John Priest

1. Did you pick your genre or did it pick you?

The idea for Jay-Pea-Eyes aka Junior Private Investigators sort of grew in my head for a good while. It was a good idea and the detective/whodunit genre is an exciting one to be in. I continued the series with book 2, The Curse of Sea Shell Cave, so I think you could definitely say the genre picked me.

2. Do you write in multiple genres or just one?

I have ideas for many different genres for both children and adults. I have written books and screenplays that range from comedy, mystery, fantasy to science fiction and horror.

3. How much time do you devote to writing per day?

I get chance to write between 3-4 hrs a day during the week and around 5-6 hrs on weekends.

4. What have you published so far?

I have had several books published, both with traditional publishers and independently. My first book was called Naughty Nigel Runs Away published by educational publisher Ginn & Co., They also published Answer The Phone Fiona!

Heinemann published, Tom’s Birthday Treat

My other books have been self-published:

Peter Challenge – Time Surfer,

Jay-Pea-Eyes aka Junior Private Investigators,

Little Miss Straight Tail,

The Curse of Sea Shell Cave.

5. Has your method of writing changed over the course of publishing your books?

Absolutely. When I first started, my books were aimed at younger children and so were shorter. I could think of a title to a book and without anything else, could complete a book easily. The longer books aren’t as easy! I have to map them out properly, build the characters and the plot properly and then sit down and write. It’s difficult sometimes to take it slowly, but I know it makes for a better and more satisfying read once the book is completed.

6. Where do you see yourself a year from now?

That’s a good question but one that forces you to make your plans and goals. I took early retirement (54yrs) to concentrate on my writing and I’m confident that I will have a good following of both readers and also writers and hopefully both groups of people will see me as a person they can send an email to or invite me to do a school workshop. I visit libraries and schools now but I would like that to increase by next year.

7. Did you self-publish, go the traditional way, or do both?

As I explained in question 4, I have been published traditionally and self- published.

8. Which method did you prefer? From my own experiences, both ways are difficult. Back in the 80’s when I started sending work to publishers, it was a long process and took another 12 years before I started getting noticed.

The self-publishing might be easier in the sense that you can get a book into print, but it’s still a long process after that; marketing, social media, getting known, website building, SEO, back linking etc., etc.

9. Of the books that you have written, do you have a favorite? Why?

My latest book, The Curse of Sea Shell Cave gave me a great deal of enjoyment writing. It was really satisfying completed the second book in

the series of Jay-Pea-Eyes (JPIs) or Junior Private Investigators. I did my own illustration for the front cover so I’m very proud of that too.

10. Why did you become a writer?

For me, I don’t believe it’s just the writing, I think it’s a mixture of things; love of storytelling and visualising children’s faces, the excitement when they start reading and the satisfaction when they complete the book. It’s a feeling of creating something new, something never seen or heard of before. That’s something truly amazing isn’t it?

11. Who is your target audience?

I have books for children of various ages; some are for babies to be read by parents at bedtime. The other whodunit/detective/mystery or fantasy books have chapters for children learning to read chapter books. These are for children aged up to 12 years

12. What are you working on now?

I have several ideas that I’m working on at the minute, one being the third book in the JPI’s series. The other is a Science Fiction screenplay.

13. What makes you different from other writers in your genre?

I like to think that after all this time scribbling I can write a book that entertains the group it’s aimed for. I always think it’s easier to write for a certain audience if you understand that audience and study their likes and dislikes. I’ve been fortunate in the fact that I have two daughters and studied their books over the years. Now they have grown up, they have blessed my wife and I with three young grandchildren who not only keep us busy but can also show me exactly what they like and what they turn their noses up at!

14. My own life is a little like a book; since leaving school I have worked as a glazier, police officer, security guard, weighbridge operator, special needs assistant, IT Tutor, English Tutor, Assessor, Internal Verifier, Home Inspector/Surveyor.

At 18 years of age I joined the police force. At 19.5 years I nearly died

whilst passenger in a police car. At the time of the crash I had a Near Death Experience and was later involved in the largest study of Near Death Experiences in the UK.

At 21 years I was married. At 23 I had another serious accident and couldn’t walk for almost 12 months. My wife had our first baby daughter during this time. Although I’ve been into hospital for various other accidents and operations over the years, I have been happily married for almost 35 years with two daughters and three grandchildren.

I believe in fate and look upon my injuries as a blessing.



Children’s detective whodunit

Three children go missing and police organize a massive search of the town of Dudleigh and surrounding areas. A call from a security officer at Russington Hospital immediately has several Detectives heading for the Accident & Emergency Department. All three missing children have somehow been returned to the Hospital. No-one sees or hears anything; it’s as though the children appeared out of the sky. The Doctor is puzzled – the children are in excellent health but are refusing to talk to anyone, not even their own parents. Local detectives are baffled. Where have they been? What have they been doing? Why won’t they talk? All questions the police want answered. And urgently. When another young girl goes missing her 10 year old brother Harry and his three friends, Stan and identical twins Polly and Lily, are determined to find her and solve the mystery once and for all. Will they solve the mystery before the Police? Can they find out the ‘Where’s and the What’s’ and also the ‘Why’s and the How’s?’

Peter Challenge – Time Surfer

Children’s Fantasy

Peter Challenge jumped into bed and gazed around his bedroom. His eyes took in every minute detail of his new but strange wallpaper. There was a burning in his stomach that he hadn’t felt before. He sensed something wasn’t quite right but he just couldn’t explain why or how he knew.

Questions swamped his brain. Why did the old lady in the shop give him the roll of wallpaper? Why had he felt compelled to accept it? She’d called him by his first name, how did she know who he was?

Peter was about to find out the answers…

If you read this book at bedtime be warned – you won’t sleep until you’ve checked every centimetre of your own bedroom wallpaper!

Little Miss Straight Tail

Children’s farmyard/animals

Little Miss Straight Tail is a heart-warming story about a little pig who is upset when her tail isn’t curly like all those of the other piglets. Lots of amazing things happen when she hears a familiar voice in the farmer’s field …

Will she finally get a curly tail?

Ideal for 0 years to 5 years. Great for bedtime reading.
Assists with animal recognition and animal names, counting and reading.

One thought on “John Priest

  1. Pingback: Tonight’s Guest is John Priest – Author of “The Curse of Sea Shell Cave” | Author P.S. Bartlett

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