I am the author of the Agnil’s Worlds series of fantasy adventure books for children aged 7-10 years. The first two, ‘The Rise of Agnil’ and ‘Agnil and the Wizard’s Orb’ have already been published by Ant Press and the third, ‘Agnil and the Tree Spirits’ is due out in a couple of months.
At the moment, life is a balancing act between my work as a primary school teacher and my work as a writer. After the summer, however, that’s all set to change as I take the plunge into being a full-time writer. When I’m not working, there’s nothing I like better than taking my camera for a walk. Photography has been my hobby for a number of years.
What inspires you to write?
Small details and big themes give me the ideas for writing. In my second book, for example, I interweave the themes of bullying, racism and apartheid in a story about elves! I use visual details from somewhere I’ve been or something I’ve seen to help me build my worlds. My photographs helps me a great deal as I have a large bank of images to draw on.
Tell us about your writing process.
First of all I have to “see” my world. I go for walks, find pictures, both from my own resources and online, which help me to create that world in my mind. I will sometimes write descriptions of some of the settings, not all of which end up in the book. The world will often suggest the story to me but usually they develop side-by-side. When I start to write my first draft, I have a good idea of where it’ll end up. I don’t write an outline as the story tends to be more organic and the characters often take me off in surprise directions. I have moments of revelation all the way through the writing process. It’s very exciting!
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I have to listen to my characters! They are elves and they will often “visit” me in the middle of the night to tell me something that I need to change or put into the story. If I try to ignore them, they keep nudging me until I do something about it. They are very insistent!
What advice would you give other writers?
1. Believe in what you are writing. If you don’t believe in your own work, you can’t expect anyone else to either.
2. Make sure you get the services of a good editor and proof reader. I consider myself to be quite good at these processes but I still have one. It’s very important to let someone else look at your work for you. Sometimes your writing style needs a helping hand and a proof reader will pick up those silly errors that have slipped under your own radar.
3. Keep writing!
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I was lucky enough to find a small indie publisher, Ant Press, to take my first book. If I hadn’t found anyone, I definitely would have self-published. You get a lot more control over what happens with your books if you self-publish. I’m really lucky because I think I get a lot of that even though I have a publisher. We have an excellent working relationship.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
We’re already seeing a huge move towards self-publishing and I am sure that’s set to continue. On the debate over ebooks v. print books I believe that they will continue in parallel for a long time yet. My children’s books sell as paperbacks in much greater numbers than ebooks because that’s how children mostly read at the moment. However, I know a large percentage of children are now being given ereaders/tablets in one form or another and I think the numbers of ebooks sold to them will increase over time. Alongside this, I believe the trend will be towards a much greater multimedia experience with sounds and animation incorporated as well as words and pictures. Links to a game-like experience built into the book or an option to zoom into an image to explore a setting in more detail could all be possible.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?
children’s fantasy adventures
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print