Ian Andrew grew up in the coastal town of Larne, Northern Ireland. He left to join the Royal Air Force at age 18 and worked initially as an aircraft technician before being commissioned as an Intelligence Officer. After serving for two decades he relocated, with his Australian wife, to the rural South West of Western Australia. Surrounded by a resident mob of kangaroos, he is currently working on the next novel in the Wright & Tran series of detective stories.
I am from Sydney but have lived in the Illawarra for 31 years. I graduated with a diploma of art in 1979, from what was then The Alexander Mackie CAE in Sydney, where I met my partner Sharon, an artist and teacher. We have a twenty two year old son. I left home at 17 and spent my early years working in a variety of jobs. I was restless, eager for new experiences. I managed to get work at the Sydney Theatre Company and the Opera House building sets and making props, I had a stint working on film and TV sets before building several recording studios in Sydney. Eventually I discovered computers ostensibly to make art, but had so many requests to repair them, I started my own business, which I ran until retiring in 2013. I have loved literature all of my life. In a lot of ways, reading informed the progress of my life. It is difficult to describe precisely, that strange, in-between world you enter when you are immersed in a good book. Good literature can be a great teacher and make one a better person. Since I retired from gainful employment I have been trying my hand at putting an enthusiasm for literature into writing. I have much to learn, but I have also found a great deal of pleasure in writing. Writing reviews for The Pen Factor is an opportunity to hone one’s own skills with the bonus of receiving positive criticism for your own work. Writing is necessarily a lonely business, so it is a pleasure to pass on the knowledge I have learnt, as well as having an ongoing conversation about the craft of writing. I do my best to be positive and constructive in criticism. I believe it is important to exercise both, humility and generosity when writing a critique/review for beginning writers. The best advice I could give is to put yourself into the shoes of your characters, and be ever observant. Eavesdrop on conversations. Sometimes an overheard sentence can reveal the beginning of a terrific story. One can overhear the most mundane, silliest snippet of conversation, but it can be a trigger; store it in your memory for later. I was standing in a que yesterday and two women were eating apples. There was silence, while they ate and then one said to the other “do you eat the core,” Immediately and vividly, two comic scenes popped into my head.