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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Interview with Rod Tyson and Giveaway

Everyone give a warm welcome to my special guest, Rod Tyson. Rod is the author of Curse of Ancient Shadows, a new debut novel. Rod is a pleasure to talk to and his book is pretty awesome too. You can 
read my review of Curse of Ancient Shadows here, if you haven’t already.

GIVEAWAY: Rod is also being very generous and giving away THREE e-book copes of Curse of Ancient Shadows. To enter fill out the rafflecopter form after the interview. The winners must be a follower of my blog to win and will get a choice of which format that would like to receive.

Christie: Welcome Rod, thank you for joining me on my blog and being my first author interview. Tell me a little about yourself.

Rod: Hi Christie. I live in windswept Suffolk, in the UK, with my wife, daughter and a nameless moggy, in a little tin shack out on the lonely marshes. I have a finely honed nose for cheap red wine and when I’m not writing novels (which takes up a lot of my time) I repair and maintain computers.

Christie: wow sounds like you keep busy!

Christie: How long have you been writing, what made you start?

Rod: I started writing my first young adult fantasy novel, Curse of Ancient Shadows, around sixteen months ago.  The ideas for the world rattled around in the ether for years, but life was just too hectic to allow me to start developing the idea fully. I finally decided to cut back my hours at work to avoid stress, and hey presto, started writing all my ideas down.  The sense of fulfillment I gained has been priceless.

Christie: I’m glad you finally got the time to sit down and do it, it was a great book!

Christie: What was the inspiration for Curse of Ancient Shadows?

Rod:  My obsession with British legends and history played a large part. I spent a while on the road, searching  for a sense of magic in places where it might still exist. Places that left me feeling a sense of mystery and awe, like ruined castles, forlorn standing stones and ancient woodland. I wanted to capture some of that and set a fantasy adventure in a place that was a kind of distillation of all those things together. So I came up with the little town called the Hamblings, where much of the action in ‘Curse of Ancient Shadows’ takes place.

Christie: Legends can be quite fun! Everything you describe is the type of stuff that it a ton of fun to read about. You did great with using that in your book and I think all those aspects made it really great.

Christie: Were any of your characters based off of real life people?

Rod: Phillip, Cat Celeste's grandfather is entirely based upon my ‘larger than life’ father-in-law, who came over to the US after their family went through some terrible experiences in post-war Europe. He’s been an inspiration in my own life on more than one occasion and I feel privileged to know him.  Cat is also based on my wonderful, brave, stubborn and adventurous daughter.

Christie: It is great to have real life inspirations and people that mean that much to you.

Christie: Do you have a writing style or technique? Do you plan things out and know exactly where you want to go or do you just write and see where the story takes you?

Rod:  I plan rigorously, then watch from behind the couch as it all falls apart. As I pick up the pieces, some bits get thrown out and others that I didn’t expect start coming into focus. Along with this, I like to invent cool situations for my characters that look great in cinematic snippets inside my head, then try and tie them in with everything else I’ve written down. It sounds haphazard ‘cos it is, but I find it’s a great way to keep a story filled with exciting stuff that’ll keep the reader turning the page. As I work on the smooth transitions between these scenes I often encounter some more unexpected plot elements.

Christie: What was the hardest thing about publishing your book?

Rod: Admitting to myself that I’d finally finished it. I genuinely missed sharing adventures with Cat and the crew and finding out what was going to happen next. I soon got over that when I began plotting the sequel, which I’ve been working on for a while. That, and opening myself up to the irrational fear of ridicule among the online writing community. Of course it hasn’t been like that at all, and I’ve made so many great new friends who only have encouragement to offer. These days I try to pay it forward.

Christie: That is quite scary, I write myself and when I share my work with friends I’m always scared because it is personal and I don’t want them to hate it. Showing that to strangers can be even more difficult. I’m glad you have been welcomed into the community and made wonderful connections, I am also happy to have met you.

Christie: Do you have advice for unpublished writers who want to publish their book and get it out there?

Rod: Try not to lose sight of that fact you enjoy writing. Push yourself hard to write, but not so much that you lose that essential enthusiasm.

Christie: How did you come up with your cover art for your book?

Rod: I heard some good advice on how to make your book cover -  that you should portray something similar to the definitive scene in your story. The scene that sums up what your story is all about. To me, the scene in COAS right at the end, in the ‘Glum Murderers’ stone circle, did the job. The cover is a composite of public domain images, stock images that I purchased online for around twenty bucks and some photos I took myself years ago. I used Paint Shop Pro X2 Ultimate to chop, crop and add effects.

Christie: That is quite impressive. Not everyone would be that ambitious, I love that you were able to do it all yourself. Very creative and great job! I just began learning to use Photoshop myself and it is a lot of work.

Christie: What is your favorite book and favorite author? (You don’t count :-P)

Rod: All time faves? Has to be a toss up between Tolkien (LoTR) or HP Lovecraft and any collection of his Cthulhu mythos stories. I grew up with this stuff and it shows.

Christie: Is there anything you can tell your readers about the next book in the series? Something we can look forward to?

Rod: ‘The Orphan Stone’ is close to completion -  a dark fantasy that details the adventures of Hetty, during the rest of the summer immediately after COAS. It’s partially a character development, where she discovers more about her ability to see the spirits of dead folk, during a struggle against a vile and dangerous entity in a small English town. Also – COAS book 2 is in the pipe for this year – which means Cat Celeste’s adventures, and the search for her missing parents, will continue with the help of some old friends, and many new ones.

Christie: That is very cool that you are already doing an off spin to bring another character more into the light. I would love to know more about Hetty and her adventure. I will also be looking forward to the next book after COAS!

Christie:  What is your favorite and least favorite thing about your book?

Favorite thing:  All the interesting people, places and events, and how they all tied together in a galloping plot.  I’m quite proud of the whole universe.
Least favorite thing: When folk unexpectedly ask me to sum up the story arc in a few words (usually at social gatherings), I find it really hard, because there are several different threads to the plot, and each one has depth, so I’m left looking slack jawed as I fumble for words. I’m learning the summary from Amazon off by heart to save me embarrassment.

Christie: Summarizing is never easy especially when it is in the moment and you want to make it sound awesome. Your book has a ton of amazing elements in it and I can see how that would be hard to give a quick description.

Christie: What does it mean to be an ex New-Age Traveler?

Rod: New Age travelers are difficult to quantify. They are folk who live on the road in buses or caravans, traveling around the UK (and to a lesser extent, Europe). They are not an ethnic group, come from all walks of life (I’ve met network engineers and lawyers!) and tend to be quite colorful people. They have a loose connection with Pagan/ Celtic interests and are regular attendees at ancient seasonal festivals and events like the summer solstice at Stone-Henge. Life on the road can be difficult at times, especially during the winter, but there is a close community which often pulls together. I loved traveling, but knew it would be difficult to raise a family that way, so made the choice to settle down.

Christie: Tell us about your interactive website, it looks pretty awesome.

Rod: Because I did all the work myself, the whole thing cost around $40. It’s a teaser insight into the story of Curse of Ancient Shadows, revealing the way the different elements fit together as the story grew. Had loads of fun working on it, especially writing and designing the graphics on the newspaper clippings.

Christie: That is awesome, again I’m very impressed and in awe. I can’t imagine doing all of that, I was going a bit crazy trying to figure out how to design a blog, doing what you did I would have probably lost my mind. HUGE kudos to you!

Christie: Thank you very much for doing this interview with me Rod! Is there anything else you would like to add?

Rod: Just a huge ‘Thank You’ to anyone who has ever taken an interest in any of my work (including this 
interview) and to you Christie for giving me this opportunity to make some new friends :).

Christie: Thank you again Rod for joining me on my boy today and also doing this great giveaway of  your book with me.

About Rod:

Lives in Suffolk, UK. Author of young adult books, miniature sculptor, computer engineer, road warrior, mega-dad, ex new-age traveler, web designer, artist. Likes: UFO's, ghosts, ancient history, fantasy, Chewy Chompkins, Mythology, Pookie Pies. Dislikes: Garlic, the Elder Sign, off-world cuisine, Yog-Sothoth (he owes me a tenner).

Find Rod at:

Purchase the e-book for only 99 Cents! For the Kindle

of The Nook 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Great interview, guys! Really interesting questions and answers! " from behind the couch as it all falls apart..." made me LOL. I'm a huge fan of that particular tactic! Rod is a super sweet guy and an amazing talent. Thanks so much for the awesome interview!

  2. I'm rather interested in the book and love the cover. And the interactive website looks awesome too!

    And - of course - thanks for sharing the ebooks

  3. Cheles thank you love :) haha I greatly enjoyed the interview! That made me LOL also :) Funny guy :) You are welcome thanks for reading eeep :)

    Dusia- Isn't it a great cover? I'm still impressed that he did it himself! The website is a lot of fun :) No problem and good luck :)

  4. Oooooo Love the interview! the interactive website also looks great, interactive websites are always fun to explore!
    Thanks for the great giveaway too!

    1. Thanks :) It was a lot of fun to do. I know I love the website!!!! No problem and good luck :) It is a great read.

  5. Hi All!
    Wanted to drop by and say again how much I appreciate Christie hosting the interview (fun!)
    Sarah, Dusia and Cheles thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts - great comments! :)

    1. Thanks Rod :) I enjoyed the interview :) I hope we get to work together more in the future :)

  6. ok I'm weird and I love to read the ya books, prob because the authors never feel the need to put in tons of sex to keep the reader interested....
    I admire a book that keeps me interested because of content that is not porn!!

    1. Thanks Binabug. I do work particularly hard to keep readers interested with an intriguing setting and a galloping plot. If I can feel I've achieved that, then I'm very happy. :)

  7. Congrats Klaudia, Sarah and Cheles :D
    Huge thanks to everyone who entered for your interest and kind support. It's been bags of fun.
    Take care all!

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Thank you so much for all of your comments. I appreciate every one. I try to comment back to every one it just may take me a while. College student=busy! when you leave links I try to visit, depending on how crazy it is I may not have a chance to go comment on your blog. Please don't take offense! A lot of the time I mean to go back and forget because life is crazy.


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