I visit many different schools to deliver author presentations. The best part about writing for me has to be the gratification of seeing the lights in children's eyes light up when I talk to them about my stories. One of those children may be inspired to go on to write something truly amazing. If I could play even just a small part in inspiring the next Charles Dickens, Roald Dahl or JK Rowling, then my entire writing career will have been a success.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything. Interacting with fans is like oxygen for me. The age range of my fans is quite broad but children in particular are a constant source of encouragement and inspiration to me.
What are you working on next?
I'm still ploughing my way through the Portallas series of novels, with the odd short story thrown in here and there. The Portallas universe is vast, as anything that visits https://portallas.com/ will appreciate. I expect to be spending the next couple of years on this. However, there have been some terrific spin-offs also. For example, myself and another amazing author, JA Culican, have started a company called Dragon Realm Press, which provides author services to other authors. We both felt that we had a lot to offer, having been there and done it all ourselves. So far, it's proving to be a busy but productive enterprise: http://DragonRealmPress.com/
Who are your favorite authors?
I get asked this a lot and it's a difficult question to answer. There are so many talented authors out there - many that have yet to find an audience but have still produced truly amazing works. I'd have to say, however, that JK Rowling gets a lot of my votes. Anyone capable of inspiring an entire generation of kids to pick up a book and read must rank highly in my opinion.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My day job. I'm an IT Manager by day, author by night. I love my work and still get a lot out of it even 30 years in. If I had my way, however, I think I'd probably be a teacher, since I love interacting with children so much.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have almost zero downtime and am always in need of something to do. Besides being a family man with a wife and two terrific children, I am a writer, obviously, as well as a community volunteer. I also run two companies and sit on various committees here and there. I love spending time with my family.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. It was a short story called The Diagnosis. It was never published, although I might go back and tidy it up to do just that. It was an exercise in trying to determine whether I had what it takes to write a full-length novel. Writing it, and doing a generally good job at it, gave me the confidence and impetus to launch my writing career. Fun fact: A 10-year-old boy in that short story was called Joshua, which is where I got the name for the main character in the Portallas series!
What is your writing process?
For book one, Forestium: The Mirror Never Lies, it was fairly straightforward. I would sit at the keyboard, typically in a quite place (hard when you have two kids) and then map out the scene I intended to write with one-liners. Once I had the scene set, I'd take each one-line and convert it into one or more paragraphs. Eventually, the scene and chapter were complete and I'd move on to the next. It took me about six to complete the novel doing this. With book two, it has been much more difficult and has taken a lot longer. The main difference between the two is that I had no destination with book one, which stands perfectly well on its own. With book two, it's now a series and it's important for the storyline to work well in the context of that series. I'm also distracted with various spin-offs that complete for writing time.
What do you read for pleasure?
The Internet, believe it or not. I actually find it hard to find time to sit and read a good book and end up spending endless hours on Facebook, Twitter, websites, blogs, etc., instead. When I do find the time to read, it's usually something in the fantasy genre.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I don't read on an e-reader, although my with is sort of addicted to her Kindle. I actually prefer the feel and experience of a physical book. I wonder if that makes me old?
Describe your desk
A rectangle surface suspended about 70c above the floor by a single leg and some shelving (yes, it's an Ikea desk). Very little of the surface is actually visible through all the papers, my computer, a number of fidget toys, sweat wrappers, books, papers and all manner of other odds and ends. Yes, I'm a messy desk kind of person. I firmly believe a clean desk is the sign of a warped mind.
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