I am so excited to introduce you all to Jack Croxall, if you haven’t met him already. His book, Tethers, is totally fantastic and a wonderful, well-written read. I love it.
A bit about his book:
In the wake of a cold Victorian winter, two teenagers discover an anonymous journal filled with strange passages and bizarre scribblings.
The journal soon draws them into a covert and sinister conspiracy, a conspiracy centred around an otherworldly artefact with the power to change everything …
Karl and Esther have spent almost every day of their thirteen years in the quiet market town of Shraye. Stifled by their rural surroundings and frustrated by their unfulfilled ambitions, they find the allure of the journal’s mysterious pages impossible to ignore. The book seems to be beckoning them away from Shraye, away from their homes and towards the coast where an unsolved disappearance has set in motion a dark chain of events.
The voyage the teenagers soon find themselves undertaking is one of desperate importance and true peril; it will change the way they see the world, and each other, forever.
Set in Victorian Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire, Tethers is the first instalment of The Tethers Trilogy.
Here’s my interview with Jack:
How much work did you put into building your world?
On the whole, Tethers took about two years to write and a good proportion of that time was spent researching Victorian England (where the novel is set). I spent hours upon hours studying Victorian life and I must say it was fascinating, not a chore in the slightest! My favourite aspect was perhaps life on the waterways – a style of living that is non-existent in today’s society. Whole families would live in the single cramped cabin of a narrowboat as they transported supplies up and down the rivers and canals. The life was incredibly tough and children would work full days as soon as they could walk.
What was the initial lightbulb idea that put Tethers into motion?
I started writing Tethers with absolutely no (conscious) plan whatsoever, and, at times, I did wonder where the novel was going. However, my lightbulb moment came when I realised the aspect of the plot that the book’s title is a reference to. I couldn’t possibly go into any more detail than that though …
What was the single hardest scene to write in the book?
There is a scene where a main character dies and that was incredibly difficult to write, not only because it’s horrible to let one of your darlings go, but you have to accurately gauge and convey all the emotions at play in the other characters present. It took several redrafts but I think I got there in the end!
If one song out there could define your book, what would it be?
I really can’t think of just one song, but I have put together a playlist of songs I listened to whilst writing the book. You can check it out here: http://bit.ly/Zr6l9U
If you met your main character at a bar, how would you interact?
One of my main characters, Esther, lives in a rural pub and I think if I somehow turned up there, she would be quite keen to talk to a new face. She’d probably be disappointed when she found out I wasn’t particularly exciting or mysterious though – unless she found out I was from the future of course!
If you could live in any literary universe, which would it be?
Oh, that’s easy; Lyra’s universe in His Dark Materials. Philip Pullman crafted a gorgeous world for his seminal trilogy and the best part is that everybody gets their own daemon (a physical, animal-embodiment of your soul). I think mine would be a heron because I’m patient, persistent and I love water!
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Can I be a combination of the two, a ‘planster’ perhaps? I’ve recently been writing with a vague plan but allowing myself absolute freedom to go off on tangents and connect the dots however I feel is best at the time. It’s working out well actually.
How has writing changed your life?
Quite simply, it’s made me happier than ever before.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Firstly, I would say read as widely as you can – not exclusively books from the genre you intend to write in. I’m not only talking about fiction either; blogs, newspaper articles, pamphlets, menus, billboards, DVD boxes, E-mails, all can be sources of great writing – you need to absorb as much of it as you can. Secondly, I suggest getting involved with the larger writing community. With social networking it’s never been easier and most writers and readers really are wonderfully supportive. I’ve found talking to fellow bookish-types incredibly helpful so, get involved; my twitter handle is @JackCroxall, if you’re interested, add me for a chat!
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