Wednesday, 27 August 2008

An interview with author, Ken Preston

  • Ken, how long have you been a writer?

Hmm. How long have I been alive - almost 44 years, so whilst I cannot honestly say I’ve been writing for 44 years it sometimes feels like it.I’ve written stories from a very young age, and have always been a passionate reader. Yet my first experience of reading was a disaster.

  • Why was that?

Well, at my junior school, my teacher labelled me a failure because I couldn't read. After a visit to the school to complain, my dad took me to the library and borrowed Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and the Biggles books, (basically his childhood favourites) and we read them together. He taught me to read by sharing his pleasure in reading.

  • And so a future author was born! Wow, some introduction to the world of literature. So how many books have you written?

Not many, Anthony, but if you were to ask me how many books I have started and then abandoned the number would be much higher! I have three completed manuscripts and one almost complete, which I’m planning on finishing soon. Two of them will never see the light of day.

  • Why is that?

Mainly because they’re not very good, but do I regret writing them, spending all that time and effort creating two novels that will never be published? No, I don’t. They were both valuable experiences, and taught me a great deal about the process. Writing a novel, like all things in life, needs to be learned, and you can only learn by doing.

  • I think most newbies don’t understand that, Ken. They seem to think all they have to do is sit at a computer and out it comes. They don’t know the hidden years that go into ‘overnight success’.

My third completed manuscript was “Caxton Tempest at the End of the World”, which is now published and available in Europe, America, Australia and Japan! My next book will be “The Devil and Edward Teach”, hopefully available towards the end of the year.

  • So what prompted you to write your latest book?

Well, “Caxton Tempest at the End of the World”, came about because I’d completed two downbeat novels and wanted to write something more exciting. I'm interested in Victorian literature and the supernatural, so a novel combining those two elements seemed natural. I started by making a list of everything I wanted to include: Foggy Victorian streets, gas lamps, street urchins, a Fagin style bully, a Sherlockian main character, secret societies, tunnels, vampires, demons, etc. How I ended up with a female cowboy and an ass-kicking Chinese martial arts master, I will never know!

It may sound a little odd to start with a list of elements to include in a novel, rather than an idea itself, but the idea soon followed.

  • So is it aimed mainly at men, women or children?

If you can read, it’s aimed at you!!! I set out to attract a young adult audience, but a lot of adults have read it and told me how much they enjoyed it. And if you read the reviews on you will see my female readership very much love Denver McCade. So I guess it's aimed at everyone, but only if you enjoy the plot elements I listed before. You know, Foggy Victorian streets, etc, etc…

  • And where can we purchase it?

Any online bookstore, such as Amazon, etc, and ordered from all good bookshops.

  • Have you any other work in the pipeline, Ken?

Yes, I’m hoping to publish “The Devil and Edward Teach” soon. This is a pirate adventure, again aimed at the young adult audience but hopefully with crossover appeal to adults.

  • Would you like to give a brief outline of “Caxton Tempest at the End of the World”?

Well, orphan, Jim Kerrigan and his young brother, George, live by their wits on the streets. After stumbling across a mutilated corpse, Jim finds himself thrust into the dangerous world of Caxton Tempest. With new friends, Denver McCade and Johnny Chen, Jim must fight for his life against a killer intent on opening up the gates of Hell. Other forces of evil are gathering, and Tempest finds he needs the help of an unlikely ally if he is to defeat them…

  • Do you have a website for further information?

I certainly do, Anthony. My web is You can read the first 3 chapters for free, find deleted chapters, excerpts from my journal, and a couple of short stories. I have also published different versions of the front cover charting its evolution from initial idea to finished illustration. Plus there are links to my blog and other stuff too.

  • Ken. Thanks for the insight. I’m sure everyone will be grateful for it, and good luck with your sales.

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