Friday, 16 October 2015

The children of when by Jen Redmile - an interview and review

As part of my getting back to Blogging, I also want to get back to highlighting authors and books that I have enjoyed.
One I had the pleasure of helping edit recently was Jen Redmile's Children Of When, the first book in a series of new young adult fantasy novels...

Jen asked me to read the first three chapters and instantly I was hooked. I loved the opening, saw only a few grammatical changes - the sort of common mistakes that ALL authors make (never believe ANY author that tells you they don't need independent editing) - and told her straight, there and then, I wanted - no, needed - to read more.

When the book came up for editing, I jumped at the opportunity and as I'd anticipated, it was a nice, quick, clean edit. The book, too, lived up to all the potential of those first three chapters and left me on tender hooks waiting for the next instalment. 

I believe in this book so much, I will make a bold, sweeping statement and say I believe it has enough potential in time to be as big as Harry Potter and I honestly believe it is much better written.

I asked Jen a few questions, but first here's the review I wrote for her on Amazon:-

"Every so often a fantasy series comes along that leaves you chomping at the bit for more. Children of When book one is just one example of this.
With the potential to be just as big as Harry Potter or The Hunger Games, this first chapter in a brand new series is a thoroughly enjoyable and engaging tale aimed at young teens, though older readers will likewise find a lot here to enjoy as well.
When Leah, Raff, and Belle all turn fourteen, each of them in turn is transported to a mystical and fantastical land by way of a magical portal. Here, as well as learning who they really are, the three teens soon find themselves caught up in a quest to reunite the peices of an ancient amulet. But various dangers await them and before long the three find themselves fighting off all sorts of peril as they struggle to adapt to a new school, a new life, and the startling truth that their fates are intrinsically entwined.
Though I am not exactly the target audience, I found much here that I absolutely loved. The book was easy to read, highly engrossing, and certainly left me wanting to read the next book in the series.
Though at times a little too easy to read for me, nonetheless this book never once failed to impress and was one of the best books aimed at a younger audience I have read.
Jennifer Redmile has a very strong and confident writing style that is instantly welcoming and engaging and I look forward to seeing bigger and better things from her in the future!"

Jen is a lovely person, really friendly, and always a lot of laughs. I have got to know her a bit in the last few months and simply is a delight to work with and I count her amongst my very favourite author friends. She has been there for me in times of writer anguish, and I know I have been there for her as well when the inevitable self-doubt all us authors suffer from has loomed. 
But enough praise, without further ado, allow me the pleasure of introducing you to Jen Redmile herself...

Where did you get the ideas from for the Children Of When series?
I had just finished a 10 week contract as a boarding supervisor at a Residential College for teenage kids. After the first week of being home full-time, my hubby suggested I not go back to work and we live on one wage for a while. I heard about this writing challenge called NaNoWriMo, where you have to write 50,000 words in a month. As it was October, and the challenge runs throughout the month of November, I started thinking about writing a book. I’ve always been a huge reader of fantasy novels, and I’ve always worked with kids. So I decided to write a fantasy novel about kids for kids. I'm a huge fan of the Harry Potter books, so thought I'd have a bash at creating my own fantasy world with memorable characters.  I’m not really sure where the original idea came from, but the story has evolved from what the characters tell me to do next.

Do you see this as a stand-alone series, or do you think you might have other stories in you that are set in the same world?
I knew about half way through writing The Children of When Book 1 that it would need to be a series.  I started writing The Children of When - Book 2 - Valleron the day after I finished writing book 1, and it's currently waiting to be published. Book 3 - Dragardia, which I'm still working on, will probably be the final book in the series. Having said that, I didn't get as far as I thought I would in book 2, so who knows really?
What inspires you to write and what advice would you give?
For me, inspiration usually strikes when I'm doing something totally unrelated to the story I'm working on.  Because I usually have at least four books on the go at the same time, the characters from each book tend to have an ongoing battle in my head about who gets to tell their story next. So if one of them comes up with a great idea to move the story along, I'll work on that one.
Advice? Well if you just read the paragraph above you'll probably have noticed that writers don't tend to be normal people.   So many people, at some stage in their lives, decide they should/could/will write a book. Great idea…why not? How hard can it be, right? WRONG! 
Hmmm...I remember thinking all those things too. At 53 I figured better late than never, and I dived in boots and all. Knowing how lucky I was to have the time and opportunity to write full-time, I dived headlong into learning everything I could about writing fiction. Hundreds of hours later, after downloading and reading everything I could find on the internet (and hardly scratching the surface of the information available) I realized that writing a book was one of those things you needed to just start doing and learn as you go.
Anyway, I could go on forever about the highs and lows I experienced during the actual writing process. Needless to say, I got there…all the blood sweat and tears finally behind me as I blithely typed “The End”. WRONG AGAIN!
Who are some of your favourite authors you like to read?
I love J.K.Rowlings, and grew up reading Tolkein, Robert Jordan, Terry Brooks, Terry Goodkind, Kate Forsyth, Garth Nix…the list is endless. I'm also a fan of murder/mysteries, and have read every Agatha Christie book ever written, as well as many by James Patterson and Kathy Reichs.

What else have you got planned for release in the near future?
While waiting for The Children of When to be released, I wrote a YA romantic comedy called What Ghost? which was released 10 days after The Children of When.
Then I decided to branch out a little further, and wrote a YA fantasy about witches and dragons called Morwitch, which is due to be released shortly.
I recently decided to branch out even further, and try my hand at writing books for adults. My first mystery/crime/romance novel is called Sight, and I'm about half way through writing it.
I'm also editing an anthology of scary stories for kids called JEApers Creepers, which is due to be released before Halloween. (Bloggers note: I have submitted two stories for this myself, a genre I must admit, I've never written before!)
Apart from that, I'm working on Book 3 of the Children of When, book 2 of What Ghost? and Book 2 of Morwitch. 
So not much really lol.
Thanks Jen! Sounds good - I hope this helps even more readers discover your work and I hope at least some of you, the readers of my Blog, go check out what she's done. 
I can be a hard act to please sometimes, so for me to be so blown away by her writing hopefully speaks volumes. I've even added it to my 1001 books list I loved it so much!
Until next time...

ciao xx

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