Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Interview with YA author Darren Lewis

Hello, readers. Today I’m chatting with Darren Lewis about his YA paranormal novel, Fate of the Fallen.

Welcome, Darren. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
As I'm sure every author on the planet would say, ‘I love reading.’ In fact, it's not just love, it's a passion. Some of my earliest memories are of reading school books to my parents and then speaking about those stories to my teacher.
I consider myself extremely lucky to have a family that share this passion and by the time I was ten years old, I believe my parents had a book collection that could be counted in the high hundreds. Their collection ranged from horror to science fiction, romance to thriller and at a young age I was allowed to read some of the more ‘adult’ books by Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Isaac Asimov and so on. If I could take one thing away from that experience, it was that I never considered myself too young to read these authors.

My first real love affair with an author happened at thirteen years old when I read a book of my brother’s entitled ‘The Pawn of Prophecy’ by David Eddings. I was enraptured, captivated I suppose, and wanted to read every single book of the series in one go.
I never really tried writing at that age apart from school assignments as it was something I never considered myself able to do. I might've been able to think of a premise but could never follow through on the story.

I left school at nineteen and entered the print industry where, in various guises, I would stay until the age of 38. During this time I'd found the love of my life and luckily for me, married her. We had a beautiful daughter and a son on the way. Again, I had never seriously written anything while employed in print and with having my own family my time was used up, but in a fantastic way. I will never look back and think I should've been writing during this period as my family and job were my priorities.

Fate stepped in at this point. Redundancies were made at the print company and I chose to accept. At the same time, out of the blue, my daughter, Ellie asked for a story. A story for her. It seemed to be the key to unlocking the ideas trapped inside and my first story ‘Ellie and the Rabbits’ was born.

It took another year but I added two more stories to complete what is now called ‘The Seren Trilogy.’
It was now that my path crossed that of Creativia as my brother (yes, the same one as above!) had also been writing and accepted to be published. I thought I would give it a go as well, not mentioning that I was related to the other Lewis, Creativia was publishing. This was probably the second key moment for me as in my mind it affirmed what I wanted to do now my former career was over and I was fortunate enough that Creativia accepted my stories for publication. I continued with Ellie's adventures and added five more books which are now The Baiulus Series.

It hasn't all run smoothly. Over the last couple of years I discovered, or the doctors did, major problems with the nerves in my feet which means I can't walk as much as I love to do. I had to alter my male driven ego away from being the main bread winner of the family but my wife has never been anything but supportive in allowing me to pursue this path of being a writer. It took me a while to get familiar with though I also love spending so much time with my children.

The most important lessons I learned from all this? If you can, do what makes you happy, not what makes you rich!

Also, it took me a few years to realise I can write whatever I want, whatever I please, and that is freedom.

Please tell us about your current release.
Fate of the Fallen is the omnibus edition of the Baiulus Series, the second set of Ellie’s adventures.

What inspired you to write this book?
I knew I wanted Ellie’s adventures to continue but set a few years later so my daughter would be able to read a story for an older audience when she reached that age. At first I started on a standalone story about a witch in the village she lived in but this quickly grew into a tale that involved witches, a version of Ellie from the past (32,000 years in the past to be exact!), an evil corporation and of course an all-powerful nemesis for Ellie to fight against.

As work went on in the book I realized that the main themes were emerging of their own accord. The concept of sacrifice on a grand and small scale and the importance of aiding those that need it.

Excerpt from Fate of the Fallen:
The light knock on Ellie’s door was enough to rouse her from sleep and the dream she’d had for so many years, it felt like an old friend in itself. The world being consumed by orange fire was the image sleep brought to her the first night Ellie, Cole and Malachite had spent in the empty land of the dragons all those years ago. Ellie quickly and deftly lit a candle in the dark of her chambers and opened the old wooden door. Isabelle greeted her with a small trembling smile and a pale complexion. Without a word Ellie left her room and followed her young friend across the monastery to Thomas’ room. Isabelle sniffed and Ellie wrapped an arm about her waist as they entered the monk’s cell.

A single candle was standing vigil. A chair sat empty next to Thomas’ bed, a chair recently occupied by Isabelle as she comforted the old man now wheezing for breath on the bed. Ellie gave Isabelle a comforting squeeze and released her, Ellie entered the cell while Isabelle stayed at the door. Ellie placed her candle down and perched gently on the edge of the bed. That small motion was enough to wake Thomas and he smiled at Ellie the milky whites of his eyes seemingly staring straight at her, though in reality blindness had come to Thomas a few years ago. He reached out a hand and Ellie grasped it, and held it tight against her chest.

“Ah, Ellie. My time is done, my friend. I find no comfort in living anymore. This old body has given up on me.”

Ellie nodded and brushed a tear away.

“I understand, Thomas. I don’t even know how to thank you for what you’ve done here. For all the people you’ve helped.”

Thomas shook his head gently and he took a shuddering breath.

“It was my duty but also my privilege.” The old man paused and Ellie swore in that moment her friend could see her once again his gaze was so direct. “I know your pain, Ellie and the long years you possess. Promise me you will always keep your pain, for when you don’t mourn the death of a friend your time will be done.”

Ellie reached out her free hand and stroked Thomas’ cheek.

“I promise, my friend.”

Thomas smiled at Ellie.

“It’s been wonderful. The things I’ve seen; the people I’ve met. My life has been full of purpose and I thank you for that.”

Thomas smiled once again, a smile full of contentment and love.

“No, Thomas. Thank you.” She whispered, kissing the old man’s forehead.

“Listen to me now.” Thomas’ voice was faint and Ellie bent her head close to the dying man. As he struggled for breath, he said “The darkness ever seeks you.” Thomas’ chest became still and Ellie held her old friend’s hand for a long time.

In the night the dragons lifted their heads and howled in mourning.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Book one of the next series, working title “Sisters of Ruin” is being edited at the moment.
It is my final trilogy with the characters I’ve come to adore so much while introducing a few new faces. It doesn’t exactly pick up where the Baiulus Series left off as I watched and read a lot of information on parallel universes and the concept of the multiverse.

This concept led me to ask a question from the original trilogy where everything works out, that being what would happen if Ellie’s attempt to save the world failed.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Fairly recently I guess. It has taken me quite a while to come to terms with the fact that I love writing as strange as that may sound and to have a career that fills me with joy is a very strange feeling!

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
During the day I mind my children and ferry them off to school and playgroup. Just when I thought some quiet time would be on the cards for writing, my third child, Thomas arrived on the 14th April and is keeping us all very busy and squabbling for hugs!

When everyone in the household is asleep I start writing. At first I used to handwrite everything but my handwriting is atrocious and when writing an exciting scene, the page would resemble a battleground as I tried to write as speedily as possible. After this I moved onto the iPad, much easier!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write in bed, nowhere else. Seriously.

The best place for ideas for me is in the shower. I will sometimes jump out of the shower, dripping wet, searching for a notepad to jot an idea down.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Marine biologist or Indiana Jones!

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I love what I do. I consider myself privileged to have the opportunity to express myself in stories. I’ve flown dragons, spoken to magical rabbits, time travelled, fought in wars, grieved for fictional characters when they died and rejoiced when they were happy.

I’m a lucky man.


Thanks, Darren. All the best with your writing.

1 comment:

Mari Collier said...

Life can interfere with writing, but you are doing great! Keep at it. One side note, my mother's choice of books was the series on the Prince of Graustark. She wondered why I preferred Jane Austin's books.