Every now and then, I am blessed with the opportunity to communicate with authors directly and more often than not, these interactions, no matter how little it may be, never cease to amaze and inspire me. Recently I read and reviewed Colm McElwain’s James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra. I believe every writer has two stories to tell – one is of the book itself and the other is on their writing journey.
Here’s my recent interview with him! If you have further questions, do give me a buzz and I’ll be sure to let him know. 🙂
1) What and/or who inspired you to write James Clyde?
A lot of different things really! I was inspired by other popular children’s books and films. This would include Disney films, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones and Superman, to name just a few. Sometimes scenes within a film helped me write certain sequences. For example, if I was writing a battle scene I would watch a war or battle sequence and try to describe what was happening. If I was writing a flying sequence I might watch ‘Superman’ and again try to write down what I was watching. Then I would go back to my manuscript and rewrite my sequence until I was happy with it. I really wanted the reader to feel like they were right there with the characters. I must admit that one of the scenes with the children flying was inspired by ‘The Snowman.’ Do you know the scene where the young boy flies into the sky holding the snowman’s hand? I thought that was a magical moment and tried to capture that sense of wonderment in my opening flying sequence. My story was set at Christmas and it was snowing too! This helps – the setup is very magical to begin with, so the rest of the story can take off from there. Ideas are everywhere. Some of the sequences in my book would cost a fortune to produce in a film, but the joy of writing means I can write them down for free.
2) What are some of the challenges you face in your writing journey?
In the actual writing, linking all the loose ends together can be tricky. However, there’s nothing that can’t be overcome. The answers are there. It might take several rewrites and a lot of hard work and head scratching, but I found the solution always presented itself, eventually. I sometimes encountered problems with the story, but that might happen in draft 2 or 3. By draft 25 or 30 I would have solved the problem. It just takes time and effort. Perhaps leaving the story for a while and then coming back to it with a fresh perspective. I’m afraid, writing a book is a long-term project. Everyone is capable of it though. I still do face challenges in promoting my book. I would love to write a sequel one day, but first I want James Clyde’s first adventure to do well. So thank you for reading and reviewing.
3) Who is your favourite character in the book and why?
Well the obvious answer is James, I suppose, but I really do love them all. I do like James’s story arc. It feels complete by the end. However, any good story needs strong bad guys! I had to see things from Gilbert’s point of view, just as much as I did from James’s. I went with the idea that Gilbert doesn’t actually believe he is evil. He believes he’s doing the right thing. I felt this would be an interesting angle. The reader can actually put themselves in Gilbert’s shoes. He is a man in his 60’s and feels like things have passed him by. He wants more. I think in a way everyone can relate to that. The lure and mystic of the diamonds and obtaining power entices him into making bad decisions. His greed also gets the better of him. Then I also like Kila. He is obviously a strong character in the story and James needs him in order to survive. I like the relationship that exists between these two characters.
4) Are you looking into writing a sequel for James Clyde?
Yes I do feel 2017 would be a good year to make a start. Why not? I do have a good idea of where the story could progress. I just needed a break after writing, James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra. I worked six years on it and it’s still an on-going process with promotion now the main objective. It’s important to enjoy life, as it’s an adventure too! So instead of writing about an adventure I decided to live my own for a bit. However, I do intend to give it a shot in 2017. Hopefully it might happen one day!
5) If you could mention only 3 unique points about the book, what would it be?
Magical diamonds sought by many, faith in miracles and in oneself, and a young boy who will never give up on his grandfather’s wish.
More on the Author
Colm was raised and educated in Monaghan, Ireland. He is a business and physical education teacher and likes reading books, watching films and playing sport. He has always loved storytelling, whether through literature or film. James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra is his first novel and brings a very fulfilling creative experience spanning a number of years to an end. Colm’s inspiration for James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra were other great books and films in the children’s fantasy genre. He grew up reading Roald Dahl’s magical books and journeyed to Narnia whenever he read C.S. Lewis’s book series. In film he loved the ‘Indiana Jones’ and ‘Back to the Future’ movies. Colm wanted to instill that sense of swashbuckling adventure into his own novel.