Yesterday we got to know more about Paul as a writer. Today, let's get to know more about how Ameca J and the Legacy of Menindus came to be.
1. What was your inspiration for Ameca J and the Legacy of Menindus? The idea came to me during a truly dreadful holiday on the Greek island of Crete, a treat for my wife’s 40th birthday. We ended up in a terrible hotel which we hadn’t booked, and my two daughters were bored, so decided to fight all the time. It was during one of their bickering sessions that I thought to myself; wouldn’t it be great if they didn’t fight?
This was followed by, how could I get them to stop?
The answer, write a book about them, and put them into situations where if they continued to fight as they did now, then either they or someone around them would quite literally die. So the books are based on my two children, Ameca and Fraya, whose names are used as well. Ameca got the lead name in the title, because her name was just that much more unusual.
2. How did you develop the fantasy world in this? I’m proud to live in Wales, and the countryside where I live is spectacular enough to form the settings for the world of Mythrania. As well as that, legends of the Celts and Merlin the Wizard are very common here, so the basis of some of my material was easy-ish.
3. Ameca J is the main character, but the reader also gets to follow her father. What made you decide to use a dual storyline like this? That’s a tough one to answer without giving away some of the plot, but in essence it was because I wanted a “twist” at the end of the story that the reader wouldn’t expect, and also by the time I got that far in the novel I knew I’d be writing a sequel, and the “twist” would form its beginning.
4. Can you tell us a little about Ameca J and her relationship with her sister. Well, I guess like many teenagers with younger siblings, it’s either pretty good or pretty bad. In this case its bad; Ameca is the elder, is fairly spoilt and resents the intrusion of her sister into her life, and particularly dislikes what she believes is a reduction in the attention she gets from her father now that she has a sister. This has obviously built up over some time.
5. The magic in this book is linked to hair color. How did you decide on this interesting combination? Yes, I think that idea is unique. I wanted something that would fit the story, particularly the prophecy part which identified “the One” (Dad), “the Flame” (Ameca) and the Flower, (Fraya). I decided that hair colour would do that job, and I would tie their powers to it. Ameca, being red-headed would have a power linked to her personality, and as most red-heads are stereotyped as having volatile natures, then her powers seemed to fit the bill. Fraya on the other hand had gentler powers, and would seem to be a bit “dizzy” which seems to fit the stereotype for blondes. Readers will note however, particularly as the series progresses, Fraya loses that stereotype and demonstrates some interesting magical innovation.
6. The world Ameca J finds herself in comes with its own history and problems. How did you develop the world's backstory?I think all I can say about that is I’ve always been an avid reader myself, and many other books probably inspired that, however to make the story work it had to be set somewhere beset by problems of its own – wouldn’t have been much of a story if they’d traveled to a world where everyone got on with everyone else!
7. Ameca J is 14 years old in this first book. Was her age due to the time frame of the series, or more for the age of readers you are hoping to attract? She was actually 13 in the draft, based on how old the real “Ameca” was at the time, but after some discussion with the publishers we decided to make both girls slightly older. I didn’t have a target audience for the work originally, it was meant to be enjoyed by anyone who liked fantasy books from ten years old and up.
8. Who are your favorite authors?I have a lot, but mainly, J R Tolkien, Edgar Rice Boroughs, Robert E Howard, David Gemmel, David Eddings, Terry Pratchett, Bernard Cornwell, Arthur Conan Doyle
9. Do you have any interesting rituals or habits when you write? Not really. My writing has to fit around my two businesses and all the travelling I do, so I have to be able to simply put my laptop on anytime, anywhere and throw myself into it.
10. Can you tell us a little about the rest of the Ameca J series and any other projects you are working on? Well, there are another 3 books after the first one;
Ameca J and the Revenge of Rex-Ultar
Ameca J and the Demon God of Mythrania
Ameca J and the Rise of the Serpii
I will probably write another one or two as well, depending on how popular they prove to be. I have also written a Sci-Fi thriller called Boundary Limit, and it seems to be quite popular so I’m going to write a sequel, maybe two. I’m some way down the road on this, hoping the sequel, “No Boundaries” will be ready before Christmas 2012. I’ve also tried my hand at a Doctor Who novel, which is with the BBC submissions department, and I’ve published an adult humour/drama book called an Agent For Change.
Ameca J and the Legacy of Menindus is available now from Amazon and B&N.