hold very dear and which I feel I must defend, while “Three Hundred Hours” describes the physical and mental journey undertaken by the central character. 

They all sound great. I need more reading time, but I'm anxious to read both Rewards and Dilemmas and Three Hundred Hours. Some day, I'll get to everything on my to-be-read pile! Okay, how did you come up with your premise for your books?

I admire Stephen King very much. There is an autobiographical book he wrote about the process of writing. In it, he talks about his own approach and he says he starts with a single question – a ‘what if this were to happen’ scenario. I fully subscribe to this idea and each of my books spins into the answer to a single question. 

In “Rewards and Dilemmas”, the question was, ‘what would happen if a successful and wealthy writer, who didn’t say what he really felt in life, decided to do so after his death?’

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

New authors or new to me? My reading used to be heavily influenced by the classics but in recent years I have been discovering some amazing talents. Of course there are some like Paulo Coelho and Iain Banks who hardly need mentioning. But Sarah Kernochan, Bob Atkinson, Rachel Thompson, I. C. Camilleri, Jeannie Walker, Zoe Saadia, Susan Buchanan, Tannera Kane, Bev Spicer, Susan Fleet and Susan Louineau are recent discoveries, as are David Bishop and your good self!

The new publishing methods are extremely liberating and enable us to ‘get out there’, but this new-found freedom does not seem to result in a ‘dumbing down’ of what’s available. I am very impressed by the current standard of writing, much of which doesn’t get to market by the conventional channels.

How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?

Very important. Of course it is very flattering when someone reads your work and takes time to comment on it or write a review. But, more than that, the complex relationship between writer, book, and reader is a dynamic that changes the way the book is seen by readers and the writer. I learn about my work from my readers’ comments. I think that’s something that works for every writer. And, yes. I reply to their messages and read their reviews!

I'm the same way. I love hearing from readers. So, have you ever Googled yourself?

Of course! For me, writing is everything. I would write even if no-one read my work. But, when you find yourself on Google, there is a sort of recognition – a permanence. I’m not famous, but I get a kick out of seeing several pages against my name – an emotion shared by many fellow writers I guess!

Are you writing something else at the moment? 

Actually, no. I now have five books on Amazon and I’m spending a lot of time promoting them (and in the context of that, thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog!). But, right now, I’m taking a breather and mulling over several new projects without actually putting words down on paper. 

Yes, the promoting does tend to cut into writing time. Good luck on your promotion efforts and the next project, whenever you start it. Thanks so much for being here!

About the Author:
Roderick Craig Low, the elder son of Scottish parents, was born and brought up in England. On leaving grammar school, he lived in Scotland for about five years before moving south to Yorkshire where he raised a family. It was then that he was able to apply his liking for language to his professional life, trading his role as a computer consultant for that of a technical author providing manuals to support software systems and business processes for many ‘big name’ companies. In 1994, he remarried. His book, ‘Writing User Documentation’, was published by Prentice Hall that same year. Creative writing, however, was the ultimate goal but the pressures of everyday life prevented its realisation. He moved to France in 2003 and, in addition to enjoying the delights of living in rural France, can now devote more time to this activity. His first book ‘Three Hundred Hours’ was published in 2009 and re-published by Andrews UK in 2012, together with four other novels, ‘England 2026 - After the Discord’, ‘Going Nowhere’, ‘Promises of Love and Good Behaviour’ and ‘Rewards & Dilemmas’. He has also written a number of short stories for conventional and on-line publication. 

Want to connect with Roderick? You can find him here:

Email address: 

Wondering where to buy his books? 


Thanks for reading, everyone! I hope you have a fantastic weekend!
~~ Chantel ~~


  1. Roderick, what a great interview. I loved reading about you and your life and getting to know you better!

    1. Thank you, Melissa! The quality of the interview is down to Chantel Rhondeau who has been a wonderful introduction to the world of blogging for me. I loved doing it and sharing a bit of myself. Tell me if you think I can write with a woman as the narrator. A great and necessary challenge in this book! Best wishes, Roderick.


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