Monday, June 9, 2014

GMTA Tours: Falling blog tour


We would like to welcome GMTA Tours and author AJ Hawkins to our interview hot seat. Hope you're ready for it!

Tell us about yourself.
I live in Norwich with my wife and our two daft moggies. Since living in the city, it has become one of only seven UNESCO cities of literature in the world, which is incredibly fortuitous. We used to live in Stowmarket, and we are still friends with people who live there as they have always encouraged and supported my crazy writing habit.

Tell us your latest news.
I’m arranging an event at the Millennium Library on Friday 5th September this year. At least one other author, David Lawrence-Young, will be joining me, along with London-based marketing guru Ben Cameron. I’m awaiting confirmation from another author… fingers crossed! Details will be listed on my website,, as and when I have them finalised.

When and why did you begin writing?
I started scribbling various ideas in a notebook in 1998. It was very sleek sci-fi, all gleaming robots and alien invaders that had taken over the planet. I was nowhere near good enough to write it — I just kept writing myself into a corner. I had ideas, but just didn’t understand the process and narrative structure, which I have mostly learned myself by watching various movies and TV shows and reading a lot more books.

I came back to it in 2000, when a friend and I were creating characters for a Star Wars fan fiction series. It altered the setting in a way that made sense with what I’d previously written, and became Dark Nemesis, which became a trilogy of screenplays, but has become a fiction-within-a-fiction in the Spirits & Shards universe. I hope one day to complete the Dark Nemesis saga.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think I’ve been deluded since my early teens, so I just plain decided I didn’t need anyone else’s approval — I was going to do it anyway. Becoming a member of Facebook groups such as Fiction Writers really affirmed my talents, though I still have a long way to go. As someone famous once said, we are all students in a craft no one ever masters.

[Continue below for more of the interview]

They say love heals all wounds, but what if the path to that love was the very cause of those wounds?

So it is with Jerin Endersul. Despite the love he found in Juli, their union has left him isolated and impoverished, and every time a potential solution appears on the horizon, life throws another obstacle in the way.

Living with Julianos Tenzalin meant getting a job closer to their new home, and all that was left in the desolate town of Sendura was the module plant, where an accident necessitated Jerin to undergo drastic surgery that left his dreams in tatters.

Just as he allowed himself to believe he may be improving, the crippling headaches that once blighted Jerin’s existence make a very unwelcome return. His consultant offers him a solution in the form of a new wonder-drug, PSI-626, that has the most bizarre side-effects, allowing him a glimpse into the secret life of the partner he now rarely sees.

[Part 2 of 3]
  Tell us more about your book.
It’s a love story set in a high-concept world. Juli and Jerin are, I believe, a reflection of a true couple going through some particularly hard times. Jerin’s health issues give him a huge amount of grief, and I think most of us can relate to that.

What gave you the idea for this particular story?
I had the ideas and concepts for the Spirits & Shards series, as well as a massive cast, but I had no starting point. The saga just seemed too huge and impenetrable — so I decided to write something completely different.

Partway through writing it (a few drafts in, I think — it took ten to get right!), I realised this could be my way into that larger saga, so it became a prelude to Firebrand, the next (and first epic-length) novel in the series. I wish I could give a timescale on that book, but it’s huge — it’ll take some taming as yet, but it’s coming together very nicely.

[Continue below for more of the interview]

Meet the Author

Adrian (Ade) Hawkins lives in Norwich, England, with his loving, ever-patient wife and two beastilicious moggies.

He discovered a talent for storytelling in high school, despite not getting an English GCSE. He realised he had a yearning to write while drawing cartoon robots in art class, spending most of his time pondering the story behind them.

After getting stuck on a story idea for several years, he wrote a trilogy of screenplays called “Dark Nemesis.” They were mostly bad but punctuated by surprisingly good bits. He then spent 12 years being overwhelmed by his own ambition and spent far too long faffing about with conceptual ideas before finally coming up with an idea for a novella that then evolved into his debut novel.

His favourite authors include Douglas Adams, JRR Tolkien, GRR Martin, Terry Pratchett, Ian Fleming and Rob Grant and Doug Naylor. He should also watch less movies and read more books.

[Part 3 of 3]

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organise your writing time?
I work a full-time paid job, so at the moment I write on the side. I also work nights, which means I am typically exhausted, but I take a cheap laptop to work with me and write using that, then transfer the files to my Mac at home. I don’t tend to get much writing done on my days off, partly because I need to catch up on emails, social media, and I love spending time with the wife to go out to restaurants and/or the cinema.

What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
That life is too short for petty squabbles, so enjoy who and what you have while you can. Try not to let the dark times get you down too much, which is far trickier than it sounds — and I say that as someone who wrestles with depression.

What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
Two things — time and money. Time to write, money to invest in editing, marketing, cover design, etc. It adds up fairly quickly, but I’m working on that. This edition of Falling was proofread by a handful of people, which helped a huge deal. I’m also looking at doing a cover revamp, which will cost me a bit but totally be worth it.

Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
Honestly, to me genre makes little difference — the story comes above all else. I mould my genre around the story I want to tell. Spirits & Shards is a hard one to pin down — I consider it science-fantasy, that is that it takes the basic structure of science-fiction but makes the actual science more fantastical. It wasn’t until I recently got around to reading Neuromancer that I realised this sub-genre has actually existed for quite some time, though hasn’t officially been recognised by the masses.

Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event?
Jerin and Juli struggle with their finances around Jerin’s health issues, which happened to me and my wife several years ago — I had a benign tumour in my left left that took doctors years to identify and remove, during which time our finances took a serious beating. For Falling, Jerin has a series of intracranial neoplasms following an unfortunate accident at work, so I put a bit of creative license and narrative structure on it for the benefit of the readers, to emphasise some other themes people can relate to, such as corporate neglect.

Does writing violent or highly sexualised scenes bother you?
No, if they’re necessary to telling a particular story then they go in there. I try not to add gratuitous scenes, which is completely unnecessary — it cheapens a story. They have to be used well.

Any tips for new writers?
Write. That was the advice Robert Llewellyn and Doug Naylor gave me at a Red Dwarf convention back in 2000, and it’s absolutely true. I would add: be your own worst critic, but don’t be too hard on yourself. Even the best authors feel like they’re shovelling shit from a sitting position some days. Just stick with it.


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