Arthur Cole speaks of his fascinating journey from the police to writing poetry and co-writing crime thrillers based on his wealth of experience.
My literary career began late in life, in fact I didn’t write anything until January 2016. I was born and bred in a small mining village called Caerau, at the top of the Llynfi Valley, Maesteg. My father was a miner, as were most of my immediate family. I am one of six children, five brothers and one sister. I passed my 11+ in 1961 and then attended Maesteg Grammar School. I wasn’t by any stretch of the imagination academic, I was more hands on, Metalwork, Woodwork and Technical Drawing, however I did love English literature. During the last year of my schooldays, a new English Literature teacher Mr David John introduced us to the World War I poets such as Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. Mr John actually transformed the English department.
I left school at seventeen and joined the Glamorgan Constabulary as a Police Cadet, and for the next two years I was introduced to the mechanics of the Police Service. I was attached to various departments which gave me a terrific insight into the service. In August 1969 I joined the regular force as a constable and for the next two years I walked the beat in Bridgend, then in April 1972 I did a three month aide on the CID, and later became a fully-fledged Detective Constable. In 1973 I attended the Metropolitan Police Detective Training School, Hendon. At the time it was the best training school in the world. I spent ten very happy weeks there. Whilst at the school I represented the British Police soccer team, sadly my career ended in 1976, with a bad knee injury. For the next sixteen years I carried out my detective duties throughout South Wales, where I was involved in all aspects of serious crime.
In 1986 I got promoted to Detective Sergeant, covering Maesteg, Porthcawl and Bridgend. In 1992, I joined the Special Branch and was posted to Cardiff International Airport, where I supervised all the staff in relation to the threat of terrorism, and other related criminal offences. I was instrumental in the installation of CCTV cameras, for surveillance purposes, and also changing the whole way police resources were used. You could say it was a new chapter in intelligence gathering. In 1994 I left the airport and supervised Special Branch officers who covered the North of the South Wales Police area. I later became the Acting Detective Inspector, covering the whole Force area up to my retirement.
During this time I re-wrote the Forces Anti-Terrorism manual, which was then used for a major terrorism training operation within the Force. I also supervised security for Royal visits to the Force area. I retired from the Force in November 1997, and became a gardener in a home for dementia sufferers. I then retired for good in August 2015, and took up golf.
In January 2016 I began writing poetry, my main genres being Coal Mining and the First World War. In the February my now friend and co-writer Nigel C Williams asked via social media, if anyone would like to write a book. I thought to myself, well I wouldn’t mind a crack at that, obviously not having a clue where to start. I had this idea of two corrupt senior police officers, involved in murder and mayhem. So with Nigel’s guidance I wrote UNETHICAL CONDUCT, the first book on the ‘Terry McGuire Crime Thriller’ series. It only took me a couple of weeks to write, and I never intended to write another book let alone a series of books. The first time I met Nigel in person was when he gave me the book. Nigel self-published it on Amazon, and it’s just progressed from there. We’ve just finished the 9th book in the series, titled ‘RAVEN’.
In May last year I spoke to a gentleman by the name of David Norrington (WORDCATCHER PUBLISHING) in relation to my poetry. I sent him a couple of poems, and he in turn offered to publish them. I signed a contract with him, and since that time I have published three books of poetry. After I signed the contract David asked how the books were going, and looked at the reviews. He in turn made the offer to publish ‘RAVEN’ and re-publish the other eight with brand new covers. Prior to having a publisher, Nigel and I donated all our royalties from Amazon, around £2,000, to Marie Curie and The Garnwen Trust.
When giving talks, I am often asked, how did the character Terry McGuire manifest himself. I tell them that I have no idea, he just came out with all the other characters. Although pure fiction, I have no doubt the police family who read the books can identify with the majority of the characters. As for plots, well with all my experience across the whole gambit of serious crime I’ve literally got thousands in my head. During my time as a front line detective I prepared many files of evidence for the Director of Public Prosecutions, relating to very serious crimes. I spent half my service giving evidence at Crown Courts, and I believe all this experience has given me the knowledge to write about crime. My adage is you’ve got to have done it, to write. I don’t make any notes when writing my thrillers or poetry, I just open up Word, and away I go. I don’t actually read any crime novels either, in fact I don’t even read my own books once they’ve been published.
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11th October 2019