Friday, December 21, 2012

Feature Friday: S.L. Lewis

Don't forget to enter for you chance to win select YA reads through my Mid-Winter's Eve Giveaway Hop.
 
S.L. Lewis: I'm a typical Brit, family man and whilst I hold down a full-time job and raise my kids I also have a secret identity as a Fantasy Novelist, though I don't wear a mask or cape. I love sports, particularly football (the English kind), WWE wrestling, watching DVDs, going to the cinema and hanging out with friends.

Interview:
A.L.:
What piece of advice would you give to a budding author?

Sam:
Well being one myself I'm still discovering my way around the author world but, I think my main bits of advice would be not to rush. It's so easy to write something and think this is brilliant or I don't think I can make this any better, then just make it available to buy when it's not as good as it could be leading to some demoralizing reviews. This leads to the second bit of advice, accept and use constructive criticism. Again it's so easy to take everything to heart on what is your "baby", but the world is full of some many different people that not everyone will like your work. In the same vein don't be discouraged and just remember that you love to write and that's what you got in it for.

A.L.:
What's your favorite book and why?

Sam:
I'm going to be extremely boring here and say the Harry Potter books. These were the books that for me - like so many others around the world in my generation - made reading a must. Television, games, movies etc were the entertainment for my generation and it'll only get worse I guess, but when Harry Potter was pushed onto us it grew and grew and grew until Harry was/is a national treasure. J. K. Rowling may not be a writing genius but she created a world and characters that a vast audience cared about. I wanted to get each and every book to see what would happen, would the characters survive, would the world survive! It's story like this that stand the test of time and touch so many people because it makes you care. Out of all of them I think it would be Order of the Phoenix that was my favorite though, it was perfectly timed in the middle of the serious to shift the tone to a darker edge and was a mesmerizing read.

A.L.:
Where did you get the idea for The Guardian and Dream Crawler?

Sam:
I love Fantasy. I love Paranormal and Sci-Fi, and anything that takes you into a world that is created to be more exciting than the real world. I have always been a day-dreamer too, my imagination has always been vivid I just didn't have an outlet for it. I used to think of so many ideas and alternate endings to things I'd seen at the cinema or whatever and one day the idea of an alternate dimension full of magic fell into my head and as the wheels turned I began to create the whole series. I was thinking of characters, places and ultimately clashing different worlds here in the real world until I had the main plot embedded in my head. For this particular book though, the Dream Crawler was something I'd always thought about, a creature that travels through dreams, drains them of their strengths and can ultimately kill them. It seemed like the perfect foe to start the series off and, even though I have only written the first book, I was very proud of this one and think its a brilliant start to the series - if I do say so myself!

A.L.:
Did you hit any snags while writing The Guardian and Dream Crawler?  What were they and how did you fix them?

Sam:
The first book was very stop start, at the time we had just had twin boys and finding the time to write was difficult as you can imagine and I don't plan my writing either. I'm not the type to list every characters traits, dreams and family tree etc, and I don't really make any plan on paper. I can see the characters in my head, the story and I feel as though I know how each one would act in any given situation, the most difficult bit was the cutting. When you just sit and write it's easy to over describe, or describe something the have your character describe the same thing straight after or something like that. So I did take the axe to certain things with a little help. One thing I did want to try my hardest to detach from was Harry Potter, I'm sure when reading the synopsis that's the first comparison to a boy wizard but I do think this book - the series - is far from Harry Potter and unique in it's own right.

A.L.:
Which one of the characters in The Guardian and Dream Crawler is your favorite and why?

Sam:
Wayne Collins is probably my favorite creation, he is the best friend we all need in our lives. He's rich, he's cocky, competitive, loyal and very funny. Some of the best dialogue involves Wayne and he was definitely the most fun to write about. I have had a few comments from people suggesting that every time he arrived on the scene they were excited to read him and he produced some laugh out loud moments, to hear that is great because it means I've created exactly the kind of person I wanted to create!  

A.L.:
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey as an author?

Sam:
Well my journey is quite short so far, I'm very much a fledgling! As I said before I had always created stories and things without ever really doing anything with them, I never wrote things down, and I think it was probably around the time self-publishing was a well-known thing that I considered it. I can't boast any writing qualifications, even my GCSE English results (High School exams for anyone outside the UK) were average at best, so even in the beginning when I started writing I thought it wasn't going to come of anything. I found time between my full-time job ( Architectural Technician ) and my 24/7 job as a father to write until finally I managed to get The Guardian and the Dream Crawler on paper. I then let a few close friends read it and give me their thoughts and amazingly they were very positive! I tried the traditional method by sending queries to agents but didn't get anywhere so finally looked toward self-publishing through amazon. As of right now well over two thousand people have downloaded, read and hopefully enjoyed the book and I'm halfway through the second installment. I have so many other stories too but The Guardian series is the most important first, hopefully I can reach as many people as possible with what I believe is a fun, original story and then I can move onto to something different! Getting ahead of myself here...

A.L.:
What are you working on now?  Sequel?  Something new?

Sam:
Yes, currently I'm working on the sequel - the second installment - and hoping to have it finished and online early 2013. I'm enjoying the writing the second just as much as the first and think that anyone who enjoyed the first book will be very pleased with this one too! I don't want to give anything away yet, but if you have read the first book this one will answer a few lingering questions, push Daniel further to his destiny and continue to get darker and harder for the main characters.

A.L.:
Why did you choose to self-publish your book?  Did you attempt to go with mainstream or choose to self-publish right from the beginning.

Sam:
Nowadays I think everyone is talking about how self-publishing is the new way swinging power into the authors hands but honestly, if someone had taken a chance with my book, I would have preferred the traditional route. I was told early on that for me, someone with no experience, no qualifications and no references at all, would find it impossible to get a deal even if my book was the best ever written so I didn't hold out much hope and instead of spending years chasing the dream I took the self-published route instead. Publishers are masters of getting you and your books out there, I'm no marketing genius and I'm sure in the hands of a publisher I could have reached a much larger audience but having said that self-publishing can give you a platform to show agents and publishers what they missed. That has to be the biggest plus, so far the number of readers has reached the thousands from very little in the way of marketing or money spent on promotions who knows what would have happened with a big budget and know-how though.

A.L.:
Holding down a full-time job and giving enough attention to a family with three kids under five must be very difficult.  Do you have a method or ritual to keep writing despite this hectic schedule?

Sam:
Just reading that question reminds me how hard it is! We have a family routine generally, as in bedtime routines etc, so right now I work Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm, and then have family time until all are asleep around 7:30/8pm. Then I have my time (if there's no 'man of the house' duties to do or a social life obviously) anywhere from that point until I'm completely drained and can't keep my eyes open I try to write but as anyone with kids knows - its never as easy as that! So I guess I wing it, I try and catch any spare time I can here and there without hindering my time with the kids who are always my no.1 priority. One day who knows I may get to do this as my full-time job and it'll be a lot easier!

A.L.:
What sort of audience do you think your novel will appeal to?  Why?

Sam:
I think with this book, and definitely the series as a whole, it's aimed toward teenagers and up. I think this book would nestle nicely alongside books like Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games etc, it's for those readers. I want this to be a fun book with humor but also I want to make it dark, exciting and over all an entertaining page-turner. I know how I was as a teenager, even now in my Twenties, my attention span for books, T.V, games etc is so hard to maintain. If I'm going to take time out of a busy life, most people have such hectic lives nowadays, it has to be for something worth it - something memorable. So I tried my hardest to make this book exactly that, something that you hopefully don't want to put down or can't wait to jump back into the story.

A.L.:
If you could compare your novel to another novel, what would you compare it to?

Sam:
As I said before, the comparisons are inevitable, Harry Potter is going to be on everyone's mind when reading a book about a boy wizard but I'd like to think this takes the genre in a different direction. For it's magical content it's comparable to Harry Potter, it has some sprinkle of romance like a Twilight and it will also be far more deadly, dangerous and dark like say a Hunger Games. Like anything new it can be compared but hopefully after reading it you will see it's original in it's own right.

A.L.:
Why did you choose to write a novel about a young wizard?

Sam:
Daniel kind of found me. I have a lot of different stories in the memory bank but they can't get passed The Guardian series just yet, this series is one which I have always thought about most. There's also something linking wizardry and magic to the UK I guess, it seems to be something we Brits write about quite well! I think the difference with this book though is how it's not just magical creatures and beings, I'm kind of planning to bring more to the table in the coming books than your typical magical foes and enemies. So yeah, I think Daniel and the idea of him being a wizard was just something that I was always going to do first, it's a story that has a life of it's own and wants to break free to meet as many readers as it possibly can!

The Giveaway:
Sam is giving away a copy of his debut novel, THE GUARDIAN AND THE DREAM CRAWLER.

The Guardian and the Dream Crawler:  In the magical realm known as Eden, witches and wizards were protected from the demon realms by a powerful wizard known as the Guardian. Like clockwork, Guardians were replaced in every generation until the death of Logan triggered a prophecy the Wizarding Council always feared. Daniel Smith and his family were then ripped from Eden and sent to live in the human world for their own protection until he came of age. Daniel had grown used to his non-magical life until a new History teacher arrived at Greenfield High revealing his true identity as the next Guardian. As Daniel’s world begins to unravel around him, he has to deal with hiding his secret from his friends, a school bully wanting to make his life hell and the small matter of a demonic Dream Crawler feasting on his hometown. Welcome to the world of Daniel Smith, the Wizarding Guardian.



Read Goodread reviews.
Buy on Amazon.
Buy on Amazon UK.

How to Enter:
Enter the giveaway using Rafflecopter. Hit the green "Do It" buttons, follow the prompts, and hit the green enter buttons when you're done. (You may have to log in using Facebook to do this). There will be one winner (selected by Rafflecopter). I will contact the winner via email. This contest is open to International entrants.
a Rafflecopter giveaway