Interview with Anthony Harwood

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Perth, Western Australia which is the most isolated city in the world. I think the people of Perth feel this in some way, it has certain effects on our way of life. But there is also a pride there. That isolation is something many of my characters feel as well, not simply because some of them live in Perth - or alternate versions of - but because of who they find themselves to be as individuals. I like the idea of helping my characters find a connection somehow.
When did you first start writing?
I was used to be very creative as a child. Making up songs, stories. When it comes to serious writing, however, I started when I was fourteen. I would write poetry, as many teens are want to do. I was even asked by school friends to write poetry for them to give to their partners. Strange, but I enjoyed it, the fact it might mean something to someone else.
I used to have to sit in my mum's office after school for hours on end and I would type away at a computer in the back. It started small, but by the time I was sixteen/seventeen, I had already started Hippy. While at university I started other stories, short plays and yet more poetry, mainly while I was supposed to be listening to the lectures.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I'm not in it for the glory. I simply have some stories I'd like to tell. I found them fun to write and I hope someone out there might find them entertaining to read.
What are you working on next?
I'm currently working on an unexpected sequel to Hippy, which was meant to be a one off but miraculously found a sequel. Strangely, Hippy was spurred on by a dream. The sequel also started the same way.
Alongside this I am working on book 3 in the dark Skies series. A very different tone to the other two and maybe not what you'd expect.
Who are your favorite authors?
I've always been a fan of David Eddings, growing up with Garion in his two series. Dean Koontz added a dark side and fulfilled my interest in mystery and mayhem. Stephen King has also been on my bookshelf along with Ben Elton who was the first writer I encountered who killed off who you assumed to be the lead character. I was stunned for days and very near tears thanks to that experience. But his grasp on social ideas has been an inspiration both in my writing and my acting. I even appeared in the Stage version of Popcorn and he came to see it. He was very complimentary.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Not being tired? The cats wanting to be fed? No. There is always something new out there. And though I tend to sit back and relax sometimes, I do enjoy finding it and experiencing it when it happens.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Looking for acting work or teaching. An actor's life is a hard one despite what the reality shows make you think. It isn't all instant gratification, much like being an author. Whereas as an author there are avenues to disply your work under your own motivation, but as an actor, if you're not financially stable, it very much relies on other people - whether or not they want you for their work or even if they will see you to be considered. But I wouldn't be happy if I didn't keep on trying. Acting is a core part of who I am. It enables me to experience a variety of situations, emotions and meet so many interesting people. Who could ask for more?
What is your writing process?
First of all, there needs to be inspiration, an idea to motivate me. I can't just sit and write. I need to have a story that has to be told. A lot of that comes from my dreams, as quirky as they can be.
I then get to it by piecing ideas together, formulating the beginning and start writing. I don't always know how it will end, nor where it will go on the way to get there. But that is what makes the process as enjoyable for me as I hope for the reader.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Not the first, no. But I do remember Green Eggs and Ham. One of the best books ever written. I have tried to give this to all of my nieces and nephews, hoping they'll appreciate it as much as I do. So simple, yet so moral. You can enjoy it and then, if you wish to, dwell on it afterwards.
Then there is the Very Hungry Caterpillar. An absolute classic. These books are firmly set in my memory.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Popcorn by Ben Elton. The idea that people need to start taking responsibility for their own actions is a major one I encounter in my work as a Math teacher. Children these days are so ready to pass the blame or simply ignore their responsibilities. This book shows what can happen when people completely forgo that responsibility and lay it down in the hands of everyone else who, in turn, also refuse to take action.
Gridlock, also by Ben Elton. He creates such rich characters and again, tackles serious social issues. All the while using a sharp wit. I get lost in the worlds and characters he puts on the page for my mind to play with.
Holding the Man by Timothy Conigrave. A beautiful book. The first to actually leave me a blubbering mess when I'd finished. A true story that is so simply written, yet captivating. I read it in one night and it has stayed in my mind since.
Lightening by Dean Koontz. Although there are other books of his I really enjoy, this one, I feel, fits the genre I like the most. A bit of time travel, mystery and action. This was an action adventure that kept me entertained just like a movie would. I don't know how many times I have read it, but I keep going back to it.
The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. All eight books (including the latest). Although there are parts I found myself skipping through on the second read, he has manufactured a world so full, so detailed that is hinted at in so many of his books, but finally fleshed out here and it still leaves me wanting to know and see more. And the characters are fantastic. Roland is an icon in the world of fiction.
Describe your desk
A mess. My laptop, printer, iPad, iPhone, random papers, a desk lamp, some books yet to read. And it will only get worse.
Published 2013-08-23.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Amazing Things: Book Two of the Dark Skies Series
Series: Dark Skies, Two. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 108,630. Language: English. Published: August 23, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
When he was six, they murdered his family. Now they're taking the only friends he has left. Time is running out. Owen must find who is responsible for these terrible crimes or his past will finally catch up to him. Amazing Things is the second book from the Dark Skies Series.
Cartoon Heroes: Book One of the Dark Skies Series
Series: Dark Skies, One. Price: Free! Words: 71,570. Language: English. Published: August 23, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
(5.00 from 1 review)
When Russell is caught in an explosion that gives him super powers, his life is changed forever. But when he becomes the target of a murderous, power hungry CEO's hostility, there really is no going back. Russell must find a way to come to terms with his new powers, keep the public safe and, hopefully, get the girl all while trying to stay alive. Cartoon Heroes is the first book in the Dark Skies
Hippy
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 80,870. Language: English. Published: August 23, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Adventure » General
Scott is just trying to live his life, no matter how dull it seems. So when he finds himself the victim of an inexplicable kidnapping, he knows something isn't right. Sucked into a world where gravity doesn't always work, paintings come to life and everyone is out to kill him, Scott must find a way to protect not only this new reality, but his own.