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Author Q&A For The Secret Bunker: Darkness Falls
Q: First things first, where did you get the idea for this book?
A: The book is inspired by a visit to Scotland's Secret Bunker at Troywood in Fife.
Check out their website at: https://www.secretbunker.co.uk/
We made a family visit to the bunker in 2011, when my children were a lot younger.
In many respects the family scenes in Darkness Falls are based around our own experiences.
We were all struggling without wi-fi, praying that the bunker would have some connectivity and disappointed when we arrived and all we could see was a cottage.
However, having gone below ground and explored the bunker we were hooked, we all loved it.
I like it even more every time I go back, if you're able to visit it yourself, please do so.
I never meant to write a book about it, it wasn't for another 3 years until I started writing the trilogy.
Q: What made you start writing the trilogy?
A: I never intended to write a book about the bunker, but it did make a huge impact on me and it must have been perculating in my mind over that time.
In early 2014, I'd put a bid in for a tender related to my ‘day job' (digital marketing) but I got a knock back when I wasn't expecting one.
That meant I had some time on my hands!
I'd seen a competition (Run by Chicken House at https://doublecluck.com/submissions/) which I had passed on to my wife, my sister and my eldest child, as they'd all expressed
an interest in writing.
I decided to give it a go myself.
I'd woken up early one morning and all of a sudden the idea came to me whilst dozing in bed.
I got a very strong image of somebody being caught inside the bunker whilst their family was trapped outside.
I was struck by how terrifying that would be, so I jumped out of bed, rushed to my study, and started typing out my story.
Initially, the competition was just to write the first 5000 words.
I wrote that text, polished it and sent it off.
It was only then that I spotted the small print.
If I had any luck in the competition, I'd need to have the full book written for submission by September 2014.
So I sat down at my desk and got writing!
To be honest, I got deeply into the story and couldn't stop writing.
I wrote the entire trilogy of 154k words in 8 months, and absolutely loved being immersed in the story.
Q: How do you go about your writing?
A: I still have to work a ‘day job', so I have to fit my writing around family time and work.
I found that I could easily write 5000 words in a day once I got into my stride, so that's how I do it.
I write on days when the house is quite – the kids are at school and my wife is at work – and the minute my wife steps out of the door, I sit at my desk and I write.
The phone is unplugged, the internet turned off and I don't stop until it's done.
This is what Stephen King calls ‘the vomit draft', where you just get the story down on paper.
I have found that it takes me ten writing days to get a 50k word ‘vomit draft' of a book completed.
My wife reads along as I write, spotting the spelling mistakes and plot holes which I fix as soon as she feeds back to me.
To reach the final version, the books have through six or seven reads now, plus a total overhaul from a professional proofreader.
Q: Who designed the cover?
A: All of the covers in the trilogy were designed by Peter O'Connor from https://bespokebookcovers.com/.
I've been delighted will all of the covers, he does a great job of taking what's in my head and making it look amazing.
Q: Why did you choose to self publish?
A: I'm new to this publishing lark but I do know how to do things like building blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter sites and so on.
In fact I'm really lucky, I love all the tech stuff that has to be done.
In addition, I wanted to get my books out there as soon as possible.
I will be seeking agents and publishers, but I didn't want to wait around in the meantime, it makes sense to me to start building an audience as soon as possible.
Q: What's all this about ‘transmogrification'?
A: I was amazed as you to discover that there's a word for this!
I needed a word that was more evocative than ‘transformation'.
I can't even remember how I found it now … but transmogrification it is!
And yes, it does really exist … check out this web page.
As Dan quite rightly says, ‘This has the sound of something unpleasant that might happen to a cat.'
Q: Can we ask questions about what goes on in book 1?
A: It's better if I do that in the Q&A following book 3, I don't want to give anything away!
Q: Have you written anything else?
A: Yes, I also write ‘how to' guides on geeky topics like setting up WordPress blogs and creating Facebook business pages.
I write these as P Teague and they're part of my Stuff Made Simple series.
I love tinkering around with websites, so it's great to share all these practical tips in my guides.
Q: What are your writing plans after The Secret Bunker Trilogy?
A: At the moment, I'm planning to write another YA/crossover trilogy called The Grid
I'm plotting this out at the moment and hope to get writing July 2015.
Q: Can you give us a sneak preview of what happens in book 2, The Four Quadrants?
A: I can't tell you why, because I'm proud of all of the books in this series, but book 2 is my favourite.
I think it's because we get to meet so many intriguing characters in this book, and the story pivots in a way that you wouldn't foresee in book 1.
There are just as many plot twists – and yes, of course it ends on a cliffhanger – but I think that you'll really love meeting all the new characters in this part of the story.
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