Tell our readers briefly about yourself.
I live in the East Midlands, right in the centre of the UK, and when I’m not writing or working, I’m with the family or walking the dog in the local woodlands seeking those ever-elusive Fae. Or sitting, pint in hand with the good friends I grew up with. Some of them are hidden in the books themselves; quite a few characters are based on the people I know and love.
What books do you have available? Can you give us a short description of them?
I write what I suppose is SFF, and it sits in a spot astride YA and Adult. “The Cracklock Saga” series of books came about from reading some pretty awful fairy books to my daughter over the years – she’s in her teens now and has now (with more than a little relief, I have to say!) left those behind. But I always wondered what would happen if someone didn’t like fairies, what they would do about it, and could anybody stop them? This idea grew, and the Cracklocks were born. I liked the idea of people who hated the Fae and everything they stood for.
The story follows a family who can see Faeries. This strand covers Jack; a boy who was glamoured at 4 years of age to hide him from the evil members of the family who want him for their own sinister ends. At 15, he has no idea or memory of what he is; he has no interest or knowledge of Faeries. But he's about to get a rude awakening, following an accident that breaks the glamour on him, and plunges him into a world he knows nothing about.
I have two books released at the moment, and the third is pretty much ready to go (my designer and I are just finishing up the cover for that one; planned release Quarter 1 next year). Book 4 I’ve just finished (literally second week of December), and the polishing, editing and beta’ing will start whilst I jump straight onto Book 5 of the series. That one is all plotted.
Do you stay in one genre when you write or do you find yourself veering toward others?
I’ve always been a horror fan, and there are elements of that in the Cracklock series. I’ve tried very hard to keep from going too hard core into horror with the books, as I knew what I wanted it to look like. I think (hope!) I’ve got the balance right; there’s no profanities in the books, but that was my choice – I don’t mind swearing really!. Doing short stories is a great way to flex your writing skills, and for me was very rewarding. It was in one of those shorts that was supposed to be horror, ‘Bluebells’ that one of my characters, Tobias, popped in to say hello. From completely out of nowhere, I suddenly knew what he looked like, how he acted and most of his past; guess he must have been lurking in my subconscious for quite a while. He doesn’t debut in the current series until Book 4, but I have everything I need for his development. He will have his own series once I’m done with this one
Are you a panster, planner, or someone in between?
I would love to be a plotter, I really would. I do plot. And then it all goes crazy when I’m writing, and I become a total pantser. I I do try and plot but it usually goes out the window when I start writing; it’s like they have their own ideas and I am but a passenger. I get my best ideas when I am out walking the dog and have to dictate them into my phone. Get some funny looks from other walkers! I adapt the story as the characters do their thing; that’s what editing is for after all. I had it in Book 4 that necessitated a whole chapter rewrite. A lot of work, but I love it; what is a writer if not subject to their own muse?
What is your writing routine like?
I write most evenings, from about 7pm thru 8.30 once I finish work for the day - I have a business to run, and writing has always been my hobby until my wife said I should really publish some of my stuff! On Saturday and Sunday mornings I also write from about 0730 until about 10 am – my dog is most insistent on a 0630 walk every day (rain or shine; nice in the summer, not so nice now!) Its pleasant to have the mornings to myself before the kids get up. Finally, whenever I can sneak off (e.g when those awful reality TV shows are on!) I try and get a few paragraphs done. I have my own study, so it’s all quite easy.
Tell me about your favorite character that you’ve created?
Really tricky question; its so difficult because I like them all that I’ve created. You can see them on the website. www.Cracklocksaga.com . I like Elsie’s humour; she’s based on someone dear to me, but then again most of them are. If I had to choose, it would have to be my brownie, Dorcas. She has been the most fun to write; from her weird way of speaking (editing nightmare!!) to her character and the fights she has as she defends her friends. But I love my bad guys as well; Anastasia and Benedict favourites. Particularly Benedict who is pretty evil and borderline psychotic. He hates the Fae; kills them.
Where do you get your ideas for world building?
The books take place across various realms, and to be honest, I kind of imagined them all over the years. For the Faery side. I had a smattering of knowledge from those awful books I had to read before, and did quite a lot of research (my bookshelves are crammed with Faery lore books now). It was then a case of finding things that met with what I had in my head and the story arc. My interpretation of Faery (or Tir na Nog if you’d prefer) is different from others, I know, but it’s how I see the place – not unlike our own little realm. I have notebooks with the ideas and descriptions written down (funny how they arrive; not always welcome at 3 am it has to be said!) which I then used to build on. I always knew what the Fae looked like, and I was lucky enough to find Kristy at Midnight Coffee (https://midnightcoffee.co.uk/) who helped me bring them all to life. She’s a damn good illustrator!
Do you add romance to your writing? Is it steamy or clean?
Being a fantasy writer in both the Young Adult / Adult markets I haven’t had to write much romance...yet! But I am planning some spin offs, one of which will be the back story of one of my characters, Elsie, and what happened all those years ago between her and Malchiah. Also in my next series that I have planned about Tobias (the dark Fae hunter) those will be a lot darker, and he may get jiggy in those. But for now, I haven’t had the pleasure (!) of writing such a scene, so I can’t really comment.
What was your favorite scene to create?
I think that it was the first scene I did where Dorcas takes on the bullies that were going to beat one of the characters, Jimmy. It was the first time I had ever done anything like that, and it took forever for me to write with changes and switches. It did set the scene for Dorcas’ future escapades though, which I love writing.
Where do you get character inspiration?
From all around. Some of them have come from people I know, some just popped into my head during my rambles. I knew the kind of Fae that I wanted to feature in the books, so researched the types that would fit. I take the idea and flesh it out so it meets what I thought.
What genre do you prefer to read?
This is an awesome but tricky question! I like horror; it’s what I was weaned on (Sai King, Koontz and James Herbert). But recently I’ve got to like crime stories; detective ones. And I love Zompoc – zombie apocalypse. Some of my good friends are authors in that category. And I like fantasy. And…oh, I’m going on now. Really, I’ll read just about anything; I’m a bit of a nerd.
Do you have any specific authors you follow and try to craft your work after?
Not really. I am a lifelong Stephen King fan, and the richness of his worldbuilding and descriptions are fantastic; I try to emulate these. Then throw in a pinch of humour such as the great Sir Terry’s and that’s what I strive to achieve. I haven’t quite made it yet (in my opinion; others seem to like it!) but I’m getting there.
Do you have any recurring themes in your book?
The Fae really, and the fact that the family can see them and how the adventure is progressing. Each book leads on from the last. I think that there will be six books in this story arc, maybe seven. Then I will move onto the others.
What does your editing process look like?
Editing is incredibly important! I work with a great team at SR Press LLC who conduct a full investigative edit of each book. I draft, read through, redraft, third redraft and then run Grammarly Pro to check it all. Then my wife reads it, then the editors get it, followed by my beta team. I then perform final edits. You can never have enough eyes look at your draft I believe.
Do you have a preferred drink or snack that you eat/drink while writing?
Chocolate! I am a chocaholic, although as I have moved into middle age, it isn’t so great to gorge on. So I have a little every now and again. I celebrate the end of each book with a gin and tonic.
When is your favorite time of day to write and why?
I would have to say the evening slot that I get; shut the door, forget about the worries of the day and crank out those words. But I do like my mornings as well, when nobody is about.
What is your favorite vacation spot?
I live in the UK – land of the rain and grey skies! So when we get away, we go to Europe where its warmer. We like Spain and the Balearic Islands, but also Greece. Anywhere hot really. We are planning to visit the US once the Covid madness is under control; we want to drive through Maine and see the sights.
Marvel or DC? Do you have a favorite character?
Oh, no! Can I have one of each? Both have their merits. For Marvel, definitely Spiderman; he has always been my favourite superhero since I was a nipper. But I love Batman as well, particularly the darker versions of the writing. So sorry, can’t choose. Batman and Spiderman please!
What hobbies do you have?
Writing is actually my hobby; as I mentioned earlier I have a business to run which takes up a lot of my time. It was my wife that told me I should really think about publishing and I always do as I am told (joke!). I love reading as well. But with this, a dog, two children and a busy work life, I don’t really have any other hobbies. Roll on retirement when I’d love to learn how to fly a plane.
Where can our readers find you? Please include all book links, social media, and websites in the area below.
There’s a few places!
Email: email@example.com - always happy to answer questions!
Website: https://www.thecracklocksaga.com [check this out for all things Cracklock!]