I first started writing in primary school (equivalent to elementary school in the US). My school allowed certain times in the week to encourage students to write their own books to share with the class. I always loved writing and that continued throughout my school years and beyond.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing is knowing that I've given someone a certain amount of entertainment and satisfaction from reading my book. I love providing a world for people to escape to and knowing that I can give people a new place to explore that they can't get in the real world is the greatest joy to me.
Who are your favorite authors?
Two of my favourite authors are Roald Dahl and R. L. Stine. I think I've read every novel from Roald Dahl and probably every single Goosebumps book that ever existed. Dahl and Stine had a big impact on me growing up, and were responsible for me wanting to become an author.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I vaguely remember the first story I wrote but I do remember I was seven years old and we were writing stories for class. All I can recall about the book was that it involved robots fighting one another to the death.
There was also another story where a boy and his father get lost in the woods and stumble upon a haunted mansion. They were greeted by an old butler who turned out to be a ghost that ripped its own head off. Safe to say that I had a pretty wild, and crazy, imagination from a very young age!
What is your writing process?
As soon as I get an idea for a story I write it down. That is probably the most important thing to do in the event you forget all about it. From the idea I decide whether a new world can grow from it. I build my new world complete with its history, continents, main cities & towns etc. and developing a story. I formulate a main plot and develop some main characters (looks, personality etc.). Once the core of the book has been worked out I'll start adding sub-plots and other characters until I'm ready to begin writing.
I look at a chapter/codex and summarise in one sentence what it is going to be about. From there I'll write dot-points that go from point A, to point B, to point C and so on. From there I start filling in the large blanks until I get a first draft of the book completed. I find that as I write my mind start throwing out different ideas and I may start changing what I had planned to something even better.
One very important thing I will suggest is to just write down everything that is in your head when you do decide to sit down and begin working on your book. Never edit when you are half-way through your draft. You will only slow down your flow and will end up getting frustrated with both the book and yourself. Believe me, I have hit that point in writing and it is not a good feeling to ever have. This happened during The Valadin Codices and I was so put off with it I almost scratched the book completely.
So if you want to see the end of the draft of your book, please leave the editing and proofreading for last!
What are you working on next?
I am currently working on the next few volumes in The Valadin Codices series. The draft for Volume 2 is in the process of being touched up before I send it off to my editor and the draft for Volume 3 is currently a third of the way through. There will be a lot more books to go so I hope everyone is ready for one hell of a journey!
How do you approach cover design and illustrations?
I wanted the cover design to be eye-catchy and wanted it to show-off the characters that were going to appear in the book. I wanted there to be enough detail for readers to take the time just to observe all of the things that were going on in the cover. I decided to go with an old school movie poster feel for my cover (similar to Star Wars, Indiana Jones etc.) where the main character front-and-center and the supporting characters around them from both sides (allies and enemies).
When selecting the illustrations I decided to use a scene or a character that would best summarise that chapter/codex. I wanted a different style for the drawings and opted to go with a graphic novel/comic-style. It really pays to find an illustrator that understands not only what you want, but is also creative enough to come up with alternate ideas. I ended up going with some of the suggestions made by my illustrator and I do not regret it one bit.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not writing books, I'm often conjuring up more ideas for books to write in the future! My mind is constantly working even when I don't want it to. I enjoy watching television and movies as well as wasting hours on video games (when I should be doing something more productive). I still find time to exercise, do some reading, and socialise with family and friends.
I'm looking to satisfy the travel bug I caught a few years ago after a great trip in South East Asia. I'll be heading to America & Canada in September of this year and would like to visit to Europe, South America, Asia and other parts of the world in the years to come.
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