Aʙᴏᴜᴛ ᴛʜᴇ Bᴏᴏᴋ
Category: Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12), 302 pages
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Release date: June 2020
Content Rating: G.
Do you want to know a secret? Beneath the very ground on which you walk and beyond the stars above your head, are more worlds than you could ever dream of. There are monsters. Be afraid. Magic, wielded by witches and sorcerers. Epic adventures in worlds far across the ocean. And fearsome weapons which threaten to destroy everything.
Jimmy Crikey is a brave soul who faces some pretty scary challenges. Solving mysteries and averting mayhem, his incredible courage allows him to free up his abilities to shine and rise above every challenge in his path, on his way to discoveringwhy he looks so very strange. With a bright red mop of unruly hair, big blue eyes, a small snub nose, pointed ears and enormous feet, poor Jimmy is ridiculed by the neighborhood children and runs away in search of a world where he fits in. Following a midnight flight through the forest, he stumbles into a lost, underground world called Roombelow and magic, adventure, danger and excitement await. From the little lady who lives at the bottom of a well, a starship that wants to take him home, trolls, little people, traders and diamonite stealers to water sprites, witches, helpful dolphins, and interplanetary warfare, Jimmy learns the biggest lessons of his life.
What is your background?
Wallace Briggs (1943 – present). Happily married to Pat, who I first met while walking home from school at the age of eleven.
The first half of my life was lived in and around Durham City. Married in 1964, Pat and I spent many happy years in the North East before employment took us and our two boys to Sussex in the south of England.
After more than twenty years in Sussex, then Hampshire, employment was again responsible for the move to beautiful rural Lancashire, where we still reside. I am now retired from a long career in sales and marketing of technical products (toxic and flammable gas analysers).
What inspired you to become a writer?
It is said that ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’. My storytelling arose from the necessity of having to keep four children entertained for an hour or so, in the confines of a beach tent, one very wet annual holiday in Great Yarmouth. The stories had to grow throughout the following showery afternoons as my son and his new-found friends sought shelter until the rain clouds passed.
What are the best and worst bits of being an author?
The best bits and my raison d’tere is to see the wonderment on children’s faces as a tale unfolds.
The worst bits – getting stuck! Rare but I think all writers hit a wall, however briefly, when writing a story. Particularly if, like me, you don’t work to a pre-planned plot.
Who are your favourite authors and how did they inspire you to write?
My favourite adult authors are Tolkein and Rowling followed by Wilbur Smith and then a plethora of adventure writers of the ilk of Pattinson, Brown, Baldacci, K Slaughter, etc
In children’s literature: Rowling, for me, is the greatest living author but the top of my list would be Enid Blighton and Rupert Bear stories in verse.
Enid Blighton’s Magic Far Away Tree brought enchantment to both of my sons and I so wished that I could entertain in the same way.
Do you have any rituals to help you to get into the right frame of mind or anything like that?
I’m afraid there’s no such thing as a typical writing day. So much depends on the needs of my disabled wife. There are no rituals. When the spirit moves, as they say, you have to obey, at the earliest opportunity. “It” is a very ethereal, almost religious, bidding. When I first started getting my stories onto paper it was during long train journeys between Durham and London, for product training for a new career.
Do you plan your story or do you go with the flow and let the story write itself?
I think that’s answered previously. I don’t have a plan! Sometimes it’s just the merest idea that grows almost unbidden into a new story. Although my stories are mainly fantasy, bordering on SciFi, I have to check that my “facts” are broadly feasible. I don’t want them to appear to be impossible flights of fancy.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I always loved writing and kept a quite detailed daily diary for several of my late teens years. But I didn’t become a writer of children’s stories until after that holiday in Great Yarmouth.
Which books have most influenced your life?
The Bible, even though I no longer read it.
Which book you are currently reading now and why?
Baldacci's ‘End Game’ – pure, exciting escapism
Outside of writing, how do you spend your day?
Looking after Pat with the great assistance from ‘live in’, widowed sister–in law, Denise. When time allows I love playing my Hammond electronic organ, passingly acceptably, but a bit out of practice at the moment. Painting and kiln firing fantasy scenes onto china display plates is my pure escapism. Otherwise, I waste far too much time surfing, building a WEB presence, creating author pages on Amazon and FB.
Where do you get your ideas from?
They come from the ether. They are probably fulfilling a supressed ideal of being an admired hero figure.
If you couldn’t be an author, what would like to have been?
I would have enjoyed being a teacher.
Which was your favourite chapter to write and why?
Almost always it is the last chapter of whichever book I am writing at that time. To conclude something that has taken me over during the preceding weeks or months or even longer, to complete. And then to begin either the next adventure with that character or, to start with a completely different set of characters who can only come to life if I can capture their essence on the written page.
Do you have any advice for new writers?
Develop a thick skin and be prepared for the inevitable rejections. But most of all, if you believe, keep writing and subbing.
How do you cope with and overcome writer’s block?
My coping mechanism is to channel activities in a different direction, for a while, or as long as it takes. Come back to the project refreshed by fresh air (so important to get out and about) and experience different stimuli.
What do you find is the best time to write?
When I was younger it used to be late at night after the children were settled with a bedtime story, but nowadays it’s usually between 14:00 and 18:00
How do you deal with rejection letters?
They are a part of a writer’s lot – get used to it. Take whatever advice is offered, file it away and get on with improving your pitch for the next submission.
Aʙᴏᴜᴛ ᴛʜᴇ Aᴜᴛʜᴏʀ
My formative years were experienced in and around Durham City. Married in 1964 to a girl I first met at the age of eleven, Pat and I spent many happy years in the North East before employment almost took us off to emigrate to Jo'berg, South Africa but plans were changed in the final weeks and instead the company moved me to Sussex.
After more than twenty years in Sussex, then Hampshire, employment was again responsible for the move to beautiful rural Lancashire. Jimmy Crikey was born one rainy day, many years ago, during a family holiday in Great Yarmouth, to entertain my son and his new found friends for an hour or so. The story expanded over the following wet afternoons in the cramped confines of a beach tent, and more and more adventures were required to keep the children entertained. Many years later I decided to commit to the written word.
Now retired I look forward to sharing The Amazing Adventures of Jimmy Crikey with a wider audience. These began as several short, twenty minute duration, stories but after an encouraging review from a major Publisher I brought them together in this offering and hope they will bring a sense of wonder and enjoyment to another generation.
connect with the author: website
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