I'm trilled to be receiving author Colm McElwain Ax today to promote his Middle Grade novel, James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra.
Alongside his friends Ben and Mary Forester, James Clyde must protect a powerful diamond from falling into the wrong hands. A strange and sinister man dressed in black is also pursuing the diamond and will stop at nothing to obtain it. James and his friends set off on a perilous journey to return the diamond to its rightful place. But they are being hunted every step of the way by the relentless man in black and his blood-thirsty army. Outnumbered, James finds he must use the power of the diamond to escape their clutches - or become another victim of their murderous quest. So begins a journey that will transport them to an alternative world where they must confront the mysterious man in black for a final, winner-takes-all battle...
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Hi Colm, thank you for being with us. Please do tell, what inspired you to write this book?
I saw it as a unique experience, something very different and challenging. I believe children’s literature is one of the most popular genres in writing. Some of the most iconic and popular books ever written are children’s books and I thought, if good enough, my book could join that list. Some of these iconic books will be remembered and read forever. Therefore, I wanted James Clyde to have all the characteristics that are present in popular and classic children’s books characters.
Did you listen to specific songs while writing?
I tended to listen to movie soundtracks more often than not. If I was writing a very heroic scene I would have the John Williams’s Superman or Indiana Jones theme booming from the speakers. When I was writing a sequence describing certain characters in the water I had Jaws playing. If I was describing a war or action scene then Braveheart would be on. I also had Harry Potter and other soundtracks as well. It definitely did help. The music inspires you.
Any advice for aspiring writers?
The three ‘r’s’! Revise, revise and revise. You could also call this rewrite. No matter how brilliant you think your first, second or third draft is, it won’t be as good as your nineteenth one. And your nineteenth one would be as good as your twenty-fifth. It takes so much time to write a book. It took a long time for me to understand this. For example, it took me six years to write James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra. I simply wasn't happy with it for a long time. Even now, when I read a page of two of my book I always find something I might do differently. Rewriting can include removing unnecessary scenes or simply switching words around in order to help a sentence sound or flow better. This can take an age. Finally, this is your bible. If you print the pages of your book out, you keep them safe and respect them. You don’t leave loose pages lying messily around the kitchen while you eat. I always kept my manuscript inside a folder and would treat each page carefully. If I found a correction I used a red pen and kept things as tidy and neat as I could. Oh, and keep copies of the work you do each day.
What are you working on now -- or would you rather surprise us?
I’m busy promoting this book at the moment so I don’t really have much time to write. I also want this book to be a success and that may take quite a while also. It’s very much a long term project and I’ll probably need a bit of luck along the way too. Also, after spending six years on this one, I do feel I need a break from writing as I've put everything into it during those six years. If I never write another book I’ll always be proud of this one though.
Thank you for being with us Colm, and good luck on all your future projects.