A Little More

Some of the Interview questions I’ve been asked over the years, in no particular order.

  • Why did you choose the name Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Threat from the Past for your first novel?

    The whole story came to me in a dream one night, and in the dream, I could see the main character in his dragon form, with this very clear marking of a bent whistle, etched on his scales……hence his name…..Peter Bentwhistle. Whenever I think of him, that’s the first thing that pops into my head. As for the ‘threat from the past’, that’s more about the opening part of the book, that in my mind loops around and connects to the very ending, while still leaving a few unanswered questions for the readers to think about. All will be revealed, some in the not too distant future.

  • Tell us a bit about your main character? Is he fictional or a historic person?

    Events in my book revolve around the fictional main character called Peter Bentwhistle. In part, his personality and many of his traits are based on me, and although he spends a fair amount of his time posing as a human, he is in fact a dragon, something, I can assure you, I’m not. (Although at times, I deeply wish I was.)The name Bentwhistle comes from the fact that when in his dragon form, he has the markings of a ‘bent whistle’ splashed across his scales. He cares deeply for his friends and always tries to do the right thing in any circumstance but often fails because he’s afraid to stand up for himself. He is more than a little naive, maybe because of his dragon nature and the fact that only a few years have passed since he completed his education in the nursery ring, (fifty years in a dragon school) and was then, like most dragons, thrust out into the human world above ground to help guide the course of humanity.

    His gentle nature and love for his friends are traits that I find endearing in him, but which have a tendency to endanger those around him. Recently introduced to the team sport of hockey (field hockey), by one of his best friends, he’s fascinated to the point of addiction by the intricacies of the game, the feeling of being part of a team, and the love, freedom and excitement that flow through him when he plays, provoking feelings similar to that of flying and using mantras when in his dragon form. The typical reluctant hero, with a heart of gold, willing to die for his friends, seemingly enjoying the human world more than the dragon one (something that would be more than frowned upon by the dragon hierarchy), with a love of hockey, who would like nothing better than an easy life. Unfortunately for him…….NOT GONNA HAPPEN!

  • When and where are the stories set?

    They are set in the present, where dragons and humans live smack bang alongside one another, without of course the human population knowing. The dragons are committed to fulfilling an ancient prophecy from ages past which sees them protecting, nurturing and guiding the human race because the futures of both races are so inextricably intertwined. The first book introduces the secretive underground dragon domain, visiting the stunning Purbeck Peninsula enclave, situated directly below a beautiful part of southern England. Dragon London features, deep beneath the real thing, as well as the intricate and slightly outdated enclave of Salisbridge. Above ground, Salisbridge once again features, the beautiful seaside town of Swanage, as well as a brief visit to a very chilly, and very deadly Antarctica.The second book covers much more of the world, both above and below ground. Opening in Egypt, the focus once again remains on events in Salisbridge, but with action covering as far and wide as Antarctica, Perth, Australia, London, New York, Montreal, Chicago and New Zealand, and many other places in between.

  • What should we know about him?

    A dragon in a human shaped body, Peter works at Cropptech’s head office in the fictional city of Salisbridge. Peter’s introduction sees him as part of the security team, but at different points in the story, he ends up as head of security, as well at some point, as losing his job entirely. The importance of him working at Cropptech is that they extract and procure rare minerals, in particular a rare metal the dragon community below ground value because of its unusual properties (something the humans aren’t aware of) ….laminium. His position there is more for the good of the dragon community, than that of the humans, but ultimately combines both roles to good effect.Peter and I share a love of team sports, in particular hockey, appreciating its ability to help people bond with others, the sheer thrill of helping and/or being helped by a team mate and the fast paced action that you find yourself caught up in. When the moment catches up with Peter, he certainly has the potential to step up and be the dragon other dragons are. But with a lack of self confidence, and an all encompassing fear……….can he?

  • What is the main conflict? What messes up his life?

    Suspicious changes above his position at Cropptech start to make his life, and the lives of those around him, intolerable. This leads to a deadly chase for the truth, with the valuable laminium at stake. A mysterious stranger, that only he can see as something other than he appears, cause rifts between friends, and set off a catastrophic chain of events that could not only affect him, but in fact the entire planet. As he struggles to put the pieces of the puzzle together, with and without his friends, he finds new allies in the strangest of places. A master mantra maker long forgotten, and more eccentric than the maddest of professors, provides invaluable help along the way, and more than a few laughs, along with an unknown dragon **SPOILERS** if I tell you anymore about him. From a desperate race to save the laminium in the first book, to a growing global threat from something long in the past, in the second.Blackmail, intrigue, forbidden love interests, a near fatal mantra gone wrong, a highly charged rugby match in which Tank (one of Peter’s best friends) takes a beating, combined with enough laminium ball action to please dragons the world over, stretch the bonds of the dragons’ friendship like never before. New friends and ancient enemies clash as the planet braces itself for one of the most outrageous attacks it has ever seen. Lost secrets and untold lore come to light, while sinister forces attempt to steal much coveted magic.

    Explosive exploits, interspersed with a chilly backdrop and unexpected danger at every turn, make for an action-packed, electrifying adventure.

  • What are his personal goals?

    Peter’s personal goals are about being happy, fitting in, doing his job to the best of his abilities, and really just having an easy life. His recent introduction to hockey (field hockey) is almost an addiction to him…..that’s how happy it makes him to play and stand alongside his teammates and fight as one, not just on the pitch, but off it as well. From a social point of view the hockey has been a revelation to him, particularly given that both his best friends play different sports (lacrosse and rugby) at the same sports club, enabling him to hook up with them more often, and learn more about their sports and the effect it has on them, as well as making new human friends within the hockey team.He’s known Richie, (one of his best friends, the other being Tank) ever since his first year in the nursery ring (dragon school) and deep down has harboured strong feelings for her ever since. But Richie’s wild, never one to play by the rules, and has had many dalliances with humans (something strictly forbidden) and something Peter just can’t understand her obsession with. Will he get together with her? Does she even want to? What about dragon and human relationships? Everything changes as the story progresses, with the three friends almost becoming addicted to everything it means to be human, despite their dragon DNA.

  • When can we expect the next book to be published?

    Hopefully ‘Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Twisted Prophecy’ will be available early next year.

  • How did you get into writing?

    Oddly it just happened. Sounds a bit crazy really, but one night, when my elder daughter was just a baby (she’s not far off 11 now), I had the single most realistic dream I’ve ever had. I didn’t remember it until the following day, but when I did, I swear it was just like watching a movie in my head…..so graphic, so intense, so…..mesmerising. Anyhow, I told my wife, who was gobsmacked to say the least. And so was what she said to me, “You have to write it, you just have to.” Initially I just laughed off her idea, bearing in mind that at the time I could only type with two fingers. But over a period of I suppose months, I kept getting more dreams, flashbacks into the story…….sometimes little details, sometimes insights into the characters, sometimes twists and turns to do with the plot. In the end I suppose it was inevitable that I would write it. First I taught myself to type properly…..3 months, and then, well………..I began. At first I needed complete silence to be able to write, something there wasn’t a lot of bearing in mind I was taking care of one young child, with another on the way. But over time I’ve learned to filter it all out and can now write with the kids playing around me if I need to, but I still think I do work more efficiently in total silence. It has taken a long time, and I was surprised how hard and crucial the editing process was. But in the end it was most definitely worth it.

  • Who is your favourite author and book?

    When in my late teens, I mistakenly ordered a Tom Clancy book…..Debt of Honour. I was too lazy to return it, so it sat on my bedside table for weeks. Until one evening, when I picked it up and started to read it. Many hours later I put it down, only because I needed a few hours sleep before I went to work. I was hooked. After finishing that, I went out and bought all the other Tom Clancy books I could find. It was also about that time that the Star Wars expanded universe books started to appear. I caught sight of the first one while working in a book shop in my role of service engineer. I can remember it clearly: Star Wars Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn. It had a striking blue cover with some of the Star Wars characters on it, and I had to buy it there and then, in the middle of doing my job, much to the amusement of the owner of the bookshop. My love of the expanded universe has continued ever since, and as soon as the next book comes out…………..I have to have it.It seems my love of books goes in phases. If I have nothing to read, I wander around a bookshop until I find something I like the look of and then read it. If I get hooked, I go back and find other books by that author. Examples of this for me are Terry Goodkind and Christopher Paolini…………I love all of their books. The detail, the plot……the characters….are just all amazing. I can only dream of writing as well as they do. Other authors I’ve found and loved this way include Robin Hobb, J.V. Jones, David Gemmell and Trudi Canavan, to name but a few. I love the way they use their imaginations and the worlds that they create on the pages of the book. They’re all very easy to visualize.

    My favorite author of all though, is the wonderful Terry Pratchett. If you haven’t read one of his books you really should. While I love pretty much all the books he’s written, the ones about the guards of Ankh-Morpork, Captain Carrot, Sam Vimes, Corporal Nobbs, Angua and of course the Lord Vetinari, are easily my favourites. The characters themselves are described in magnificent detail, all with their own funny little ways. The plots twist and turn like a raging river, and the humour……….well, let’s just say that is exactly on my wavelength. I’ve cried with laughter on many occasions reading some of Terry Pratchett’s books, and I can’t recall doing that for any other author I’ve read. If you’re a reading fan, you really must try one of his books.

  • What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

    When I’m not writing I like to either spend time with my wife and children, or play hockey. A day at the beach down in Swanage or Hengistbury Head followed by a meal out on the way back sounds perfect. If not that, a family bike ride somewhere or a walk in the New Forest. I do love a game of hockey with my friends at Salisbury hockey club, but as I get older it’s much harder to do on a regular basis. I help coach my kids and other children every Sunday morning though, and still try to get to mens training weekly. Playing squash weekly with an old friend, helps me get through the week. (He’s mentioned in the book.)

  • If you had to describe yourself in three words what would they be?

    Husband, Father, Hockey Player (I know the last one takes it to more than three words, but please let me have it.)

  • What genres do you prefer to read?

    My preferred genres to read would probably be fantasy, sci-fi and thrillers, in that order.

  • What inspired you to write Bentwhistle The Dragon In A Threat From The Past?

    In the story that I’d dreamt, the main character when in his dragon form, had a marking on his scales that looked just like a bent whistle. This is where he derived his name from, and I think I was desperate to include this somewhere in the title. As for the ‘threat from the past’…………..it just seemed so obvious, given how it starts and ends. Those were two parts of the story I knew in my head in graphic detail, long before I’d completed the book. Originally I’d intended just to write the story for my kids……….for when they were a little older. But the more I wrote, the more seemed to spring forth from inside of me, far exceeding how long I thought the book would be. About halfway writing that one, I started dreaming about what would happen in the next book and beyond. The whole thing seems almost to have a life and will of its own.

  • When you’re finished with a piece, do you find that it tends to differ from your original idea, or does the original idea remain more or less intact?

    I find the original idea remains more or less intact, but all the smaller, more detailed parts have been filled out, with some even added during the writing process. Sometimes the writing seems to go off at a tangent, as I get so caught up in getting the words out. I tend to look back on those parts, and most of the time include them. It mainly revolves around the main character’s thoughts or opinions, and since he’s loosely based on me (apart from the fact he’s a dragon in human form most of the time), I tend to keep those parts in – my thinking being that if he’s like me, he’ll think in pretty much the same way.

  • What’s the best thing about being an author?

    I love the freedom that it gives you to use your imagination how you see fit. Just the thought of a blank page makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up on end. I see additions and amendments to my books in my dreams, and the words just have to come out. When they do, it feels so good. Sometimes it’s possible to lose yourself for hours, when you think only minutes have passed. Just the thought of someone reading your work and liking it makes it all feel very rewarding.

  • The worst thing about being an author?

    Probably for me……….the marketing and promotion. Not that I don’t like doing it, just that it’s so time consuming. I look after my kids all the time…….when they’re not at school. After dropping them off, I go to a different school to work as a teaching assistant, and then when I finish there, I go and pick the kids up, do all the household chores, as well as most of the cooking. Fitting in the writing alone takes a massive effort from me, let alone all the time on promotion.

  • Do you have any useful marketing tips for other authors?

    Get your work up on Smashwords as soon as it’s ready. You can hunt about for agents and publishers after it’s already up there, with readers already able to get a feel for your work. It’s such a good site, and allows you fantastic control over your work. As well, I feel interacting on Twitter can do a great deal to promote your book, as well gaining valuable advice from other authors, and meeting some great new people from across the globe.

  • You put quite a lot of contact sports in your work. Were you or are you a hockey/lacrosse/rugby player?

    Hockey plays a big part in the story, and the plot, and has probably been the biggest influence on my life. I started playing when I was eleven years old (old by today’s standards, but young back then). I’m hesitant to tell you how long ago that actually was. But through that sport I have met some of the most amazing people, most of whom I can count as friends, and had the best time on and off the field.I feel that playing hockey has also taught me valuable life lessons. Playing a team sport shows you how to work as part of a team. How you can accomplish more together than on your own, how to pick people up around you, how to inspire and be inspired. These are valuable lessons that can be picked up from any team sport.

    As for the lacrosse and rugby, one of my best friends was England ladies lacrosse captain for some time. I once had the honour to go and watch her play for England at the lacrosse world cup when it was based here. The pace and skill needed to play the game in general and particularly at that level astounded me at the time, and still amazes me to this very day when I think back. I should also mention that the person in question is an amazing hockey player, and I have played alongside her in a touring team many times. And she was always one of the best players. Choosing rugby wasn’t hard. I only ever played at school, but when I watch it on the television, I admire the strength, power, commitment and passion with which it is played. The players are all so professional, not least towards the referee, which is much the same in hockey and is as it should be. It wasn’t difficult to want to add it as a sport to my book. As for the hockey, I still play when I can, despite being more than a little long in the tooth, and I’m proud to say both of my children play. I help coach them every Sunday during the hockey season.

  • Why dragons? Out of all the mythical creatures why did you choose them?

    I don’t think I chose them, I think they chose me.

  • In many novels, dragons are portrayed as killers who are either indifferent or hate humankind, but you make them into creatures who took a vow to protect them. Why did you stray from the norm in that aspect?

    I’m not really sure it is the norm. In a lot of the books I’ve read, and I suppose my imagination, I always think of dragons as a friendly race. When you think of the Eragon series of books by Christopher Paolini, the dragons are a fabulous race, revered by all, and the most powerful of species. Terry Goodkind paints this kind of picture, albeit a little darker than the Eragon series. Other little pointers in this direction include the Harry Potter books and the television series Merlin. As for why it was this way with me, I think again I wanted a little twist on a story…..as you’ve mentioned mostly they are portrayed as killers, but twisting things round and making them protectors of human kind appeals to my sense of humour, as well I think for making a great and unusual story. As for how, and why, they are the protecting the humans……..you’ll have to wait for all to be revealed in the later books.

  • The dragon friends become “addicted” to their human lives and human sports. What is it, do you think, that draws us humans so much towards sports?

    I think it’s probably the friendship. When you think of all the solo sports……….golf, tennis, squash, etc, playing in a team is very different. In some way it makes the achievements of all the golfers, tennis players all the more impressive. It’s their mental strength alone that sees them through. For me, playing in a team means friendship, camaraderie and all the banter that goes along with it. First and foremost it has to be fun, and if it’s fun, you’ll try harder, and therefore be better at it. But as well, when things aren’t going your way, you can turn around on a windswept rainy day, look at all of your soaking team mates and give that little bit extra, not for you, but for them. And how good is it to be able to give encouragement, put an arm around a shoulder and support one of your friends if they’ve made a mistake, and for them to do it to you if you’ve lost the ball. Aside from all of that, there’s the excitement of balls and sticks flying in everywhere during a hockey match, the physical contact and danger sending your adrenaline sky high. What’s not to like? Playing in a team is the best thing, and if you haven’t tried it, you really should. It could change your life just like it’s changed mine.

  • You created an entire world full of dragons. How hard was it to come up with the varying details or did it flow on the page as you wrote?

    I can remember having a distinct passion for writing around the age of nine or ten. I used to be glued to comic books, and let my love and imagination for the Star Wars universe, then quite new, run away with me. But it was at about that time that I found my love of hockey, and so from then onwards all I ever wanted to do was chase the stupid ball about with the stick as part of a team. Much as I still do now, despite my age. My very active and vivid imagination has never really left me. I think it may have been suppressed for a few years, but has come back with a vengeance since I started writing…..thank goodness.

  • Your characters vary in personality and looks. Did you base them on anyone you know in “real life” or are they purely imaginary?

    The main character, Peter Bentwhistle, is loosely based around me. The lacrosse playing dragon called Richie Rump is based on one of my best friends who was captain of the England lacrosse team and is also a fantastic hockey player. A dragon shopkeeper who sells the best mantras in the world shares the same name with one of my best friends. An important human businessman who is duped, is also named for one of my best friends. Other more minor references feature other friends and acquaintances. When looking for some of the character names I used references from everything around me at the time, while sitting working at my desk. There’s a dragon called Axus….his name was gained from my Canon camera at the time, with just a tiny amendment. Also one of the bad characters is a combination of one of my favourite author’s first names and surnames combined. I now have a long list of dragon names tucked away in my computer somewhere, that I can use whenever I need.

  • The book is labeled as “Young Adult” but I find that a lot of your readers are over the age of 18. What do you think it is that gives it such crossover appeal?

    I think it’s probably the humour. While I’m not sure you’ll need a surgeon to stitch up your sides, I do hope there’s enough of my warped sense of humour in there to make you smile occasionally as well as keep you entertained. I’d like to think that the twists and turns of the plot keep readers of all ages on the edge of their seats, not knowing which way things are going. Also, the dragons are leading young adult human lives, albeit in a very naive sort of way. I think most of us can relate to that at some time during our lives – perhaps that has something to do with it.

  • The story has a lot to do with DNA. Is science and/or biology of an interest to you?

    Where possible I have tried to be factually accurate. For instance, in the opening chapter I had to work out the route dragons would fly from England to Antarctica underground. Not only did I have to work out which way they’d go, but at what speed they would fly, and how long it would take them. Never thought I’d be calculating how fast a dragon could fly. Then there’s the dragon transworld monorail network. How far it stretches, which cities it reaches out to, the routes, the stations. For the second book, ‘Bentwhistle The Dragon In A Chilling Revelation’, I’ve had to study up on Antarctica, and part of Australia, to mention but a couple of things. A combination of fact and fiction. But I’ve learned an awful lot about science in the process of writing these books!

  • Where do you see yourself in ten years?

    I’d really love to say earning a living from my writing. I don’t mean rich and famous, just earning a good enough living to look after my wife and kids comfortably, doing something I really love would be tremendous. If not that, then I’d like to be working with kids in some sort of environment. I love working as a teaching assistant. It is easily the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. Oh……….and living by the sea somewhere.

  • Can you please leave the readers with three things that may surprise them about you?

    1. I don’t drink alcohol. That’s why my blog is called thesoberhockeyplayer……….it sums me up perfectly. I’m the only sober hockey player I’ve ever met….and I’ve met loads, on tours, playing alongside and against. It makes me almost unique and is something I’m very proud of. I’m not against people drinking by the way……it’s just not for me. As well, I think this is up there with my sense of humour as one of my best character traits.

     

    1. I once got the words pottery, and hockey mixed up……………..and in that instant, it totally changed my life, forever.

     

    3. I always endeavour to treat people how I would hope to be treated, but more than you would expect, find myself let down.

  • Were the plot and subplots completely planned from the start or did they change during the process, and if so, how?

    The plot was most definitely planned from the start. I had it all worked out in my head, and the second from last chapter ‘Fawking Hell!!!’ with a huge amount of action in it, I’d known before I’d typed the very first word of the book.As for the subplots, I found my imagination would go off at a tangent while writing. There are a few ‘rants’…..well, that’s what I call them anyway, from the main character, Peter Bentwhistle, who is based loosely on me, which I suppose just flowed out of me while I was caught up in the writing process. I kept them in the story because I thought if they were my opinions, then they should be his as well. They are mainly views on life and morality, hopefully wrapped with a little humour.

  • What would you take to an isolated island?

    My wife and children, a hockey stick for the kids and I, and of course a hockey ball. If permitted, just as many books as possible. My whole family love reading, so with a huge supply of books we’d never be bored.

  • Where do you find your inspirations to write?

    Sounds a little odd I know, but hardly a day goes by that I don’t dream about some part of one of the stories in my books. It may just be a tiny part but in intricate detail, or it may be a whole scene or a couple of chapters. Sometimes as soon as I wake in the morning, I can totally recall what it is I’ve dreamt about and can hold that in my head until I get a chance to write it down. Other times it may not come to me until much later on in the day. Often I find myself busy towards late afternoon/early evening, when…..’BAM!’…..like a thunderbolt from nowhere the dream from the previous night just pops into my head. Sometimes I feel like it’s a curse, but my wife keeps telling me it’s amazing. As I started writing my second book, there was something in my first book that I had to get round. Something that was crucial to the plot that couldn’t happen, but had to happen for the story to move forward. I was really, really stuck and thought about this one ‘event’ for nearly two weeks. Then I went to bed one night, and my last waking thought was of the problems I faced in explaining the that part of the plot away. Like a comedy moment from a film, as soon as I woke up the next morning, I sat straight up in bed and declared, “I’ve got it”. I’d dreamed about my problem in the night, and what I hadn’t figured out in over two weeks had easily been solved in my dreams. Moreover, the answer itself had been so easy and obvious, that I actually felt a little silly for not working it out earlier. That particular ‘event’ is absolutely crucial to the whole storyline in every part of the Bentwhistle books. Weird or amazing………who knows?

  • What is your favorite quality about yourself?

    I suppose my sense of humour. I always try and look on the bright side of anything, and I’d much rather be laughing than crying. It’s always lovely to see my kids laugh, and be rather cheeky at times…….although I’d never really tell them that. My sense of humour is interspersed throughout my book…….look out for the giant grinning spider.

  • What was your favorite part of the book to write? Why?

    My favorite part to write was easily the second to last chapter……….’Fawking Hell!!!!!’ As you may have gathered from the chapter title, it has something to do with bonfire night. This whole chapter had been in my head for years before I started writing it, and given that it’s around twenty-two thousand words long, I absolutely whizzed through it. It was a pleasure to write, and the words just zipped out of my head and on to the screen. I could genuinely see every little detail of what happens. Twists and turns abound in that chapter, and it includes a graphic fight scene, which ends in a most unexpected way. It’s easily my favorite part of the book, and just thinking about it sends goose bumps down both of my arms.

  • Do you like to listen to music when you write? If so, what kind? If not, what are your favourite bands anyway?

    I tend to go through phases. Sometimes, I like to listen to music….it kind of acts as a soothing background, filtering out all of the clutter. But I think I do my most productive writing in total silence. I certainly get more done, anyway. As for my favourite band, that would have to be Genesis, with my favourite album being ‘We Can’t Dance’, followed hotly by the ‘Genesis’ album of 1983. I do however, like all of their work, especially the really long songs. Domino, Driving The Last Spike, Home By The Sea and There Must Be Some Other Way all spring to mind. Besides Genesis, I enjoy listening to Dire Straits, Level 42, Deacon Blue, Adele, and pretty much anything from the 80’s and 90’s (the best era for music in my opinion).

  • What do you find rewarding about writing?

    I find the thought of entertaining people rewarding: getting across imagery from the inside of your head to create a powerful story that brings to life the characters, the plot, has twists and turns so there’s always a surprise or two, and in my case stamping a little of my own humour in to it. My book, is made up of everything that makes me up. There’s my love of fantasy that features in my love of books, and sometimes computer games. The heros from movies and television that I like watching and in particular my love of hockey, and team sports in particular. The hockey for me though, is the one. Without it, I wouldn’t be a fraction of the human being I am now. It changed my life beyond measure in a good way, and only in my nightmares do I imagine my life without it. So for all of the things in my tiny little head to come together in one long, detailed, imaginary tale is fantastic. And sometimes, the words just roll out of your head, or they do mine anyway. You think only minutes have passed, when in fact it’s hours. That, is a real thrill when it happens, and you always want more of the same.

  • What kind of dragon would you be?

    The lead character, Peter, is roughly based around me, and of course he’s a dragon. He’s kind, caring considerate and good mannered. He loves playing hockey, and has a very special bond with his friends. I’ve certainly had that in the past, but at the moment, not so much. But a lot like me………..he’s reluctant. I’m very quiet and shy, I suppose a big part of that comes from not drinking alcohol for me; it’s the same for him. Also, he manages to spur himself on to greater things, whether in a hockey match, or a deadly fight, mainly at the thought of his friends or team mates. I know this is possible, well, in a hockey match at least. So I would choose to be like him, and be kind, caring, friendly and good mannered, always on the lookout for new friends.

  • Do you ever experience writer’s block?

    Not very often. When I wrote my first book, I found that even though I knew the ending in great detail……….I had to write the book in the order that it read. I did get writer’s block a couple of times I think, but only for a day or two. Now if that happens, I just move on and write another part of the story. It might be something further ahead in the second book, or even as I’ve explained previously, something from another book, much further ahead in the story.

  • What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

    I think: how much I actually enjoy writing. When I started, I’d have never thought that I would enjoy getting the words out of my head and on to the page so much. At times, and it’s not often, the words just seem to flow. I’ve sat down and started writing, looked up and thought I’d written a few hundred words in perhaps twenty or so minutes, only to find that a couple of hours have passed and I’ve written many thousands of words. You just get so caught up and engrossed in what you’re writing about………it’s quite surprising, in a good way of course. I just wish I could write like that all the time.

  • What do you think makes a good story?

    For me a story has to have great characters, twists and turns galore that are hard to predict, and something that evokes emotional responses, whether sadness or laughter. I must say I do like a lot of great humor, as in Terry Pratchett’s books, but one of the things I like the best about them is the word play. I’d love to meet him and get a little insight into how his mind works.

  • Who would you say has been a major influence in your life? (Writing or otherwise)

    Roy Polkinghorne: a teacher at my middle school who taught me to play hockey and introduced me to hockey at club level. It changed my life for the better and I’ve never looked back since.My wife and children need a mention here. My wife is the kindest, loveliest and most caring person I’ve ever met. Without her my life would have no meaning. And my children are just the best. They’re good mannered, kind, caring and considerate. I know that they spur me on to things that otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do. Together they make me happier than I ever dreamed I could be.

  • Has any book (or movie) influenced your life?

    I suppose I have to say the Star Wars movies. At the time when the first one came out I was eight, and I can remember my grandfather taking me to the cinema to watch it. I’m pretty sure we both sat there in awe at what we were seeing. I’d never seen anything like it, and I’m pretty sure he hadn’t either. It was a fantastic experience and something that I became hooked on………..I was just about to say for a very long time, but I’m still hooked on it today, with the books, and my children buy the toys, so I get to help them and see them play with the Star Wars lego and action figures. At the school I used to work at, the very end of the week the kids would be able to choose what they could do for an hour. I’d have at least half a dozen of them pestering me to build lego space ships, in the Star Wars style, for them to play with. I loved every minute of it. I’m just a big kid at heart.

  • What would be your best word of advice to aspiring writers/book authors?

    To write about something you feel passionate about. All the things in my book are the things that swim around my head, day in, day out. Hockey, friends, dragons, and some of my views on life in general. They’re all there, and rolled up into one, hopefully great, story in my book. Write about something you love; you’ll find it easier and more rewarding.One last thing on this question. I do seem to be waffling on a bit…..sorry! I once read a writing magazine, and in it was a piece of advice that has proved for me to be quite useful. In it, a writer…..sorry can’t remember who, said that the best advice he could give to anyone starting to write a book was to start your book on chapter two. Sounds a little bizarre, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. And that’s exactly what I did. I swapped what was originally going to be chapter one, for chapter two, and I think my book is so much better for it.

  • Quite often, people think writing for children is easier than writing for adults. Although your book appeals to both children and adults, what do you think about this belief?

    I’m not really sure it’s easier. I suppose it depends on the skill set that you have. I love the Eragon books by Christopher Paolini. The detail in them is stunning in every way. I’d truly love to be able to write like that. But I think even if I continued to write for the next hundred years, I still wouldn’t be able to match the intricacies and the descriptiveness in those books. For me, I work as hard as I can to put what I see in my head, down on to the page. I know that my writing has improved immensely since I started, because I can see that in all of the second book that I’ve written. But I think I have my own style, a style that suits the genre that I’m writing for. It might not be as intricate as the more adult fantasy writers, but I know that kids and grownups alike can enjoy a great plot, some twisted humor and likeable characters, in a world where dragons live all around us.

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