What is your novel ‘The Heart of Sitnatia’ about?
Well it’s a fantasy about a group of characters, all unrelated, on a journey for different reasons: some for greed, some for love, others for intrigue… all from different directions, finally realizing that they need each other to survive a treacherous island.
We meet the Vendra, who are a lost civilization trying to reclaim their home, and it sets up the following two books, and yet each is an independent story.
What inspired you to write this story?
I have always enjoyed fantasy and I wanted to write a story which I could make as unpredictable as possible, and that adults would enjoy reading to their children, as much as the children would enjoy themselves just on a different level, also using characters who were all the different aspects of my own personality.
Who are the primary readers of your book?
Mainly teenagers, but I have had wonderful reviews from people in their forties, which is just what I was going for.
How long did it take to write it?
This book is the first in a series and although it took about nine months to write. I had to go back and make changes right up to publishing, as I wanted it to cross-pollinate with the other two books which I am currently in the middle of.
How did you come up with the title?
I wanted the title to be as mysterious as possible, and as the fictitious island which my characters are trying to get to is called Sitnatia, I felt that this would have to be part of the title, and the Heart was in reference to the temple at the Heart of the volcano towering the island.
Why did you choose this cover?
I have great respect for the beautiful illustration Art work of Carla Lastoria, and was flattered when she offered to work with me to bring some of the characters to life, especially the eight-legged Gibberic, for which the editor thought her Guinea pig Crinotte would be the perfect model. As the poor thing had just died a few weeks earlier of a heart failure, she submitted Carla a photograph of Crinotte, which from now on will be remembered as the Gibberic on the cover of my novel. With four more legs, she will climb even faster up the rainbow…
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Trying not to run away with my thoughts. Staying in the moment is very difficult, as when you enter your own fantasy world you want to tell the story and your thoughts run off in all directions. It is a journey I want to share with my reader as if we were both there for the first time.
Did you do research for your book? What did that involve?
Since I was creating my own world I have a room in my apartment which is dedicated to ‘The Heart of Sitnatia’, with globes of the world showing where it is and scraps of paper with my thoughts about the characters stuck with blue-tac all over the wall. I’m so pleased I did this as it helps me reference and there is no need to re-decorate…
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Yes, I learnt that you are never done learning and you get better with every re-write; I value other people’s opinions and will always make changes to please readers before publishing, as after all it is about them and me making a connection through words.
What do you want to say to your readers?
I would love to say thank you for allowing me to share my world with you all, and I hope that you will travel with me again: there is a lot more I want to show you, we are going to go deeper into ‘The Heart of Sitnatia’ and meet some strange and exciting characters together.
That would be great… thank you, Adam!