Interview with N. R. Eccles-Smith

Who are your favorite authors?
So hard to narrow down this field when there are so many amazing authors! But I'll go with my all-time favourites and ones whose works have personally inspired me: J.R.R. Tolkien, Emily Rodda, Diana Wynne Jones, C.S. Lewis, Kristen Britain, Peter S. Beagle, Cecilia Dart-Thornton, and J.K. Rowling.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I do a lot of daydreaming (probably more than I should). I also love to draw, so I'll work on illustrations when I can. I also love spending time with my family, and my cats. And I'm a total gamer geek. If I can get my paws on a good, immersive game, you'll find me in a very happy place.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I don't actually go hunting on my own initiative (my bad). I usually end up discovering new eBooks through the blogs, links, or recommendations of other authors (Yay for their efforts!).
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes ... and oh man was it weird! I was in grade 1, and I wrote a story about a man named Mr. Brown who, along with his pet horse, dog and fly (yep, a fly), somehow magically shrink and end up being swallowed by Mr. Brown's friend. The story (accompanied by numerous pictures), basically follows their journey through Mr. Brown's friend's digestive system. Yeah ... I know what you must be thinking. What kid writes a story like that? A weird one, that's what. You can stop laughing now.
What is your writing process?
I do a lot of pre-emptive planning in my head. Sometimes things get put down in note form before ending up in the story, but not often (notes are a rarity). I have a general idea of where I want to take the story, but I don't hog the reins when it comes to the characters. Usually, when I'm in the zone, the characters take over and lead the story where they know it needs to go.
I almost always work on my stories chapter-by-chapter, and will go back over a chapter a couple of times before moving onto the next one. Occasionally, when I'm on a serious roll, the writing keeps coming until I realise the chapter is three times too big. I then get the itch to fix that issue, and go back through and find the right places to divide the scenes until that one huge chapter become a more sensible, three chapters.
I love thinking up chapter names, doing character profiles, and world-building. Those are probably my all-time favourite things to do when working on a story.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia. I never actually read the books as a child (I wasn't an avid reader back then), but I listened to them on cassette (all seven stories). I was utterly enthralled. I can't remember how many times I listened to them; over a dozen times each to be sure. They definitely fuelled my love of fantasy, and were a defining inspiration for me, creatively speaking.
How do you approach cover design?
For me, covers are EXTREMELY important. I am very visual that way. If I see a cover I don't like, I am immediately turned off, even if I have people tell me that the book itself is amazing.
I approach cover design by doing a lot of browsing at covers of other books in my genre and seeing what appeals to me. I take into account what a normal reader would find appealing too (of course), and I also consider what will stand out on a shelf, even from a distance.
Since I write for the Middle Grade/ YA age groups, I am aware that the cover needs to evoke an immediately curiosity and interest from the potential reader. The cover doesn't necessarily need to be action packed or highly detailed, but it SHOULD give a strong sense of what the story is about, or at least what genre it fits in. Misleading covers annoy me. But that's just my personal taste.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Agh, tough question! Stories shift in and out of the top list, depending on ones mood, and/ or if one has discovered a new favourite. But I will keep my list within works of fiction and in no specific order.

1. Peter S. Beagle's, The Last Unicorn: The prose is beautiful and poetic, and the story is unforgettable.

2. J.R.R. Tolkien's, The Lord of the Rings: Growing up with parents who loved this story, it was inevitable I would be captivated by it too. It is the unconquerable lord of all fantasy stories (in my opinion).

3. C.S. Lewis', The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe: The first in the series (even if not chronologically), and the story that started it all.

4. J. K. Rowling's, The Prisoner of Azkaban: Easily my favourite of the seven Harry Potter books with all its suspense, twists, and the introduction of the characters Remus Lupin and Sirius Black.

5. Erin Morgenstern's, The Night Circus: Imaginative, enchanting, and all things whimsical wrapped around a beautiful love story.
Describe your desk
A reasonably ordered setup that includes my laptop, mouse, Inuyasha mousepad, Wacom drawing tablet, Pikmin desk clock, stack of notebooks, container of pens/ pencils/ highlighters, and a framed drawing of all my main characters from the Dragon Calling series (yep, I'm such a dork).
My drawing desk, on the other hand, is a tumultuous mass of drawings, more drawings, papers, and art books (I really need to clean it up before I start on another illustration).
When did you first start writing?
I've always been a story-teller to some degree, although throughout my childhood most of my stories were expressed through drawings, and not actual written paragraphs. My interest in story-telling via written words became serious during my senor high-school years, when my English teacher opened my eyes to the endless possibilities of creative-writing. So, I guess you could say I started writing (seriously), when I was 16.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The characters.
At the very start, having nothing but a whisper or a thought, and following that inclination on a journey of creation and discovery of an entirely new individual. How, to begin with, you ponder and shift and shape, bringing to life their personalities and characteristics, until your imaginings take on a life of their own. And then it comes to the point where you really can't mould them anymore, because they won't let you. Sustained quite sufficiently, they mould themselves. And you, their creator, watch in awe as they become their own being, fully, completely.
It's one of the best feelings and greatest joys for me, as a writer.
What do your fans mean to you?
I believe you should never write for anyone but yourself. So when you have others who love what you do, that makes the doing that much more special. Fans are amazing, and I am forever grateful for their enthusiasm and support. They are invaluable, and well-deserving of my attention and appreciation. Thank you, fans!
Published 2013-10-27.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Sword of Stars, Book Four of Dragon Calling
Series: Dragon Calling. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 120,440. Language: English. Published: April 28, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
The first two Beacon Throne guardians have awakened, and from them so too have Laeka’Draeon’s dragonic abilities, along with an inner darkness he finds increasingly harder to control. The actions of enemies and allies intensify toward a dramatic convergence, but the greatest threat to Laeka’Draeon’s journey may not lie from outside influences, but from within …
Dual Destiny, Book Three of Dragon Calling
Series: Dragon Calling. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 96,160. Language: English. Published: March 12, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
Laeka'Draeon and his companions continue their search for the Beacon Thrones and their guardians. But when one of his friends is captured by Trappers, Laeka'Draeon's actions lead to consequences that threaten to doom his quest to failure.
The Beacon Thrones, Book Two of Dragon Calling
Series: Dragon Calling. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 69,130. Language: Australian English. Published: November 12, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
(5.00 from 1 review)
In his quest to find the other dragons, Laeka’Draeon learns of an even greater threat to the lands than the strife caused by his missing kin. A terrible doom grows on Valadae’s horizon, and the power to avert it resides in the mysterious Beacon Thrones―a power only a dragon can revive.
Kin Seeker, Book One of Dragon Calling
Series: Dragon Calling. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 54,200. Language: English. Published: August 12, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
When Laeka’Draeon learns he is the last dragon left after the mysterious disappearance of his kin, he begins the daunting quest to find them, knowing their prolonged absence could ultimately destroy the balance of peace in the world.
Final Flight
Price: Free! Words: 4,650. Language: Australian English. Published: July 31, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
Adeline Ve’duer Remenon has been on the run for ten years. Framed for the murder of her entire family, and hunted by an elite force of warriors from the warmongering kingdom of Varscodia, she finds herself at the limits of her emotional resilience. On the night marking the tenth anniversary as a fugitive, Adeline's past finally catches up with her, forcing her face-to-face with her destiny.