Name Darren Lewis
Where are you from Cardiff, South Wales
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I’m married to the extremely patient Rachel who I met in 2005 and we have two children. Ellie is nine and Jack is two. We live in Norfolk, England in a lovely village called North Elmham.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
To add to the madness of our household, baby number three and boy number two is arriving in April and we’re desperately searching for a name!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’d worked for twenty years in the print industry and gave my every effort to my job so on coming home all I wanted to do was spend time with my family, not to mention relax. When I was made redundant in 2012 the wealth of time I had could easily be dedicated to writing.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Hmm, honestly I still don’t. It is my profession now but still four years later I don’t feel I qualify as an honest to god writer as I’m just too critical of myself and my work when there are so many talented writers out there.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My daughter Ellie asked me for a book of her own when she was four years old. I made some notes at the time about an Indiana Jones type adventure that involved rabbits, magic and obtaining a mysterious item. That fell by the wayside as I was still employed at the time but when redundancy came the time freed up enough headspace to start the story properly
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I go through periods of not writing at all. When I completed my last book around August 2015 my head felt empty of ideas and I had to come to terms with that, it wasn’t a pleasant experience at first as others will say you should always be writing. The compulsion to write started again in November as ideas started to come together but I held back until Christmas when I was almost at bursting point to write anything down. Since then I’ve written every day.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The initial stories were separately titled ‘Ellie and the Rabbits’ ‘Ellie and the Dragon’ and Ellie and the Battle. I wanted simple titles as at the time they were just for my daughter. When the book was published as an omnibus I used ‘The Seren Trilogy’ as it represents a very special magic in the book.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Helping others is fundamentally at the core of my books. Also I wanted the main character (named for my daughter) to show bravery under incredible circumstances.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic ?
My daughter’s name is about it!
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The main character is my daughter as it was written for her but it is an idealized version of an eight-year-old girl as she meets talking rabbits, dragons and a world ending threat.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
The works of Anne McCaffrey, Raymond Feist and David Eddings spring to mind instantly. The dragon series was so brilliantly constructed. My father bought me Dragonsdawn when I was ten. I didn’t know at the time that other books in the series existed but when I found out I bought all of them and her other works.
Raymond Feist and David Eddings introduced the magical element and grand storytelling to my reading at a young age, Magician and The Pawn of Prophecy are still two of my favorite books.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
My daughter and I are reading Coraline.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I’m going to indulge in some terrible nepotism here and say my brother, Tony Lewis. He writes books akin to Sir Terry Pratchett and they’re very funny.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m working on book number seven in Ellie’s adventures entitled ‘Beneath a Second Sky.’
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My publisher, Miika Hanilla. He’s always positive, has time for you and inspires you to keep pushing.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Despite my reservations with the title I do yes.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, it was always my intention that as I write more books then Ellie in the story would be older and therefore I should write the books for her to read when she reaches that age.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I remember a visit from an author when I was ten to my school. We had to write a small piece and then stand and read it out. I wrote a piece based on MASH as I loved the series. After I finished she told me I shouldn’t write about war as I’m so young. Luckily I had the good sense back then to ignore her and write about what I wanted to.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Of course, this is an extract of the first chapter of Beneath a Second Sky (unedited)
The Journey Begins
The girl awoke to the ceaseless sound of the sea brushing the sand. The sun’s early morning light fell upon her eyes and her entire body tingled in its rising warmth. Raising her head, the girl saw her bed was made of dried rushes and leaves. She thought this peculiar as she had no particular memory of gathering or assembling her bed for the night. The girl rose to her feet and studied herself. She wore a simple white robe, secured with a length of twine. Her feet were clad in the same material as the robe, a light, white linen. Her skin, a light brown seemed to lend a glow to the white material, just as the sun lent its own light to her skin making it radiate its own light from within. She smiled at the effect and left her bed and wandered onto the sand. Standing before the beauty of the rising sun the girl studied her surroundings. The beach to her left and right meandered away in something close to a straight line for quite a distance before disappearing behind the rise of the land itself. A look behind offered nothing but trees, a low level of cloud drifted over the landscape, obscuring any features lurking beyond.
The girl searched her memory and found a blank wall when she tried to place the features surrounding her. Not only that but as she stared inside into the realms of her mind she discovered a great many blanks. Her name was not in those dark recesses and made her wonder then how do I know what a name is? Her life up until her point of waking on the beach was simply not part of her memory and made her wonder what kind of being am I to know I must have a past? Though such questions about the absence of any personal knowledge created a wealth of curiosity it did not cause any fear. For despite her lack of information she felt this was in correct and in order for her future.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Level of detail can cause me a headache now especially as I’m aiming this new book at a more mature age group.
That and a silly one of repeating a couple of words constantly from sentence to sentence! At the moment I can’t stop using ‘felt’ and ‘been’ !
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
It changes J At the moment its Peter F Hamilton as I love his level of detail in respect to future worlds, the impact of technology upon humanity for better or worse.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, which is just as well I can’t really walk or stand very well!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The Seren Trilogy, Vengeance of Shadows and The Oncoming Storm were all designed by The Cover Collection. The four books after that I put together myself.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Finding a time of day to write. There isn’t a room I can use to closet myself away. Now though I write from 10pm onwards when everyone is sleeping!
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
That you never really finish writing a book, you must pick a point to abandon it. Paraphrasing Leonardo Da Vinci there 😀
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write when you can and write for yourself. Don’t write when you don’t want to. Be brave and be bold.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Just that I hope the emotions and the story I’m trying to convey move them in the way I intended and thank you.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My kids make me do both. Jack has a lovely collection of books and whenever someone visits he brings them out one at a time and insists they read to him. Since becoming a father I’ll cry at anything sad or moving but I have a very dark sense of humor.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Winston Churchill. Utterly fascinating man. When I read the story of him crying when losses were coming in from the field it makes you look beyond the speeches and at the man himself.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Darren Lewis Buried Alive
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I love steampunk and modeling anything to that fashion.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Fringe. House of Cards. Homeland. Blackadder. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Daredevil and lately Jessica Jones.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Anything for all three!
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I wanted to be a marine biologist or vet but had to face the fact that I wasn’t intelligent enough.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?