Interview with Ryan Cartwright

When did you first start writing?
I've been telling and writing stories for as long as I can remember. When I was younger I was fascinated by comics and comic books and I started by creating my own along with the stories to go with them. Stories are an important part of life in our family - we're all fairly avid readers and sometimes will have story times where we make up stories and bounce ideas off each other. My books have mostly come from extending the stories I made up during those times.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It's about a boy who finds the old toy robot he got from his Grandad is a lot more than he bargained for. When he gets the robot it hardly works but - being obsessed with robots - he repairs it with interesting results. Somewhere along the line he and his best friend get involved with an alien invasion and trying to explain to his mum how her favourite knickers got ruined!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Mostly I wanted to encourage my children into creative writing and reading. They love reading and when we came up with the story for the first book (Sugar the Robot and the race to save the Earth) they started drawing pictures of it. I fleshed out the story more and turned into a full length book with their drawings as illustrations. My own children (8 and 9 at the time) were very much my target audience but I've since discovered other children are loving the book too.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love thrillers and some of my favourite authors include Craig Thomas, Tom Clancy and Gerald Seymour. I also like reading Ted Dekker's books as well. But in terms of my own writing I am inspired by people like Jeremy Strong, Anthony Horowitz, Jacqueline Wilson and R.L.Stine as well as classic authors from my own childhood such as Roald Dahl and Tolkien. I love the way children's books can be exicting and hilarious at the same time and I try to do that in my books too.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I do, it was a aschool when I was about 6 years old. We had been asked to write a detective story and I wrote one about Inspector Ham and Sergeant Eggs. I don't remember much else about it now though - it was a long time ago :)
What is your writing process?
Unusually for an author (I have discovered) I mostly write the chapters in the order they will be in the book. I start with a generic synopsis or summary of the plot and then outline each chapter which I then write up into a full chapter. I tend to chop around and go back and adapt previous chapters as the following ones unfold. I find the story will unfold as I write it so what I end up with is not often exactly like the synopsis I started with.

I read each chapter as i finish it to my children as part of my editing process. They are allowed to tell me exactly what they think (which can be risky at times!) and make suggestions of where they think the story will go next.
How do you approach cover design?
I tend to have an idea of the cover in my head when I am writing the story and sometimes this can be a scene from the story or just one of the characters. The first cover for Sugar the Robot and the race to save the Earth ended up being less humourous than I intended and when I started doing the cover for the next book (Do not feed the troll - not yet released at time of writing) I was happier with the way it brought the humour across. I might change the cover for the first book later along the same lines.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I'm quite a creative person. As a child I was always told off for doodling on every spare scrap of paper and I also work as a web developer so for me writing is a about getting something from my head onto paper (or screen). It gives me a great sense of satisfaction to produce something, whether that is writing, drawing, painting or software development. To work at something I enjoy so much and see something tangible at the end is a great feeling.

Because I am writing primarily with my children in mind I love including the ideas they have and seeing their faces when they hear those ideas in the story itself.
What do your fans mean to you?
From the outset Crimperbooks has been about sharing so my readers are more than consumers to me. Having seen the effect of including my own children's drawings in the book I am keen to encourage the readers of my stories to create their own works. That might be drawings, short stories or something else but the point for me is not to make millions but to get others involved in creating their own stuff. Stories are vital for society and rather than the nay-sayers who believe technology will stifle social interaction I believe it can free us to create and share like we've not doen since before the printing press when stories were told.
What are you working on next?
My next book is called "Do not feed the troll" and is about a family that move into a new house. When they dig the back garden up for a new shed they discover a creature under a trapdoor that claims it is a troll. It is cute, fluffy and charming but is accompanied by a sign which warns "Do not feed the troll". Through no fault of their own they end up disobeying this and the troll causes all sorts of problems for them.

One of the challenges for this story is that the troll speaks only in rhyme. Coming up with good dialogue that was in poem form was quite tricky but my daughter loves poetry and so I thought I'd do this for her and the other rhyme-lovers out there.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I read, I draw, I paint, I doodle, draw cartoons and, I write computer software and web sites. Sometimes I paly computer and video games but I;m not what you'd call a gamer. I'm more interested in how they programmed the games than playing them.
Published 2014-01-08.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Face To Face With The Gorilla King
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 10,890. Language: British English. Published: March 13, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
It’s not every day that a trip to the zoo can lead to you ending up on the other side of the Galaxy! This short story is the tale of a boy who is whisked away from a family zoo trip and arrives in the court of a gorilla king. He has no idea how he is going to get home and it looks like his host is expecting him to win a battle upon which hangs the balance of his new home!
Do not feed the Troll!
Series: The Roboteers. Price: $1.49 USD. Words: 21,160. Language: British English. Published: August 6, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Robots, Fiction » Children’s books » Legends, Myths, Fables / Other
Winner of The Wishing Shelf Awards 2015 (6-8 yr olds category) When Martin’s family moved house his Dad told him things would be better: he’d have more space to make his models, his sister would have her own bookshelves so she wouldn’t use his ones and Dad would be doing all his beer brewing in the garden. Nobody said anything about a troll under the lawn!
Sugar The Robot And The Race To Save The Earth
Series: The Roboteers, Book 1. Price: $1.49 USD. Words: 13,940. Language: British English. Published: January 8, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Robots
Imagine you are ten years old and love robots. You manage to fix the old toy robot your Grandad gave you only to find it is a lot more than just a robot. Tim and his friend Priya find themselves in a race to stop an alien invasion, save humanity and somehow explain to his Mum what this has to do with her favourite knickers. Packed with excitement, laughs and action with illustrations by the author