Interview with Mikey Campling author of Trespass
Posted by authorcamilson
About the Book
Author: Mikey Campling
Genre: Science Fiction / Fantasy
Three stories, separated by five thousand years, united by one deadly secret:
Somewhere, sometime, the stone is waiting.
Trespass combines gritty, edgy modern-day action with a thrilling adventure across time. Discovered over 5,000 years ago, the Darkeningstone affects everyone who finds it.
Jake was too smart to believe the rumours about Scaderstone Pit, but now he’s in more danger than he could ever have imagined.
In 1939, as World War II looms, the lives of two men will be changed forever.
Over 5,000 years ago, a hermit will keep the stone a secret. But someone is watching him – someone with murder in his heart.
When it finds you, what will you see when you look into The Darkeningstone?
Mikey grew up in North Yorkshire, but he refuses to be classified according to Northern stereotypes, which is just the sort of bloody-minded attitude you’d expect from a Yorkshireman. During his first day at school, he discovered the wondrous world that is The Book Corner, and he has never really left it.
He now lives in Devon, on the edge of the wilds of Dartmoor, with his wife, two children, and a black Labrador called Lottie who will only bark when she’s asleep. And lots and lots of books.
You can find out more on Mikey’s website: mikeycampling.com
You can also get two free books, free audio stories and free artwork by joining his mailing list at: mikeycampling.com/giveaway
Tell us about you
I grew up in North Yorkshire, near the North York Moors, and that must have had some influence on me. We Yorkshiremen tend to be fairly stubborn and straight talking, and we like to think that we get stuck in and make a good job of things. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about writing, it’s that you need a damn good work ethic. I spend a lot of time rewriting, editing and polishing. And then, when one book is finished, you pick up a blank sheet of paper and start all over again. That might put some people off writing, but I love it.
I now live in Devon, on the edge of the wilds of Dartmoor, with my wife, two children, and a black Labrador called Lottie who, for some reason, can only bark when she’s asleep.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Although it may sound a bit twee, I can honestly say that my family are my greatest inspiration. I spent several years as a stay at home dad, and while it was harder work than many people might think, it was a wonderful opportunity to play a full role in my children’s journey through life. Even now, although the kids are much older, we still make time to be together as a family every day.
If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
I’m torn here between choosing a great scientist or a wonderful writer. I think I’ll settle on Charles Dickens. He had such tremendous energy and drive that I’m sure a day in his company would be a roller coaster ride. I’d love to tag along to one of his famous readings. He didn’t just know how to write, he knew how to put on a show and how to thrill an audience. If I had to pick someone living, I’d quite like to go on an expedition with Ray Mears. I find his survival skills quite fascinating and I’d love him to show me how some of our earliest ancestors lived and thrived with only basic materials and their own skill. We’d have to go somewhere nice though – I draw the line at tropical jungles full of snakes and bugs.
What’s the story behind your latest book?
I don’t want to drop any spoilers so I’ll try and give a flavour. The Darkeningstone books have interconnecting stories that take place over several different time zones at once and they span 5,000 years. I began by asking myself a simple question: What if my mobile phone rang, but there was no caller? What if I’d strayed too close to a mysterious energy source? I like the idea that some places feel mysterious and powerful – they seem to resonate through time. I’m fascinated by the dramatic events of history but also by people’s daily lives. I like to try and imagine what it must have been like to live in those times. I started to wonder about the lives of people 5,000 years ago. Their lives were shaped by the basic forces of nature. They must’ve lived, worked and thought in ways we find hard to imagine. But what if there was some sort of portal – a doorway that could offer a glimpse into those distant times? And if a modern day person had that experience, how would they react? What would be the ramifications throughout history? And so the Darkeningstone was born.
Tell us your writing process
I started out by writing longhand but now I only use pen and paper for notes and planning. There’s quite a lot of planning for the Darkeningstone books as I have to make sure that all the timelines connect properly and that I don’t cheat the reader. They aren’t easy books to write but hey, that’s what I’m here for. I don’t mind putting the work in, so long as the finished story is fast-paced, richly complex and absorbing.
I do some outlining but the way I really love to write is just to let the story flow. I know it isn’t a fashionable view, but to me, if I over-plan, it kills some of the fun. I like to discover the characters as the story unfolds. And as the characters come to life, they shape the story. I like to think of us going on a journey together. I write on a PC using either Word or Scrivener, and I write whenever I can. I like to get up early on weekends so I can write in peace while everyone else is having a lie in. When the first draft is complete, I go back over it and rewrite it and rewrite it until it’s as good as I can make it. It’s not fair on the reader to rush the process. I’m not churning out off the shelf stories here, I’m crafting something that I hope will stand the test of time. Did I succeed in that? I’ll let you judge for yourselves.
Do you have any advice on what has and has not worked for you that you can share with aspiring & upcoming authors?
This is hard to answer because the situation seems to change by the week. What didn’t work was launching work that wasn’t as good as it could be. I made that rookie mistake and it’s my only regret in my publishing journey. I’d advise every writer to hire a professional editor. If you can’t afford one, then wait until you can, but never launch a book that isn’t ready.
I’ve had some success with making a book permafree. I wrote a novella as an add-on story to the Darkeningstone novels. It was quite hard to slot a new set of timelines into the existing stories without dropping spoilers or confusing readers, but I think that the book Breaking Ground, is a nice addition to the other books. It adds a layer of extra detail to the existing books, it’s a quick read, and it gives people a taste of my work for free. And all it cost me was time and effort.
My advice is simple – keep writing. The more material you have to promote, the easier it becomes. I’d also advise writers to get going with their email list. Giving away work is a good way to attract readers and that can be combined with Facebook adverts to attract attention (check out Mark Dawson’s free video course – he can explain this better than I can). I use Mailpoet (a WordPress plugin) to manage my newsletters and I recommend it. I send the emails via Mandrill (a free service from Mailchimp).
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember. When I went to visit my first school at the age of four, everyone thought they’d lost me, but I was sitting quietly in the book corner. I’d never seen anywhere so magical, and some might say, when they see my huge and sprawling collection of books, that I’ve never really left it. My first efforts at story writing, outside of school work, was to try and create my own versions of Kipling’s Just So Stories in an exercise book. I’m sure my versions weren’t very original but I remember the thrill of conjuring stories from my imagination.
Tell us about your main character
My main character in Trespass is a teenage boy called Jake. He begins the story as a fairly typical, disenchanted teenager, but we soon learn that, like all real people, he’s a complex character trying to come to terms with growing up, his relationships with his estranged parents, the importance of friendships – there’s even a hint at a potential romance. We also discover how he reacts when confronted with real danger and the threat of terrible violence. Jake has to grow up very fast indeed and leave his childhood behind him.
What are you working on next?
The next Darkeningstone novel. I’m currently nearing the end of the first rewrite. Its working title is Outcast although that may change before publication, and like Trespass, it’s a full-length novel. You’ll meet some of your favourite Darkeningstone characters in this book, but there are lots of new ones to encounter, and many unexpected twists and turns. The last thing I’d want to do is trot out a ho-hum book just to fill the series – that would be cheating the readers. The book has to bring new life, new characters and new situations into play.
There may be a fourth Darkeningstone book in the future. I originally planned to write a trilogy, but although Outcast will be the third book in the series, Breaking Ground is only a novella and I may want to explore the possibilities of the Darkeningstone in greater depth. I also have a collection of darkly suspenseful short stories coming out in summer 2015 called A Dark Assortment. After that, who knows? I have so many other great ideas for completely different books rattling around in my head that anything could happen. Watch this space folks.
Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
I’m a pretty keen cook so we eat well in our house and I’ve almost banished the takeaways from our table. I’m not a puritan about it, I’ve just got to the point where I look at premade food in the supermarket and think I could do better myself. We also have a couple of allotments where we grow our own fruit and veg. I even brew my own wine, and though my winemaking efforts are a bit haphazard, the end result usually turns out to be pretty strong.
Who are your favorite authors?
I read very widely so this is difficult. I do have a few books on permanent standby duty by my bed: The Complete Works of Saki, Vintage Thurber by James Thurber, and The Complete Sherlock Holmes. Those are all books I can dip into when I’m between novels. I like to read classics such as Dickens and Thomas Hardy, but I’m also a fan of modern writers, e.g. Hugh Howey’s Wool Trilogy. I like Iain Banks for his sheer originality, but I’ll happily read children’s authors such as Michael Morpurgo and David Almond. Douglas Adams has had a massive effect on my teenage years, so I must mention the Hitch Hikers’ Guide to the Galaxy books. It’s a terrible thing that Douglas Adams died so young – he was such an original voice and I’m sure he would’ve gone on to share more of his wonderful ideas with us all.
I could go on all day. Let’s get a coffee and a slice of cake and talk about books – what could be better?
What do you like to do with your free time?
I do enjoy my daily walks with Lottie, our black Labrador. I complain when it’s pouring with rain and the fields are awash with mud, but it does me good to get outside and recharge my creative batteries. A walk is always good, but it’s more fun when we take Lottie along. I also have a weakness for browsing through second-hand bookshops, though I’ve been trying to limit my paperback purchases since I also started reading on my Kindle.
Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.
After the next Darkeningstone book, I’d like to go back to a dystopian sci-fi book that I’ve been working on in the background. It’s set in a future where people live in isolated pockets on high ground (I won’t tell you why) and of course, there are conflicts and adventures to be had whenever people are forced into living together.
Any final thoughts?
I feel very privileged when someone takes the time to read my work. And if someone makes the extra effort and leaves a review or contacts me in some way, then I feel honoured by their attention. We all lead busy lives and have many calls on our time, so when someone invests their time in reading my work, I can’t tell you how much that means to me. And as for lovely reviews – well, they’re better than riches. A nice review or comment on twitter will always make my day. So while you’re here, reading this interview, please accept my thanks for your time. Basically, you rock.
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Posted on May 16, 2015, in Guest Authors and tagged #mikeycampling, Book Tour, Darkeningstone series, Enchanted book promotions, Fiction, Interviews, Mikey Campling, Trespass, Writers, writing tips. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.