Agathea Fulstropp is looking forward to a luxury break in the Caribbean with her parents, but is livid when they announce that the trip has to be cancelled due to work commitments! So instead of spending six weeks sunning herself on a tropical beach, Thea – as she insists on being called – finds herself unceremoniously packed up, and sent off to stay with a grandfather she barely knows for the entire summer! But it turns out to be the best summer of her life when her grandfather has a strange reunion with a mysterious childhood friend, and she is given the opportunity of a lifetime.
To visit a world beyond the stars, and become Earth’s first student to be enrolled in an experimental Inter-Planetary Education Programme at the Firestone Academy, where lessons in telepathy, mind-reading and astral projection are the norm.
Things, however, are not as straightforward as they seem. One of her fellow students makes no secret of the fact that he despises her, and will stop at nothing to make her leave…she is having increasingly disturbing, vivid dreams…and just who is that hideously deformed cave creature, and more to the point, what does it want with her?
As an introduction, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?My name is Linda David and this is my first children's book. I am a single mother of two and currently work as a college lecturer in Childcare. I was born in Cyprus in 1967 to parents who both hail from the Caribbean island of Nevis. Much of my childhood was spent moving from place to place as my father was in the RAF (Royal Air Force), so although I was raised mainly in England, I have also lived in Germany as well as St Kitts and Nevis in the West Indies.
I have always enjoyed reading and was encouraged to do so from a very early age, and that is partly what inspired me to write. Even today I can remember the excitement and wonder I used to experience as a child when reading fantasy and adventure stories, so I hope that through my own writing, I will be able to inspire and encourage other children's interest and pleasure in reading as well.What is your book about?
My book is basically about a young girl with very few friends who gets to go on a great adventure when she is selected to attend a school on another planet with a range of aliens from different worlds.When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing some 10 years ago when I went on maternity leave with my first child and needed something to occupy my time, so I began a writing course. Eventually I got a little bored with some of the assignments, so I decided to write about something I like, and the story took off from there. I had been adding to it on and off ever since.What genre do you prefer to write in?
I prefer to write children's stories because I feel so nostalgic when I write. It takes me right back to my childhood when I believed in fairies, elves and goblins, and used to search for fairy rings in the garden.What is your biggest writing achievement to date?
This is actually my first book! I hope it does well, because I have already begun the sequel.What inspired you to write this book?
I would say that I have always loved writing, however, what has inspired me to continue is the support and encouragement I have had from my sisters. I also have great admiration for J K Rowling and Oprah Winfrey, both of whom I use as my role models.Who is your favourite author, and what is it about their work that strikes a chord with you?
I have always been a Stephen King fan - not really sure why, but I have most of his books. I love a spooky story, but I find the way he sometimes makes reference to places and people which have been in other books in his stories intriguing. Almost like they are all interlinked and part of the same 'big picture' if you like.
What book are you reading now, and would you recommend it?Actually, I'm re-reading (because I read all my books multiple times) Stephen King's Dark Tower series. I just love the entire collection, especially the strange twist at the end. I would definitely recommend them, although I think you do have to read them more than once to actually understand the story completely and put all the pieces into place.
What are your current projects?As I mentioned, I'm working on a sequel to the Firestone series of books, which will see Thea having more adventures at the Academy and discovering more about the universe and all its secrets and inhabitants than she could ever have imagined.
Where and when do you do most of your writing?Because I'm a full-time college lecturer, I have very little free time, and I find I write best when I'm 'in the mood'. So I do most of my writing during the holidays, mainly Easter and Summer, although if an idea suddenly comes to me, I'll make sure I jot it down before I forget and work it into the story when I can (this mostly seems to happen when I'm in the bath for some reason).
As for where I write, I usually lock myself away in my bedroom with my laptop where there are no distractions. My children are only allowed to disturb me if there's an emergency! They are 15 and 11 so can cope without me for a few hours!What would you say was the hardest part of writing your book?
I don't think there was a hard part really - I just let the story unfold itself. If there was a hard part, I guess it may be coming up with an idea to begin with, but once I had created a character (loosely based on myself and sister as children!) the rest seemed to just flow. It was a case of imagining what sort of adventures I would have loved to have as a child or what sort of book I would have wanted to read.Who designed your book cover – and was the cover something you deemed important?
The Kindle cover was actually designed by myself using a crystal and some Christmas tree lights! I know the cover is important, but I kind of like it. When I complete the second book, I will probably get some professional input though.Did you try to go down the route of traditional publishing first – or did you feel that self-publishing was right for you from the beginning?
I did originally try to get my book published by sending it off to agents and publishers, and although I received many rejections, I did not allow it to put me off. Most of the rejections were the standard kind, with no explanation, however, I did receive some encouraging feedback from a couple of them which gave me the confidence to continue. It was only after joining several writers websites that I learned more about 'print on demand' and e-book publishing. I did some research and decided it was now or never.On the whole, how have you found self-publishing?
I think self-publishing is a really good option because there are many talented writers out there who are making a good living for themselves who may never have been taken on by a more traditional publisher. This way, they get to write the stories that people obviously want to read.Where can we buy the book?
The book is currently available on the Kindle from the amazon website:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Firestone-Crystal-ebook/dp/B006R72MNS, and the paperback version will be available by the end of the month from:
Do you have a website or blog where we can keep tabs on you?
I have a joint website with my sister at http://www.eternalrainbows.moonfruit.com, which will provide more information.Do you have any advice for other writers?
My advice to other writers is never give up. If you have a story to tell and you are confident in your own abilities, then go for it.