My Interview with LG SURGESON!
The publishing world of literature is rough, but I am thinking it isn’t as difficult as your normal “day” job – You’re a math teacher in a special school for students with emotional and social difficulties! Yep, I need to interview you!
1. Let’s start as I always do – please, tell us how you’d describe yourself?
Difficult. I can tell you what I do, and how I look, but that doesn't really answer the question.
I was brought up as a dreamer, but with my feet firmly on the ground, and with the belief that people are just people and they all deserve care, freedom and love. I suppose I'm a natural story-teller, a bit of a free spirit, a loyal friend, open-hearted but not sentimental. According to an old friend, I'm the kind of rebel that knows when to break the rules and when to follow them. Not sure how much of an accurate picture that paints, but it'll have to do.
2. Before we get into talking about writing and publishing, I want to discuss your everyday life. Math is so technical, and well, hated! I get the correlation between writing and mathematics – the abstract thinking, hypothesizing, and you have that whole ‘matrix’ thing (maybe you have a different meaning for ‘matrix’ than I do? J) – Still, it is a completely different world than writing and literature. I have so many questions to ask you!
o Define ‘Matrix’?
· An array of digits that follow certain rules.
o Being a creative person, who loved writing and reading from such a young age, how did you end up becoming a math teacher?
· I'm good at it. I may have loved writing and reading from a very early age, but I'm dyslexic, and I didn't know until I was in my twenties, so essay subjects were something I struggled with at school. Math is beautiful in its own way and awesome, so I studied that. And I always wanted to teach, so that's what I teach.
o What’s an ‘exponential’?
· An exponential is a function that is basically defined as constant to the power of a variable. This makes the function increase in a curve.
o Did you intend to work in a school for troubled kids? If yes, then why, and if no, how’d you gain a position in one?
· Yes, I did.
· I have a knack for connecting with kids who have emotional and behaviour difficulties, and that connection is vital if you want to help them learn. I've always had the knack throughout my career, and whilst I've now got years of training and experience, the basics were something that comes naturally.
3. Now, a conversation about your writing. I am sure I will work in a few things about being an avid reader and your path to publication.
o What first led you to putting a pen to paper?
· I have no idea. I come from a family of story tellers, books and films are a big part of our family still. When I was growing up, making up story was the most natural thing in the world.
Ø I read you were inspired to write by Jo March, protagonist in LITTLE WOMEN. What made her so special to you?
Jo March was a strong, independent woman that did things her own way – that's something I've always been able to relate to. She wasn't interested in traditional female priorities, and she wrote. Even at the age of six, I could relate to that. I wanted to sit up in the attic late at night and have stories come alive to me the way they did for Jo.
Ø What was it about LITTLE WOMEN that made such an impact on you, particularly at such a young age?
Little Women is a family thing. My mother & my grandmother both love the book. My 'Ama' read it to me as a very young girl, and I was intrigued by the four sisters. The story has become something of a special connection between the women in my family, gentle humour and the beautiful, simplicity of the family's affection and faith, as well as, Jo's independence appealed to all of us.
o Do you think your love of reading sparked your need to write, or did your love of writing enflame your desire to read?
· I, actually, wrote a book before I read one independently – like I said, I had no idea I was dyslexic, so I didn't know why I found it so difficult to finish a book, but I did. I was 9 before I managed to finish one on my own.
o You have been writing your whole life – you even wrote your first book at age seven – what drew you to writing, and where do you find your stories?
· Like I say, books are a really important part of my family – stories, with humour, particularly – are something that I have always been surrounded by. Mum encouraged me to put my work in writing, and helped me to consolidate ideas. After that, I was always coming up with new stories and characters. I still see stories in everything, it's the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘maybes’ in things that I love.
o What author(s), book(s), and/or character(s) help influence your tastes and writing styles?
· Apart from Louisa May Alcott & Jo March, probably my biggest influence as a writer is Sir Terry Prachett, I love the way he takes the fantastical and makes it real, the people in his books live ordinary lives with privies and damp, and they are still heroes.
o Why do you prefer to write fantasy adventures and semi-autobiographical tales of teachers? Do you prefer to read from these genres as well?
· Fantasy gives you the scope to explore a different world, to be creative and free, and to take flights of whim and amusement. When it comes to writing fiction, it's about painting a picture of what you see. It's got to feel plausible, but you can tell stories that connect more directly with people's experiences.
· In terms of reading, I like comic/light-hearted fantasy similar to what I write, and speculative fiction.
4. POP QUIZ! Ah, how the tables have turned! J
o What is a ‘binomial’?
· A binomial is an algebraic expression that involves the sum or difference of two terms
o When you’ve described your writing, what does ‘semi-autobiographical’ mean to you?
· Semi-autobiographical means that some of the details, conversations and scenarios in the stories are things that have actually happened to me, and the factious stuff is based on my knowledge and experiences.
o When writing out a number, where do you place the ‘and’? (you can find answer here)
· You'd put it where you would say it, so usually before either the tens digit or the units digit if the tens column is zero.
o How many words do you need for your book to be considered a novel? (you can find answer here)
· Technically, it's 50,000
5. Let’s discuss the ‘meat & potatoes’ – THE BLACK WATER CHRONICLES! This set of questions will be focused on your book series.
o The first question HAS to be – why aren’t you writing the series in chronological order?
· It's no secret by now that before I wrote the Black River Chronicles as a series of novels, I worked on a live action roleplaying system in Aberystwyth. For twelve years, I worked on the team that wrote the plots and settings for the game. Before I'd even thought of writing the novels, the plot arc of the Chronicles existed.
· I hadn't originally intended to write more than one novel. The Freetown Bridge, which is based on a specific event, was the easiest story to tell as a free standing novel. Then, when I realised how much I loved writing that story, I started writing Dawn of Darkness – book 5, which was a piece of plot work I was really proud of. After I started that – whilst I was still writing The Freetown Bridge – I decided I'd map out the whole series. Once I knew what I was writing, I just dived in where I felt like it.
o Who or what is ‘The Aberddu Guild of Adventures’ found in this book series?
· A Guild, in medieval times, was a trade organisation that supported and regulated a certain profession.
· The Aberddu Guild of Adventurers is just one of many Guilds in the city.
· The adventurers that belong to the guild are a bunch of individuals with a unique range of talents. They are available for hire by people who require their talents for everything from rescuing damsels in distress to investigating long forgotten crypts. More often, they end up stuck in the middle of good and evil, trying to referee. Most of the adventurers join the guild for the excitement or the fortune – they tend to stay because no one else will put up with them after a few months as an adventurer.
o What do you want readers to specifically know about The Black River Chronicles as a whole?
· The Black River Chronicles is a series that doesn't take itself too seriously. It's not written entirely for laughs, but it has a light side, and it tries to connect on a 'human' level with the readers.
o Can you give us a quick overview as to what this series is about – not the individual books per say, but the collection of tales as a whole?
· The series follows the adventurers as they try their best to stop various evils and save the world, even though, all they signed up for was a little light bandit-killing and the occasional Temple raid. Like they say, 'it's a mad world, but someone's got to save it'.
o What can we expect to see from you over the coming year?
· I'm hoping to be able to release the next 3 books in the BRC in the next year, and maybe another book set in the same world.
o What is your current WIP?
· I am currently working on 'The Fireborn Road' – the fourth BRC.
o What’s the best way for readers to connect with you and your work?
· Connect with me via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LGSurgeson
· Connect with my work here: https://aberdduadventures.wordpress.com
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. It has been a lot of fun, and I am sure my readers will be excited to learn more about you. I wish you all the success in the world, and thank you for helping to shape the minds of our youth!