Book Tours: Guest Post for Trespass

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I’m hosting a guest post today for the book tour for science-fiction / fantasy “Trespass”. The author talks about five things he learned while writing Trespass! I hope you enjoy the post.

Five Things I Learned Writing Trespass

Don’t try to be Too Clever

I wanted my first novel to be special, to be different. Setting out to write a book was a major turning point in my life and the realisation of a dream I’d nurtured for as long as I could remember. For me, the bells were ringing and I was determined to write something out of the ordinary. So I didn’t give the main character a name but I did give him lots of flashbacks, and just for the hell of it, I decided to keep dialogue down to a minimum. It was all going to be very literary. And it took me a long time to realise that all this monkeying about was self-important nonsense. I was putting literary backflips in the way of the story and while backflips are very clever, we read a novel because we want to be entertained by the story itself rather than by the writer. The writer should melt into the background while the story takes centre stage. And this brings me on to the next thing I learned…

Always Put the Reader First

I read a lot and very widely; everything from crime to humour to sci-fi to classical. So I have a fair idea when a story is really good. And yet, when I started writing, I was so focused on getting the book finished that I didn’t take enough consideration of the reader. The pacing was all wrong and there wasn’t enough interaction between the characters. In fact, there weren’t enough characters in the story at all – too many scenes focused on a single character and that made the story dry. And it took me while to see my mistakes because I was just too close to it. When you’re in the thick of it and scribbling away like nobody’s business, you don’t always recognise it when you start to go off the rails. I needed to achieve a certain distance and that only came with time. When I’d put the book aside for a while, I realised that I should treat my writing as if I was cooking a meal for someone. A good cook thinks only about how the meal will taste to the diner, and a writer needs to keep their readers in mind at all times. It was a hard lesson to learn, but one that I’ll never forget. Now, I’ll look at a page and say, “What happens on this page?” And it had better be something worth reading about or out it goes.

Writing a Novel isn’t a Sprint, it’s a Marathon.

And then another marathon. And another. It’s like one of those endurance events that brave souls endure to raise money for charity. OK it’s not physically demanding, but on a psychological level, it takes its toll. So what do you do? Well, if you want a book to be any good, you have to grit your teeth and just keep tapping away at the keyboard. And when you make it to the finish line, you don’t celebrate for long, because Page One is sitting patiently and waiting for you like a dog that knows it’s dinner time. So you sigh and you start again. And again. And you tell yourself, as often as you can, that each rewrite will make the book that little bit better. I’ve learned why people call writing a craft. Anyone can nail some planks together and make a rudimentary table, but a skilled woodworker isn’t satisfied until they’ve sanded and polished it to perfection. Now, I’m not calling myself a master craftsman by any means, but I’ve learned what it means to tie on the apron and pick up the sandpaper. And I’ll gladly do the same tomorrow and the day after.

Complex is OK

On paper, Trespass sounds like a complex novel. There are several plot lines and they run over a period of about 5,000 years. And what’s more, those plots intersect and interact with each other. So while writing, I often worried that I’d made it too complicated and wondered if people would find it hard to understand. But I underestimated people’s desire to get their teeth into a complicated story. I’ll admit that the plot wasn’t easy to plan and I found it very demanding to write – the different time periods needed a lot of careful handling. But interestingly, people often say they love the way the story flits back and forth through time. People like the richness of the story and the depth that the different timelines bring. Perhaps it’s because readers like to be kept in suspense and they enjoy the fact that the story isn’t a vanilla, predictable novel. That sense of anticipation is a wonderful thing and must be valued and nurtured, so I’m glad I stuck with my interweaving plots. Which takes me to the next thing…

Stick to Your Guns

It sometimes feels like everything is a remake these days. Films are stretched into a series until they run out of sequels and then go back and remake the first one. And bookshops are suddenly filled with a range of very similar books, churned out by publishers trying to jump on the latest bandwagon. The pressure to bend a piece of creative work until it matches something that’s already popular is very great indeed. But I fought against it with this book. Sure, it makes it difficult for me at times, when I struggle to tell people what genre my book fits into, but I don’t think that will matter in the end. What’s important is that I was true to myself and wrote the story as I saw it. And I’ve learned that this pays off eventually. If I’d tried to twist this book into an imitation of The Time Machine or Doctor Who, I wouldn’t have believed in it and I wouldn’t have been able to write it convincingly.   If I don’t believe a story, why should anyone else? I’ve learned how vital it is that I’m committed to the story I’m working on, so I poured my heart and soul into Trespass. I think that commitment paid off – but what do you think?

Let me know at mikeycampling.com, give me a mention on Twitter @mikeycampling, or find me on Facebook/authormikeycampling. I always reply to comments and emails so go for it. And if I’ve whetted your appetite for a good story, then you can always claim two free books by signing up on my site at: mikeycampling.com/giveaway

Thank you for taking the time.

Mikey Campling

About the Book

166_0.218591001427739589_tp_cv_hr Title: Trespass

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?

 

Author Bio

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

Links

http://mikeycampling.com/

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1HasOec

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/trespass-mikey-campling/1121808825?ean=9781620157268

Comments

  1. I really appreciate the sci-fi concept with the central theme be spread over 5000 years. On a marketing side I also appreciate the author offering up free audio books to subscribers. The art work for the book cover also has a strong design. With all of the factors it reasons to be a product worth spending time on either listening or reading the story. Has anyone read the book?

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