The Prisoner – a new story/ book

Sorry it’s been so long since I have posted anything! Hope you all don’t mind, but I’d like some feedback on a new story I’m working on. A few questions:

  • Do you like it so far?
  • Would you keep reading?
  • What do you think/ would you like to happen next?
  • Title suggestions?

 

The Prisoner

I had wanted to run away for the longest of times.

I’d planned it in my head. What I wanted to take. What I wanted to leave behind. How I would escape. But every time my mind would remind me of a million reasons to stay. This went on for many years until finally I found myself on a road.

It was an ordinary road. A road I’d been on many times before. A road that led in many directions. But this time the road seemed very different. No longer was this just an ordinary road. This wasn’t just the road that had led me to school and work anymore. It was different because it now held my future.

This was the road that held my destiny in its hands.

? ? ?

I was scared and excited at the same time. I was juggling feelings like a drunken acrobat. Every step I took forward, I wanted to turn back. It was dark, but my way was lit by a bright, full moon, and the stars twinkled in the sky. There was no turning back now.  I felt like an actor on the stage, the stars looking on like an expectant audience. What would I do? What would I see? Where would I go?

? ? ?

For many nights I’d had the same dream: I was milk in a churn, slowly being turned into cheese. Around the churn I could hear voices – hungry voices – all eagerly discussing how they’d eat me! I didn’t run away because of the dream, but now, as I walked further and further away from my past and who I used to be, the dream was making more sense.

“Hello!” said a voice from within the darkness. “Where are you headed this late at night?”

I couldn’t see where the voice had come from, it could have been in my head for all I knew, so I ignored it and kept walking.

“Suit yourself!” the voice said. “Have a pleasant journey. I hope you find what you’re looking for!”

I still couldn’t see anybody, even though it was a bright night, so I decided it must be my mind playing tricks on me. That happens sometimes when you venture off into unchartered territory: your mind tells you things and speaks to you.

? ? ?

Eventually I reached the coast. The port was awash with strange and unusual characters. Great, big ships bobbed up and down in the dock. Strange noises and smells filled the air. What adventures lay before me?

Finally it felt like I had truly run away!

“Where you headed, son?” an old voice called out.

Startled, I looked up. There was the face of a man who looked like he’d travelled the world over. His face was like a wrinkled treasure map, every contour telling a story, and there at the centre, two sparkling eyes that were still open to innocence and joy.

“I don’t know,” I stuttered, half in shock. I’d left so soon, and after all the years of thinking and planning, I’d simply left. I hadn’t taken my bag, written a note, nothing, I’d just started walking. And now here I was. Alone, possessionless, penniless, and totally unprepared for what lay ahead.

“You don’t know?” boomed the knowing, happy voice. “That’s a great place to start a journey!”

The skipper’s eyes twinkled like the stars in the sky, and his smile was like the full moon. I didn’t know what to say, so I said nothing.

“You look hungry,” the walnut-faced captain said. “Would you like to join me for supper? It’s good luck to offer food to a stranger. Will you join me?”

I hadn’t thought about food in many hours, but now it had been mentioned I realised I was very, very hungry. I nodded eagerly. Everything was so strange, so different to how I had imagined it to be. I merely went with the flow, as if it was all just some strange dream.

???

At the inn, the skipper had ordered two tankards of ale and a banquet of food. The pub was noisy and full of boisterous patrons, but their voices sounded like ocean waves as the ship’s captain murmured on about his life and the adventures he’d had.

“Everyone said I was a fool to go to sea!” he said, swilling his ale. “My parents wanted me to be something quite different, they had other plans for me. But I sought adventure, and my heart was set on travel and the sea!”

He smiled like he knew what was on my mind. I thought of my parents back home and what they might be thinking. I didn’t leave a note. Would they understand why I had left? Would they be worried? Would they even notice? Would they care?

“So, I stowed away on a big ship, so I did,” the skipper continued. “It was days before they found me, but I got hungry, see, and they caught me stealing some food from the galley!

“They should have thrown me overboard… left me to the justice of the sea, so they should. But they didn’t. Terrified, I was! No older than you are now, was I. Trembling in my boots.”

As if he noticed me not eating, he shoved the plate of food closer to me, and continued to talk.

“So, there I was, a wee slip of a lad, trembling before all these sea-faring men. And the captain looks down at me and he says, “On shore you would have been put to death for stealing! At sea the laws are different. There are no Kings and Queens of the oceans, only Nature has rule at sea! As captain, I am the judge and I am the jury, and your fate lies in my hands.”

“It took all the strength I had not to pee myself, so it did. There before me was a man more terrifying than my father and the priest in the pulpit. A man who now had sway over my very existence!”

The skipper paused. I could tell this was an important story, a story he’d told many times before, but hadn’t told for many, many years, as he sat there pondering and remembering. He took another swig of ale and continued.

“I see a lot of me back then in you, young lad! Eat up!”

I tucked into the wonderful food, and sipped gingerly on my tankard of ale, but the skipper remained silent.

? ? ?

When I awoke, the pub was silent and dark. The skipper was gone, and all that remained was a dull aching thud in my head. I wasn’t used to drinking ale. As my surroundings came back into focus, I thought on the folly of my adventure.

‘This is ridiculous! Why on Earth am I running away? What am I trying to achieve?’

I thought back to the skipper and his story. I wasn’t sure if he’d finished it – perhaps I’d fallen asleep! I hoped I’d thanked him for the food and his generosity, but I understood why he’d done it at least. Sometimes it’s good to pay things forward, do something for others with no thought of return.

My head was ringing like a church tower.

“Good morning!” said a strange, new voice behind me. It was the barmaid. She beamed a sunshine smile at me too warm and happy for that time of the morning, and handed me a neatly folded note. “He left this for you.”

? ? ?

 

 

INTERVIEW: Vanessa Champion – Documentary Photographer

vanessa-champion-photographer-press-image-2b
Photographer, Vanessa Champion

A slight break with convention from my Writers’ Interviews here… But keeping with the same creative vein, a photographer: Vanessa Champion.

I was fortunate enough to meet Vanessa (‘Ness’) back in mid-February for a headshot shoot for my acting portfolio (more images here) and was immediately taken by her charm, her easy-to-work-with professionalism, and her aura. It was like I had met a long lost soul and was catching up on old news. It seemed obvious that I should do an interview. Ness is a fascinating lady, a talented lady – with oodles of modesty thrown in for good measure (which is why I haven’t edited ANYTHING out!) – and I’m honoured that she is now one of my close friends.

Without further ado… Vanessa Champion, in her own words…

Technology has changed over the years, do you have a preference over digital or ‘old school’, and why? 

I started life working with film cameras. My early sales were just with a little Olympus, and one could argue it’s the photographer not the camera which makes the image, but maybe I won’t bang on about that here (I can waffle and write for England!). I can’t stress enough the importance and value of having worked with a medium that MAKES you THINK before you press the shutter. With film, you have to think, frame, think, focus, think, expose, as every time you press the button, it costs money. When I started earning money as a “jobbing” photographer, I used to buy a 36 exposure film, shoot 24 for the client and keep the rest for me to shoot. I did a Roliflexdeal with my supplier and printer, so my client paid for 24 and wasn’t out of pocket I hasten to add (I didn’t shaft them!). I learnt in subsequent years, that Cartier-Bresson did just that, he would be commissioned by Life Magazine and shoot most of the rolls for them and keep some frames for himself to shoot. When I did make the move to digital, I still shot with that slow and considered way, and still do. I find myself firing off more during portrait sessions, but that’s more to put subject at ease than lack of framing. Am converting from slapper flapper Nikon (the loud “clack you hear when photographers press the shutter) to the silent Fuji mirrorless system, which is perfect for the theatre, opera and TV still work I do. Actually Fujifilm gave me a load of singleuse cameras (you know those throwaway ones you often get at weddings) to teach former street kids in Uganda how to document their lives. Was really interesting to see how they started thinking and framing, they REALLY understood the value of each photo. Am producing a book of their work to help raise money for much needed beds for the kids out there. Tough lives.

Vanessa ChampionYou have been described as a ‘documentary photographer’, can you expand on what this means to you?

I story-tell. When I shoot, I see stories. That might seem obvious when I’m shooting an opera or a theatrical piece, but I see the same when I’m shooting a corporate event, I watch interaction, reaction, timing, personality and try and capture the energy and rhythm of the moment. I shoot for NGOs in Africa and Asia, the same thing, I look and see the stories and time my capture with the heartbeat of the story unfolding infront of me. Sometimes I do feel like a sniper!

Do you have a ‘wish list’ of subjects you’d still like to shoot, and why?

Adam Ant, the former President of Uruguay…  – the reason? Character, I love character. Also a road trip up South America, to document the music, food, people, artisans, workers. I’m working on some personal projects, WWI Ulysses (an installation piece of a soldier in a WWI trench, with music and soundscape), plus a series of sportspeople and well, there’s quite a bit in the pipeline I’m building!

photoaidYou wear many hats, as you’re not just a photographer, you are editor of a newspaper, and do a lot of charity work. How did this all come about and how to you juggle so many things?

Not sure how it’s all happened. Have been very lucky, have put in some long hours (hate to think sometimes just how many!) and have been blessed with some terrific clients who have given me opportunities. Being an academic first, I think, makes you a solution finder, a researcher. I love solving problems and helping fix things. And really, that’s all business is about, having a “problem, product, idea” and needing a solution to “fix, sell, make happen”. I just utilise the years of research experience and deliver. I’m still not sure what I want to be when I grow up, am working on it though… Photography has always been there, it’s the creative thread that holds my world together.

If you were not able to do the things you do, what would do instead?

I love music, so I’d love to be Ray Charles with the voice of Aretha Franklin (fix it for me, Ant!).

MumbaiDo you have any advice for aspiring photographers?

Photograph, photograph, photograph. And then shoot some more. Find your genre, create your style and most importantly LOVE what you shoot.

I know you’ve recently returned from Mumbai, what else is on the horizon for the rest of 2015?

I was documenting the work of one of the NGOs I work with, “Born to be Beautiful” in Mumbai, which teaches impoverished women beauty skills they can then use to earn money and slowly gain value within their community and therefore try to stop the endless cycle of violence and fear.  I am founder of PhotoAid Global, and we are running a course in extreme PhotoJournalism this year (theory and practical), plus sponsoring a photojournalism award with the Art Gemini Prize, with an exhibition at the Menier Gallery, London. To enter click here… Plus I’m writing three books, one of which is an entry level “how to photograph your crafts”, a book on British Heritage Artisans (coffee table photography book), plus a book on Cuthbert Orde who drew the pilots of Fighter Command in 1940. Am putting together another couple for the NGOs I work with, but that’s alongside the day job. Hoping to head into France, and maybe off to Ethiopia with the lovely NGO I work closely with, PENHA  (Pastoralist and Environmental Network in the Horn of Africa), it’s the 25th Anniversary this year, so watch out for an exhibition of the images I shot with the pastoralist nomads in Uganda as part of their Silver anniversary (some of the images have already been in Venice as part of the Biennale).

Anything else you’d care to add…?

Some recent work on www.vanessachampion.co.uk love to hear from anyone who reads this. Much love and thanks, Ant.

Unfortunately this article isn’t long enough to give Ness the words to say ALL she’d really like to say, but she’s very approachable, and doesn’t bite (hard!) so check out more of her wonderful work: Vanessa Champion Website.

* * *

The Shepherd Cover ArtANTHONY DONNELLY blogs about all things writing, inspirational, and motivational. He has published a number of books for children and adults. His latest book, a short, inspirational parable THE SHEPHERD  is currently climbing up the Amazon charts, and is available in Kindle or paperback. When not sat at his keyboard writing, he can be found in Costa Rica, North America, or somewhere in Europe motivating and coaching individuals and groups in self-development techniques and life-balance. Most recently you can see him back on the sets of films and in front of the modelling camera again.

#FREE #Birthday #Gift For You All…!

A strange tradition, I know, but it is customary in our family (after a certain age) to gift things to other people on our birthdays. So, here is my gift to my friends in Cyber-land, on my 45th birthday… free Kindle downloads of my two books, THE SHEPHERD, and 49q? THE ENIGMA CONTINUES.

Here are easy links to the two titles for the UK and the US:

The Shepherd Cover ArtThe Shepherd US version

The Shepherd UK version

 

 

49q hard cover49q? The Enigma Continues US version

49q? The Enigma Continues UK version

 

 

I hope you all enjoy them, and if you do, please take some time to rate and review them. Regular sales are doing well considering the lack of marketing I do! But every little bit helps.

Have a wonderful end to the week… Have a brilliant weekend… and a very Happy Easter to you all…!

Please feel free to share, retweet, and generally pass this birthday giveaway along.

Birthday Reflections

Happy Birthday Cake 004AS MY BIRTHDAY rapidly approaches, it is my habit to reflect upon the past 12 months and give thanks, make adjustments where necessary, make amends where due, and dream up new and exciting plans for the next 12 months.

TRAVEL

I am continually thankful for the fantastic opportunities that I experience in this life. Last year involved a lot of travel – some planned, some not. I was fortunate enough to spend a few months in Costa Rica and meet many, many wonderful people from around the world. Hopefully one day I shall return and see some of my great, new friends once more. It was in Costa Rica where I was finally able to release a lot of emotional baggage and ties to the past, and reconnect to the free spirit and lonely child in the depths of my soul.

Canada was an unplanned experience, but the ‘wanderlust’ had grabbed me. It was a great counterpart to my experiences in America, and I had an interesting time there, but I doubt very much I could ever call Canada ‘home’ –  the people are warm, but the climate is far, far too cold!

PATTERNS & CHANGE

Throughout my life, I notice reoccurring patterns. No matter how hard I try to push in a different direction, my passions (and what I’ve come to believe are my destinies) keep pulling me back to where I am happiest and most content. England was also an unplanned destination… homeward bound after 15 years… a perceived backwards move…?

My country of birth has changed much since I’ve been away, mostly politically, and not for the better! Europe appears to have strong-armed its way into most, if not all of our legislation… I think there is even a European mandate on the correct way to have a ‘stiff upper lip’! It did not feel like the country I left behind before the millennium.

Tara's Folly
Tara’s Folly

It was wonderful to connect with family and old friends from long ago. An early experience, and something I’d always wanted to try, was to thatch a roof for some dear friends of mine who were building a summer house castle in their backyard! In England we call such things ‘follies’.

Although I had no intention of staying, so many of my friends and family lamented the fact that I had given up on my childhood dream of becoming a professional actor. I hadn’t given up on it, merely shelved it for a more suitable time, in fact I had been quite successful before I emigrated to the US, back in the late 90s..

NEW EXPERIENCES

Being open to new things, and relaxing into being led where life wanted me (getting out of my own way!) it’s been a fantastic final sprint to the finish line. Although it took quite a bit of effort to raise the money I needed to get headshots for my new acting career, step one of the professional process started well. I’m currently batting four-for-four: four auditions, four castings! In the past month I have appeared as the lead, or co-lead in three short, student films, which will help with step two of the process: getting my showreel together. And in May, I begin shooting my first indie feature film.

Two new books were published late last year (“The Shepherd” and “49q? The Enigma Continues”), and I have three more in the pipeline. I really does feel like I have landed right back in the happiest times of my life, back when I was last here as a freelance actor and writer! With more life experiences under my belt, and many, many more new talents, especially concerning business ownership, I feel supremely confident in the outcome of the next twelve months.

PLANS FOR THE FUTURE

An old friend of mine plans to produce a play I wrote in my early 20s and enter it into the Lewisham Festival in November – naturally, I shall be co-starring.

On the business front, I have partnered with a new actor friend who runs ‘factually inaccurate tours of London’ (www.bullshitlondon.com) Drawing upon my past experience, not only will I be conducting tours later this year, but will be helping expand the business in new and exciting ways, and possibly creating some form of licensing program to develop other cities. Another ‘blast from the past’ friend – a highly successful business coach and self-development guru – offers an opportunity to indulge my love of helping people fulfill their true potential.

There are still many old friends I have yet to hook up with, but that’s all planned for this new year. It has been a really wonderful twelve months, and I have no regrets. As to thoughts, ideas, and plans for the next year…?

Don’t confuse confidence and happiness with arrogance when I say it is my fullest intent to be paid to appear in a feature film later this year. I will have an agent, and I will continue to help all those I come into contact with, as is my nature.

REFLECTIVE WORDS OF GUIDANCE

I’ll try not to sound too preachy here, but I really want others to benefit from the wonderful life experiences I have gained.

Take time to be quiet and calm, and connect with life around you. Do your best to find your true place in the world – don’t strive for something that doesn’t resonate, instead ‘feel’ where you should be and what you should be doing. Have confidence in your ‘true’ self, don’t let other people’s opinions or comments wrongly influence what your heart is telling you is right. Don’t sell your life for the mere attainment of money to attempt to buy back your happiness. Instead, choose to be happy in all things – be selfish (in the true sense of the word) and know that ALL of your real friends want only one thing for you: Happiness. Focus on what makes you fully happy, and the world around you will change for the better!

 

In happiness, joy, and love, I thank each and everyone of you!

 

*** CROWDFUNDING RESEARCH ***

Bullshit London CollageHi folks! Your help is need in a little bit of early research into a crowdfunding project I am hoping to launch in about 30 – 45 days time.

I have the fantastic opportunity to be involved with a brilliant, new actor pal of mine (Reuben) who devised an awesome, alternative London walking tour (www.bullshitlondon.com) back in 2013. I am rigorously learning the script as we speak…!

Together we hope to expand the business opportunity in many new and fun ways to create a wonderful new platform to help other actors earn a ‘dignified’ wage, whilst ‘resting’ and looking for acting work.

We haven’t established a monetary target as yet, but here are a few things you can help us with at this stage:

1. Would you consider donating to our crowdfunding appeal? (a pound or a dollar all adds up!) You don’t have to state how much you’d be prepared to offer at this stage, just a tentative yes or no is fine.

2. What sort of rewards/ incentives would entice you to offer more? Limited edition T-shirts (autographed!) posters, free tours, advertising… a tour dedicated in your honor… that sort of thing.

3. Would you help out with promotion and marketing – retweeting, sharing, commenting, liking the upcoming FB page, blogging, etc. Simple yes or no.

4. If you can’t help in any of the ways above, do you know of any workers/ offices in London that would like to book a private tour? (please add details below, or send them our website)

A HUGE thank you for reading all of this, I know you are all busy people, and we really appreciate any and all input. Please either email me (ant@bullshitlondon.com) and/ or add your comments below.

PLEASE share and tweet this link to your page.

Bullshit London Tours

Bullshit London CollageWhat an exciting weekend that was!

Whether you’re new to London or have lived here for centuries, Bullshit London Tours are sure to entertain and surprise you! I managed to piggy-back off a group of six Australian tourists that had booked an off-peak tour (main season is April – October) with our host, guide, and comic entertainer, Reuben Williams (if that name is to be believed!)

Learn who stole the clock from St Pauls… where God lives… the world’s smallest children’s prison… and much, much more…!

My favorite part had to be the guided tour of the famous Swedish soap opera film set…

As said, if you thought you knew London, think again!!!

For more details and bookings, check out their website: http://www.bullshitlondon.com/

“A tenner! This tour’s worth more than a tenner…”

“Oh, okay, here’s twenty!”

“Twenty! Twenty? Nah, nah, you have to haggle…”

If Monty Python did London tours… this might well be it.

 

SPECIAL TIP: Ask them about their special pub crawl…

 

The Fun Never Stops…!

copyright vanessa champion 07747 025 361Sorry for the prolonged absence, folks!

I’ve been busily putting things together in my alter-ego as an actor and model… getting headshots taken… getting my feet wet back on film set… auditioning for new roles… building footage for my showreel… and networking with fellow actors and creatives. This all takes time away from my writing passions.

You can check out my acting and modelling website here.

I’ll soon be back to interviewing fellow authors, and I might just expand into interviewing upcoming actors as well.

Thanks for all the continued support…!

 

Be well. Be One.

#AUTHOR INTERVIEWS: Brian Connell “Msomi And Me”

WELCOME to another author interview, this time with an exciting adventure writer, Brian Connell, who was born in Kenya and spent most of his youth with famous wildlife photographers and film makers. He built and ran a game lodge for many years, and is a huge advocate for wildlife protection. His two books, “Msomi & Me” and “Elephants Are People Too” make exciting reading for both adults and children.

Here’s what he has to say:

Author Brian Connell
Author Brian Connell

“Having been brought up in East Africa, in the company of some of the greatest wild-life photographers and film-makers the world has ever seen, it was only natural for me to attach a camera to myself and follow in their illustrious footsteps. I am by no means in their league, but the lessons I learnt from them has, in my humble opinion, led me to make some worthwhile images.

Taking photographic skills and a love of the bush, I started a bush-camp in the middle of nowhere with the intention of running photographic workshops in the wilderness of Africa. For seven years I had an absolute ball, enjoying a lifestyle that few have ever experienced. My mentor, Msomi, and I lived in close proximity to the wildlife; learning, teaching and above all: living!
This collection of anecdotes will give you, the reader, a fair idea of what living in paradise is all about. Interspersed in the text are a number of stories that I have collected during my travels – myths and legends and wonderful stories from Africa. While having little to do with life in a game lodge, they show a side of Africa that few people know about. I hope you enjoy them – I do.”

Acquiring, building, and running a game lodge in Africa must take up a lot of time, however did you manage to find the time to write your books?
Quite correct. Running the lodge was extremely time consuming, but a tremendously fulfilling experience. By no stretch of the imagination could it be called ‘work’. I unwisely formed a partnership with an aquaintance who skipped with all the cash and some of the assets, forcing me to sell up and leave the lodge just to try and stay out of debt. As it was, I ended up owing the banks an absolute fortune. The books were written quite a while after the devasating loss of the lodge, suggested by a good friend as a way of getting over the pain. It worked, to a degree.
There must be lots of adventure in your experiences growing up, how did you decide what to include and what to omit in your stories?

I was brought up in Kenya, in the company of many of the wild-life greats. Armand and Michaela Denis, Alan and Joan Root, Des and Jen Bartlett to name a few. It was their influence that engendered my abiding love of the wilderness. The stories in the books are solely experiences we had while at Nokuthula, my game lodge.

Do you think you missed out on anything important by growing up in East Africa? If so, what in particular, and how do you think you would be different for it?

I probably did miss out on a lot of important stuff, but each individual has his or her own idea about what constitutes ‘important stuff’. I was too busy having fun, adventure and excitement traveling around with my film-maker friends to worry too much about was going on politically, or even socially.  This desire to be in the bush as often as possible resulted in losing out in the girlfriend stakes and becoming a bit of a loner. On the plus side though, it exposed me to people from all religions, colours and social strata, making me tolerant of all and better person for it.

10749918_592661784195430_5264524405469079307_oWhat was your favourite book as a child and why?

I was, and remain, a voracious reader, but if any one book has to be singled out, it is Jock of the Bushveld. It really made me wish I had been born into a much earlier time.

Is there an element of writing you dislike or find challenging? How do you overcome it?

I have a well-known sense of humour and am able to find the funny side of virtually any situation. This trait comes over well in my books, but it is patently obvious, when writing about poaching, for instance, that my emotions are running wild. My writing style tends to change a bit, something my readers have commented on. The only way to overcome that sort of challenge is to write it as if I was speaking aloud, warts and all, and let the emotion flow. Writing about man’s inhumanity to animals is the most challenging and emotional experience for me.

Do you have any tips or advise for new authors and writers?

I write about my personal experiences, so it’s perhaps a bit easier than writing a novel. I tend to day-dream a bit, telling myself stories in my head and let my sub-conscious work away at it for a while. Then write! Let it flow., and it will! Let the words appear, disregarding good grammar or ‘correct’ sentence structure. You can always go back and edit. But above all, don’t be shy to display your emotions if writing about something dear to your heart.

Would you like to add anything?

My books tell stories of Africa, a place of mystery and adventure even today. But Africa’s wildlife is in dire straits with the terrible poaching epidemic currently underway. I would plead with anyone who has a heart and a sense of adventure to read my books, get a feel for the wonders of living in the bush and doing everything they can to help out.

 

Click on any of the pictures above to access Brian’s website, and please share this interview with your friends. Together we can all do our part to help protect the dwindling wildlife around the world that is being cruelly slain illegally. Once the wildlife is gone, there won’t be any more!

 

 

 * * *

49q hard coverANTHONY DONNELLY blogs about all things writing, inspirational, and motivational. He has published a number of books for both children and adults. His elaborate first novel 49Q? THE ENIGMA CONTINUES is currently climbing up the Amazon charts, and is available in Kindle or paperback. When not sat at his keyboard writing, he can be found in Costa Rica, North America, or somewhere in Europe motivating and coaching individuals and groups in self-development techniques and life-balance.

 

 

#Author Interviews: Simon Largo – “The Storm Slayer”

stormslayer-largo-ebookWELCOME to interview three in my author series. Today I have the pleasure of introducing Simon Largo, author of THE STORM SLAYER, a slick, crime thriller released last week:

 

  1. From your bio on your website, it looks like you started by writing screenplays. What made you choose that medium first and not jump straight into writing novels? 

Well I always loved the idea of either producing a film or being a film director. Then I realised that was going to be a tough call, so decided to try my hand at writing screenplays instead. I found the creative aspect fun and it pushed my imagination as I was writing them on spec. The idea of writing a full length novel at the time was too daunting! I was so lucky to have been signed by an agent early on, but thought that was it. When success didn’t follow I almost gave up. 

  1. Did ‘The Storm Slayer’ start off as a movie script idea? If it didn’t, what was your inspiration?

In my mind it was a movie, for sure. But I had been reading so many great thriller novels over the last couple of years, especially Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series, I thought why not turn it into a novel as a break through idea as trying to sell a screenplay with no track record is very hard indeed. However maybe I will sell the movie rights for my debut novel or one the follow ups – that would be fantastic. At least if I was asked to assist or even write the screenplay, I know I could do that with my experience.

  1. What made you use New York City as the location for your novel?
Author of The Storm Slayer, Simon Largo
Author of The Storm Slayer, Simon Largo

Well I’ve been there a couple of times over the years and it’s like most movies I watch seem to be set there! It was a natural choice. The place is so alive. The crime thriller genre was made to be immersed into NY culture and its environment in my view.

  1. Where do you gain the inspiration for your main characters from?

The movies where else! For my lead character, Detective Mason Trent, in The Storm Slayer, I was inspired by Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry and Steve McQueen in Bullitt. Both absolute classic films. I liked the portrayal of Eastwood and McQueen in character for their nuances, toughness and also their emotional traits. I guess Mason Trent is a hybrid of them both.

  1. If you could give any advice to novice and aspiring authors, what would you suggest?

Don’t give up! I haven’t. I almost think it better to write as a mature writer as you have a lot of life experience which can help in character development and story narrative.

  1. Are you reading anything right now, if so, what is it and why?

The Innocent by Rachel Abbott – not a new book, but only recently discovered her works following something I came across on a blog by NY Times bestselling author, Joanna Penn (www.thecreativepenn.com). The book is a good crime thriller. The murderer in this case is a woman. You know that after the first few pages, so not giving anything away really. Rachel went for the self publishing route and ended up selling 400,000 copies of that first book. Inspiring for any indie author.

  1. Thank you for participating in this interview, is there anything else you’d like to add?

If you are a new writer, or aspiring to be one, do it! Life is too short to always think if only. I wish all my fellow authors the best of luck in 2015.

For more information about the official release date of his debut novel, check out Simon’s website: www.simonlargo.com

 

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49q hard coverANTHONY DONNELLY blogs about all things writing, inspirational, and motivational. He has published a number of books for children and adults. His first novel 49Q? THE ENIGMA CONTINUES is currently climbing up the Amazon charts, and is available in Kindle or paperback. When not sat at his keyboard writing, he can be found in Costa Rica, North America, or somewhere in Europe motivating and coaching individuals and groups in self-development techniques and life-balance.

 

 

#Author Interviews: Mistral Dawn – “Taken By The Huntsman”

WELCOME to the second in my author interview series. A new, up-and-coming author today, Mistral Dawn – a pen name as intriguing as her romantic fantasies! Her debut novel, Taken by the Huntsman is doing well on Amazon, but first a few words from the pen-mistress herself:

 

  1. “Taken by the Huntsman” is a fantasy romance novel. Have you always written in this genre or did you evolve into this?

Taken By The Huntsman is my first novel.  The book I’m working on now is the second one in the series, so it’s also a fantasy romance novel.  Before Taken By The Huntsman my writing was mostly limited to school papers and letters of complaint. 😉

  1. Where do you gain the inspiration for your main characters from, people you know or your imagination?

TakenbytheHuntsman AmazonWell, The inspiration for Taken By The Huntsman came from a dream I had after a rather spirited debate with an online friend about the nature of consent (and some other political issues I won’t bore you with).  When I woke up I thought about the dream and realized it might make an interesting story (as well as provide me with a soap box 😉 ).  I texted a friend and asked her if she thought the idea had merit.  She said she did and so I wrote the first couple of chapters and emailed them to her asking her to read them and tell me if she was bored yet.  She was kind enough to say that she wasn’t bored and that she’d like to read the rest of the story, so I wrote it.  The ideas for the next few books and short stories came from characters who came to me and told me that they deserved a story too, and it was my job to write them.  So I will! 🙂

  1. What do you find the hardest part of writing a novel is, and how do you overcome it?

The hardest and easiest part of writing was the sex scenes.  OMG! They were so much fun to write! After all, who wouldn’t enjoy letting their wildest fantasies run wild through their head? 😉  But sometimes it’s hard to rein them back in to the realm of the possible.  Also, I’m a woman so I’ve never made love as a man.  What do men think about during sex?  How does it feel to them?  How, exactly, does one make love to a woman?  These are all important questions!  And has anyone ever noticed that many men have difficulty expressing feelings in words?  I need input people! 😉

  1. If you could give any advice to novice and aspiring authors, what would you suggest?

I’m very new to writing, so I don’t know that I’m the best qualified person to give others advice.  Someone told me to read a lot and write what you feel.  Maybe that will help others as well. 🙂

  1. Are you reading anything right now, if so, what is it and why?

At the moment I’m reading Seed by db nielsen. Seed was chosen as the first book being read by the #IndieBookBeSeen GoodReads book club.  Congratulations db! 🙂

  1. Thank you for participating in this interview, is there anything else you’d like to add?

You’re welcome, and thank you for having me Anthony! I’d just like to tell my readers:  Thank you so much for reading my book!!  I appreciate the fact that you’ve given your time and your money to experience my work; it humbles me that you have been willing to do so.  I value all of your feedback, both good and bad, because it can only make me a better writer and help me create a better product for you to enjoy.  So thank you, as far as I’m concerned you’re totally awesome! And please keep those reviews coming! 🙂

 

To keep abreast of Mistral Dawn and her future publications, check out her own blog here:  http://www.mistralkdawn.blogspot.com

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49q hard coverANTHONY DONNELLY blogs about all things writing, inspirational, and motivational. He has published a number of books for children and adults. His first novel 49Q? THE ENIGMA CONTINUES is currently climbing up the Amazon charts, and is available in Kindle or paperback. When not sat at his keyboard writing, he can be found in Costa Rica, North America, or somewhere in Europe motivating and coaching individuals and groups in self-development techniques and life-balance.