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June 23, 2016 / peoplesbookprize

Dennis Talbot

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In the lead up to The People’s Book Prize 2016 we caught up with author Dennis Talbot to talk about his novel 

A Small Price to Pay, Sir.

Retired auto-electrician and road safety consultant Dennis, lives with his wife Pauline and family in Derbyshire. His novel is shortlisted for the Fiction Prize 2016 and is packed with gritty Midlands humour. Dennis tells us “real life humour gathered from factory life and later Speed Awareness Workshops was a spur to creating a humorous novel.” And we couldn’t agree more.

A Small Price to Pay, Sir follows the exploits of Josh Tolson, younger son of a wealthy car manufacturer. Talked into a risky enterprise by Jane, his ex-fiancé, Josh is thrust into a positively Wodehousian escapade, rich with laughter and love.

Where did your Journey to Writing A Small Price to Pay, Sir Begin?

I started telling bedtime stories to my children, over forty years ago, though I never wrote them down. I really started writing whilst on holiday four or five years ago, I suppose the story had been mulling around in my brain for a number of years and once started it wrote itself. Retirement provided the time to write!

As an Author, What Influences You the Most?

My greatest influence is my love of the written word. I try to paint pictures in the minds of my readers as effectively as an artist or a sculptor. But with the written word each reader paints their own unique portrait of the characters and landscape of setting. That’s great fun!

Where Did the Idea For the Book Come From?

Until a few years ago I owned a 1934 MG midget, researching the history and locating spare parts for the car, gave me a deep interest in car production and the general history the 1930’s Art Deco period. It seemed to be just demanding a humorous novel and gradually it took shape in my mind.

The nominees of TPBP are voted for by the readers, how important are your readers to you?

Readers are what it’s all about. I like to imagine I am telling a story to a friend or a small group at a party; trying to put little twists and unexpected turns in the tale to keep their interest until the stories punch-line. I don’t think I could write without that thought at the back of my mind.

Olympia Publishers publish a variety of brilliant authors, what is it like being in the company of such talented writers?

Olympia Publishers have a stable of skilful and gifted authors and I was amazed and honoured when they put me forward as their entry in TPBP. Reaching the final, knowing that it is as a result of the votes of the reading public, win or lose, it’s a great honour! It has to be an encouragement to others to give it a try.

What book influenced you most as a writer and what are you reading at the moment?

I have always loved the humour and characters in the novels of PG Wodehouse, particularly the Jeeves & Wooster series.  I try to mix my reading between modern detective novels and humorous novels. Currently, I’m reading the brilliant series of Rumpole novels by John Mortimer.

What can we expect from you in the future? 

There is already a second novel in the life of Josh Tolson, the main character in “A Small Price to Pay, Sir”. That one, “Best Foot Forward, Ellingham”, also published by Olympia, is soon to be joined by a third, “Look Lively, Ellingham”. Currently, I am writing a detective novel with, I think, an unusual twist. Provisionally titled “Whitecross Yard” it is once again based in the 1930’s, needing lots of research!

Find Dennis at

Find More Finalists at

home pageThe People’s Book Prize is the unique literary competition that is judged by the nation and open to all UK publishing companies.

You Be the Judge : The People’s Book Prize – “The home for new and undiscovered works”

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