Colin R. Parson is living proof that the traditional career path isn’t the only option for budding writers. He largely forgot about becoming an author for some years before returning to his writing roots and thriving in the career he has chosen for himself. With a slew of young adult and middle-grade titles now under his belt, we got chatting about books, past and present, and to see what future secrets Colin could spill for us.
Why and how did you get in to writing?
When I was a child (maybe eight or nine) I loved to write what I would call ‘Micro Stories’. These were only a few lines on a birthday card or Christmas card, and I would give them to members of my family. As I grew up, I went through my school years, and many jobs, and forgot about writing. One day though, in my mid-thirties, I decided to start again. The short stories got bigger and were eventually published on a website. I self-published a small set of books called the Wizards’ Kingdom trilogy – a series of magical adventures – then later became a traditionally published author.
What does your routine as a writer look like?
Very sketchy, I don’t have a routine as such. I’m self-employed and booked by an agency to run school events (presentations and workshops). So mostly, I write where and when I can – coffee shops, hotel rooms, pubs, restaurants and waiting rooms. When I’m not doing schools – in school holidays, I walk to my local library, and spend many hours there writing.
Who would you say your writing is aimed at?
Originally, I targeted eight to twelve, but that soon turned into, eight to whatever? I have a wide audience who love fantasy, science fiction and steam punk stories. So, I would now say anyone who enjoys a good yarn can read my work.
Your books often focus on the fantastical. What is it that draws you to this genre?
I think, because, it’s so easy for me to write fantasy and sci-fi. I love time travel and the world of magic. I can get an idea, but the story takes me where it wants to go. If you’re excited about something or have a passion for it – it doesn’t feel like work. It’s more fun than anything.
Do you think there is a central theme or message to your writing?
Only in my latest book – D.I.S.C. I’ve set a theme in there on bullying. I’ve used a science fiction setting, and implemented a ‘thug’ scenario. There was a lot of bullying at my school, and I wanted to address that in a modern day adventure. Ironically, bullying hasn’t decreased, so it’s poignant in today’s society.
6. If you could be any one of your book characters, who would you be, and why?
I think, Joseph Lanes in D.I.S.C. The reason is because he’s bullied, but overcomes it to help others. There is a super power element involved (obviously) but Joseph confronts his fear and handles it beautifully. He turns from a timid person into a more confident one – I wasn’t very confident as a child. Ironically, I now command audiences of hundreds of pupils.
If you could live in any fictional world, either your own or any other, which one would you choose, and why?
A world of many different time dimensions, so that I could travel to new and exciting places – kind of like Dr Who, but with myself as the time machine.
Are there any authors or books in particular that inspire you?
This is a very difficult question to answer. There are many authors and books that inspire and drive me. I was particularly intrigued, by Neil Gaiman’s ‘The Graveyard Book’. There’s a chapter called: ‘Danse Macabre’ which scared and excited me into writing on a different platform. But, saying that, I love Derek Landy’s ‘Skullduggery Pleasant‘ series. And, I’m a big fan of Kenneth Oppel, which I think brought out the steam punk in my work.
What are you working on right now?
Well, I’ve got two more books out this year: GHOSTED, and Death Trap. I’ve sent my first picture book manuscript to publishers (my first grandchild Amaya inspired that particular book). And, I’ve a short story just been accepted, so I don’t just write novels. I’m also working on another wizarding book – many, many years after my first series, so lots going on.
Are there any secrets about your future writing plans that you can share with us?
I’m putting ideas together for another book, about a set of gifted twin children, who come into contact with a very special key card, that will take them to…
Colin Parsons’ books are available here.