Meet C. A. Powell.

Colin is the author of ten books, all of which have received excellent ratings on Goodreads. The series he's known best for, however, is "The Last Days Of", the first of which was made into a laser stage show by the company Indigo Shiba.

If you have yet to come across Colin's whimsical sense of humour on Twitter, this is a great place to start.

XXX Michael

Colin writes:

I have followed Michael on Twitter for a number of years and enjoy many of his Twitter posts. I have also read and enjoyed two of his novels concerning The Involuntary Medium.


I suppose I’m a bit of a dreamer really. I have not got a problem with this. In fact, I rather enjoy living in my fantasy world and then shaping little tales in my head. I think I’ve always been this way for as long as I can remember. I’m sixty-two years old – pushing ten – and live in the Fenlands of Cambridgeshire. I have four grown up sons, and two grown up stepsons and a stepdaughter. There are so many grandchildren that I’ve lost count, and I have a great grandson too.

Me and my dad

I was born in the Bow district of East London back in 1961 and went to school when we moved to Poplar, Limehouse in 1965. I remember being at the old Cyril Jackson Primary school [named after the influential British educationalist on his death] and was told by my grandfather that he went there too, back in the 1920s 

The local Poplar authorities built a new Cyril Jackson school across the road and we children of the infant years were moved across to this new school complex in 1966. It was the very first day of opening. I have very clear memories of all these things and everything seemed like an adventure to me.

I was very fortunate to have a very happy childhood. My Dad was a Bus driver on the big Routemaster buses and my mother was a waitress in the city centre. I think they were both dream chasers too. I know they used to encourage me. My mother would show faith in anything I said I wanted to do. Perhaps too much faith on occasions. If I told her I wanted to be an astronaut or a prize footballer, she would convince me that I would be able to do it. My father was encouraging but a little more pragmatic. I think inadvertently, they had the right balance for my sister and me. They were both very reliable in their own ways.

My mother, my sister, and me

In 1969, we moved to another part of Poplar between the Blackwall Tunnel and Bromley by Bow Station. I started a new Primary school called Manorfields. This was also another happy time up until 1972. We would move again because my mother and father had saved up a deposit and managed to get a mortgage to buy their own house.

We moved to the suburb of Hornchurch in Essex just as I was about to start secondary school. This was a time of very kind memories for me. I had wonderful friends and loved the upper school I went to. It was around this time that I started reading all sorts of books.

We had a great English teacher called Mrs Foster. She took us for a lesson of English every day. At least one or two lessons a week was dedicated to reading a worthy work of literature. I remember we did all sorts of authors including H.G. Wells, John Wyndham, George Orwell and John Steinbeck. We did other great authors too.

I have to mention more of Mrs Foster because I feel sure her classes had an impact on me from a writing perspective. She was a woman of about mid-forties with a class of adolescent boys. I never did see her once get vexed or strict with us. She was crystal clear and very articulate. 

When she spoke, all us lads listened. If anyone did show signs of getting restless, she seemed to be able to shut the culprit down with a quick dismissive remark. Somehow, she had this ability to retain attention. Everyone in Mrs Foster’s class would get singled out to do a page or so of reading. At first, many of us were uncomfortable and slow when reading out loud. But as time went on over the term, we all got used to it. The slow readers became more competent. The teacher would also stop us to explain certain points that the author might be trying to emphasise. I fell in love with all sorts of written works, especially science fiction and historical fiction.

I think I grew up as a typical geeky boy living in a world of British and American comics full of adventure fiction. Some of my school friends enjoyed history and I began to read recommended historical documentary books too. During these coming-of-age years, I remember everything seemed so exciting. I loved all the retro TV programmes of the '60s and '70s. Especially if it was sci-fi or weird. But most of all, many pulp paperback novels were beginning to come into my life. This English teacher, Mrs Foster, had opened my eyes to books and I admired so many authors that could sit down and write such wonderful things.

I read some splendid stories and wished I could write something people would enjoy reading. I read some dreadful stories and appreciated thinking that if this could be published, there might be hope for me one day?

I got inspiration from the good and the bad. However, I never entertained the notion of working as an author. I just wanted to write my things as a hobby. It was all rather private; a tucked away ambition. I did all the other things that lads did. Played football and went fishing with my friends. Then began to notice girls and discos at about the age of fourteen.

St Mary's Axe

Upon leaving school in 1977, I started work in the city working in reinsurance (providing insurance for other insurers). It was nothing fancy and I was just a sixteen-year-old coding clerk for an Israeli company based in St Mary's Axe, London. The tube journey in and going home was further opportunity for reading. Pulp novel reading was reaching a height. I remembered all sorts of bookshops were becoming haunts for me during the dinner breaks.

In 1979, I applied to join the Post Office. I think it was still called the GPO back then. I got the job and worked at the sorting office of King Edward Building near St Paul’s Cathedral for best part of twenty years. There were all sorts of people in this work environment and much of the characterisation I use is from people observation. Watching friends and colleagues that worked about me. Everything seemed like a shopping mall of à la carte ideas. You could take these observations and reshape such notions for your own needs. I spoke with old employees who had been in the forces during the war. They told me so many comical stories of their experiences. Some sad ones too. The place was an Aladdin’s cave of possibilities.

The love of reading books continued during this time and, because of my Post Office employment, I was able to buy a house. I moved to Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, a district of Southend-on-Sea. It was here I joined a writing group, which I found exceptionally rewarding and very encouraging. We would read out our work for scrutiny. At first the criticism seemed harsh. But gradually, I began to develop a more dialogue driven style of fiction writing. I think I found my writing feet and style at this writing class.

Just in case I forget my name

I lived in Leigh-on-Sea for twenty-four years before eventually moving further out to Cambridgeshire. There were trials and tribulations along the way, but all was well that ended well.

Everything up to now seems to have been a journey of progressive steps. Computers came on the scene and the new social media platforms began to come about. Plus, the ability to gain access to online editors, proof-readers, and design artists. I’ve also discovered that I am enjoying learning about target marketing too. Even at sixty-two, I still think the world is one big adventure. Hopefully, I shall never tire of it. 

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