Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
First Born is the first thing I have written that’s actually gone to publish. I’ve written a small collection of scripts (stage and screen), stories, comics, poetry and the sorts since childhood but this is the first thing I’ve been able to get out into the world, as self-publishing a book is easier than self-financing a film or play!
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The series title is Millennium Children as it charts the lives of a handful of children born in the UK on 01/01/00. First Born comes from not only being the fist book in the series but that chronologically the protagonist is the first of the Children to get his powers, something that becomes colloquially knows as being ‘born’. In a way it’s also symbolic of being my very first creation sent out into the world.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Most of my writing gets done while I commute to and from my day job. I’ll sit on the tube and type into a notepad app on my phone. When I’ve finished a chapter I’ll email it to myself and copy it all into a Word document and make sure I don’t have too many unfortunate autocorrect incidents!
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I’m of the age where I grew up with the Harry Potter books and it’s an understatement to say they have been an influence. 100 Years Of Solitude and Catch 22 had a profound effect on me the first time I read them and I’m just finishing up George R R Martin’s Song Of Ice And Fire series, which has given some useful tips on how to write vast ensemble stories, a place my own series is heading towards.
What are you working on now?
Book two! Millennium Children is going to be taking up a lot of my time, this next story is sprawling on a scale missing from the first book. First Born was somewhat of a test. A test to myself to see if I could actually finish a project for once; a test to see if, when finished, it was even any good; a test to see if there would be people out there willing to pick up what I was putting out there. First Born is small. It’s a short book focusing on one character. When the entire series is complete, it will be part of a collection of shorter origin stories, while the rest of the series covers a wide range of characters across the United Kingdom as events bring them all together.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’ve been using Twitter but I’ve finally set up a Facebook page too so I’ll have to see how that compares.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
I still am one so I’ll take whatever anyone else can offer! Just persevere, I guess is what I’d say. Writing is hard, rewriting is easier (unless you cut your story in half and change the setting and the opening third like I did!) so put something down first and you can always edit it.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
It’s not writing specific, but it’s what made me finally knuckle down and write. It’s a line from the end of Hairspray when John Travolta is watching Tracey wantingly. Christopher Walken turns and says, “Do it now, or forever wish you had!” It’s a line that’s stuck with me for nearly ten years now.
What are you reading now?
I’ve been alternating between Harry Potter and A Song of Ice and Fire for the last couple of months and I’m nearly finished, I’m towards the end of A Dance with Dragons. I’ve got the second and third Robert Galbraith books to read next and also Ready Player One. But I also think it’s getting close to the time where I need to read 100 Years of Solitude again.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Carrying on with the Millennium Children series is going to be my main focal point but I also want to take some time here and there to finish off lingering projects. I’ve been working on a jukebox musical of Killers songs since I before I saw them nearly four years ago and while I have the whole story worked out I still haven’t gone and written it down. I have an opportunity at my day job to present a comic book idea and I began adapting a TV pilot script I wrote so that’s something else I’d very much like to follow through on as well. I don’t want to stretch myself too thin though!
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
100 Years of Solitude and Catch 22 are definites, and while it may not be entirely kosher, I have the physical copy of My Dad Wrote A Porno, which is possibly the most hilarious podcast I have listened to time and time again so I’d probably have to bring that and have myself a good laugh while I’m stranded.