First, introduce yourself for my readers…
I am…The Batman! No, seriously, I’m just a normal guy, who writes out of this world, crazy stuff, about the Chinese living Goddess of Justice. I used to be an antique dealer and a commercial property broker. When I was an antique dealer, I dealt in antique arms and armor, including swords. All of that comes out in the books.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
I am, The Batman? Seriously, I’m not particularly quirky…until you delve into my furtive imagination, where Goddesses, Angels, and demons, you’ve never heard of, lurk.
Tell us something really interesting that’s happened to you!
LOL! My entire life has been interesting. How about the time I was living in London in the 1980s and I was on my way to Yugoslavia for a one week holiday. My friend who I was visiting told me that within 3 months there would be a civil war, and things would never be the same again. Of course he was correct. He’d come to London on business, and I was returning with him. On the way to the airport, I stopped of to drop some videos at the video shop. I got knocked over by a stolen car, on purpose, as I was crossing the road! I never got to pre-civil war Yugoslavia.
What are some of your pet peeves?
People attacking my work, or other peoples, without real foundation. Bullies, criminals of any kind. Corrupt politicians.
What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
In no particular order:
Eric Van Lustbader
George R.R. Martin
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
What inspired you to write this book?
This book, ‘Miao Shan : The Awakening’ was inspired in the following manner:
Firstly, I must admit that I’ve been a comic fan for all my reading life, and that quite possibly colours much of my inspiration.
I had written one finished novel, and had tried t write two more partial novels, that I had to admit would never be worth reading, so I tried to get some inspiration for something different. I sat at my computer, closed my eyes, and cleared my mind, and meditated. After a few seconds I saw a vision of a beautiful young Chinese lady, wearing an antique style Chinese gown, standing on the deck of a steamship, looking at the sunset. The scene was so beautiful that I immediately wrote a passage describing her. That is the second last passage in ‘The Awakening’. I then asked myself, “But who is she? And, how did she get there?”
Then I started to think about my first finished novel, that was about a supreme archangel, who had been lept out of the Torah, Quran, and Old Testament, the New Testament and all other religious texts. He’d been born a human in 1965 but had been an archangel since the beginning of time. He married the Chinese Goddess, Guan Yin, in Heaven. Her human name was Miao Shan. So, I decided to use that, then I had to work out who this second Miao Shan was, and why she received that name. That’s when the hard part started.
What can we expect from you in the future?
More Miao Shan, more surprises, and related books later.
Where were you born/grew up at?
I was born in London, grew up in a village outside Glasgow from 2 years old to 8, and then in Cape Town, South Africa.
If you knew you’d die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
With my two sons.
Who is your hero and why?
Nelson Mandela. He attempted to bring justice to an unjust society, in a compassionate manner.
What book do you think everyone should read?
‘Miao Shan: The Awakening’
Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
Deshi. He’s Miao Shan’s Messenger from Heaven. He works as her assistant and presents himself to the world at large as her man servant. He’s an ex-Shaolin monk. Kind, compassionate, loyal, humorous, and a drunken lush!
Describe your writing style.
It’s a bit super hero/ comic bookish, with a dash of YA and… read the book and find out (wink).
What makes a good story?
A twist in the tale is always vital for a good story. All of my favorite authors leave the reader guessing, and that makes readers want to turn the page. The element of surprise is vital!
What are you passionate about these days?
My writing and my children.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
Writing Miao Shan?
How to find time to write as a parent?
Planning and self-discipline. Those are the keys. Locking the kids out of your study when you want to write, also helps, lol.
What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?
I’ve wanted to be an author since I was about 15 or 16, but I always avoided it as I felt it was an easy way to starvation. I might prove myself correct yet!
A day in the life of the author?
At present I spend most of my working hours with promoting ‘Miao Shan : The Awakening’. I start work at 5am.
Advice they would give new authors?
DON’T DO IT! Get a job, or die of starvation!
What are you currently reading?
I’m currently re-reading Eric van Lustbader’s ‘Floating City’
How long have you been writing?
Since I was 15, so forty years. Professionally, on and off, since 2010.
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
I start with where I want to begin. I also plot where I want to end, and I add what I basically want to see in the middle. I then fly by the seat of my pants, and write. I research as I write, and this often changes the story.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
Most of my characters come to me as I write.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
In the case of ‘Miao Shan: The Awakening’, I had to research Chinese Buddhism, the Shaolin Temple as it was 100 years ago, and various other aspects of history at the time the book stated (1896).
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Smart, witty, self-aware, humorous, bad tempered.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
Miao Shan herself, I’ve mentioned above, but the other characters just came to me as I was writing the book. Each character had to fulfill a certain purpose, like Deshi, for example. Then I thought of what useful characteristics of the character would be. Then I started to plot the character and his/her personality.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Everything, from creating the characters, to all the vast amount of research I had to do.
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
I have to be extremely careful here, because if I tell you too much, it will be a spoiler.
Miao Shan: She witnesses her parents brutal murder at 10 years old, and this gives her an unquenchable thirst for justice, and a desire to punish wrongdoers. She also loves pretty cloths, which is something her grandmother taught her. She learns to have a burning passion for Kung Fu. At the core of her soul, she is kind, loving and compassionate, but this is often covered up by her anger at injustice. Anything else would be a spoiler.
Deshi: A loyal and compassionate Messenger from Heaven, who loves an understated joke, and getting drunk. Anything else would be a spoiler.
Do you have any advice to give aspiring writers?
Unless you’re only desire in life is to become a writer…DON’T! There is far too much competition in this day and age, and it’s only growing.
Chow Lei is a ten-year-old girl on Hong Kong Island in 1896, who sees her parents murdered. This is the beginning of a sequence of events that leads to her becoming, Miao-Shan, the living Goddess of Justice!
‘Miao Shan’ book2, ‘Justice For All!’, is set to be released for Christmas 2019.