After lots of dithering, I’ve finally published my first book: WraithTalkers and the Secret of the Red Monk. It’s available now to purchase in the Amazon Kindle Store.
This blog isn’t designed to be a plug for the book; it’s more a brief commentary on how and why I’ve arrived at this point.
For structure I’ve written this blog as a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and in time-honoured FAQ tradition I’ve invented all of the questions myself!
Q Why have you written a book?
A It’s often said that everyone has at least one book in them and so it was with me. I’ve long had a secret desire to be an author and if I could make any money at it I’d give up the day job in an instant.
Q Do you write for a living?
A No, unfortunately I have a day job which keeps me very busy. I’m also a single parent. Spare time is at a premium for me. I would love to be a full-time author, but when you have hungry mouths to feed (and mine is the hungriest) it’s a question of being realistic. WraithTalkers and the Secret of the Red Monk may or may not be a success. Either way I’ve achieved an ambition to write a book. It’s been a hugely enjoyable process.
Q What is your book about?
A It’s a ghost story. The blurb on the back of my virtual book runs as follows:
Thirteen-year-old Marigold Bennett unwittingly acquires a briefcase which contains a beautiful and mysterious object. What is it, and why will the men in dark suits and wrap-around sunglasses stop at nothing to get their hands on it?
Marigold and her younger brother Gideon are plunged headlong into a spooky adventure from which there seems to be no escape. The siblings have no choice but to unravel the frightening mysteries presented before them. Who was the mysterious Dr Black? What work is carried out at the secretive Hermitage Institute? Who is the elusive whispering man? Is the man with the tattooed hand really what he seems? Most terrifying of all, why has the ghost of a red monk who lived five hundred years ago just started to haunt the local church?
The children soon realise that there can be no conclusion until an ancient injustice has been resolved. Can Marigold and Gideon discover the monk’s closely-guarded secret? It won’t be easy because he died without telling a single soul.
Q Who is the book targeted at?
A The book has been written as an adventure story for children in the 9-12 age bracket. I’ve also tested it with older children and adults. I press-ganged about twenty people into reading it before publication. Of these, only half were directly known to me. All have all enjoyed the story and have been hungry for more, which has been very encouraging.
Q Why a children’s book?
A I enjoyed reading adventure stories as a child. I always loved it when there were several books in the series and you couldn’t wait to read the next one. I just came up with an idea of my own.
Q Why publish for the Kindle?
A Electronic publishing is a major growth area. Last year almost 10% of book sales in the USA were electronic. This share of the market has been increasing exponentially year-on-year, and much of this is down to Amazon and their Kindle. They currently have the biggest share of the eBook market by a large margin.
It’s relatively easy for anyone to publish with Amazon. You just need to register with the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) service and all the help you need is there.
Q What about more traditional paperback and/or hardback publishing?
A The trouble is that you need a publisher, and almost certainly the services of a good agent. The children’s book market is incredibly competitive. I had read lots of scare stories, and when I wrote to quite a few agents and immediately had their standard “thank you for your interest” letter by return, I decided to take matters into my own hand.
Q When did you come up with the idea for WraithTalkers?
A It was 1996. Yes, it really has taken me this long to write the book and get around to publishing it!
Q How long did it take you to actually write the book?
A A few years back I went through an extremely stressful period in my life and I had trouble sleeping. I reasoned that I needed to keep myself busy, and more importantly I needed to find an outlet for my emotions. So I started typing out WraithTalkers. It took about 3 months and almost every word was written between the hours of 11pm-6am. Some chapters took a few weeks; my favourite chapter took me four hours. (In case anyone is interested, my favourite chapter is Chapter 9: Revelations.)
Q How did you write your book?
A I started with a basic premise and quickly arrived at a high-level outline of the story. From that I determined the protagonists and a solid ending. It was then a question of creating the story “top-down” by decomposing it into chapters and further developing the threads through those chapters. I also deliberately tried to end each chapter with a cliff-hanger. At this point the ideas needed to be written down. More and more notes were added until eventually the whole book could be read through in outline form. Writing the story then just consisted of putting some words around each outline item. Simple!
Q Are your characters based on real people?
A No. All characters, settings and unusual objects used within WraithTalkers are from my imagination.
Q What about marketing your book?
A I’m well aware that any published book, if it’s not marketed properly, will not sell. It’s not sufficient to simply publish your book and sit back. You’ll end up selling nothing. I have a few ideas, so watch this space. I hope to report back in a future blog with my experiences.
Q Will there be more books?
A I hope so! WraithTalkers and the Secret of the Red Monk is designed to be the first in a series of adventures for the protagonists, Marigold and Gideon. The second adventure, WraithTalkers and the Mystery of the Singing Mermaid, is already plotted out in my head, but I’ve nothing written down. Perhaps I need another personal crisis. In reality I think the trigger will be if the first book gets a decent reception. I strongly suspect that, like the first, the second will have to be written entirely during the night, when all forms of tortured wraiths walk about…
Please feel free to ask me any more questions. If the same ones keep cropping up I might even add them to my FAQ… 🙂