Ian was interviewed by a journalist on behalf of a publisher, recently.
What’s your favourite thing about writing children’s fiction?
Ooh, lots of things. Just one? Well at the top of the list has to be knowing that the work will help young imaginations expand and grow, hopefully inspiring another generation of storytellers as authors like Blyton, Lewis, Tolkien and Rowling etc have inspired me.
What has the response been like so far for Legend of the Lost?
I’m very pleased to say that it’s attracted the reactions I’d hoped for when the children and I first committed the ideas to paper and planned the trilogy.
Comments like “compelling from start to end”,“beautifully written” and “couldn’t put it down”are great to see in the reviews on Amazon, Book Guild bookshop and feedback on social media and in person.
It really is pleasing that adults are enjoying reading the book and am especially delighted to hear of parents reading the book to and with their children as I really wanted it to be a collaborative experience. In my view there’s nothing quite like parents and children exploring a magical adventure together.
When did you realise that you wanted to become a published author?
I’ve been published in more high-brow, adult genres before, but I’ve since discovered that apparently when I was a little boy myself, I said that I would write books for children (so I’m now reminded).
Whatever the type of book there’s really something special about watching a project catch fire from a spark of an idea to something that will spread around the world lighting up dark corners of the imagination.
Now, with the wonders of social media, authors can receive feedback and connect with readers much easier. It really is lovely to receive photos of the books from all sorts of exotic destinations, often featuring local landmarks or indeed crazy pets, as we have been.
One very lovely lady has been reading the book to the animals at her animal rescue centre in the US. She says it soothes them. Who could have predicted that?
Is there any advice you would give to other writers/how have you found the publishing experience?
First and foremost, believe in yourself and just do it. Write! There is no given technique or approach. Sure, read a lot and be informed by other voices. But find what works for you – whether that is scribbling in notebooks when the creative impulse strikes or having a routine and schedule if you must. Only you know yourself. Go with what feels right. But write.
I remember the story of Joseph Heller who wrote one of the Iconic Books of all time, Catch 22. Famously he jotted scenes on postcard-sized cue cards which he kept in a shoe box. Allegedly he dropped them one day and rather than re-arrange as a linear narrative, he wrote up the story in the random order in which the cards fell. True or not, this illustrates the point. Do what works for you. But write.
For me, the best part of publishing, as a process, is the creative collaboration. For example, I have strong opinions about each project including the visuals. When I received the first draft of the cover for Legend of the Lost, it wasn’t what I imagined at all. I could tell there was a degree of trepidation about the proposal, perhaps because of my background in brand and advertising. But it was actually better than anything I had pictured. Jack did a great job. I love it, and the feedback has been unanimously positive. I made a couple of supplementary suggestions and we agreed the finished product in a few minutes. THAT’s the power of collaboration
What’s next in the writing pipeline for you?
Well, I committed to writing a trilogy and Legend of the Lostis the first part. I’ve written the next two, The Ends of the Earth being the second part. Without spilling any spoilers, the adventure continues in Cornwall and Africa. I’ve promised our growing community of readers that I will aim to finalise the sequel next year.
I can’t wait to see what the team does with the visuals and am sure the story will evolve further during the magic of the editing process and as the readership grows.
I’m personally excited to watch this complex family develop as individuals and a group over time as they confront and overcome fresh challenges. Because as any parent knows, growing up is filled with twists and turns of fate. We need to be reminded, from time-to-time, especially during the festive season, that the real secret to finding our magic is not to lose heart, not to shut down in the face of adulting and to keep believing.