Adam Biggs: the interview

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!



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Cross Currents on Goodkindles

Barbara Masterton is now on Goodkindles with Cross Currents: “A novel with a refined and elegant style of narration, coupled with a sharp introspective portrait of its characters”.

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The Heart of Sitnatia on Goodkindles

The Heart of Sitnatia, a fantasy novel by Adam Biggs, is now on Goodkindles: where writers meet readers…

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Adam Biggs è su MyBook

Il romanzo fantasy per ragazzi di Adam Biggs The Heart of Sitnatia viene presentato sul sito di MyBook.

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La pagina di Adam Biggs

La pagina personale di Adam Biggs è ora disponibile su Amazon.

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Reginald Catchpole reclined in a bath full of bubbles…

Reginald Catchpole reclined in a bath full of bubbles in his lavish flat above his antique shop. The walls were covered in red-flock wallpaper not unlike that which you would find in any tacky restaurant. The only light in the room was from a candle chandelier hanging over his head. He held a pink hippo-shaped nailbrush in his right hand while his left hand drifted in the air, conducting the soft music that gently flowed from the horn of his wind-up gramophone which stood on an occasional table just behind him. He wore nothing but a plastic shower cap and, covered in white bubbles, he looked as if nothing short of a herd of elephants in the bathroom with him (he chuckled at the very thought) could disturb his ecstasy. Suddenly, climbing the stairs at great speed, as if riding a thundering herd of elephants wearing hobnailed boots, Sid burst his way into the bathroom. Reginald hurled his hippo-shaped nailbrush five feet into the air, where it landed on the chandelier between two lit candles.
“How many times must I tell you, man? Not when I am taking my ablutions”.
Sid stood there, yellow duster in hand, shaking like a leaf, a droplet of sweat trickling down his cheek.
“But, Mr Catchpole,” he burbled, spitting as he spoke in his strong cockney accent and hardly remembering to take a breath between sentences, “something’s happening downstairs. Something amazing!” he said with a note of urgency in his voice.
‘Urgent’ was not generally a word that best described Sid Slug, a man who had been knocked down three times in the last year for not getting out of the way of a speeding granny on her mobility scooter. The fact that the same granny had managed to knock him down each time, all in the same month but on very separate occasions, was suspicious in itself. However, Reginald knew better than to ask deep questions of Sid unless he wanted a long, drawn-out tale that would not necessarily come with a start, middle or an end, let alone an interesting point.
“Don’t tell me you got that blasted woman’s pillbox unlocked.”
“Yes Mr Catchpole, this was inside,” Sid held up a rectangular crystal, “but it wasn’t alone.”
Sid was ordered out of the bathroom to allow Reginald to get out of the bath and cover his pride. Sid ran off back down the stairs, closely followed by Reginald, now with a towel wrapped round his bird-like body. The shower cap was still on his head and bubbles floated off him as he ran. They both stopped short of the door at the bottom of the staircase. Bright lights of every colour shone through the keyhole and through the gap around the door that had been left ajar.

From the novel The Heart of Sitnatia, by Adam Biggs – Il Moscardino

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Adam Biggs su ShowBooks

The Heart of Sitnatia di Adam Biggs viene inserito nella vetrina di ShowBooks.

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Travelling by Thumblator

On closer inspection, Reginald could see that it was not a cloud at all but a bicycle-type contraption with little seats. There was no floor beneath them, but rather three sets of pedals which were attached by long chains to two paddles that moved up and down the same way ducks’ feet work under the water. On the back, just behind Reggie’s seat, was an old rattling motor that blew out dry ice which encircled the Thumblator to give it the illusion of being a cloud, but how it floated was, on first glimpse, not evident.

“Quick, pass me the jar,” said Seamus with an element of urgency in his voice. Reginald grabbed the small jar from the inside of his jacket pocket and passed it forward. With Sid’s head still lolloping about on his shoulder, out cold, Seamus opened a hatch on the front of the control panel of the Thumblator and, taking the cork out of the jar, grabbed the wuddlepup and squeezed it tightly with both hands, twisting it to get out all of its pink juice. Reggie leant over the side of the Thumblator, heaving at the sight of such a barbaric act. Totally unmoved by his own actions, Seamus began messing around with the controls as they lifted up into the air. “Pedal like a banshee,” he cried, and, as they sped off at knee height up the ramp and dodged the burning struts with no sign of Rookinda, and out through the opening of the lair, the purple slug that Reginald had left on the floor of the giant birdhouse exploded, sending a jet of flames out through the opening behind them. (…)

Sid slowly came to. He lifted his head from Reginald’s shoulder and rubbed his eyes. Looking about himself, there seemed to be nothing but a swirling mass of mist. Reginald sat next to him, wiping down his shoulder with a white hanky.

“Thank you for dribbling all over my tweed,” groaned Reggie in an affronted manner.

“Where are we?” Sid’s voice had an air of poorly hidden desperation in it.

“Would you mind just popping your feet on those pedals there,” interjected Reggie. “It’s just that I’ve been pedalling for thirty minutes carrying your lump of a body around. I nearly threw you over the side twice, and had your belt taken your weight and not snapped while I was trying to heave you out, I’d have succeeded,” Reginald said as he handed Sid half of a leather belt.

“What? Seamus would never have let you.” Sid looked at the pair agog.

“On the contrary, he helped me,” scoffed Reginald as Seamus turned in his seat and handed Sid the other half of the belt.

“Sorry there about that, but he’s very persuasive don’t ya know,” winked Seamus.

“We’re in my Thumblator, by the way. It’s how we little people have been travelling about for hundreds of years without you giants noticing us. Why do you think we always turn up at the end of a rainbow! We can only travel when there are lots of clouds so as not to be noticed.”

“So we’re in the air? And those?” Sid pointed at the swirling mists around him. “Those are clouds?”

“Oh yes,” nodded Reginald, “you’d have seen them close up if that cheap belt had held together.”

“Right, we’re going down,” screamed Seamus as he pushed a big red button in the centre of the control panel and grabbed the sides of the Thumblator as it took a nose dive down through the clouds. Bursting out through the base and leaving a trail of dry ice like a comet hurtling towards a very unsuspecting earth, Reggie and Sid held each other tight, screaming in panic with their eyes shut firmly.

“We’re gonna die!” screamed Sid.

Seamus just sat at the front, laughing like a schoolboy on a roller coaster. The Thumblator, gaining speed, rocketed towards a ring of cloud circling an island, which was surrounded by a harsh looking sea. As they got closer to the island, the craft did not seem to slow down. Seamus appeared to be steering it towards a hole in the side of a mountain by leaning to the left and then to the right. It looked like the biggest of the mountains, and yet the hole seemed just big enough to take the little craft. Reginald and Sid lifted their feet away from the pedals which were now spinning so fast that they were unable to keep up with them, and the two paddles at the rear of the Thumblator were wagging up and down like the back end of a demented duck.

“Hold this,” shouted Seamus as he passed back his top hat. “Hold it tight!” They did as he said and, as they shot through the opening in the mountain into a huge empty shell of a volcano, the top hat filled with air and trebled in size. The three of them held on to it as it doubled as a crude parachute. The Thumblator, however, continued on its collision course with the opposite side of the interior wall of the volcano, exploding in a burst of red flames and blue lightning.

From the novel The Heart of Sitnatia by Adam Biggs, Il Moscardino 2012

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Buone Feste!

Il Moscardino augura ai suoi scrittori e a tutti i suoi affezionati lettori un sereno Natale e un felicissimo 2013 ricco di belle sorprese…

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The Heart of Sitnatia

On December 8th 2012, Moscardino publishes the new and extended eBook version of the novel The Heart of Sitnatia by British author Adam Biggs. A wonderful fantasy adventure: from the depths of the Earth to a mysterious far away island…
Previously published with in 2011, the story begins with the finding of three ancient talismans, each of them linked to a guardian: a wise old man called Vivre…

The morning sunlight that had started breaking through the window suddenly faded and Amelia jumped up as the charred coals behind her burst into life, nearly singeing her pyjamas. Confused, she slowly turned on the spot, looking about the room for signs of any other weird things happening. That is, other than the rain cloud that seemed to appear out of thin air over her head, with sparks of miniature bolts of lightning exploding out of it in all directions. CRACK! A bolt of yellow lightning hit the floor a few metres from Amelia, breaking the floorboards in two and, without warning or invitation, a huge man appeared, surrounded by green sparkly smoke that swirled about him, until it seemed to join the storm cloud hovering above their heads as if to make one huge indoor monsoon.
Amelia stood there, mouth open and face squinting, head tilted on her shoulder like a dog waiting for a treat. “You’re going to have to clean that up,” were the first words she could bring herself to utter, almost oblivious of the fact that there, right there in her father’s bar, stood a seven-foot-tall pale man with white hair and wearing a cream tunic.
He held a staff and had an elongated and wrinkled face.
I AM VIVRE,” bellowed the stranger.
Shhh,” Amelia hastily replied, her hands waving furiously in front of her mouth, “my dad is sleeping! He’ll kill us both if he sees this mess!”.
I am the guardian of the shard,” he said, with a more subdued tone.

Seamus, a leprechaun…

As the green cyclone slowed, so did the rainbow blasts. Reginald and Sid rubbed their eyes and stared in disbelief at the tornado. Deep in its centre they could make out a shape. There, in the green smoke, was the silhouette of a short, squat little man in a top hat, slowly spinning and ever so gently coming to a halt.
As the little man came to a stop and floated down to the ground, they could see that he was no taller than the edge of the worktable. He had broad shoulders, a little green waistcoat, a top hat, shorts which showed off his hairy legs, little black boots with great big leather tongues and gold buckles, a beard of the finest red hair and a bulbous nose.To tell the truth, he looked, for all the world, like a leprechaun, while the glitter continued to rain down.
The colourful explosions ceased, leaving shiny-coloured debris on the wooden floor.

and a little Chinaman whose name is Ping-Ping…

Arthur picked up a book from the shelf and leisurely swung the satchel onto the table.“Blind, I’m blind,” said a voice from behind him. He spun round only to see, to his amazement, that the satchel was covering the head of what looked like a man in a red and gold Chinese robe. He was holding a parchment in one hand and the Sphere of Ping-Ping in the other. Arthur could just make out a wisp of grey beard poking out of the opening of the satchel. Dropping the book, he grabbed the satchel and the jade ball. “What do you think you are doing in there?”
In a thick oriental accent the man replied, “Ping-Ping, you did not summon me?” He looked about the room suspiciously. “I am to fulfil my duty and grant my master’s wish.”
Arthur watched with astonishment as Ping-Ping crawled about on all fours, under the table and around the chairs, calling for his master. Eventually, Arthur couldn’t take any more of it and, grabbing the little man by the scruff of his tunic, dragged him to his feet and held the jade ball in front of him. The little man was unable to take his eyes off it as Arthur moved it from side to side before him.
“You are my master, you rub the Sphere.” 

These three bizarre guardians accompany four adventurers into another dimension that will bring them to the Island of Sitnatia and its many secrets. The four charachters could not differ more, in the sense that they have, apparently, nothing in common: the generous and kind schoolgirl Amelia, the handsome gentleman cat burglar Arthur Pound, the ruthless Reginald Catchpole and his cockney sidekick Sidney Slug. They all have a most important mission to accomplish in order to get their wishes granted. Let’s take a closer look at them and get to know them a little better…

Here is Amelia, «a very content little girl with ash blonde hair inherited from her mother and her father’s big brown eyes», so young but already struck by tragedy:


Amelia’s mother had died the previous summer, and she had now, ever so quickly, become her father’s right hand girl, filling all her spare time with chores. A proud and very loving man, her father had continued running the bar by himself, but this had placed a strain on him and the late nights meant that, now more than ever, Amelia was expected to grow up all the faster.
Every night before locking up, long after Amelia would have climbed up the wooden stairs to her bedroom, her father would put fifty pence on the top of the jukebox that stood in the corner of the lounge bar so that Amelia could have her choice of song as she cleaned down the bar before school. This was just one of the many jobs she had to get done when she woke, and every morning Amelia had chosen the same tune. «Angels played in the background»
As Robbie Williams sang, Amelia would think of her mum. It was her mother’s favourite song, and, as she polished the tables and knick-knacks, she would tap her feet and rock her head, dreaming dreams that masked her aching heart.

This is Arthur, portrayed as a gentleman and most charming adventurer:

Arthur Pound, the infamous cat burglar (and something of a lady’s man) dangled by a rope tied round his waist. It went up through a skylight in the ceiling and the other end of it was tied to the grill on an air conditioning unit that sat on the roof of the People’s Museum of China. He wore a balaclava, gloves and a pair of black shiny jackboots, and an old brown satchel hung from his shoulder.
The huge eerie chamber contained multiple glass cabinets all crammed with long forgotten relics salvaged from countless civilizations.  Creepy shadows were cast in the room owing to poor lighting, and the silence within the room made Arthur paranoid that each creak of his rope and rustle from his clothing would echo around the room.  Placed carefully were terracota warriors, seemingly so positioned that they appeared to continue their duty to guard the ancient imperial treasures.”

Last but not least, Reginald Catchpole and his assistant –better accomplice– Sidney Slug:

In the back room of a long, dark, dimly lit junk shop in a less fashionable part of London sat two dark figures almost untouched by the light. They reclined in a wayward manner; one of the men sat with a crystal glass filled to the brim with sherry, taking a gentle sip so as not to dip his wax-curled moustache in it. He wore a tweed waistcoat, a beige checked matching jacket, black woollen trousers and a dickey bow that hung loosely, as if it had been put on in the dark by a man with no mirror and no thumbs. His hair was thin and greasy, and a rank smell of paraffin wax filled the air with the stench that you only get with an over-heated oil lamp.
The other man sat hunched over a polishing machine with a silver candlestick grasped in his fat, sausage-like fingers. He was bald, in his early forties, with a wisp of hair combed over from his left temple to his right ear. He had a button nose and beady eyes from having to work in the near-dark for fear that his dubious work would be noticed by a passer-by, or a snoop out to thwart their plans of conning some wealthy old widow out of her fortune with their forgeries and faked antiques.”
These men were renowned con artists Reginald Catchpole and Sid Slug. Reginald was the leader of the duo, as well as a bankrupt aristocrat from a reputedly shamed family.

What are the four of them looking for on an island where nothing is apparently what it seems? The most incredible adventure will take them to the heart of a volcano where they will finally learn the truth and, above all, their innermost self. Life can be full of surprises…
A delightful fantasy novel with plenty of humour, to be read in a sitting.

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