Meet Joshua Winning, whose book Sentinel I reviewed recently.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm a British journalist and author who drinks far too much herbal tea. I just released my first book, a dark young adult fantasy called Sentinel, which is the first instalment in the Sentinel Trilogy.
2. When did you start writing, and why?
I started when I was very young, basically as soon as I could read. It's difficult to remember that far back (feeling old), but I think I started as a way of exorcising all the random stories and characters floating around in my head. Wow that sounds more dramatic than I intended...
3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?
I write fantasy, which is just the way my brain is wired. My imagination is dangerously over-active. I grew up watching films like Neverending Story and Labyrinth, and my go-to authors were CS Lewis and Robin Jarvis. I just can't get enough of it.
Fantasy got a bad rep for a while; only 'nerds' were allowed to like it, but that's swung totally in the opposite direction now (thanks to a certain boy wizard and Game of Thrones), so it's a really exciting time to be writing fantasy.
What I enjoy most about writing is finding the hidden depths. The little details that make a person tick. Why do they talk the way they do? Why do they react that way? I find that fascinating - especially when you figure out a way to put your character in a bad situation that really shows what they're made of.
4. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
Sentinel came out on 1 May 2013, and the sequel, Ruins, is reducing me to a shadow of a man as we speak. Though I love writing, it's easy to forget how tough it can be sometimes when you're trying to break a story that's being obstinate. That's also part of the joy of it, though.
5. "Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.
The world of Sentinel looks just like the world you see every day - except there are things lurking in the darkness, just out of sight. It's a world you, hopefully, believe really could exist. I know I do.
6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
Nicholas is our Luke Skywalker. He's young and naive (on the cusp of 16), and totally unprepared for the adventure he's about to go on. Luckily, he's pretty bolshie and has a smart mouth, which should help him out along the way. I worried for a while that he was too 'normal', too much of an average Joe, but now that's what I love about him. The fact that he feels like a real, overdramatic, tantrum-inclined teenager gives a little edge to Sentinel. And, of course, there's more to him than meets the eye…
Then there's Malika, a sultry immortal who likes getting her way. She's just one of the kick-ass females in Sentinel, but she's also a villain. Her motives are mysterious and it's unclear exactly where her loyalties really lie. She's really fun to write; I get to engage my inner warrior princess and just her loose.
Possibly my favourite character is Isabel. But you'll have to read the book to find out more about her...
7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
Sentinel took me 16 years to complete, which either means it's really good, or it's really bad. Hopefully the former. [Kyra sez, I'm going with really good!] I'm not planning on taking as long with book two - I'm already seven chapters in, so it's looking good!
8. Blog/site link, and where your book is available.
Amazon (UK), Amazon (US)
Click on the covers for more information
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