Author Interview – Seumas Gallacher

I’m delighted to be hosting Seumas Gallacher on An Author’s View again. For a while now I’ve been a huge fan of Seumas’s highly entertaining and often hilarious blog, andprofile I’ve recently read and enjoyed the first of his gripping thrillers THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY. I can highly recommend both. Seumas was kind enough to submit a guest post to An Author’s View a few weeks ago which proved to be very popular, and today he’s visited me in Blogland to chat about his life, his work and his inspirations. Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome – SEUMAS GALLACHER.

Alison – Good morning Seumas – or good whatever time it is where you are! Thank you for stopping by today and allowing me to bombard you with questions. What made you decide to write action packed thrillers? Is it a favourite genre (or should that be jongrrrr?) of yours to read?

Seumas – I like any kind of literary JONGRRR that pulls me into the book and keeps me there. Writing the action stuff seems to come easily to me, and being the lazy sod I am, I’ll go with ‘easy’ in the meantime.

Alison – Do you find it difficult to switch from being a light-hearted, jovial blogger to the author of serious and sometimes brutal novels?

Seumas – On the contrary, being able to switch between the two styles keeps the little grey cells moving. I love the company of people who have humour (and wit) as primary traits. The welcome self-discipline of the almost daily blogging balances off the heavier material the novels call for, kinda freshens the approach each time. Plus, the blog is the prime channel for propagating my ‘Author Brand’ as distinct from the ‘Author Voice’ in the novels.

Alison – Jack Calder, the hero of your novels, harks from the same area of Glasgow as you do. Are there elements of your own past and personality in Jack?

Seumas – I think most authors either directly or subliminally reflect much of their own personal experiences in their writing. I didn’t intentionally craft much of the personal stuff as such in THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY, but when I edited and re-edited, I was astonished to see how much of me actually seeped into the various characters and circumstances in the book, not just Jack Calder.

Alison – The action in the Jack Calder novels is very convincing, as is the skill of Jack and his colleagues. What research did you need to do? Do you have experience of your own on which to call?

Seumas – Well, I could tell you… and then I’d have to kill you… you know how that works! One of the trouble-shooting engagements I undertook in Asia involved cleaning up a distressed ferry company, with more than its fair share of criminal elements around it. Cleaning that up resulted in the need for an armoured car and a squad of SAS-trained bodyguards… that was the seed for the story line idea. Apart from that, with the Web at our fingertips, it’s simpler now to check on facts as far as possible.

Alison – You have lived, and currently live, in some exotic places. What inspired you to move around the world? Have you based the locations in your books on the places in which you’ve lived?

Seumas – Originally, 43 years ago, the move from Scotland to London for ten years as a young banker was massive. Thereafter it was the money trail. Hong Kong was followed by Singapore, then a year in Australia. Next up was the Philippines, and eventually to the Middle East. The underpinning career of banking edged into the Foreign Exchange dealing and Money Markets, then on to being a corporate trouble-shooter. The assignments took me all over the planet. I’ve never owned a camera in my life, preferring the visual memories and interface with characters I’ve met along the way, good ones and not so pleasant ones. A lot of that is present in the books

Alison – You are a prolific blogger, treating us to a highly entertaining post daily. Do you plan your blogs in advance, or write about whatever’s on your mind each day?

Seumas – During the day, I may or may not get a simple idea to build a blog post around. However, the approach to the daily piece is ‘blank sheet of paper and blank mind’, then press the mental ‘GO’ button. The flow of words is simply a flow of consciousness, with no capital letter sentence starts or full stops… it’s quirky, but my friends on the Web seem to approve.

Alison – It certainly works for me. You’ve made a success out of publishing your work via Kindle. Briefly, what is the process from finishing your ‘wee masterpiece’ to sending it out into the world?

Seumas – It starts loooo-ooo-ooo-ooong before finishing the wee masterpiece. ‘Building the Platform’ via the extensive use of the social networks is constant and, in my opinion, absolutely vital to a modern scribbler. It’s no use throwing your masterpiece out there unless somebody’s gonna catch it. I reciprocate as much as possible for others through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Goodreads, and other channels. I also mix the offerings on Amazon Kindle… paids, Free Promos, and now the discount route via the Amazon Countdown Program.

Alison – Will you continue writing thrillers, or are you tempted by any other genres?

Seumas – For the meantime, there’s a whole raft of ideas for stories in the Jack Calder thriller series, and I’ve become part of the characters’ family. I don’t want to desert them just yet. As a (much) younger lad, I used to indulge in some poetry, a bit of which I’ve teased on to the blog from time to time. For the past four years, I’ve harboured a storyline in my head, a lot more ‘literary’ in style to the present stuff, but I think that may take a lot longer to indulge while my name is associated with the Jack Calder series.

Alison – Was it always your ambition to be a writer, or was it a skill you discovered you had by chance?

Seumas – I’ve always dabbled in bits and pieces, but never really got motivated to do ‘that book we all supposedly have in us’ until about five years ago. I now wish I’d started 40 years ago, as I enjoy the whole self-publishing ‘writing business’ experience. However, 40 years ago, there were no eBooks or Kindle, so it may not have developed as quickly as it has done recently for me.

Alison – What does the future hold for you personally? Is a return to Scotland on the cards?

Seumas – I live for the moment, and Abu Dhabi is okay for the meantime. I’d be delighted to see my writing progress to a regular international recognition as a novelist.

Alison – Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions. Luv ye!

Seumas – Thanks , m’Lady for having me aboard again. LUV YEEZ back!

I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading Seumas’s interview as much as I’ve enjoyed hosting it. It’s always a huge thrill to chat to an author whose work I love, and Seumas is always happy to connect with his fans via a variety of networks:

Follow Seumas on Twitter

Connect with Seumas on Facebook

Connect with Seumas on LinkedIn

Follow Seumas’s blog

If you’d like to BUY THE BOOKS here are the links:

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THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY Purchase links   UK   USA   Canada

VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK Purchase links   UK   USA   Canada

SAVAGE PAYBACK Purchase links   UK   USA   Canada

WELL I’LL BE BLOGGERED Purchase links   UK   USA   Canada

HAPPY READING!

Author Interview – Jaylen Grace

My series of author interviews has given me the opportunity to chat to some amazingly exciting guests, and today’s guest certainly falls into that category. It is my great pleasure to introduce you to entrepreneur, freelance writer, author of self-help books for children and adults, and an international life coach Jaylen Grace.

Born in North London, Jaylen’s Dad was Greek Cypriot and her Mum came from Manchester. At 21 she landed a ‘dream’ job for a holiday company which took her travelling to far- flung places and writing reviews. By 23 she was Personal Assistant to the Rolling Stones and added public relations and managerial skills to her talents. Although she climbed a career ladder other young women could only dream of and she absolutely loved this period of her life, her interests changed. She wanted to help others find success and turned her aspirations to life coaching. Supporting herself through freelance writing and part time public relations work, Jaylen took accredited courses in Psychology and Psychotherapy, and added Clinical Hypnosis to her qualifications.

Jaylen thrives on working with children and her interactions with them inspire her children’s adventure stories, notably: ‘Omzak’ and ‘Porridge, the Two Faced Parrot’, for which she was nominated for the Greenhouse Funny Writer Prize in 2012. Deeply committed to helping children’s development, Jaylen initially created ‘Omzak The Space Cat Warrior’ as a script for children to act out the characters. Omzak’s space adventure was such a hit, Jaylen was asked to write Omzak’s adventure story. Jaylen and Omzak would be delighted if you would visit Omzak’s website.

OMZAK_COVER_FINAL

Click on the image to order from Amazon, or order directly from Book Guild

Jaylen is a keen advocate of meditation, which she practises on a daily basis, and she also loves to get her adrenaline pumping. She loves jumping out of aeroplanes (with a parachute, I’m relieved to say) and is committed to testing her limits by learning something new every year  – last year being Kayaking. Her daughter describes her as “the most fun person in the world, if you can keep up with her”. Much more about Jaylen and her work can be found on her website.

Wow! I’m breathless simply introducing this lady; and I don’t know about you, but I’m eager to learn more about her. Welcome to ‘An Author’s View’ Jaylen, and thank you for finding the time to join me today. I’m very interested in Omzak, please do tell me more.

Jaylen – Omzak the space cat warrior was my debut children’s book.  It was published in November 2012 and Omzak has already been featured in Your Cat, Cat World, The Cat and numerous other publications. On World Book Day this year I was the featured author for East London (where I currently live) and taught five back to back Omzak workshops to five different schools by lunch time!  On the school visits I have done, kids love Omzak’s character. He has his own warrior club that children can join.  My team and I are now planning a children’s short story competition with great prizes and free workshop in London to celebrate Omzak’s 16th birthday in December. He keeps me pretty busy – especially since his Facebook page has hit over 8,000 fans and I take care of most of the admin!

Alison – He sounds like a hugely successful cat! What gave you the inspiration for Omzak’s stories?

Jaylen – Omzak came to me in a dream and told me his story.  It was so funny (and touching) I felt compelled to write it. Whilst it is humorous, has the excitement of battles and villains etc, I would describe it as a children’s personal development book.  I was thrilled that Kellogg’s review picked up on what I’d set out to do, and that reviews on Amazon not only have 5 stars but are so generous in their praise

Alison – Knowing that people have really understood your stories, and have enjoyed them enough to write glowing reviews, must be one of the best feelings for an author. What is is that encouraged you to write in the first place?

Jaylen – I became an author at 6 years old after a kitten called Pirate marched through my front door as if he owned the place.  I used to write stories about our imaginary adventures and read them to him while he listened in dribbling ecstasy.

Alison – I think I can detect a theme here; you’re clearly a cat lover, as I am. I love the cover art for Omzak. Did you have an idea how you wanted the cover to look?

Jaylen – I am thrilled that you love the cover art for Omzak.  I am blessed to have found an illustrator (Almuth Scheller) who is so in tune with my way of thinking.  I told her I wanted to convey Omzak’s fall from grace when his ruler banishes him to Earth for being so arrogant. So, on the left side of cover we see who he was and the important role he played on his home planet of Catopia. On the right side we see the vast change in fortune that awaits him when he is rudely awoken inside a dustbin on Earth.

Alison – Will you stick to writing children’s books, or would you like to experiment with different genres? Please give examples.

Jaylen – My forthcoming children’s book (also illustrated by Almuth Scheller) will be published in October 2013.  It is called Porridge The Two Faced Parrot. I was shortlisted for Greenhouse Funny Writer 2012 award for this story and there will be sequel in 2014. 

PORRIDGE_THE COVER1

However, I do not just write for children. For the past thirty years I have worked as an international life coach; (with qualifications in psychotherapy, clinical hypnosis and Reiki to name a few), so apart from writing fiction, I’m an author of personal development books for adults.  Omtopia (The seven steps to enlightenment) will be published end July 2013.  

custom book cover stella official Trajan Pro

Purchase on Kindle
UK Link      US Link

You can check out all three books at http://www.jaylengrace.com

Alison – Is there any advice you would give to a budding author?

Jaylen – The only advice I would give budding authors is – do not beat yourself up if you have a bad writing day because it’s a normal part of a writer’s life.  When you start writing, don’t spend forever picking over one page. Keep going, without censuring yourself, until you reach ‘the end’   Only then come back to the beginning, read through each chapter to see what is and isn’t working and then tackle your first rewrite.

Alison –  What have you learned from the publishing experience? Are there things you would do differently in future?

Jaylen – I have learned so much from the publishing experience that it would take me a week to answer this question!  Suffice to say, I gleaned enough info to go it alone and have now set up a successful, low cost, money making self publishing company. I will be tracing my step by step route in my forthcoming blog series ‘Self Publishing – from the rudiments to the riches,’ and will take the lid of the concerns, doubts and questions that may have held other authors back from starting their own successful publishing companies.

Alison – That sounds like an excellent idea, and I’ve no doubt it will keep you even busier than ever. I can’t thank you enough for finding the time to answer my questions for this great interview, and wish you all the best for your future writing, life coaching and adrenaline pumping enterprises.

A date for your diary: 26 August when Jaylen’s FREE 12 week course helping others set up their own low cost, profitable self publishing companies (that will make money from day one) begins. Although the course is aimed at authors, it contains a goldmine of information that could be put to use by anyone starting up a new business. For more information please visit the self publishing page on Jaylen’s website. I shall certainly be taking a look!

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