Kerry Costello F.R.S.A., is a third generation Irish immigrant, born into a catholic family, who lived near Manchester. As a child, he took to reading during a lengthy enforced stay at home, to recover from an operation. He wasn’t allowed to go to school for a while, but was allowed to get the bus to the local library. From then on, the young Costello was hooked. ‘It was that early voracious reading habit, which triggered my desire to write,’ says Costello
He continues; ‘One of the first books I borrowed from the library, was ‘Just William’, by Richmal Crompton. I borrowed the rest of the series in succession, read them and re-read them. I then devoured Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven books. Then read all the Biggles books by W.E. Johns. Later came Agatha Christie, then Dennis Wheatley’s books - thrillers mixed with the occult - fabulous. And of course Ian Fleming’s James Bond books. I can hear you all yawning as I wander down memory lane, but you’ll have to forgive me - they were such talented and entertaining writers.”
Throughout his life Costello used writing, mostly to amuse himself and friends in his early years, but he then used his writing ability as a business tool later in life. ‘After trying many jobs as a teenager, I joined the travel industry, because it looked like a lot of fun, but also provided the opportunity to travel abroad, for free.’
In his early twenties, Costello started his own camping holiday company, offering affordable holidays to the South of France. He wrote his own brochures and advertisements. After building the company into a commercial success, Costello sold it and moved on. This time, he established a marketing company, selling technology to the travel industry. ‘Once again I used my writing ability to produce monthly newsletters to generate sales, but instead of writing about the product, I wrote stories about the people who used the product. It proved very effective.’
In the end, his business efforts paid off, and he was lucky enough to retire relatively early. This gave him the opportunity to indulge his hobbies; cooking, sailing, fishing, photography, and of course, he finally got around to writing a book.
Costello’s two ‘adult’ writing heroes are Raymond Chandler, and currently James Lee Burke. ‘I don’t really care about the plots in James Lee Burke’s books, he says,’ I just love to read the descriptions and the dialogue, beyond sensational… ‘
“Any last thoughts?” I ask.
“Only that I hope my readers enjoy my books as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.”
Interview by John Sansom Presslink