Throughout my life I have had the good fortune to meet and become friends with some incredibly talented people and since starting this Pitch Wars process, I have met even more! However, I wanted to take five minutes to talk about some of my friends who I feel have talents worth sharing, and those that may be of interest to the writing community.

Firstly, Neil Spring (Author)

I met Neil back in 2004 when I first started working in PR, he was a rising star even then but he was never arrogant and I liked him immediately (I don’t spend time on false people). Since those early days Neil has released his first book, The Ghost Hunters, which has now become a bestseller and I was delighted to see yesterday an announcement from ITV that they have cast Rafe Spall to play the lead in the full length feature based on the book. This is a massive accomplishment! Since releasing The Ghost Hunters Neil has still kept himself busy and I have been privileged enough to have been given a proof of his next novel, The Watchers, which is due out in September.  Neil has a unique style of writing and cleverly blends facts with fiction to create a truly compelling read. Although I haven’t finished The Watchers yet, I can say with certainty that it is even better than his first offering and if you are a fan of the X Files or the paranormal, Neil’s books are definitely something you should be reading. I have added a link to his website in my links section, but for quick reference here it is :

Lee Lennox (writer and film director)

I met Lee on a music video shoot about 7 years ago where he was directing the indie band Delays in the video for their latest single. Since then we kept in touch and I have watched him go from strength to strength as a director, even directing his first full length feature film AmStarDam which will hopefully be hitting our screens soon. Here’s a quick synopsis:

Jack comes to Amsterdam to find his father and, through a momentary magical encounter, finds the secret weapon that could turn around his father’s ailing marijuana coffee shop.

His latest project was a horror short film which will be premiering tonight as part of Film Four’s Fright Fest and will then be made available online. The film is called Behind You and I am so excited to see how it turned out because I was fortunate enough to be sent the script in advance and even given the opportunity to provide a little feedback! Check out the full programme and Behind You is featured on page 32.

Chris Rivers (Artist and Drummer)

Chris is actually 1/4 of the UK rock band Heaven’s Basement who are signed to Redbull Records and have toured with rock giants such as Papa Roach, Black Veil Brides, The Pretty Reckless and Buckcherry. I met Chris and the other lads back in 2010. After going to one of their gigs I cheekily called up their tour manager and asked them if they would be prepared to play as part of a rock gig I was organising in aid of UK forces charity Help for Heroes. Amazingly, he said yes and the rest is history! However, what some people don’t know is that Chris is also an extremely talented artist and as you will see from the pages describing my children’s stories, we are now working together to bring our joint project Zak and Jen to the world. We sincerely hope other people will love these poems and illustrations as much as we do. You can see some of Chris’ artwork on his Etsy page and he also does commissions.

Last, but in no means least is Laurie Ellingham

Laurie is another friend from my PR days and after struggling through the long and tiring journey of trying to get her first book published the traditional way, she took to self publishing. Her debut novel, The Reluctant Celebrity (Women’s Commercial Fiction) was a great success and off the back of self publishing, she found a publisher and now spends her time managing book signings and workshops as well as running around after her family and puppy. Laurie has been a tremendous support to me over the last year or so in the writing of my YA novel. She is always honest but still encouraging, and on the (many) days where I have felt like giving up she has been one of the key people telling me to keep going. For that, I am extremely grateful. You can buy The Reluctant Celebrity on Amazon, but otherwise give her a follow on Twitter @LaurieEllingham and see what she is up to!

All of these individuals have talents that are well worth checking out (and I am not just saying that because they happen to be friends of mine!). So whether you are into UFOs, ghosts, horror or women’s fiction please take some time to investigate. You never know, you may find your new favourite author / illustrator / film director.