Saturday, 15 April 2017

Back Catalogue Books - Q&A with J C Norman - Spring Reading Week

Back Catalogue Books is my new regular Saturday feature, focusing on books that are not the latest releases. There is going to be a mix of Q&As and also reviews, depending on what I have the space for. 

If you are an author wanting to take part in Back Catalogue Books then please do email on gilbster at gmail dot com and I'll whizz the questions over to you. 

I hope everyone enjoys this weekly look back at some of the slightly older books that are about but still great, and that I eventually make a dent in my TBRs as a result of it!

My name is Jamie Norman and am author to the series Sphere's Divide. A series inspired by my love of fantasy, science fiction, action, romance, martial arts and adventure stories.

1) Please tell me about your first book, and what started you writing in the first place

My first published book was the first part of my series 'Sphere's Divide I: Pilgrim of Element' but this was not my first story. I originally had an old series I tried writing when I was many years younger but scrapped the idea and tried concentrating on other things at the time. My love for writing and making stories originally started when I had a paper round in my small village and used to tell myself a story, adding a chapter each week in order to pass the time.

2) How many books have you written and what are they?

So far I have written three published books, all of the same series (Pilgrim of Element, Composer of Wrath and Tragedies of Emotion)  but it's now closer to four since I have nearly finished the next instalment.

3) Which book are you most proud of writing?
When it comes to what one am I proud of is a hard question. I am proud of each one in different ways. The first was my first feeling of accomplishment and gave me direction in what I wanted to do in life; the second was the first time I felt the story turned in the direction that I wanted and started to portray a darker tone of the series; the third I feel is where I feel settled and matured in my writing style and the fourth is closer to my own story than any other and I feel emotionally attached to (but since it's still in writing I wont go into it). To ask me my favourite would be like asking a parent who is their favourite child.

4) Which book was your favourite to write?
Not including the latest one, I would say my favourite to write so far would be the second instalment (Composer of Wrath) because I feel I raised the bar with this story over the first and even though I feel the third succeeded it, that this book was where the story began to step away from its inspirations and become something unique. It was where I began to use my own feelings and emotions and use them in the story to give the characters a more believable and 'human' appearance. Giving them a vulnerability that is relatable to the audience and portraying stress, heartbreak and depression for the first time in my writing. It wasn't a happy time for me but it took my mind away and gave me something to work towards.

5) Who are your favourite characters from your books and why?
I have often thought of who are my favourite characters in my series. It's a story with a large cast and it's often the first thing I ask anybody who has read them. The characters are the most important part of any story for me. Again I love all my characters for different reasons but if I had to choose I would say I love Raiden, Acarlie, Dude (Monkey/Mute) and Miles. Raiden in many ways is a symbol of what makes my story unique. He was the first non-human character of the series. Acarlie because the Elemental Battles are a trademark of my stories and something I get many positive responses from. 

The nameless mute (Dude/Monkey/Mute) is my favourite and everyone else's favourite, the underdog mute I have a lot of fun writing with because he cannot talk and so everything is actions, emotions and pity with. He portrays many of my own insecurities and rejections and so connects with the readers on a more personal level than many others (apart from Mitis). And Miles is just a pure joy to write with. Every scene I write I smile and absolutely love how he dominates any scene he is in more than any other character.

6) If you could go back and change anything from any of your books, what would it be, and why?

To ask me what things I would change made me laugh, because I already have gone back and changed things. The first book I re-visited and re-wrote after I felt the second and third had surpassed it and felt I needed to give the foundations of the story a re-work. It now has the same flavour that the others do feels more like a Sphere's Divide story than it ever did before.

Amazon UK
7) Which of your covers if your favourite and why?
Since the covers of the series will eventually all be identical its hard for me to pick out a favourite. Each cover will have a different symbol related to the elements that Acarlie learns on her pilgrimage. Composer of Wrath's however has a rich a powerful cover I had designed before but this will one day change to match the rest of the series.

8) Have you ever thought about changing genres, if so what else would you like to write?

I have already had plans for different genres. Where Sphere's Divide will always be my first I don't expect it to be the only series I write and have several ideas in different genres I wish to one day show the world. Ranging from children's stories to historical inspired fictions/ noirs to thrillers etc.

9) Looking forward can you let us know what you are working on next?

With a quick glimpse into my latest work. My next book will still be in the SD series but will be something a little different. Set around a completely different cast of the first three books the fourth will be a stand alone story with themes of heartbreak, loneliness, war, family and designed to raise a couple of philosophic questions for the reader.

10) I dare not ask for a favourite author, but is there any author’s back catalogue you admire and why?

I can't really say if I have a favourite author's back catalogue. I have read many of Tolkien's works and George Martin, Terry Pratchett, Frank Herbert, ect but since all of those are an individual series I wasn't sure if it counts. I don't really buy or read books because I like the author. I choose mine based on the story or are suggested to me by friends. That does mean I have to take risks every once in a while though.

11) Finally, is there anything else you would like to say about your back catalogue of books?

Sphere's Divide is extremely special to me for I feel it personally gives me a purpose on this earth and gives me hope for the future. I enjoy every page that I write and hope the readers enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.  

Thank you so much Jamie for answering my questions.

Author bio

Growing up in a small village in a small town I quickly took to dreaming as a means of escaping the confides of my tiny world when I was young. This turned out to be something I not only enjoyed but was also quite good at. I never got into sports like most of my friends and family but always loved films and books. As far back as I remember my life has always be centred around these and back in school I always used to love the English lessons where we would be asked to write stories. Music was another big part of my life, especially in my late teens and early twenties when I picked up a guitar and began learning every day. But as much as a tried I could not write songs. I could play other people's but found there was no originality in mine and I felt I could not articulate myself as much as I tried. And so I turned back to writing and this time stuck with it and found I could find a way of expressing myself through my stories and making something more enjoyable than music ever could.

I am also a man of martial arts and have been studying karate since I was 16. I still train twice a week or more and again love the idea that it is a practise no-one can ever master and you better yourself and learn with every lesson.

I started writing my current series in October of 2009 and as the years went by the series became bigger and better as I learned more over the years.

It started as a means of taking my mind away from a break-up that I still am scarred by today but soon I found that I could use my own emotions and experiences and use them in my stories to give more depth to the characters. Turning something negative in my life and turning it into something productive. Even today I now write as a means of escaping from my reality and instead create something everyone can enjoy and relate to. It is an amazing feeling when you have an idea stuck in your mind for years, and one day someone can sit down and discuss your idea as they would for any of their favourite books, shows ect. This is what I have always hoped to achieve with my writing, that one day many people will find enjoyment and inspiration from something that started off to me as only a dream and a means of escape.

I take my inspirations from various forms, from screenplays to books, video games, graphic novels, manga, stage plays, animations, but also of music, history and science like the natural world and astronomy as well as my own experience and knowledge of martial arts and love to mix all these things together to make fun and exciting stories.

With many different genres and ideas I would like to try also I have no intention of stopping writing any time soon and will continue on trying to perfect my art and keeping my mind focused on moving forward.

With a life full of routine and vices I feel liberated every time I write and enjoy creating something fun to colour the monotony of every day life.      


Sphere's Divide III : Tragedies of Emotion

After the dramatic collision of events that tore apart friends and lovers Arcalie and Val in second novel of the Sphere’s Divide series, we return to find another city has fallen and society has once again been plunged into turmoil. Arcalie, growing in power, is struggling to remain in control of her influence over the elements and is stretched to the limit as she continues to compete in the Elemental League tournaments with one aim: to become the Element Leader. Val, having being rescued from his recent imprisonment, is the only one who can keep her grounded; the build up of energy locked within her can only lead to ruination. So when Lord Zane — reigning Elemental Lord and Arcalie’s immortal adversary — orders the death penalty to be introduced to the games, it is up to Val and their friends to save the Elementists. As events spiral out of their control, Arcalie unwittingly sets down a dark and dangerous path that may yet lead to her own destruction and that of everyone and everything she has fought so hard to protect. 

A gripping blend of science-fiction, steam and cyber punk, Sphere’s Divide III: Tragedies of Emotion is the third instalment of J C Norman’s fantastical series.

Don't forget to check out all the wonderful blogs that are taking part in the Spring Reading Week

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