I will be buying an eBook copy of Ade's Falling and gifting it to one lucky commenter!
You heard correctly folks...it's my first giveaway!! All you need to do is leave a comment below including your email address so I can contact you. Prize will be gifted through Amazon. The contest will run until midnight EST 10/12. Good luck!
Now let's get to know Ade a bit better, shall we?
I'm so glad you could join me today, Ade, and may I also thank you for your patience :) I know I'm not the easiest person to pin down sometimes lol. Well, are you ready to spill all of your secrets to me?
Tell me, when did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Back when I was fifteen, I used to draw all these cartoon images of robots -- stylistically very much like Bender from Futurama, even down to the fact that they were alcoholics, which was kind of cool since Futurama didn’t exist back then (1997). Though I enjoyed drawing, and still practice upon occasion, I found myself much more interested in the stories behind those images, and so began writing them. From then on, writing was my main interest.
Ok let me just say that Futurama kicks butt. Now, you're a fellow indie author and relatively new to the scene. What has been the most difficult part about being a writer?
Back when I first started, I often came across problems I couldn’t solve, lacking the knowledge to write myself out of a corner.
Now that this is no longer an issue, coming up with new and interesting stories for main characters can be tricky -- keeping them all distinct is harder than people might think, but most of the time a little thought while slogging away at my mundane job brings ideas flowing back, both old and new, that help me find the most interesting aspect of a character’s personality to pivot their story around.
Oh I can definitely relate to the difficulty in keeping things distinct!! My own book will be part of a series and I know I'm likely to run into that problem so many times. Who are your favorite authors?
Douglas Adams was so witty and creative, and his death was a genuine loss for the world of literature.
Terry Pratchett is so wonderfully inventive and irreverent, and the Discworld series is a huge accomplishment -- to keep finding so many interesting new tales to tell in that world is nothing short of astounding.
Tolkien, of course, was a major force in the world of fantasy, even though he never produced that many novels.
Although he isn’t technically an author, George Lucas inspires my heavily visual imagination. Star Wars is such an incredible achievement, and one of the best fantasy universes ever conceived.
Rob Grant and Doug Naylor wrote a series of Red Dwarf novels. Freed from the shackles of a low, TV budget, they were able to let their imaginations run wild, presenting the series much more closely to how they imagined it, bringing a scope that was just astounding while expanding on the histories of characters Lister and Rimmer.
And Michael Moore -- though he is subversive (and largely rightfully so), he writes with such a frustrated passion.
Ooo I love your list! And we'll pretend that George Lucas is a writer because he's fantastically creative! We'll also pretend the newest Star Wars never happened ;) Who are the authors who inspire you?
I learn as much (perhaps more) from the mistakes of other writers than I do their successes. So while I enjoyed the likes of The Hobbit, the fact that the plot holes (where Gandalf disappears so as not to be there to save the day every single time Bilbo and the dwarves find themselves in a spot of bother) weren’t explained until the likes of Unfinished Tales inspires me to make sure my stories always tell what needs to be told -- that I always understand what’s happening in my world, which can be extremely tricky when handling multiple protagonists and antagonists (I’ve seen many films and TV shows where characters are simply forgotten, reappearing later on).
Stephen King is one of my biggest inspirations in respect too with regards to mistakes. The Dark Tower started out a little shakily, becoming rather compelling reading from book two (despite many discursive scenes), but the last three novels were a mess, and King freely admitted he didn’t know how the series ended. So even though the Spirits & Shards series is a long one, I already know how it ends -- it’s figuring out how to get there that’s the fun (and somewhat tricky!) bit.
Pratchett inspired me to find the smaller tales in my world too, hence novels such as Falling that follow much more intimate story lines.
Before I wrote my spy short, The Golden Years, for a Swinging Sixties anthology being co-edited by Paul Bishop, I began reading Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale to get my mind in the right place, and was amazed to find that myself and Fleming were actually very much on the same page, which was a great feeling.
You know, I completely agree that learning from the mistakes of others can be a huge asset. Nobody's perfect, it's how we learn from mistakes that matters. This is something I'm always curious about because I NEVER plan much lol. Do you like to plan your scenes out or do you just wing it?
I do a little of both. On Falling, I knew who the characters were and the main plot points (beginning, mid-twist, ending), but not all the details, and so I sat down and started writing. As a result, it took me ten drafts to get it done, and so for the next novel, although I knew the starting point (and many of the plot points and the ending), I sat down and planned it far more meticulously -- writing down the important scenes for each character’s arc, then putting those on coloured 3”x5” cards (a different colour for each character), got them into the order that worked best for me and pinned them to a corkboard on my office wall.
I see that stage as looking down on the story, like a bird’s eye view. Then when it comes to the actual writing, I start with what the scene is about, then wing it, finding the drama, comedy, whatever is necessary to the particular scene. If something doesn’t work when I come back to it I change it, but I use the character dynamics and interaction to push the story forwards.
For me, it’s important that every scene informs the story, or it gets cut or shortened.
I really like that philosophy and I think I'll borrow it when I hit the editing stages of my books! It's not like we have an abundance of free time to read as authors, but if you do manage to find a spare minute, what type of books do you like to read?
I’m currently reading A Tale of Two Cities, which is a bit of a slog! I’ve taken to some of the classics, especially Sherlock Holmes, but I read whatever interests me -- sci-fi, fantasy, comedy, even graphic novels. I watch more movies than I read books, however, which really drives my storytelling style, though I love the larger canvas presented by a novel which allows for so much more character development.
Ok confession time...I never read A Tale of Two Cities. I was supposed to for school but as you said, I found it to be a slog haha. What do you like to do in your free time?
Aside from the obvious, I like to spend time with my fiancée, often going to the cinema, eating out at whatever particular restaurant takes our joint fancy, cuddling up on the sofa to a movie or TV show, or just going for a walk. I also like to play videogames, though time restraints often prevent me from playing much.
I adore video games! It sounds like you and I both prefer a quieter style. Where is your favorite place to vacation?
Venice, where I went with a few workmates before I met my partner, was amazing. A small group of us broke off and found the non-touristy areas and really enjoyed it, though three days just weren’t enough to take it all in.
I’ve been to Florida twice, which I really enjoyed (despite the overwhelming humidity!)
Cyprus is an interesting country that I may never have gotten around to visiting if my partner’s grandparents didn’t live out there. There’s a lot of natural beauty that, sadly, is slowly being destroyed to make way for more civilisation.
Me and Bethany are going to Las Vegas next October to get married (!), so we’re really looking forwards to that. We also plan to visit Singapore, Japan, New York, perhaps California… so I think my favourite may yet be to come!
Oh congratulations on your upcoming wedding!! That is SO exciting! Those are some fabulous places to visit :) Let's switch gears a bit now. Why did you choose to write science-fantasy?
Science fiction is fun, but I often feel my own scientific understanding is too limited to go into it fully, and I enjoy the fantastical elements of fantasy, so I decided to marry the two, allowing for certain plot devices hinging around quantum mechanics, with fantastical results. It just frees me to do pretty much whatever I like, using whatever scientific principle I choose as a starting point.
I love that reasoning! What has been the most fun about working on Falling?
Some of the dialogue exchanges were fun to write -- some based on actual conversations me and my partner have had, or just making something up and running with it. Because of the dark nature of the storyline I was wary of making it come across as dour, so I wanted character moments to alleviate that mood, and I was very pleased with how those scenes came out.
You know, I used to be almost afraid of dialog exchanges but now they're one of the most fun aspects of my writing too. I know that Falling is part of a series called Spirits & Shards. I love that name; it’s nice and catchy! What is the meaning behind Spirits & Shards?
I felt that it was its own genre in a way, very distinct from anything else I’ve ever come across, and I wanted the title to reflect that. I remembered Dungeons & Dragons -- it’s very much considered a genre type now, but at one time it was only a title. So the idea was to convey the genre via the series title. Whether or not I succeeded, I don’t know, but it just sounded right.
Ahh, now I understand. How did you come up with the premise for Spirits & Shards series?
It’s been over a decade to refine the series into what it is now. Back in 2000 - 2001, I wrote a trilogy of screenplays called Dark Nemesis (referenced in S&S as a fiction within that fiction!)
I wanted to create something completely new and original, and had to accept the simple truth that this was impossible, so I had to choose what my series was about and run with it.
Over the years of conceptualising, I created many characters and scenarios, but I didn’t really have the singular idea that gelled it all together, then I realised what the missing ingredient was. What is it? As the series progresses, all will be slowly revealed…
Well if people weren't intrigued before, now they really should be! Can you tell me more about the universe in which this book is set?
It’s very high-concept -- hover cars, phones are worn as spectacles (or, for those so inclined, an iPhone-like device that expands to the size of an iPad at the touch of a button).
Darina City is very high-tech, but as it is situated beneath a giant, dome-shaped energy barrier that slowly brightens and warms then cools and darkens over the course of the world’s ten-day week, is devoid of all plant life and much animal life (there are a few pets and pests around, but little else). Roads are cracked from these constant temperature changes, which isn’t an issue for hover cars, but for the few who can’t afford to upgrade, this causes huge headaches.
I'm loving the sound of this world because it's also fascinating to see something similar and yet completely different from what we know. Do you have any favorite characters from Falling or any planned Spirits & Shards novels? If so, why?
Falling is semi-biographic, so I have a soft spot for Jerin and Juli. Alezi started life as a minor character and evolved into a much more three-dimensional character, and so she took a special place as my most fleshed-out completely fictional character (not based on anyone I know at all).
It’s a bit of a cop-out answer, but every character has a special place in my heart. There are a few even I hate though, such as Marv and Falz from Falling!
Between you and me, I'd have such a hard time choosing just one favorite character. I don't think it's a cop-out at all. Tell me more about the themes of Falling. Will these carry through to the next book, or are you planning to focus on something different?
Falling is a more intimate story than the next novel, and is about being a victim of circumstance. Juli and Jerin are very much star-crossed lovers, and their relationship takes many knocks along the way, causing much doubt as to whether they’re really the best choice for one another.
The events of Falling setup much of what follows next, and the events of the prologue, midlogue and epilogue are certainly followed through with in the next novel.
Honestly at this point, I'm dying to read this! Now I just need to squeeze out some time :) Inquiring minds must know...what's next for you?
Hopefully, my spy short should be published soon in the Swinging Sixties anthology, but I’m planning to get the next Spirits & Shards novel, Volume One: Firebrands, ready for release by late autumn next year, depending on how long it takes to finish. I’m a much more confident author now, and my process is much more streamlined that it was on that book. It’s never easy, but I’ve learned that spending longer on planning pays bigger dividends in the long run!
And after that comes the second “tales” novel in the Spirits & Shards series, setting up the events of Volume Two…
Oooo I love the name Firebrands! Well unfortunately we are just about out of time. Before you go, is there anything else you want your readers to know?
Spirits & Shards consists of “main” volumes and smaller “tales” story lines (each subtitled “A Spirits & Shards Novel”) -- so if you want to read the epic story lines only, the idea is for them to work alone, but if you enjoy the world and want to know more about the characters that inhabit it, the “tales” arcs tell the stories that just plain don’t fit into the larger narrative (though still inform it).
I hope that isn’t too confusing…
I don't think it's too confusing at all! Thank you so much Ade for stopping by and bringing us into your world of science and fantasy. I for one cannot wait to read your work and see more from you!
Falling eBook Giveaway
Ladies and gentlemen, if that interview didn't make you want to read more from Ade, I don't know what will! Please leave a comment on this post by midnight EST on 10/12 to be entered to win a copy of Falling! Remember, you must include your email address to be eligible to win.
Winners will be added to a list and a number will be selected using Random.org. The winner will be announced on my blog, on FB, and notified by email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to me or else another winner will be selected.
Prize will be 1 eBook copy of Falling which I will purchase on Amazon as a gift to the winner. If the winner does not have a Kindle or a device with the free Kindle app, please contact me to work out an arrangement. Contest void where prohibited.
This is an international giveaway!
Can't wait for the giveaway to end? Must have your copy right now? Don't worry, I understand! Here's where you can purchase Ade's Falling:
- ISBN for Kindle: 9780957324206
- ISBN for iTunes/Kobo: 9780957324213
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AdeJHawkins
- Goodreads Falling page: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15839402-falling
- Goodreads Author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6474079.A_J_Hawkins
- Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ade-Hawkins/e/B0087YLWV2