Official Interview: BJ Edwards

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ALynnPowers
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Official Interview: BJ Edwards

Post by ALynnPowers » 13 Feb 2016, 10:28

Welcome to another official interview for OnlineBookClub.org. This time I had the pleasure of a very interesting Q&A with BJ Edwards, author of Stalking The Shadows, which received a positive rating and recommendation from the review team! Check out what BJ had to say.


Q: Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
A: I live in the UK, currently the Midlands, with my black Labrador, Oliver, who’s my guide dog. I’m totally blind, have a passion for anthropology and ancient history. I collect swords and used to be an English teacher.


Q: What all have you written, other than Stalking the Shadows?
A: I’ve written the next two books in the series; Balor Rising: Ancient Destiny Book 2 and Legacy Of The Flames: Ancient Destiny Book, a collection of short stories, a collection of poetry that should be out this year, and a number of plays. I also have a blog and “tweet” regularly.


Q: Tell us about Stalking the Shadows.
A: Stalking The Shadows is set some 12,000 years ago in mezalithic Britain...

It is a time of change; the land is restless, the climate harsh. Driven by fate, starvation and fear, the last of the Neanderthals teeter on the brink of existence, perilously balancing between life and death. In a distant valley the last clan survive, eking out a subsistence in the wilds, fighting against the elemental powers of the land.

The delicate balance is torn asunder when the new men, Homo sapiens, clash violently with the ill-equipped clan. While the Neanderthals’ extinction is inevitable, they leave their mark on history: a curse of strong magic which will force change on the tribes of new men; and a boy, Dimek, a new man raised by Neanderthals, with a destiny of his own to fulfill.

Years later, now a hunt leader, Dimek must break away from his tribe’s tradition and lead his men to a new land, a land that is not cursed. Dimek, along with a shaman, warriors and hunters, set off on a journey, a journey that will change their lives forever.

Political intrigue and epic battles abound as the lives of the gods parallel the lives of man. Divine blessings are given, divine beasts are born, and the horse is domesticated. Magic and myth collide as the gods try to hinder and help the men as they eventually find their promised land.

History and myth is made when the tribes clash and eventually come together to form a society, a society built on battle and magic, stone and wisdom.

But all is not as it should be. For somewhere, out in the wilderness, a man waits; a scarred man who is blessed by a dark god, a man who could destroy all that the tribes have created.


Q: I actually have a Bachelor’s degree in anthropology, so I definitely understand your passion for anthropology, which sounds like it really comes out in this book. How did you discover your interest in anthropology?
A: Well many, many years ago, when I was knee high to a Yorkshire terrier, I remember my dad had a book called “The making of mankind.” The print was too small for me to see (I was partially sighted) but the pictures really inspired me. The front cover depicted a really fabulous, moody row of crouching, human silhouettes against a pale African sky. Inside, the book showed me pictures of skulls, of artists’ impressions of our ancestors. The pictures really stayed with me in a vivid way. I also remember regularly visiting the Natural History museum in London. I found the exhibits utterly entrancing, fuelling my imagination. And when I was about 10 years of age, a German archaeologist friend gave me some flints. They blew me away and I still have them locked safe inside my “Treasure box!”

[At this point, the interviewer briefly died of jealousy.]


Q: Where did you get the inspiration for this story?
A: Well, when I wrote my first book some time ago, I found that I had far too many ideas to squeeze into one novel. So, I wrote Stalking the Shadows. I’ve always been fascinated by ancient history and anthropology, so this distant time period, coupled with an interest in mythology, seemed to make sense.


Q: What kind of message do you hope readers will get out of Stalking the Shadows?
A: What kind of message... well, it’s the writer’s first and most important job to make the reader experience emotion, to connect with the characters and enjoy the story. The essential thing I want readers to get out of the book is sheer enjoyment. I guess the other things – the message if you will, is that wrapped in fantasy there is truth. Behind a tale there is a speck of reason, a splinter of reality. Magic doesn’t have to be massive and dramatic, pseudo Latin phrases wrapped up as spells, magic is deeper, more instinctive, around us and part of the fabric of our souls. And, the land you stand on has history, has memory. The landscape you see around you has changed, but its core remains constant. There is history and magic everywhere – where I am sitting now for example, there used to be a great forest where ancient man hunted, and massive mammal walked. That idea excites me.


Q: How long did it take you to write this book?
A; It took around 4 years to complete. I did a fair amount of research to make it “believable.” It was initially published in print, but now it is available as an e-book and in audio format for Audible, etc.


Q: What is your usual writing process like?
A: Well, I always try to have a number of projects ongoing at any one time. That way, when I get stuck or come to a halt, I have other work to get on with. I don’t plan things out, but I sometimes write basic character outlines, but these often end up being ignored. I always try to stop writing when I know I’m excited to write more, when I have a fresh idea, that way it’s easier to start writing the next day.

As for the technical stuff... I warn you, this is pretty dull! So, I use a normal laptop with a programme called a Screen Reader. Jaws is a speech synthesizer that reads what’s on the screen, and reads what I’m typing. It means that everything I do in Windows I do using the keyboard not the mouse. It’s interesting, when I started writing this book I could see, by the time I finished it I couldn’t. It took a lot of getting used to; I used to write and edit whilst listening to music, now I have to listen to the computer; it is a far more time consuming and tiring process.


Q: What special process did you go through to make your book available in audio format?
A: Well, the fact that it’s out on audio is great for me. In the past I’ve had books published, but I can’t see let alone read them! Finally, I’m able to enjoy one of my own books, read brilliantly may I say. It happened quite by accident. I had a message come through on Facebook by a company called Living Audio. A producer had heard of the book and wondered if I owned the audio rights. We went on to audition for a narrator, and were lucky enough to find someone great.


Q: Are you currently working on any other projects?
A: Always! A novella called The Devil’s Shadow, a novel called Voices and a number of plays. Both the books are a departure for me, as they are all set in contemporary London and Spain. I’m also polishing my collection of short stories.


Q: Aside from reading or writing, what hobbies do you have?
A: I train hard, being a keen rower. I go to the gym, love reading, films and music. I also direct plays and sing.


Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
A: Write! Write! Write! Express yourself. Don’t try to please anyone but yourself. Write the kind of story you want to read and don’t get obsessed with big publishing deals because they are as rare as hen’s teeth.


Q: Where do you imagine you will be in five years?
A: Wow! That’s tough! In five years I want to have had more books published, be more well known. I’d like to have a partner and a degree of financial stability. I’d like to have had British rowing trials, I’d like to have directed another play or three. I’d like to be in a position where more people know about what I do, and hopefully like it!


And now some questions from our forum members:

Q: When did you decide you had a passion for writing? (from @TrishaAnn92 )

A: From a very early age. I used to love English, Art and Drama at boarding school. When I couldn’t see enough to create and sell pastel landscapes, I channelled my creative juices into writing.


Q: If you could co-write with any author throughout history, who would you partner up with and what would the story be about? (from @rssllue )
A: I’m a big fan of Bernard Cornwell. I’d love to write a historical novel with him – maybe something set in the Bronze or Iron age.


Q: How do you come up with the names of characters in your books? (from @xueli28 )
A: Names have to sound right in the reader’s minds and the character’s mouths. My names are loosely based on Welsh and Celtic phonics. The men have names of two syllables or more, the Neanderthals have names of one syllable to reflect their linguistic capability. The gods are based on ancient British, Welsh, Celtic and Irish mythology.


Q: How can readers contact you?

My homepage:
http://www.bjedwards.co.uk

Samples of my fiction:
http://www.authorsden.com/bjedwards

My articles and other writing:
http://www.meddryn.wordpress.com

Follow me on Audioboom for updates, thoughts, nonsense and banter:
http://www.audioboom.com/Eidoel

Follow me on Twitter for updates, comment, thoughts and links:
@Meddryn

----

The Books

Stalking The Shadows: Ancient Destiny Book 1 by BJ Edwards ~ View on Bookshelves | View on Amazon

Being Medusa: And Other Things That Suck by A. Lynn Powers (interviewer) ~View on Bookshelves | View on Amazon

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Post by rssllue » 13 Feb 2016, 22:16

Nice interview. Well done!
~ occupare fati suffocavit

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for Thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. ~ Psalms 4:8

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Post by gali » 13 Feb 2016, 23:20

Thank you both for interesting interview. :tiphat:
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

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Post by rssllue » 14 Feb 2016, 00:30

:text-yeahthat:
~ occupare fati suffocavit

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for Thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. ~ Psalms 4:8

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Post by Anki_Real_Reviews » 14 Feb 2016, 10:42

Interesting interview. I loved his book Stalking the Shadows, and always wanted to know more about the author. Thanks for giving an insight to his thoughts by this interview.
"A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading." ~William Styron

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Post by khudecek » 14 Feb 2016, 17:20

Excellent interview!
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
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Post by jamesroy » 14 Feb 2016, 19:24

An inspiring interview. Great!

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Post by Bookworm47 » 15 Feb 2016, 04:30

Enjoyed the interview. Very enlightening.

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Post by chytach18- » 15 Feb 2016, 05:09

BJ Edwards, what an inspirational writer you are! Very very interesting interview. Thank you both!

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Post by bigirimanacelestin » 15 Feb 2016, 05:24

Nice interview that contains many motivations to whom is interested.
Thanks indeed.
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Post by danielle2016 » 16 Feb 2016, 15:53

Thank you for the interesting interview!

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Post by PashaRu » 17 Feb 2016, 08:39

Thanks @ALynnPowers for another great interview. Mr. Edwards sounds like a fascinating person who doesn't allow his disability to be a disability. Kudos to him, I wish him continued success.
[Insert quote here. Read. Raise an eyebrow. Be mildly amused. Rinse & repeat.]

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Post by ALynnPowers » 17 Feb 2016, 09:16

With my losing my hearing already, together we make quite a pair! :D

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Post by bookowlie » 17 Feb 2016, 11:00

What an interesting and inspiring interview!
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Post by TheRavenwoodReview » 19 Feb 2016, 10:41

This author leads an interesting life in my opinion and not only do I want to read this book now, but I want to hang out with him! It's the perfect excuse to visit the U.K., right? ~KK

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