WWBB is on a mission to #blog character interviews and I want YOUR protagonist to take part! #authors #indieauthor #interviews #writingcommunity #writers

So, let’s hear it for the protagonist! For the coming autumn months (yeah, sorry, but autumn is on its way), I’ll be supplying interview questions for your CHARACTER to answer. It doesn’t have to be the lead, it could be … Continue reading

Author in the chair – Vivian Mayne.

The Curse of Fin Milton
by
Vivian Mayne

Buy NOW!
Amazon.UK
Amazon.com

Set in modern day London and Cornwall, England, this enchanting ghost story follows the quest of a young man who carries a curse that condemns him to a life without the woman he cares for most in the world. His quest to lift the curse threatens the lives of all those he cares for.



The couple first meet as children, but were predestined to suffer a supernatural romance as a consequence of a curse cast in days gone by.



Aided by a beautiful and dangerous ally who herself has mystic gifts he has to ward off paranormal forces as he seeks to unshackle the restraints of the curse. The two lovers are constantly at the mercy of a ruthless family whose interests would be threatened if the the curse were lifted.

 Tell us the background for The Curse of Fin Milton about?
Set in modern day London and Cornwall, England, this
paranormal romance follows the quest of a young man, Fin Milton, who carries a
curse that condemns him to a life without the woman he cares for most in the
world unless he can lift it. Fin has supernatural abilities and has never been
able to lead a normal life. Initially he is unaware that he has been living
with the curse or that it would be his destiny to be torn away from his lover
every ten years.


Aided by a beautiful and mystically gifted daughter of a
local family with a history of criminality and violence, Fin has to ward off
paranormal forces as he seeks to unshackle the restraints of the curse that
keeps the two lovers apart.


What inspired you to write The
Curse of Fin Milton
?
I had a dream about astral planing (where your conscious
mind is separated from its body) and went to a party at this grand house in
Surrey and met a lovely guy (I used this in the book, albeit briefly, with the
party at Eel Pie Island).


Then, I fell in love and it was like being
hit by a train. It was unreciprocated, which was hard, but I had to get on
with it. I began to think I was cursed because I could not explain why I felt the way I did about him, it made no sense. However, I drew
from this experience and wondered to what extreme could I take this theme: what
if someone was cursed to love someone they couldn’t be with? With this premise
on board, the story snowballed and I started writing it from Fin’s perspective.
It then became his story and it really grew legs, taking on a life of its own.


Describe what you were aiming for with The Curse of Fin Milton?
I wanted plenty of conflict to keep the reader hooked with
lots of punchy dialogue, helping to establish the personalities. I wanted to
create a hidden world where good people live normal lives with concealed
extraordinary abilities, and where bad people with similar powers never get
caught. Hence the talisman/cloak (hiding in the shadow of Etherea) and the
overseers: the Sentries from Etherea – who are like the cosmic police. It then
all tallied with a cold act of revenge and the design of a curse. I created
family trees, which are still growing and will intersect more in Book 2.


There are a lot of
characters. How did you deal with all the personalities? Did you write plan for
each one?
Yes, I did a lot of research on the different personalities.
I have a Facebook page where it will have a list of all the characters and
their attributes, relationships, powers etc. I spent over ten years working on
this and it evolved. I enjoyed it so much, I had a plan for each character. I
wanted to create something big so that it felt multi-dimensional, more real. I
am doing the same for the sequel and there are new characters. In the print
edition there are family trees. These are currently on my Facebook page. 



The book is set mainly in Cornwall. Why that part of England?
Cornwall is somewhere I always thought was paranormal, with
magic and witchcraft aplenty, it is a great place to let your imagination go
wild. I grew up here. I wanted to base it in here because I love it so much. I
invented all the characters (none are based on anyone I know), drawing on my
own personal feelings and experiences. It helped to create a fantasy cast so
that I could visualise the characters, even though it was only the look I was
after, not the personality, which I created myself.


What kind of music do you find inspirational while you write?
I found musical inspiration listening to James Morrison –
the lyrics of Better Man & Get to You is a big influence on Fin; David Gray
– Please Forgive Me; The Doors – LA Woman; Coldplay – The Scientist &
Shiver; Dido – White Flag; James Blunt – High and Goodbye My Lover; Vangelis
– soundtrack theme of The Bounty; to name a few.


Vivian Mayne 

Was there a character you struggled with?

Yes, funnily enough it was Fin Milton, but it wasn’t a
struggle as such, it was more about making him manly. I think it is fair to say
women writing about male characters can sometimes make them sound camp or too
feminine (because most women don’t think like men) so I had to revisit the
personality of Fin many times, weeding out the flowery bits and making him more
selfish and manly – not that I think to be a man means you have to be selfish
of course. It helped having a couple of men to read it and give their opinions
and it made a big difference. While Fin is affected by the curse, I wanted to
make him scatty, mixed up and unpredictable, so by the time the curse is
lifted, a brand new personality emerges in the last two chapters. I am happy
with Fin’s development and hope that others like him too.


I did like his
opening chapter, when he wandered down the road drunk! That was a typical male
who’s worse for wear. So how many unpublished books do you have lurking under
your bed?
Only the one: The Curse of Fin Milton, but I am working on the second book in the series, The Flame
and The Moth, which is currently “in production”. I am hoping to have this
ready later this year for editing, and then I may write a third but I am not
sure at present. It all depends how much closure I get with Book 2. I may start
something new next time.


How did you find your publisher? How do they treat you?
I am unpublished in the traditional sense. I self-published
on Amazon [after hiring an editor] and on http://www.lulu.com/gb where I have created
a hardback version for global distribution. This is available through Lulu and
will be on Amazon within a month.


How did you find the publishing process on Luly?

I found Lulu a very good way of finding free distribution.
If you can do the artwork it cuts down the expense of it. It suited me because
I didn’t have to hire anyone to help with the production. Print on demand is
better now than it ever has been. I published through Blurb as well, in the
early stages, and even if you do it for yourself, it is a quick inexpensive way
of seeing your book in print without being published. I would recommend it
definitely. 



Why self-publish?
I decided to self publish because I wanted to get my book out there,
and it has never been easier if you can do it yourself. Having said that I have
had to learn the hard way with typesetting an ebook. The software is improving
as it becomes more in demand, but it is still quite tricky and time consuming.
Without the print on demand services and Kindle making itself available to
anyone, I would still be printing out submissions and trying to find a literary
agent which can become soul destroying after a while. I offer inexpensive
typesetting and book cover design on a freelance basis, and can be contacted by
email – maynedesign@gmail.com

Does that mean you designed your own book cover?

Yes, I designed the cover and this
is about the tenth incarnation of it. The latest cover came about working with
feedback from my editor and some of his colleagues. So having it critiqued is
essential, although everyone has their own opinion about what they envisage.
The cover is the first point of sale so I hope it attracts readers. I designed
a new cover for my editor’s book last week, How To Write A Book or Novel – AnInsider’s Guide to Getting Published by Jonathan Veale, this is on Amazon and
is a very good source of information for authors.



How do your juggle a writing schedule?

When I am not being a graphic designer, a mother, a housewife, a daughter and a friend—I write. I think it is a case of having to, it is something I get totally absorbed in and I love it. Sometimes I have to make time but it is fair to say I am thinking about it constantly.

What’s the best/worst part of being a writer?
The best part is being able to be terribly excited and
passionate about my story and my characters. It is like being a mother and the
story is my child. The worst part is not having enough time to satisfy my
appetite for writing. The dream is to be published then I will be able to do it
full time. At the same time, I adopt the attitude that if it is meant to be,
then it will happen. If it doesn’t, then I have had a great time playing in my
sand box.


What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
Anytime. I am self-employed and work from home, so it can be
from 7.30am in the morning or late at night—it is random. Sometimes I find
myself writing because I simply have to. A laptop makes this very easy.


Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on
the computer.
I start making notes, writing in a journal and then do as
much research as I can. I live in my location, so I spend a lot of time
experiencing the place and knowing it well enough so when I come to write about
it I feel confident. I have taken loads of photographs of locations, where I
have based my story like Penberth, The Lizard and St. Ives. This really helps
me visualise. I lived in London and spent a lot of time in Camden and the house
in Sussex is based on a friend’s house. It helped to create a complex piece
having research notes. A lot of the houses exist. I am working in the same
manner with the next one, especially when it comes to the plot and family trees.
The writing is done on either my imac or my powerbook if I am writing in bed. I
use Word.


What other authors/books do you draw inspiration from?
I read many Anne Rice novels when I was younger and loved
how she created a world where her immortal characters live, over a long period
of time, centuries even. I love anything that takes me away from the normal
humdrum life. The more fantastic the better.


Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials was brilliant even though I
didn’t like the ending, it became too religious, but the first two books were
amazing.


I love the fast pace of Anthony Horowitz’ novels The Power
of Five, although directed at a teen audience, I really admired how fast the
pace was and it is the story, the conflicts and the characters that grabbed me.
I love Diane Wynne Jones’ books because of her incredible
imagination—Howl’s Moving Castle is so different to the film.


I draw inspiration from intellectual dialogue: in films,
theatre plays, TV, books—everywhere. I am a huge movie fan and love being
visually entertained, especially with stories that are pure escapism. I cried
at how creatively stunning Avatar was on the Imax. I was more impressed with
that than the actual story. I think this must be my inner artist.

Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?

I like to achieve to write at least a
scene. I try and find time every day to write, if I
manage to write 5,000 words, I am very pleased. If I don’t, it doesn’t pressure
me too much. Some days I write more than I do on others. A lot of it depends on
how quiet the house is. The more time I have to myself the more I write.


Did you have to make any cuts?
I had to shave off over 25,000 words with The Curse of Fin
Milton. I call these ‘words’ my deleted scenes but keeping them slowed the plot
and some of it (although it pained me to remove it) needed to come out.  


It was a shame as I had a large chapter on Fin and Ellie
meeting at 20 years and some of it is quite funny including a food fight with
lobsters and a tussle in the rain with lots of mud, so it was hard lopping this
out because it gives you an insight into Fin’s sense of humour. Still you never
know, if I am lucky enough to get published, maybe I can have a special edition
where it goes back in. Being my first novel I was advised to keep it to 75,000
-85,000 words.


What are you working on now that you can talk about?
I am working on the sequel to The Curse of Fin Milton, which
is called The Flame and The Moth. It continues on from the events of the first
book with Fin and Ellie. It has familiar faces and introduces new characters,
one of which proves to be a new protagonist for Fin. The Moth (without giving
too much away) is a very dangerous man with a cloak, hiding him from Etherea.


How do/did you deal with rejection letters?
I figured that, in the main, the 30 or so rejections came
from my manuscript being non-edited. I realise now this makes a lot of
difference, but I haven’t submitted any since because I am now self-published.
After I employed an editor to help with my bad use of adverbs, dialogue tags
and lack of commas, it made me feel a lot more optimistic. I am in a strange
position whereby I would love to be published in the traditional sense, yet I
have taken it upon myself to self-publish because I wanted to get the story
“out there”. Unfortunately for me, many literary agents and publishers will not
touch self-published authors until they have some decent sales, so I will have
to wait and see if anyone finds my novel interesting enough to invest in it.
Fingers crossed it will take off. Either way I am working on the next one and
not worrying about it. If it happens, it happens.


Do you have a critique partner?
My son is my sounding board. Although he is only 17, he
tells me if it is too dark, too silly or if it is good or not. He has been very
supportive as a critique. I think to the best part of my ability, self-belief
helps. A while back, I emailed the first 3 chapters to Jane Johnson, a
published Cornish author and editor, who thought it grabbed her attention and
she encouraged me to keep working on it. Feedback like this is invaluable.


You mentioned an editor before, can you reveal him (authors are crying out for good editors!) and is he well-priced?

My editor is Jonathan Veale. I read a twitter-linked blog for the
Guardian by Anthony Horowitz about the importance of publishing and having an
editor. I have had no luck with literary agents, and I decided to self-publish
but sales were slow, so I thought I would search for someone to help me.
Jonathan’s website leapt out, I emailed to enquire about using his talents to
edit my book and he responded quickly, and worked with me on grammar and
dialogue tags. I didn’t pay for a full-blown edit.

His website is www.WriteAway.co.uk. It has been a
learning curve, a very welcome one, and hopefully, will lead to more people
reading my novel and hopefully the next one as well.

Click for my review of The Curse of Fin Milton.

Kimi’s secret – YA fantasy at its gory best.

Wanna see something really scary?


When death comes knocking on your door there is really only one place to hide. Dragged screaming to the paranormal world of Heart, where ghosts are real, big cats prowl, aliens are greylians, monkeys rule, trolls troll, fairies are vermin, the Adepts always know best, magic is mojo and roasted dodo is the dish of the day; Kimi Nichols is handed a secret that must never be revealed. To do so would mean the end of mankind. 
WARNING: 
contains imploding toads, gravity-defying clowns, liquefied brains, a sadistic dentist and a deformed taxidermist; great dollops of blood and bogies, half a million crows, and a giant with OCD.
Gothic horror meets supernatural sci-fi; Kimi’s Secret will leave you gagging, breathless and sleeping with the light on.


This book will be FREE Sunday 6th May and Monday 7th.
Download it FREE while you can.

An interview with John Hudspith – author of Kimi’s Secret



What inspired you to write Kimi’s Secret?

A couple of things.

Firstly would be life’s
inherent need for equilibrium. Not just human life, but all life-forms, in
their drive to survive, procreate and evolve into better mechanisms, show,
through the patterns of their structures and actions, an ever-present need for
balance. We humans display this need quite brashly with our crude means of
communications and all too often ill-thought thoughts and actions, causing
disruptions and blow-holes to infest the peaceful, less sentient ever-present
strive. This process is the bedrock of all story-telling, and so Kimi became a
Balancer, the force for good over evil.

Secondly would be my love for
the challenge of a big production. Being a successful production manager of one
sort or another for a huge chunk of my life makes me reasonably proficient
where plot and arrangement are concerned. I wanted to stamp my take on the
balance of life while using those techniques learned through years of
experience. I’m reasonably happy with the result. Maybe if I could go back and
tweak it just a teeny bit more here, and add a bit there, and – oh shut up and
move on!  


Lol
that’s an on-going problem for writers. I don’t think any writer can say with
perfect honesty that their book is finished. How long did it take to write
Kimi’s Secret?
From the spark that would not
die, to a very generous serendipity bringing many wise and giving peers,
through the constant climb of understanding the craft and discovering the
complex intelligence and vast power contained within so little ingredients as
26 letters and a few bits of punctuation to bat them about with, Kimi’s Secret
took five immensely enjoyable years.
 
Five, by the way, being a
digit of magical connotations, receives many nods and configurations within the
pages of Kimi’s adventure.



Kimi’s
Secret
is a fantasy for YA. Is that genre your niche? Or would you/have you
written anything else?
I don’t much like genres. Unfortunately
though, they exist, cemented at the root by conventions created via perception
– and – wait for it –
need. Sigh.
Does Kimi’s Secret best fit the Y/A tag? I think 90% of Y/A readers may enjoy
the read, but I don’t think it’s limited. I’ve had comments and reviews from
much older readers as to how they could not put Kimi down. Kimi’s story could
have been told in virtually any genre: horror for adults, romance, erotica,
storybook for littleuns, virtually any. I like writing in these other genres,
too. I fancy trying some horror next.

Kimi’s Secret certainly has elements
of horror in it. The crows do bring back memories of watching (cowering)
Hitchcock’s The Birds. I’m enjoying the humour as well. You have a talent for
tongue-in-cheek funnies and it comes across well in Kimi’s Secret. 
Is the lead character, Kimi, based
on anyone from real life?
Visually, for my eyes only,
Kimi is based on a young girl called Farrel Smith who sang so beautifully in
2009’s Britain’s Got Talent. I say for my eyes only because Farrel is the
character I saw in my mind’s eye when watching the scenes rolling out, and she
is the one I would sketch into the storyboards. But in the book I don’t give
much to reader in the way of description. I show them the clothes she likes,
and indicate some length of dark hair, but that’s about it. The story is told through
Kimi’s eyes and I wanted the reader to live that and to build his own image of
the heroine.

Intellectually, Kimi is
merely the vehicle into which I jump, adorned in her assumed skin, to handle
the next situation.


Farrel
Smith, really? I see Kimi as a little dishevelled. A tomboy. I know you have
her as wearing pink in the book, but that pink in my mind’s eye, is a dark off
coloured pink. There are no girlie characters. Even Stella is a
pulled-through-a-hedge character.
Now that’s interesting. You took my hints of description and built
your own character to live the story with. I’d love to hear what other versions
of Kimi have been created by her readers.


So, why a girl? Why not Jimi?
Good question. Three reasons.
When I first came up with the idea for Kimi’s tale there was this kid called
Potter or something, and he was doing incredibly well – I didn’t want clichés
or comparisons.


Secondly, I wanted the
challenge: to play the lead as a young girl, think her thoughts, make her
decisions, become her character and live it effectively and portray it
convincingly on the page. It took a few years, and a lot of steers from a lot
of good peers, but I think I eventually got somewhere near acceptable.


And thirdly, some of the
things Kimi has to go through are really quite terrifying, exhilarating, or
just downright icky, and I thought it would be more fun torturing a girl than a
boy.
 
You mention Potter. Now, to me, Kimi’s
Secret
is more Alice in Wonderland or Narnia: it’s madness, Kimi’s state
of confusion and wanting to do right, her sidekick Bentley (Mad Hatter/Mr
Tumnus). But then, I’m probably the only person in the world who hasn’t read
Harry Potter!
Alice, Wonderland, Looking
Glass, Jabberwocky, all in my top ten reads. The intense chutzpah of Lewis
Carroll really does float my balloon. A huge inspiration, Carroll gets a few
nods in Kimi’s Secret. I made him a Balancer Adept, founder of the dodo farms;
gave him a statue at the end of Carroll Street in Middling which is home to The
Rabbit’s Foot where Kimi lives. Oh, and I even tumble a crow down a rabbit
hole.


Did
you have a disturbing incident with crows when you were a child?
Ha! Not at all. Although hang on,
now that I think about it…I do remember watching Hitchcock’s `The Birds` at the
impressionable age of seven, and an image of that slumped guy with his eyes
pecked out will always be mine, along with that schoolroom scene where the kids
are singing “huffety-puffety-rah-rah-rah”
as the crows gather on 
the phone wires and climbing
frame outside, and the kids make a run for it, and the crows swoop and charge
and rake claws through the scalps of screaming youngsters. Great film, and yes,
probably an influence. I love birds, used to watch them for hours from my
window, sketching their various forms. I remember finding a few in distress and
taking them home and nursing them better. And another time I found an abandoned
young thrush so I popped him in a blackbird’s nest and the blackbird reared it
with her own. Fascinating characters.

You watched that at seven! OMG! I was terrified
watching it as an adult. Yes, you managed to bring all that terror back and I
can see why adults will love Kimi’s Secret as well. You don’t pander to the
child-reader, you are telling a fantasy story which happens to have a young
protagonist, but I’m glad to know you don’t have anything against birds!


Bentley is, or was thought to be an
imaginary friend of Kimi. It’s interesting that you built on this common
pretend-play that children sometimes go through. Did you have an imaginary
friend as a boy?
No but my
best friend did. I was extremely fortunate to have to sit still, in bed, for
two years. Instead of playing outside with my pals I was sat in bed with new
tools: sketch pads, books, and a TV I could watch until God saved the Queen and
the white dot went beep. I got to watch all the cool Hammer Horrors and stuff
like Creep Show, King Kong, The Ants, Karloff, Cushing, Price, and of course
Hitchcock. Given this delightful enforced stillness, my imagination was allowed
to grow. So when my best mate David talked to his imaginary friend, or
pretended to share his cars with him or feed him a biscuit, I would tell him
stop having a laugh. I might also have been the one who told him Santa was
fantasy and that the tooth fairy would nibble at his throat if he didn’t put
soil under his pillow.


Was there a character you struggled
with?
Every one of them. Achieving
good character is to achieve correct character, i.e., to wear the skin, to use
the words that would come through this character’s time of growth of culture of
surrounding, of his reason for being right up until the time I meet him. That
takes some doing, some drafts, to get anywhere near acceptable, and yet, I find
the only way is to act out those scenes time and again until gradually the
character is revealed. And the hardest of all were the two greylian characters.
Not having the benefit of wearing human skin, I had to start from scratch.
Whether that worked well or not I do not know.

How much research did you do for
Kimi’s Secret? I know people tend to think that with fantasy you can “make it
all up” but usually this isn’t the case and much work has to go into it.
While building the world of
Heart and uncovering its ethos I must have researched for a solid year; firstly
by reading popular Y/A such as HP, Twilight, Pullman et al and so ensuring that
my own stamp would be original. Second came the finer workings, the code of
Heart, the geology, history, culture, the very science which makes it all tick;
every aspect formed into a credible mould rooted in fact. Every detail
researched, checked, placed carefully into the weave. It was, and still is, a
lot of research.

How many unpublished books do you
have lurking under your bed?
None. But there are quite a few unwritten ones in my head.

Kimi’s Secret didn’t end, there is a To Be Continued how far are you into the next book? Will there be more and more adventures (books) of Kimi?
I’m writing the sequel to Kimi’s Secret – working title: Kimi’s Density and the Vampire Dairies. (Sorry but it makes me chuckle every time I open the doc.) At the moment I have ideas for another half dozen Kimi adventures and that’s before I open the can of books under my bed. Who knows? If I could only get more time to write. Hmm.

What made you go down the
self-published route?
The novel won one of youwriteon’s Book Of The
Year awards and the prize was free publication. I asked if they would wait
awhile because I had only just started submitting to agents. One agent bit, but
asked if I could cut the word count by 40% to save on production costs. If I
could do that they would be willing to pitch it. I gave it a go but it just
wasn’t working. Whether simply incapable or incredibly vain or a mixture of
both I told them no thanks and decided to collect on my prize. Don’t get me
wrong, I fully understand where this agent was coming from. I know very well
that production costs are paramount, yet I had written the epic that I wanted,
and if that meant going it alone in order to make my desired mark then I was
very happy to do so.


Are you still in touch with that agent? Would
they be interested in future work from you?
I’m not in touch with that agent but I am
considering contacting them again with a view to pitching the sequel.


Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as
word count?
Not at all. Never any goals. I prefer just to
write and see what happens. Some days I scrape the barrel, other days I dig up
gold. Writing is a lovely place to be.

There is some “swearing” in the novel that made my eyebrows rise. I’m not an avid reader of YA so I’m not sure if this is the norm or not, but how’d you get away with the word “shit”?
I find it amusing that I can eat brains, kill crows, shoot holes through greylian guts, murder people in cold blood, and get up to stuff Hannibal Lecter would be jealous of, yet use the word `shit` once (or is it twice?) among 90,000 words and it raises eyebrows. This brought up interesting discussion with the first school collaboration. Pupils decided unanimously that the small amount of cussing brought a realism that they appreciated. Swearing in Y/A fiction is commonplace – Kimi is quite tame in comparison to some.


How do/did you deal with rejection letters? Any tips?
I
haven’t submitted anywhere for a couple of years, but in the early stages when
I fired those begging letters off I made the same mistake that 99% of
submitting writers do – my work, my writing, was simply not good enough. If
you’re considering submitting you should consider the basics before you send
poop to the agent’s doormat.

Two
simple fundamentals:
·                    
Have
you had an editor look at your submission?
·                  Have
you had a proof-reader look at your submission?

Most
submitting their begging letter to agents have not. And it shows. A good editor
will advise not just on the original worth of your work, but on voice,
viewpoint, pace, structure, characterisation, dialogue, story arc, as well as
offering suggestions for story/prop/scene improvements and solid advice on
blurb, synopsis and begging, sorry – query – letter. And a good proof-reader
will give your submission the final polish ensuring it will slip gracefully
into grateful agent hands.

You work as an editor as a side-line. But who
edits/critiques your work?
I’m
very fortunate to have had the guidance of a top wordsmith: Mr Mathew Cohn. The
guy is a genius, taught me a helluva lot, and shaped Kimi’s Secret into what it
is. I owe him so much I even named Kimi’s adversary General Cohn after him.
Apart from Mathew I am fortunate to belong to a small but intelligent writing
group (if it’s pants they tell me it’s pants), and I have the eyes of a dozen
beta readers to keep me straight. On top of that I am currently collaborating
with the pupils of 
Blaenavon Heritage VC Primary School in Wales for the sequel, so I think it’s fair to say that
with so many helping hands moulding the ingredients, the end result is sure to
be pretty tasty.


You had the help from pupils of Portree Primary with Kimi’s Secret?
Portree Primary worked with me on Kimi’s Secret.  Blaenavon Heritage VC Primary School are involved with the production of the sequel. Working with the kids, receiving their drawings, notes, feedback, is an absolute joy. We have only just got started and have many competitions lined up to take us through to the summer holidays.

Now I’ve finished reading Kimi’s Secret, I’m interested in how you came up with the plot. It’s amazing how you finish the story, how it all comes a full circle and everything ties up. And then just when you think it’s all over it isn’t and the whole thing is given an extra twist.
Many readers have commented on the twisting plot, wondering how I put it together. The answer is time, perseverance and continuously consulting half a dozen internal writers on every plot point. Simply, I would reject the first two or three ideas I came up with and dig deeper until I came up with better. My plotline storyboard ended up a confusion of pins, arrows and crisscrossing threads but the end result was worth the effort.

Click and listen – spooky: Kimi’s Secret by SCHMUCKFENSTER

In the northernmost spire of his black-brick chateau, John Hudspith edits fiction by day and scrawls scary stories by night. 


Kimi’s Secret won a highly coveted youwriteon book of the year award and has had huge acclaim in every room in John’s house. 

John may look handsomely ancient but he’s really only 30. Five years to write a first novel takes it out of one’s mojo – that and the time-travel. But Kimi is alive now, waiting to suck you in and thrust you onwards. John is working on the sequel and hopes to see daylight before Christmas.