Sunday, 30 March 2014

Captain Square Jaw! Guest Post by Steve Hannam

My name is Steve Hannam and I write under the pen name of Danson Thunderbolt.  

Why Danson Thunderbolt?  Well, having written my first book I was looking for new character names and for some unknown reason started thinking of the actor Ted Danson.  This was way back before he was in C.S.I. Leicester, or whatever franchise location they had settled on.  The name Danson I liked.  Ted was my father’s name so I steered clear of that, but the name ‘Thunderbolt’ hit me literally like a...and as I was looking for a suitably ‘wacky’ name I decided to take that one as it was in keeping with the story I had just completed.  

My stories are grouped under the short snappy title of The Ever-So Heroic Adventures of Captain Square Jaw! and they are (so far) a couple of spoof pirate stories about the most famous pirate ever to have sailed the Six Seas, and the Manchester Ship Canal.  The influences are taken from my love of the 50’s and 60’s radio shows, The Goon Show and Round The Horne along with the visual and deadpan humour of The Naked Gun films, amongst others.  I love wordplay and puns and my stories reflect that, by playing with language, attempting to lead the reader one way and pulling the literary rug from under them with a punch line.

I started writing stories as most of us do when I was a child.  Mine first stories were based on a couple of Listen with Mother characters called Angus the Giant & Phineas the Pixie.  I must have been about 5 or 6 when I started these.  I was also an avid reader, having several books under my pillow at night times, so I could read before I went to bed.  How I haven’t got neck problems remains a mystery to this day.  I then started writing sci-fi stories based on my favourite TV show, which was Space: 1999 – I loved that show.  The stories, on reflection, were rubbish, but it didn’t matter.  I was a writer and a writer was what I wanted to be.  I even had a school exercise book for all my stories, given to me by a teacher wanting to encourage my creative writing.  As the years went on, I wrote less and less, focussing instead on becoming an actor.  However when my two sons were born, I decided to write a pirate adventure story featuring them both – It never got past the first page, but the seed was planted and in 2000 I played the lead role in the local panto, Sinbad!.  It was a really good show, but the director made the comment that I should keep my heroic captain very square-jawed and ‘Captain Square Jaw’ was born


It took me 5 years and several drafts to finish writing the first book and in 2006 I finally published Square Jaw and the Jewel of Essex – Book Juan.  This was followed up with Book Too! in 2008 and then immediately followed up (!) 6 years later with Square Jaw and the 49 Page Adventure! which was released as an eBook.  This WILL be followed within the next few months with the next adventure, again as an eBook.

People say that writing comedy is hard.  It is, but then I think that the whole process of writing is hard, not just a specific genre.  To try and come up with something that is different to what has gone before is incredibly difficult and sometimes quite stressful, but then again the other easier option is to simply not do it.  If we, as writers, didn’t like the stresses and processes of writing then we wouldn’t do it.  But we do love it and sometimes it can even provide some people with the opportunity to write for a living.  Maybe one day that may well happen for me too, but until that time, I’ll keep on writing as and when and hope that people like the adventures of Captain Square Jaw!

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