1 What were you in your life before you became a writer? Did this influence your writing?
Before I turned to full-time writing, I was in the communications/marketing sector and prior to that, the newspaper industry as journalist and then editor. So as you can see, writing in some form has been an integral part of my life. It's been three years since my career was halted due to a job restructuring. Writing that down - job restructuring - leaves me with a mixture of emotions. It's such a nondescript phrase for a life-changing event, don't you think? But if not for that business decision, I'd be commuting for three hours every weekday and finding no time to release my inner passion for creative writing. You know the saying, 'when one door closes, a window opens....' So true.
2. Are you genre specific or general? Why? I don't mean genres like romance, mystery, fantasy etc. There are many subgenres of the above.
I did not purposefully set about writing a young adult book - it came about as a result of a dream. Or series of dreams. Let me explain. I have a condition known as 'restless leg syndrome.' This means that when I lie down to sleep, my legs decide that it's time to play soccer and kick the ball. It's most irritating for my partner, especially when I hoof him in the hind quarters. Nonetheless, one morning, after a particularly busy night of 'restless legs,' I had a dream that I'd been climbing a mountain.
"Hmmm," I said to myself, "perhaps you should invite/invent some characters to join you on this climb."
And so I did.
And then I decided that my characters (and I) needed some adventures on our climb up the mountain, so I opened up the playground that is my mind and I made-up all kinds of adventures. Of course, I had to bring in an antagonist, just to keep the adrenalin flowing.
And then I said to myself, "Hey! You should write a book about this!"
And so I did. It's called The Twisted Climb.
I have also written nine other books - all children's picture books. Five books are a series about Mama Pangolin and her wee son, Foleydota. Pangolins are the only scale-covered mammal in the world, found in hot climates such as Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Pangolins are currently being poached to extinction. It is my sincere hope that my books (when I find a picture-book publisher) will help put a stop to their senseless slaughter. My other picture books are part of a series I call "Paper Bag Books." These books are heart-warming stories of children and families dealing with issues such as bed-wetting and sleeping by yourself.
3. Did your reading choices have anything to do with your choice of a genre or genres?
I think so. I do love to read suspense, science fiction, espionage, action thrillers. Maybe my mind is an action-adrenalin junkie :)
As for my children's picture books... well it all began when my two youngest were in elementary school. At night I prepared their lunch and snacks and placed it all in a paper lunch bag - you know the kind - the brown, rectangular-shaped bags. My sons were too big/old for me to read them books at night, so I decided I'd write each of them a story: two different stories per night. Sometimes the story was continued the next day or for the next few days, but most often it was just a short story, written with pen on the paper bag.
4. What's your latest release?
My latest release was published in June 2016 and titled, The Twisted Climb.
The header on the cover page explains that.... falling to sleep has never been so tiring.
The story is about three sleep climbers - Jayden, Connor and Max - who meet in a strange, moonlit dream land where the only way to ‘fall’ asleep is to climb. The climbing is not so simple, though. The mountain is full of night-time animals and things that could only exist in a dream world. Jayden, a brash, assertive girl, battles her own demons while joining forces with Connor, a calm, intuitive young man, and Max, a young teenager trying to be a man in a boy’s body. Together, they climb their way up the mountain but their many adventures are interrupted by Richard Hatemore, an evil, sickly-looking boy who will stop at nothing to prevent them from reaching their goal. As the sleep climbers move closer to the top, they begin to work as a team and ultimately face their greatest challenge together.
I was thrilled that The Twisted Climb was voted BEST YOUNG ADULT BOOK 2016 by the P&E Readers' Poll.
5. What are you working on now?
Currently, I'm working on the sequel to The Twisted Climb. It's a suspense/drama/adventure/fantasy, titled The Twisted Climb: Darkness Descends, and the story follows the same characters in a new, somewhat darker set of circumstances. Oh my oh my, it even gives me goosebumps as I write. I'm hoping to have it completed and published early 2018, through BWL Publishing Ltd. in Alberta, Canada.6. Where can we find you?
You can find my book across Canada in Chapters/Indigo/Coles stores, as well as many public libraries, and of course, online - through my publisher BWL Publishing, through Chapters Kobo and worldwide via Amazon. I've been busy holding book signings across southern Ontario, including Toronto's Eaton Centre. I very much enjoy these book signings! They give me the opportunity to meet fans and the hundreds and hundreds of kids, teens and adults who love to read. Reading rocks!
You can also find me through Facebook:
and through my publisher's website:
and on Amazon:
and on Twitter:
@JCKavanagh1 (Author J.C. Kavanagh)