Here is a series of questions asked by wearewhitefox when I was first publishing Twilight Tales.
Tell us a little about your book.
Twilight Tales is a collection of ten fantastical stories where magic meets science, filled with exciting characters such as the Memory Thief and AI Cat One. The book’s characters go on crazy bite-sized adventures and offer readers a compass to navigate some of the challenges they might face in life.
In our increasingly digital world, science is seen as the pinnacle of everything. We often hear the phrase ‘science is yesterday’s magic’ but for me and Twilight Tales, science and magic both have a place in the imagination, and I want children to experience that.
Why did you decide to write Twilight Tales?
I originally decided to write Twilight Tales for my son, but my authoring career started back when I was in secondary school. I’ve always loved writing, but I also struggled with English at school which was a bit of a confidence knock. When we got married, my wife and I made an agreement that we were both going to pursue a new and independent passion, and I decided to pick writing. As a result, Twilight Tales exists, and I’ve been writing now for about eight years and loving every minute of it.
You also illustrated Twilight Tales. Have you always been interested in art and illustration?
Illustrating was a real exploration. When I was at school, I really loved watercolours, but sadly the curriculum didn’t allow for me to explore my interest further.
But then on a summer afternoon a few years ago, I sat down and painted one character who had been in my head for many years; Albert the Dancing Troll. My wife was really impressed and encouraged me to paint my other characters. So, I thought I’d challenge myself not only to write but also to illustrate Twilight Tales and from there painted about 120 illustrations, many of which are now in the book!
You’ve mentioned feeling uninspired at school in terms of creative learning. What would be your advice for children feeling similarly?
I would say to them, if you get a chance spend some time in your bedroom or at the library. Pick up that pen or paintbrush and go for it; do whatever you want and be proud of everything you do because as soon as you create, that’s it, you’ve done it – never stop.
What was your experience of writing Twilight Tales?
Writing for me started with a notebook, lots of scribbles of ideas, and giving myself the space to really think about how I wanted to complete the project. It involved a lot of discipline; every morning before work, I would sit down in a coffee shop or a quiet place and just write. Sometimes it would just be a few words, sometimes it would be a thousand words. But every step of the way, what I always tried to do was celebrate the small successes and keep plugging away at it.
Now that the book is published, do you have a favourite tale from the collection?
That’s a really hard question which I’ve never known how to answer. I don’t think I have a favourite. Every time I read them or tweak them, I find that each story and character, represents different parts of life and so, they are all significant in different ways.
What I would say is that I’ve got a deep fondness for Derik (from my story Retry the Fly By) because he was my first character, and I created him for a short story competition when I was in year seven.
Is there a specific message or feeling you would like to leave with the readers of your book?
First and foremost, I want Twilight Tales to be a fun reading experience, and secondly, I want it to be a compass to help children navigate all of those tricky things that we experience as we grow up.
As you get older you inevitably face challenges, challenges which many of my characters also go through. I hope that children read my book and think ‘I want to be brave like Tora as she goes and fixes the reactor and saves Salvage City’ or ‘I want to be like Jack when he helps Derik learn to fly’.