By : Eleanor Oberio / September 25, 2017
We are very fortunate to have on our author spotlight, Shaun Griffiths, best-selling author the Young Adult Epic Fantasy series “Changing Times”.
Hello and welcome Shaun. Let’s talk about your latest book “Shifters Stand”, which is Book 3 of the Changing Times series. Have you gone through any literary pilgrimage either before or while writing your latest book?
Hi Elen, and thank you for inviting me. I like the way you phrase this question. I never thought of it as a pilgrimage, but now that you mention it – I do think it has been a journey with such an amazing reward at the end.
When I started out writing this series, I planned on it being a trilogy. With the publication of this, the third novel, I do feel I’ve achieved what I set out for, and I feel so lucky to be in this place I now find myself.
I’ve made some great friends on this journey, people that I’m proud to call friends even if we’ve never met face to face. The author community is such a supportive environment, people love to help if you’re stuck, they genuinely share your happiness and your successes, and they’ll offer a shoulder to cry on if you ever need it. I feel it’s been such a rewarding experience.
And thinking about journeys, your question does bring to mind a quote from Robert Louis Stevenson (a great traveler), “…to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive…”, – the hopes and dreams of the pilgrimage can sometimes be better than getting there, for then the journey is over.
It was something I thought of many times while trekking in the Himalayas. Waking up to watch a sunrise there is an amazing sight. The shadow outline of the eastern mountains literally race across the valley floor as the sun clears the peaks. It makes the white snows on the western peaks shine in a beautiful golden hue that you’ll only see at that time of day. It’s a scene I often replay in my mind on a cold gray morning.
I use a lot of my experiences and memories from my time traveling to bring a sense of reality to the scenes I try to create in my writing. Anyone that has been to Nepal, or the islands of Indonesia, the deserts of the Sahara or the primordial forests of Poland will recognize the places I’ve tried to create. A lot of the action takes places out side my door in the forests and grasslands around me. I write about what I see or remember, my trilogy takes place here in the world around us. I have to leave world building to the real experts.
Your description of your journey is pretty amazing. Now, would you please give us an insight into your main character. What does she do that is so special?
That will be Kerri. She’s nearly eighteen (in my mind), she’s a shifter, and in her human form is pretty much unbeatable in battle. She’s in love with a boy who gets himself into a serious mess, and she has to go save him. There’s nothing she won’t do for this boy. She is brave but also very fragile at times. Having lost her own parents, she has to confront her own fears. She does go through a breakdown but does find her way home. As a character, she’s very close to my own heart.
Which brings me to my next question. Which actress would you like to see playing the lead character of your latest book?
In my dreams, I’d love to see Shailene Woodley play the character of Kerri. I think Ms.Woodley is an amazing actress, with such a vast repertoire of character traits that she brings to any role she plays. I also have immense respect for her activities off screen, founding the ‘All It Takes” organization for Young Adults. I know Ms. Woodley also campaigns against Climate Change, something that is affecting countries well outside the main culprits of the problem. I saw a report that the snows in the Himalayas are turning black from dust and pollution created by other countries.
I think I read that Ms. Woodley was once arrested (and pleaded guilty!) for demonstrating against a project that would destroy vast tracts of land in her home in USA. That’s the kind of young lady I’d see playing the heroine of this series.
Someone who cares, someone with a mission and someone with a great backhand.
Wow! Then Ms. Woodley or her manager should definitely read this interview. Moving on, what are the surprising things you learned in creating your latest book?
Probably, that other readers were moved emotionally by some of the scenes in this novel. A lot of my own thoughts and feelings have been reflected in the character of Kerri, in how she responds to difficult and dangerous situations. I’ve received mail from readers that have said they were moved to tears. I am amazed that my work can affect some people to this level.
That’s truly awesome. Would you please share what your writing schedule is like. Do you have any unheard of or unique writing routine?
I like to write whenever I can fit in the time. So, I’m probably like a lot of other authors. I need to fit it around my family life and responsibilities, which always come first. I find I’m most creative with silence, and I tend to spend a lot of time staring off into the forest until inspiration hits me.
So, staring in a forest until inspiration strikes. I would love to have that kind of experience as well. Now, when you first started writing, what was your family’s first reaction and did that change after you published your first book?
My family was confused when I first started to write. They couldn’t understand why I spent so much time on a laptop. But once I’d finished my first book, they’ve been very supportive and encouraging.
Do you try more to be original or do you like to research your target market to deliver what has worked before and what your readers want?
With this Changing Times trilogy, I have written it from a purely creative perspective. I’m aware of the “Write to Market” philosophy. I’ll probably do more reading and be researching the stuff Chris Fox is putting out as I’ve the greatest respect for his methods and his success. I hope to try my hand at Sci-Fi, which Chris has had amazing success with. So yes, I’ll definitely be researching my next one.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
It does help to have a writing partner that you can discuss things with. Also, the wider author communities have a great support network. I’d recommend any author involve themselves with one of the Facebook writing communities. Find your home, find your tribe and with time, you’ll probably gravitate towards individuals writing with similar aims and aspirations as your own. When you support others, others will happily reach out to you and in those times when you do feel blocked, it’s so valuable having someone who can lift the lid, or shine a light on something you may have missed.
Great tip Shaun. What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
I’d have to say editing. After the third or fourth read through, I do stop seeing the words on the page. It can be laborious at times, but it’s something you know just has to be done.
I know and I can relate. That’s why it is really important to have a great editor right? Now tell us, what do you enjoy most about writing?
The first draft is honestly the best fun. When you fall into the groove, when the words and ideas, the dialogue and the scenes come to mind faster than I can type, it is really such a great, rewarding experience, to feel I’m creating something.
Yes, I totally agree with that. Would you please share the best book marketing strategy that has worked for you before?
Forming a Launch Team / Street Team has helped enormously. Having people behind you, that will share posts about your book publication, spreading the word, being there behind you and encouraging you, is so valuable.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Start now, don’t wait and don’t throw anything away. All the ideas, plots, letters and scribblings I’ve lost over the years, I really wish I kept and started on this writing journey when I first felt the calling.
Yes, absolutely! Now, what does literary success look like to you?
For me personally, it is writing and publishing this trilogy. It may not be a literary masterpiece, it may not be financially a runaway success, but it is something I set out to achieve and have completed. For me this is a success because the ideas are original, the storylines have moved people emotionally, and I’ve received some unexpected praise for the scene descriptions – lots of constructive criticism too! But I honestly feel these three books have been my own personal success story.
So, what’s next for Shaun Griffiths?
I’ve just finished a New Adult short Sci-Fi story which I plan to submit to an Anthology looking for entries. I may continue this with a series of shorts, or expand it into a full-length novel, I haven’t decided yet.
I’m also committing to researching marketing techniques using Facebook and AMS ads with Mark Dawson. That may help to get my work out to a wider audience.
Wow! I’ll look forward to that. Thanks Shaun for granting us this wonderful interview and congratulations on the successful launch of your latest book, “Shifter’s Stand (Changing Times Book 3)”.
Thanks again, Elen, for your invitation and for the support you are offering to fellow authors. Also good luck on your own writing journey, I’ll look forward to seeing your next novel published. Have you another children’s picture book ready yet? And I’ve enjoyed thinking about your questions.
You’re welcome, Shaun. With regards to Book 2 of The Adventures of Emanuel series, we will be launching “The Secret of the Knotting Clock” by December 2017.
It’s been an absolute pleasure interviewing you Shaun. Please grab a copy of Shaun Griffith’s latest book “Shifters Stand” here.
Finally, to discover more about Shaun Griffiths, check out his website at: