AN INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL E. WILLS

Harvey Jones
Hi Michael, please tell us a bit about yourself.

Michael
Goodness, when I consider how to describe myself I realise that am very much a ‘jack of all trades’, (and master of none!). I am a retired language school principal with so many spare time interests that I wonder how I ever had time to work. As well as writing novels, my interests include sailing, carpentry, electronics, (I’m a radio ham), walking and playing the guitar. I’m a granddad to nine little lovelies and I really enjoy the young company. Oh, I forgot to mention that I work part-time as an Ombudsman for a national organisation. I deal with complaints from clients.

Harvey Jones
What inspired you to write children’s books?

Michael
Now this is going to sound arrogant, but hand on heart I don’t mean it to be – I know I have much to learn as an author. I used to frequently read the children bed-time stories, (now I am surplus to requirements in that department as they can all read). Well, occasionally I found myself wondering how on earth some of the things I read ever got published. Often there was just no story, no excitement. Not just that, but I seriously wondered about how the language was filtered by the author, often there were abstract or obsolete words which were just not useful to young children. (My English as a Foreign Language background showing!)
I decided to have a go myself at writing stories with a beginning, a middle with some excitement, and a thrilling end. I tried everything out on my two oldest grandchildren, they took no prisoners! There were many re-writes.

Harvey Jones
Why Vikings, what is the appeal of this era?

Michael
I lived in Scandinavia for 13 years and for part of the time I worked in Uppsala, Sweden. This was the site of the last pagan temple; it was still in operation in 1050 when the rest of Europe was Christianised. I found the history fascinating. You just can’t live there and ignore it. The more I learnt the more I became aware of the enigma of the Vikings and the contradictions. They were courageous explorers, pioneering traders, extraordinary navigators and craftsmen who made exquisite objects, yet they were ruthless, cruel and totally merciless. I return to Sweden regularly to write; I have a small cottage just ten minutes from a Viking graveyard – inspirational!

Harvey Jones
Do you write any other genres? If so what?

Michael
Yes, within historical fiction I have written a novel about the American War of Independence – “The Wessex Turncoat”. Hurry, hurry it is available as a free download on my website at the moment.
However, about eighteen months ago I decided to write a thriller. I had had a story going round in my head for years and eventually I thought I must try this genre. The novel is called, “One Decent Thing”, and tells the story a self-centred, dissolute, womanising, university administrator who gets into a real fix with seriously violent men when his greed gets the better of him.
Harvey Jones
What influenced you to write?

Michael
I wrote a number of English language teaching books many years ago. I enjoyed the work, but it was very restrictive and was very tightly edited to fulfil the precise needs of curricula. I decided that if I ever got the chance, I would like to do things my way! Of course my editor still has much to say about what I write, but there is a lot more freedom.

Harvey Jones
What advice would you give a young writer?

Michael
That depends very much on the genre, but as regards historical novels I would have things to say about research. Read, read and read again the background material, but don’t stop there. Visit places relevant to the story. Try not to see them through the prism of modernity, but dream about what they were like then. Let your imagination run when you see artefacts from the period of the story, touch them if you can. Eat the food of the period, go to a costume museum to see what was worn, find out how people spoke and how they loved, lived and cursed. Transport yourself to the time you are writing about. Risk being an eccentric! It helps.
Harvey Jones
What are you working on at the moment?

Michael
I have three projects on the go! I am writing a Viking novella for a publisher who is starting a new venture. The story is based on a discovery I made in a tiny hamlet in central Sweden. I found two rune stones outside a church. They were made in the 11th C. and celebrated the daring-do of a local man who travelled to England three times with different Viking chieftains and each time they caused such mayhem that they were bought off by King Ethelred and paid to go away. My protagonist collected three piles of Danegeld over a period of forty years and lived very well on it.
I am also working on the fourth novel in my quartet of Viking stories for children – Children of the Chieftain.
Last but not least, I am trying to find a publisher for a young children’s story called “Sven and the Silver Purse”. I run children’s activities at some literary festivals and I wrote this for my story telling sessions. It is wonderful to see the big eyes and the open mouths when I get to the exciting bit!
My Face Book page is Michael Wills Author, you can follow me on Twitter at mwillsofsarum and there is lots of information about my writing and a catalogue of blogs on my website, http://www.michaelwills.eu

Harvey Jones

We thank you for this opportunity to delve into your mind and we wish you every success in your work.

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An Interview with Author Kellie Steele

Welcome back to our author of the month interview, today we welcome a young inspiring author Kellie Steele

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Harvey Jones
Welcome Kellie please tell us something about yourself.

Kellie Steele
There’s not really much to tell about me, aside from the fact that I am an albino I guess. I have ocular albinism, which means I have the genes but not the red eyes.

Harvey Jones
Who is your inspiration, and what book left it’s mark on you?

Kellie Steele
I don’t really know if I have any inspiration other than that of my own imagination. But a lot of books left their mark on me. The Twilight series, the Harry Potter series and the Cirque de Freak series were all a main part of my reading while I was growing up.

Harvey Jones
Do you have a preference for your writing?

Kellie Steele
I prefer to write young adult, as it is most of what I read, and fantasy/supernatural/dystopian are the styles I do and will write in.

Harvey Jones
Which of your books have had a lasting effect on you as an author, and what character of yours is your favourite?

Kellie Steele
It’s hard to pick a favourite character, but as I’m reading the Shiver series at the moment, I would have to say Sam from those books. He is such a likeable character, and I feel a strong connection to him.

Harvey Jones
What hobbies do you have outside your writing?

Kellie Steele
I play a lot of video games, and I’ve just started recording them to put on YouTube as well. I like losing myself in a story, whether it’s a book or a game, if the story is strong, it’s a winner for me.

Harvey Jones
What are you working on at the moment, can you give us a brief insight?

Kellie Steele
At the moment I’m working on Chronicles of Araxx – Darkest Night, the second in the Chronicles of Araxx series. It continues the story of Lee, Adz, Jay and Gray as they attempt to find the object the Alpha werewolf Kane is searching for.

Harvey Jones
What advice can you give to young authors who are looking at starting ?
Kellie Steele
If you have a story in your mind, no matter how small, start writing. You never know, it may develop as you write. That’s what I do with mine. They start as a basic idea, then each book brings its own ideas, expanding the story and keeping things a mystery even for me.

Harvey Jones
Would you please supply any links so readers can find your works?
KS
My newest book is at http://goo.gl/rqkR9q
My Facebook is https://m.facebook.com/SteeleKellie/?ref=bookmarks
My twitter is @steelekellie

Harvey Jones
And lastly thank you for your time, we at Harvey Jones wish you much success.

Kellie Steele
Thank you for the lovely interview Jan.