It’s Meet the Author Monday! Each week we meet a new author and get to know a little about them, their writing process, publishing experience, and tips for other writers. Today we’re talking to Charlie King, author of Lizzie’s Dream Journal, The Lyons Orphanage, and The Lyons Legacy.
About Charlie King:
Charlie King is an Author from London who began writing from an early age, leading him to write his first book published in 2017 and he hasn’t looked back since then.
Charlie has always considered writing to be a hobby no matter the content. That is why he runs a blog on his author page to discuss everything from TV and Film to Book Reviews, observations of life as an author and even satirical articles.
Working as a legal assistant at a law firm, Charlie enjoys the balance of the real world and creating new worlds. When not working or writing, Charlie unwinds by watching TV and playing video games.
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Author Interview with Charlie King:
- What are common traps for aspiring writers?
One thing I was guilty of and I’m sure many other authors suffered the same thing with their first book, is telling rather than showing. This is where you tell the readers about characters and their emotions rather than letting a simple action give the reader how they feel. Showing rather than telling helps the reader to picture it in the way they want to rather than you telling them exactly how everything is. Even better, by not telling, it might make it unclear how the character is feeling and the reader will have to guess.
- What is your writing Kryptonite?
Related to my point above, I’m sometimes guilty of telling rather than showing simply because I want my readers to understand what I have written and what I have done. I blame that partly on my own view that ‘it means whatever you want it to mean’ is an unsatisfying response to a question. It is however a bit of a showoff move because you want to point the reader to how well you foreshadowed something earlier or how all the clues from the book now fit into the conclusion but you just have to let readers find that out for themselves. If your readers like the book, they may well read it again to piece everything together and see if there was something that might have been missed.
- Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
That’s an interesting question because I wouldn’t consider myself to feel emotions strongly most of the time. Most of the time, you can anticipate what emotion a certain action might awaken for a character so you can write about that even if you haven’t felt it yourself. In Lizzie’s Dream Journal, Lizzie deals with the death of her father and with bullies; two things I was lucky enough not to have to deal with when I was a child. It is hard to say whether the writing would have been better if I could truly put myself in Lizzie’s shoes.
- What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
It can be difficult. It was easier for me in Lizzie’s Dream Journal with Lizzie being ten years old and simply making her a female version of ten year old me. When I wrote The Lyons Legacy, I created a love interest for the main character. This was slightly more difficult as I had to make sure the character actually had some personality of her own, not just hopelessly in love and fawning over the main character all the time. On this front, you also don’t want to overcompensate by being too patronising about just how ‘out there’ and ‘not like most girls’ this character is. I personally think I created a good balance in this case; both characters care for each other, both are worried about the other and both get one up on each other constantly.
- Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I like to read all the book reviews that come in. I know some people say you shouldn’t; that perhaps the good ones give you a big head and the bad ones bring you down to the depths. I know that if my book was read by thousands of people, there is no way all the reviews would be positive. Whether it is good or bad reviews, I do like to see a consistent theme of why people liked or disliked it so that I know what was done right and what could have been better.
The good reviews do give me a bit of a boost, each one that comes in a little bit of vindication for writing a book in the first place. Luckily, none of my books have started with a string of bad reviews. If the bad reviews came first, it would probably make me feel more down that it usually does. However, bad reviews sandwiched in between good reviews give the book rating a more realistic score- if it’s all five stars, people would think all your friends were part of it. Bad reviews are good, even the good reviews with suggestions for improvement, because they allow me to take that onboard and improve my writing in the future. However, sometimes people just don’t like your book and it isn’t anything in particular to do with your writing style or the story you told.
- What comes first, the plot or characters?
For me, the plot comes first. Sometimes the plot and characters come at once i.e in The Lyons Orphanage, the plot centred around mind reading so the main character had to be a mind reader. Otherwise, the characters are secondary. Once you know what the plot is, then you create the characters to fulfill the different roles needed to drive the plot forward and reach its endgame. Without a plot, I’m not sure you can really plan your protagonist and antagonist in too much detail.
- Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you?
I am on Twitter @CharlieK_Author
I am on there tweeting observations about writing, trying to make jokes and sharing my blog posts on everything from film and sport to book reviews and comments on society.
- Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips for aspiring writers?
If you don’t have a deadline, don’t rush your writing. It can be nice to set out plans and set aside days for writing but aspiring writers might burn out and resent their own writing just because they feel the ‘need’ to make the most of that time.
If something in your book isn’t quite clicking, set it aside for a while. Same applies if you know something isn’t clicking and can only be fixed by reviewing everything you have written so far and likely having to make huge changes.
- Do you have a favorite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special.
My favorite character is Ridgeley, who is a talking rat in the dream world sequences of Lizzie’s Dream Journal. Ridgeley proves that despite my answer to question 6, the characters can take over the plot at some point. In the first basic outline for the plot, Ridgeley didn’t exist. Then he existed to appear a few times as a comic relief character and then all of a sudden he became one of the most important characters in the book. I can’t go into detail as to why but Ridgeley’s story arc was the missing piece of the puzzle as I was writing this book. His story brings excitement and jeopardy which would have still existed if he wasn’t as involved but it adds an extra emotional layer to the overall story- one that even I didn’t see coming for a long time.
- What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I’m very indoorsy so when I’m not inside writing, I’m inside watching television and playing video games instead. I do find that storylines in games and television help to give me ideas for writing, gone are the days where all games were mindless time-killers, instead they present stories as good as if not better than film and television. No, this isn’t just me trying to justify playing video games all day long!