Posts Tagged ‘Publisher- Ghostly Publishing’

Self Published Sunday: Interview With Lynne North

This week we welcome indy authorLynne North who’s Children’s book, Caution: Witch in Progress’ was published by Ghostly Publishing in 2013 and launched at Earl’s Court Book Fair in London on April 15th.

Lynne Northing author photoLynne North lives in the north west of England and works as a data analyst for one of the local Health Authorities. She has been a prolific reader all her life, and for many years has spent the majority of her free time writing. As well as being educated up to degree level, she has completed courses and received diplomas from ‘The Writing School Ltd’ and ‘The Academy of Children’s Writers’.
Lynne’s aim in life has always been to write, and she has had a sideline of freelance writing for more years than she likes to admit to having lived. This has mainly involved published articles in such magazines as ‘Prediction’. She has also completed two children’s novels, ‘Caution: Witch in Progress’ and ‘Zac’s Destiny’.
Lynne is currently working on a very different children’s humorous fantasy, ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’, and a fantasy novel for young adults titled ‘Dimensions’.

What do you do when you are not writing?
Unfortunately I still work full time as a Data Analyst for one of my local Health Authorities. I am also currently spending a lot of time promoting my recently released children’s humorous fantasy. I visited Earl’s Court Book Fair in London this year to promote the official release of my book, ‘Caution: Witch in Progress’. I enjoy holidays, walking in the countryside, console gaming when I have the time, listening to music, and reading, to name but a few of my interests. Somewhere in between all that, I sometimes find time to eat and sleep.

What inspired you to become a writer?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. From first learning how to write I knew I wanted to be creative. During school years I enjoyed my English classes (yes, I was the one), and even liked being set essays to write. In my teens I began writing articles for magazines, and making money from my hobby. Once writing became such an interest, to me it was a natural progression to want to write a book. The thought can seem quite daunting, and I find that I never sit back to wonder how much I will have to write to complete a book or it could seem an arduous task. Writing should be a pleasure. If the author does not enjoy writing it, then the public will certainly not enjoy reading it. Writing a book to me is a series of stages, never looking ahead to the next until I have completed the present one. When I finally look back over how much I have written, it can be quite a pleasant surprise. To answer your question, therefore, my inspiration for writing has been set by a series of moments throughout my life, that all culminated in the wonderful one of seeing my first book in print.
Current work.

What was your inspiration for Caution: Witch in Progress?
I have always loved to read fantasy. It is escapism into worlds we can only imagine, full of colour and fascination. Terry Pratchett introduced me to humorous fantasy, and I have never looked back since. What a writer. I like to think that he has been my inspiration for my humorous writing, and my witches of course! As to witches in general, I feel they have had a hard time of it over the years. There may be some bad ones (though mine are not!) but throughout history alleged witches just seem to have borne the brunt of other people’s misfortunes. If someone’s crops failed, they blamed the little old lady with the hunched back who lived down the road for walking past. If their cattle died, the cross-eyed woman stared at them funny. Tell me, how else could she stare at them? I thought it was time to follow in the footsteps of my hero, Terry, and try to raise an appreciation for witches for a change. Many of the persecuted ones in our dim and distant past were probably little more than healers and herbalists. ‘Caution’ is mainly just a story that was inside me. I love to write humorous fantasy, and even if I’m not trying to be humorous, my writing has a habit of turning that way unless I keep a very tight rein on it. I began the story and it developed quickly. Before long the characters took over, and kept me going until they had reached their last page.

Tell us about your book?
Caution: Witch in Progress is aimed at the eight years of age to young teen market.
Gertie Grimthorpe comes from a long line of witches. Unfortunately, she hasn’t really got the hang of it. Being blonde-haired, blue-eyed and free of warts isn’t much of an advantage.
Try as she might, Gertie’s spells fall flat. She manages to give her bat-headed umbrella the ability to talk, but then wishes she hadn’t when all he does is complain and insult people. Even finding an owl to be her Familiar doesn’t help. Then again, he is extremely shortsighted…
Gertie is sent to The Academy to improve her spell casting skills. She soon has a best friend in the form of Bertha Bobbit, a big girl, with a matching appetite.
Add to that a Moat Monster with a flatulence problem, the weirdest array of witch’s Familiars possible, and a warlock determined to ruin Gertie’s chances of success, and the story unfolds.
Not to mention the demon…

What research did you do for this book?
Most of my writing is straight from my mind, and involves no research whatsoever. That’s the beauty of fantasy. Anything goes! No one can say you are not right about a fantasy you create yourself. Where research is necessary (and of course it sometimes is) then I will spend as long as it takes to get it right. I did research the uses of various herbs and plants when writing about Gertie, for reasons that will be revealed in the book!

Are any elements of your book based on real life experiences/people?
I doubt if there are any writers out there who do not rely on at least some of their life’s experiences in their writing. Characters with Lancashire accents have a habit of creeping into my novels, especially when writing humour. I believe I have that off to a fine art…Then of course there’s the animated umbrella in ‘Caution: Witch in Progress’ inspired by a true incident that happened to my Mother with her wooden-headed umbrella, but that’s another story…

What are you currently working on?
I have just completed the first draft of another children’s humorous fantasy titled ‘Be Careful What You Wish For.’ Here is a brief synopsis:
‘Finn is a bored young leprechaun. He wants something exciting to happen, but never having been blessed by the Good Luck Fairy, he soon gets far more than he bargained for. This is no fairy tale…’
I am also working on a YA fantasy titled ‘Dimensions’
‘When Leah first sees the old necklace in the window of an antique shop, little does she know what life has in store for her. Increasingly drawn to the pentacle on a silver chain, Leah finally buys it and soon finds herself having strange dreams about Stonehenge. Trying to put the dreams to rest, she visits the ancient site; only to be transported into another dimension.
Leah arrives in a besieged land of wizardry, magic and demon might. The land needs the help of an Outlander, and to Leah’s disbelief and shock, she has been called.’

What is your writing process?
I find that I have to write in long hand scribbles on a pad of A4 lined paper. I throw the ideas down as they come to me without pause to worry about spelling or punctuation. My own version of shorthand (because I never learned the real thing) sometimes even leaves me wondering what on earth I wrote! If inspiration begins to wane, I then move to my computer where I begin to type up what I have written, paying far more attention to the correct format. At this point a lot of what I scribbled might get changed, but at least my ideas flowed without interruptions caused by things that I find easier to edit later. I tend to follow this process all the time. It works for me!

Do you use anything to sustain you during the writing process? Coffee? Chocolate? Music?
Sometimes music, but more times than not I just like to sit comfortably and quietly to let the thoughts flow free. I don’t write for very long periods of time at one go, because if I start to think I’m forcing ideas, it doesn’t work. If the flow stops, I go away, do something else, then head back later.

What prompted you to self publish?
Actually, I was lucky enough not to have to self publish. I was published a few years ago by YouWriteOn, a group I found online who are sponsored by the Art’s Council to help new writer’s. I then recently discovered Ghostly Publishing and approached them with my work. They decided to give me a great chance by taking me on as one of their authors. For that, I will be eternally grateful!

Can you tell us about the challenges in writing and publishing your first novel?
I have never felt challenged by writing, because it is the only thing I have ever really wanted to do. Publishing, yes, that is the major challenge. It is very hard to keep positive about your writing when it is so difficult to get an agent or a publisher to even take a look at your work. My book went through many rejections, and many rewrites. The only thing you can do to give yourself more chances at those elusive publishers is to ensure your work is the best it can be, and written and edited within all the rules and formats expected by the publishing industry. If it is at least set out correctly, then your book has far more chance of being considered. Give it your best, it deserves it, doesn’t it?

Do you ever experience writers block? How do you overcome it?
Luckily, not in any serious way. I try not to put too much pressure on myself. If I knew I had to write x number of words, no matter what, then I could well feel daunted and wonder what comes next. I work in a casual way, writing what comes easily. If my train of thought falters then I go off to do something else to let my mind sort out the next part in the background. Some of my best ideas have sprung to mind in the shower!

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Don’t give up. You are very unlikely to have your life’s work snatched up by the first publisher or agent you send it to. Be prepared for the long haul, but believe in yourself, and don’t lose hope. There could be someone out there just waiting for your book to drop on their desk. The hard part is finding them…

Why did you choose to write children’s books?
I write children’s books and YA mainly because these are the genres I feel comfortable writing, and associate most with. I could be said to be in my second (or third) childhood, but personally I don’t think I ever left my first. Life is too short to take it all too seriously…

How did you choose the genre you write in? What inspired you to write it?
I think fantasy chose me, rather than the other way round. Once I discovered ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ in my teens the stage was set for all my future reading habits. I think that the books we read will determine the genre of book we will choose to write. Fantasy is by far my favourite genre, so carrying that avid interest along into my love of writing and my need to be an author seemed to be the only natural progression.

How did you become interested in Fantasy
As I mentioned above it began with JRR Tolkien. I soon discovered Terry Pratchett, what a master of humorous fantasy. Terry is one of a kind and my favourite author. ‘The Sword of Shannara’ began my love of Terry Brook’s novels, followed by a long line of fantasy authors I love to read such as Terry Goodkind, Piers Anthony and Tad Williams, to name but a few!
Reader

What books have inspired you?
Probably all the books I read inspire me in one way or another. My main inspiration for humour is anything written by Terry Pratchett. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings also have to have pride of place in this section.

What was your favourite book as a child/teenager?
It’s hard to choose one book, but the first one that comes to mind from childhood is ‘The Secret Island’ by Enid Blyton. The teenage novel must be ‘The Hobbit’.

What are you currently reading?
I enjoy reading children’s books, both to see what is doing well out there and what children like to read, and also for my own pleasure. I love Joseph Delaney’s books, and I am currently reading ‘The Spook’s Nightmare’.

What was the last book you recommended to a friend?
I think that too was Joseph Delaney’s Spook’s series. Children’s books are not necessarily just for children!

What/Who inspired you as a reader?
From a child, Enid Blyton, adventure stories, through science fiction, then in my teens onto fantasy where I have fixated ever since. The writer’s to inspire me have been all the ones mentioned in previous answers.

Just For Fun!

If ‘Caution: Witch in Progress’ was made into a film which actor, past or present, do you envision in the lead role?
Uhm, that’s a hard one. The only young actress who springs to mind for Gertie, because she is the right age, blonde, and a good actress, is Emilia Jones. Wonder if she can do a good northern accent?

If your book had a soundtrack which artists would feature on it?
I would like to give the opportunity to my cousin, Peter Nelson, who features on my book trailer. He is a talented musician with a lovely voice, and if I was doing well enough to need a soundtrack I would like him to participate in the success too.

Paper, Audio or eBook?
All, but as a first choice I would always choose to hold a ‘real’ book in my hands. There is nothing like the look, feel and smell of a new book.

Tea or Coffee?
Tea

Slippers or barefoot?
Barefoot

Shower or Bath?
Shower

Marmite: Love it? Hate it?
Hate it

Email or postcard?
Email

Caution: Witch In Progress cover artCaution: Witch In progress is a children’s humorous fantasy novel aimed at the eight years of age to young teen market.
Gertie Grimthorpe comes from a long line of witches. Unfortunately, she hasn’t really got the hang of it. Being blonde haired, blue eyed and free of warts isn’t much of an advantage.
Try as she might, Gertie’s spells fall flat. She manages to give her bat-headed umbrella the ability to talk, but then wishes she hadn’t when all he does is complain and insult people. Even finding an owl to be her Familiar doesn’t help. Then again, he is extremely shortsighted…
Gertie is sent to The Academy to improve her spell casting skills. She soon has a best friend in the form of Bertha Bobbit, a big girl, with a matching appetite.
Add to that a Moat Monster with a flatulence problem, the weirdest array of witch’s Familiars possible, and a warlock determined to ruin Gertie’s chances of success, and the story unfolds.
Not to mention the demon…

Caution: Witch In Progress is available to buy now in Paperback(click here) and on Kindle (click here).

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Self Published Sunday: Interview with Leyland Perree

We are delighted to welcome Leyland Perree to Self Published Sunday to talk about his children’s book, The Great Reef Race.

Leyland author photoLeyland Perree is a freelance children’s’ author. His illustrated picture books include Frog on the Log, The Goat that Gloats and Toad’s Road Code, all of which have achieved international success.
The Great Reef Race is his first book by Ghostly Publishing, and his first collaboration with illustrator Stuart McGhee, who, we’re happy to say, survived the ordeal
Leyland’s inspirations and ideas stem from a childhood love of rhyme and imaginative storytelling from the likes of Dr. Seuss and Spike Milligan.
Leyland lives in Devon with his wife and son.

Tell us about your book?
It’s about an annual underwater race that takes place on and around a reef. The story features many different humorous and colourful sea-creatures bought to life through Stuart McGhee’s unique illustrations. The story itself is written in verse (which I tend to fall naturally into – again, a throwback to my love of Dr. Seuss and Julia Donaldson). The two central characters, Eel and Ock, are (for me) reminiscent of Morecambe and Wise, but the real show-stealer has to be a certain sea-snail – I shall say no more!
The Great Reef Race is published by Ghostly Publishing, and is available from their online bookshop. You can also pick it up from Amazon and Waterstones.

What was your inspiration for The Great Reef Race?
All three of my previous children’s books contain a moral of some sort. For my next book I wanted to tackle the notion of working together to achieve great things, so I began to think about creatures that could have different skill-sets. I settled on an octopus (many limbs, but potentially clumsy) and an eel (no limbs at all, but fast and agile). How could they help one another? I had an idea about them collecting clams from the seabed, and a title came to me: “The Great Clam Caper”. But after that I was fairly stumped and struggled to find a starting point. Still, I liked the title and began to bounce a few others around of much the same ilk. “The Great Reef Race” came quickly and naturally, as did the first verse;

“Far beneath the ocean waves
And in the underwater caves
Exciting news was spreading fast:
‘The Great Reef Race is here at last!’

After that, the rest rolled along nicely without many bumps and ruts. The moral, incidentally, of this one is that playing fair and having fun are sometimes more important than winning.
“The Great Clam Caper” may still happen. In fact, I know it will. Some ideas I have fade with the passing of time. Some, like that one, remain vivid in my mind. For now though, it’s in the bank for another day.

Why did you choose to write children’s fiction?
I didn’t, so much as it was an experiment of sorts that turned into something I seem to be fairly good at. As I said, the sideline took off. Now my adult fiction has become the sideline.
How did you choose the genre you write in? What inspired you to write it?
I always loved rhyme and verse when I was young. The sillier, the better. I guess I just fell into it naturally being a bit of a silly person myself.

What are you currently working on?
The next children’s picture book (Which Witch is Which?) is already written and with Stuart McGhee for illustration. Also written is the third Perree/McGhee collaboration “The Magic Custard Factory”, although I’m still tinkering with the ending of that one.
I’m also working on two children’s novels;
“Captain Mandible and the Deadlings”, is about inept pirates, annoying grandparents, ghosts, time-travel and cats that go “WOOFF!
“Roy and the Magic Wish Machine” (working title) is about a Toyland elf trying to track down a missing Santa Claus.

What inspired you to become a writer?
As a child I loved stories, from the nonsensical rhymes and wacky illustrations of Dr. Seuss to the fantasies of Enid Blyton and the blackly comic books of Roald Dahl. I tried my hand at writing, on-and-off, when I was young, but didn’t really find my confidence with it until I was in my late-teens/early twenties. Around that time I started writing roleplaying adventures to play with friends. Although I struggled to get to grips with the rules of the game for which I was writing, I found I enjoyed the writing aspect immensely. In the end I ditched the game and spent the next six years writing my debut novel; a sizeable tome of something like 287,000 words.
I continued writing adult fiction until the time my son turned one. Having become, at that time, a huge fan of Julia Donaldson, I decided to write a story for my son (and my own amusement). Having never intended to sell it, I decided in the end to “throw it out there” ¬¬– to see what happened. And it just so happens that the “sideline” took off. The Great Reef Race is my current (and fourth) children’s picture book. I still write fiction for adults, and in a way this has now become the sideline. I suspect that the two aspects of my career are destined to orbit each other forever.

What is your writing process?
Having slipped out of a routine for a while, I’m now back to writing three evenings a weeks, plus whatever I can grab inbetween times. I write in my office (spare bedroom) on my PC with the door closed and a hot (or cold) beverage within arm’s reach.

What do you do when you are not writing?
I work full-time and have a six-year old lad, so by the time I’ve got home, spent time with him, put him to bed and eaten, it’s often a good way towards what should be my own bedtime. Then comes writing or writing-related stuff like research, promotion, editing etc which often takes me into the small hours of the morning.

Do you ever experience writers block? How do you overcome it?
As humans we can be so quick to compartmentalise things. At the risk of being controversial, I think sometimes writers whip out the old writers block trump card when all that is happening is that they are struggling a bit. More often than not, writing will be a struggle. It’s a deeply personal craft that often won’t flow as freely as you want it to. Now I’ve never experienced writer’s block, and I’ll bet that a good many writers (especially those just starting out) who claim to have had, haven’t either. According to my research, real writer’s block is, apparently, a deeply debilitating and mentally crippling condition that can cause gross anxiety, phobia and an inability to function creatively.
It is perfectly natural to hit a wall, now and again. It’s okay to struggle a bit. It’s not okay to keep banging into that wall like a fly against a windowpane. Try something else. Try going around – or going back. I’ve thrown a good two or three chapters away before now when I reached a dead-end in one of the novels I wrote, because I just couldn’t see a way forward. It wasn’t writer’s block. It was poor management. I lost sight of the horizon, got so caught up in the here-and-now that I allowed the plot to steer itself away from the point I should have been heading towards.
I guess until I experience it for myself, I’ll remain fairly sceptical that such a thing as writer’s block even exists. In the meantime, I’ll struggle a bit.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Read “On Writing” by Stephen King. Love him or hate him, the guys knows his stuff. Nothing I can say here will outshine the gems of wisdom in that particular book. So I’m not going to try.

What books have inspired you?
Anything with Dr. Seuss or Julia Donaldson on the cover.

What was your favourite book as a child/teenager?
Henry Hollins and the Dinosaur. I have fond memories of that book.

What are you currently reading?
Dead Game by Claire Kinton.

Just For Fun

If The Great Reef Race was made in to a film which actor(s), past or present, do you envision in the lead role(s)?

Ha ha. Samuel L. Jackson as Ock. Jason Lee as Eel. Steve Buscemi as Mark the Snail.

Paper, Audio or eBook?
All three are valid formats. My heart lies with paper though.

Tea or Coffee?
Coffee

Slippers or barefoot?
Barefoot

Shower or Bath?
Bath

Marmite: Love it? Hate it?
Love it

Email or postcard?
Email

the great reef race“Far beneath the ocean waves
And in the underwater caves
Exciting news was spreading fast:
‘The Great Reef Race is here at last!”
When Eel and Ock join a host of other memorable sea-creatures in a thrilling, madcap, splash to the finish line, they soon discover that friendship, fair play and having fun are sometimes more important than winning.
Join in the fun as they wriggle, jiggle and giggle their way from page to fun-filled page – like only an Eel and an Octopus can!

The Great Reef Race is available to buy now from Ghostly Publishing (click here to purchase), amazon.co.uk(here), amazon.com (here) and from Waterstones.com(here)

You can learn more about Leyland and his work by visiting his website(here), his Goodreads authors page(here) or by conversing with him on twitter(here)

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