Hey, Shaun L. Griffiths.As of the writing of this post, I’m about to crack open some of your books so I’m super excited to have you here! Please, tell us about yourself and what inspired you to start writing.
I toy’d with the idea of writing all my life. I always enjoyed it, writing long letters to Pen Pals, school essays. I spent a number of years traveling and would write reams of pages to anyone who showed an interest as to where I was in the world.
I didn’t think about actually writing a book until about 2 years ago and then, after all the uncertainties of whether I could finish one, I did write it surprising quickly. It probably took me 6 weeks for the first draft, and another about 6 weeks to edit it.
I followed a writers / self-publishers course to help me through the process, which I have such good memories of. I met some really nice people, made some great friends that I still chat regularly too, and personally, achieved so much. The writers community is one of the most friendly and helpful groups I’ve ever been a part of.
Well, I was all set to publish my first book in November of 2015 when I received a phone call from my mother. She’d been diagnosed with cancer and had kept from us, just how serious her condition was. As you can imagine I couldn’t really concentrate on a book launch. I muddled my way through, and I must say, I had so much support from fellow authors, I did manage to publish my book on November 9th 2015. 6 weeks later my mother passed away. It was frightening how quickly it happened.
I lost all interest in everything for quite a few months. I did start a marketing plan in November, but couldn’t put my heart into it. I tried pick it back up later in the year. I relaunch it my book and it did make a Best Seller status, number 1 in category, but there was little sense of achievement. It took a long time to get my life back in order, but when I did, those authors that had supported me, were still there to welcome me back. Writers are a great bunch of people, I really do count myself so lucky to know so many.
I’m so sorry to hear about your mother, I can’t imagine losing someone so close so fast. I must count myself lucky for the amount of forewarning I had when I lost my Grandfather to cancer. As for our fellow authors, I couldn’t agree more! I’ve run in a great deal of many circles and even my fiber/spinning circles don’t compare to love running around in the author groups. Okay, so I must ask, how did you go about getting published?
I self-published on Amazon through KDP. I outsourced some of the tasks. I paid for my book to be formatted, I paid a professional editor to check my work, I commissioned a cover artist. I did struggle with some of the technical stuff. My wife “bought” me a web site, she arranged someone to build it for me as a surprise present.
For this book, I’m giving myself a lot more time and trying to do a lot more of the work. I do find it so much easier to bring all the parts together. Famous last words!
With the exception of formatting and your wife’s lovely gift of a website, your path doesn’t sound all that different from mine. So, what is your writing process? Do you have a time, day, or place you like to write?
I find I’m more productive in the morning for creative content. I find my words per hour substantially increase if I have the house to myself, after everyone has left. We live on the edge of a forest. The window where I work looks out onto a pine forest. I find it so therapeutic, and inspiring to watch the giant pines swaying in the winds. Sometimes I wonder hope they ever stay up they bend so much.
Yay! A fellow morning person! I don’t get the house to myself, but if I come to the college early enough I get the run of the building with the exception of a handful of people. Now I must know, what do you like to do when you’re not writing? Full-time job, pets, hobbies?
I love the arts. I enjoy reading and since I’ve had a kindle I’ve read probably 150 books. I was amazed when I was given it as a Christmas present and found I could download books for free. I was like a man possessed. I prefer to read “light” work. I don’t like real life crime, I think life can be ugly enough outside without bringing it home to read about it.
I enjoy movies. I can watch the same film countless times and still find them interesting and fun. And I like music. I’ve followed Coldplay for years and I’m so happy to see my son is now a fan.
What’s your all time favorite animal?
I have a love / hate relationship with our family dog “Bob.” He’s a Polish mountain sheepdog, 75 kg of white fur and slobbering jowls. He is the most intelligent of dogs. I think he understands at least 10 commands, knows everyone’s name, knows when you are coming home and loves us all to bits. Unfortunately, he doesn’t like cats, squirrels, birds, moles, mice, or leaves falling in the garden. He tends to wake me up a lot at night. His favorite sport is chasing deer. We’d be lost with out him.
Bob sounds like he’d get along with my dog just fine. Now, do you have a favorite myth?
It’s great that you ask this. I did write about a similar thing on my website. My favorite myth / legend is about a Welsh Prince , Prince Llywelyn and his favorite hound, Gelert.
The Prince loved to hunt in the hills and forests of Caernarvonshire. One morning, he called his dogs to accompany him, but his favorite hound, Gelert, didn’t appear. Disappointed, the Prince left without him.
Returning to his castle later, the Prince was greeted by Gelert who stood before him, covered in blood. The Prince, fearing the worst, rushed to his newborn son’s nursery. Sure enough, he found the crib overturned and the walls splattered with blood.
The Prince, heartbroken and in a blind rage, sunk his sword into Gelert’s heart. As his favorite hound lay dying at his feet, the Prince heard a baby’s cry. He rushed to the crib, to find his son lying beneath the overturned crib, unharmed. A blood covered wolf lay dead beside him. This is my Welsh culture.
I love it when I hear new myths and I must say that I love this one! I might have to have you back to ask further questions about Welsh culture, but first any advice for authors about book covers?
I made every mistake I could make with my first cover. I went back and gave it a makeover, and learnt so much in the process. My advice to anyone thinking about cover design is to track down Derek Murphy. The guy does (or did) the most amazing covers. Now he spends his time helping self-pub authors. He creates loads of blogs, webinars, free templates. I think the stuff Derek demonstrates to you is invaluable and I would suggest everyone take a look at creativindie.com before they start thinking about a cover for their book.
Derek Murphy sounds like a cool guy, I might have to go look him up. Tell us about your next book project.
It will be Part 3 of the Changing Times trilogy. It’s a YA fantasy adventure that I did plan to be a trilogy , but after finishing Part 2, I get a feeling I may not get from where I am now, to where I want to go in 1 book.
Cool, so what are you reading now?
Today I have just finished Megan Crewe’s A Mortal Song. It’s one of the best YA books I’ve read in such a long time. Based in Japan, uniquely different, well researched, I cannot praise it enough.
That does sound different. Well, we’re nearing the end of our time, so do you have a sale or even coming up?
I’d like to mention that I’ve committed all the royalties, for the first year from the sale of my first novel Shifters Alliance, to be donated to the Children in Need charity appeal. That is until November 9th. If you like to read YA Fantasy and would like to help Children in Need, I can recommend this book will make you feel good on both counts.
I’m also having a Free promotion on Part 2 Lost Lands for 3 days from 1st November.
Usually I would include some links for you, but in this case, I’m going to include a link to my review of your new release, so hop on over to http://blog.zoramarie.com/review-of-lost-lands-changing-times-part-2/ and read for yourself what my take is on Shaun’s new novel!