Interview with Simon Ludgate

Published 2014-01-29.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing creatively when I was about 8 as I loved writing and books more than anything at school apart from the beautiful tropical fish tank in the school library. The first piece of writing which was noticed by my English teacher was an account I wrote about taking a gliding lesson. When I was a senior at school I wrote a play called The Wheel which was about reincarnation, the circular nature of life, death and jealousy All normal 16 year old subjects! I saw the power of words and thoughts when the audience saw it for the first time and several people had to leave and a lot of the younger kids started crying. Result!
What's the story behind your latest book?
It is an autobiographical account of ten years of being sent all over the world to make programmes for tv on the spate of natural disasters which occurred between 2004 and 2010. It started in Indonesia with the tsunami which killed 250,000 people and ended in japan when the tsunami was famously caught live on camera. But the disasters, although horrific and life-changing for me to witness the aftermath, provided a wake-up call for my soul which has undergone a transformation. The book, The Accidental Wizard, explains that process and describes the many weird and extraordinary things which happened. I photographed many of them as I am a big believer in empirical ie personal experience. The story describes in a very personal and painfully honest way what I learned along the way and how I reconnected with who I am - a wizard. Now if that isn't a strange process I don't know what is!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I wanted to tell my story in my own words without being edited and audited by someone with a different agenda. I have spent 20 years doing exactly that with every newspaper story I have written and every tv script for my documentaries. It made me very conscious of how there is a perceived wisdom, a surprisingly strict set of rules of what you can and can't say. Science has elbowed every other belief system out of the way as we got addicted to being able to put everything under the microscope. But it's a counterproductive and almost evil social trend which has turned having faith into something to be sneered at and looked down on because a scientist can't prove it. And I'm not talking about established religions which are just as bad really, but having a belief in anything which defies logic. It takes courage as people will laugh at you for being unrealistic. But they are the poorer for it and it was that freedom which inspired me to tell my truth in my own words, satisfied there was no editing process between my words and the reader. The first time in my life I have experienced that.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Well to be honest it hasn't. I have sold 16 copies of my book on Smashwords so far and it seems difficult to get it any attention which is why I am filling out these questions in the hope someone will read this and take notice. There is a lot of chatter out there but none of it is about my book. The few people who have read it and the hundreds who have downloaded the preview are very complimentary but I need a million dollar pr campaign! I take heart in the fact that JK Rowling sold no copies of her first novel since the Hobbit books when she tried publishing with a pseudonym until she reverted to her own name and sales went into the millions.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It's being able to give form to the thoughts in my head.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything. The feedback you get from them is really heart-warming and encouraging. And it comes from all sorts of directions which suggests there are a lot more people somehow reading my book than are paying for downloads! I have had thousands of comments since I published the book which is amazing. At least they are reading the book even if they aren't paying for it!
What are you working on next?
My next book is completely different. It's a thriller based on a dream I had 18 months ago. It was so vivid and strange I have carried it around in my head ever since and it sort of grew from there. The book is intended as a pre-cursor for writing it as a screenplay as well but that is some way off. I think what people don't appreciate is quite how long it takes to write a book! It's a lot of words!
Who are your favorite authors?
Sebastian Faulks wrote Birdsong which is the most beautiful book I have ever read. Rotten film though. EE Doc Smith was a favourite when I was a kid as I loved scifi. Arthur C Clarke as well for the same reason and for writing 2001 A Space Odyssey.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Lack of money. And a curiosity about what the day will bring. Being a freelance writer/ director every day is different. The thing which kills me is repetition and predictability in my work. Strangely writing every day is always different as each day has different challenges and has it's won success and failures. My life is measured at the moment by word count. I have a target for the number of pages I can get done every day and if I don't make it I'm disappointed and If I exceed it I am elated and have a real sense of achievement. My new book is so complicated it is very slow. The slowest I have ever written anything so hopefully it will be the best!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
In the bar of my health club. That way I can pretend I am healthier than I am although it is a short walk to a yoga class or a circuit in the gym. I try to do some sort of exercise every day as I am spending the rest of my time sitting in front of the computer - like now. You sort of know when you are overdoing it as you start waking up with bloodshot eyes and get cross eyed! Writing by definition is a solo sport so the ebb and flow of people around me during the day helps defuse the feeling that I am in solitary confinement taking punishment drill called writing a new book.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Quite often by watching the History Channel. Everyone they interview is an author of some sort and they write some pretty crazy books which I enjoy reading. Recommendation is another one, book reviews in the press and competition winners are other ways.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.

Books by This Author

Gabriel's Lyre
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 59,100. Language: English. Published: March 20, 2014 . Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
Think Exorcist meets Alien in this metaphysical horror/thriller. Profoundly evil powers with a global reach are gathering in the deepest recesses of an eerie castle in the Scottish Highlands to threaten Gareth who is paralysed and in a wheelchair.
The Accidental Wizard
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 46,010. Language: English. Published: May 13, 2011 . Categories: Nonfiction » Religion & Spirituality » Inspirational, Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Death, Grief, Bereavement
(3.00 from 1 review)
My book The Accidental Wizard will be one of the most unusual you have ever read. It's about my (our) spiritual journey which seems to be a lot of other people's awakening journey too - once you've read it you will no longer feel alone. You will realise that the uncomfortable feelings of doubt about a pre-existing belief system has been created to trap you into not asking the right questions.