- Author Events
- The Author
- the Books
In reply to Ana B’s question:
Word count and length! Puffin requests that I keep the word count down to 100k or less but maaaaaaaaaaaaaan, what I wouldn’t give to have another 10k words to play around with 🙂
All the funkiest,
In reply to Ana, Joseph, Riley and Iman’s question:
You know I’m a book worm. I love reading but every time I sink into a book I’ve always found that my imaginings of the main hero/heroine never match the book’s cover. It seems, at least for me, that the artist’s interpretation never matched mine. So I was happy for all the other illustrations to have faces but felt it best that Charlie Keeper be left as just an outline so your interpretation of Charlie Keeper (and not the artist’s), will always be right .
All the funkiest,
In reply to Ana C’s question:
The Keeper’s house in London is soooooooooo big on the inside, with so many twisting routes, paths and corridors that in all her years of living there Charlie never managed to open all the doors inside the house – it’s simply that big.
All the funkiest,
In reply to the question raised by Daisy W:
My first novel took a year and a half, the second four months and the most recent three months. (It always helps if you have a fierce editor looming over you with a big stick in her hand! In fact I’m so terrified of disappointing my awesome Puffin editors that I always do my best to meet deadline!)
All the funkiest,
In reply to the question raised by the awesome Kathryn @ Sponne School:
Sorry dude, you’ll probably want to slap me when you hear the explanation as I didn’t take a huge jump in imagination to come up with the name. I wanted to write about two races other than humans that could spin magic over different elements: a race that could control wood and trees and another that could master stone and rock. So (big breathe!) tree people or tree men simply became tre-men then finally Tremen and yeah, you got it, Stone men ended up being Sto-men, then Stomen!
All the funkiest!
Oh my gosh, I made sooooo many big mistakes! Mistakes that cost me money, or time, or good reviews, or stronger networking ties or any dozen other painful costs that you could think of. Perhaps the greatest error that I made, one that came back to bite, nibble and gnaw at me regularly was not paying for a basic proofread and edit. It cost me in reputation and several negative reviews (ouch*). However at the time of pre-press I had already broken my set budget and was determined not to do so again – but if I had been willing to dig a little deeper in my pockets for an extra £400-£800 it would have been an investment well made.
Distribution. Online sales and distribution wasn’t an issue but to generate an increased product awareness you really need those books out in (physical)book stores and out in quantity. Yes you can get books stocked in stores such as Waterstones and independent book stores but without a decent distributor you will struggle to get a decent quantity dispatched at any one time. You can bypass this hurdle by paying distributors or even self publishing print companies for the privilege but the added (extortionate) cost tends to be too high resulting in a net loss per unit sold.
Having limited distribution hurt me the most when after a prolonged marketing campaign demand increased to the point that I couldn’t match it. I had the books but not the ability to get them stocked in shelves. Furthermore I could not take up offers of book signings where book stores typically order 60 units on a sale or return basis to be signed and sold throughout the book signing event.
On a final note I did think it was a beautiful gesture on Waterstones behalf that they do allow self published authors to stock with them – giving small fish (like me!) the chance to swim with mainstream authors. (Waterstones book seller and junior club book reviews here.)
Take an iPad into the rainforest and show it to a secluded tribe and they’d think it magic but we know it’s just tech – the same goes in KOTR. The skills and powers that occur in Bellania are the result of genetics, training and study. Treesinging, Stonesinging, the Will and the Way are the application of inherent abilities and not an occurrence of magic. Erm…which is true right until Charlie comes along and stomps all over the word lol
Poor comb to hair coordination.
Well, to be honest I wasn’t that quick to act on it, seeing the characters and book title of ‘Who is Charlie Keeper?’ (the original self-published book from 2008 before Puffin turned it into Crow’s Revenge) around London was kinda cool and what author wouldn’t want to see that kind of exposure? However when I did manage to kick myself into motion to stop these artists (spurred on by a penalty notice from Hammersmith and Fulham Council and the twinges from my conscience) I actually succeeded to track and trace one crew, the ‘Corrupt Government Crew’ through use of their tag who at my request have stopped painting illegally. Other artists who don’t ‘tag’ their work make it a little harder to trace.
I’m not sure what sparked it off. I do know that one crew (the C.G.C) focused quite heavily on it and as a result others seemed to pick up on it.
I love adrenaline sports and anything ‘X’.
I’m hooked on snowboarding, fight sports, parkour, gymnastics, skydiving and moooooore so it only made sense that as an author I give Charlie Keeper the opportunity to feel every bit as alive as I feel when I go snowboarding.
So I came up with the name ‘K’Changa’ for the fantasy sport that the Tremen would play in Bellania but a name wasn’t enough, I needed elements to make this sport alive. When I was younger I used to play a lot of Capoeira and in my travels I had seen Chinlone (in the Golden Triangle) and Tekraw (Thailand) and I got to thinking what would happen if I ripped elements from each of these three sports and squished them together to make K’Changa…
Charlie’s painful learning and final mastery of it is my homage to all the old school kung fu movies and Hong Kong flicks of the ’80′s
Sometimes words or names will just pop into my head (E’Jaaz, Torn Moon) but more often than not there’s no mystery to the process.
I like to use several of these techniques:
I’ll pick a name that suits the character’s personality or traits ie. Nibbler for the dragon because he’s always hungry and likes to chomp and nibble on food (nom-nom*), Lady Narcissa because she’s narcissistic etc
I’ll use phonetically similar names for races (the way a names sounds) ie. Lentol, Kelko, Stoddit, Dridif for some of the Tremen – these are names generated through playing around with noises/sounds
I’ll look to names that I’ve come across in my travels and change them slightly to better match my character ie. Marsila
Sometimes I’ll base characters on sayings – Stix and Stones aka the Delightful Brothers, came about from ye olde saying sticks and stones may break my bones…
Or I’ll be really lazy and simply leaf through a Name Dictionary until I stumble across a name that I like and think would suit my character ie. Azariah