Welcome to my July guest author, Chantelle Atkins.
Chantelle Atkins is a local author who I think produces new work even faster than I do!
I have read A Song for Bill Robinson, the first in her Holds End series and absolutely loved it. My full review is here.
Chantelle does a great deal to encourage other authors and young writers. Have a look at the Chasing Driftwood page (link to my interview here)
Chantelle welcome to my blog, my first question, is where did the story of Bill and his friends come from?
Thank you for having me! I actually got the idea when I was 16 years old and I even wrote a very early version of it at that age. I was partly inspired by the film The Commitments which is about a group of working class musicians that form a band. The rest of the plot just came by itself once I had my characters in place. In 2016 I found an old suitcase under my bed with tons of forgotten stories I had started when I was young. The early version of the book was there, complete with a plot and character bios. I just knew I had to rewrite it and get it done! The characters changed a bit and as they took control, they suggested more sub-plots and future plots and by the time I got started I knew I had a trilogy on my hands.
Your character building and the setting is very strong. Are most of your stories about young people? If so, why?
Thank you! I always start with the characters and they will grow and grow in my head, suggesting back stories and plots, so by the time I start to write it, I know them very well. Yes, most of my stories are about young people. Even the ones aimed at adults, (Elliot Pie’s Guide To Human Nature and This Is Nowhere have young protagonists!) I think it’s because the stories I come up with just suit this age range better. I’m not interested in growing up myself and I have avoided it as much as possible, so I think it comes from that too!
As an Indie author, what’s the greatest challenge you have faced so far?
Selling the books and working out who my audience is. My books can be hard to classify and I write across the genres, whatever I fancy, so I can’t just call myself a YA author or a crime writer or anything like that. I go through phases of trying really hard to market them and spread the word and then I go through phases of barely bothering because I would rather be writing! But yes, getting them out there and figuring out how to market them is and probably always will be the greatest challenge.
Do you read the same kind of stories that you write?
I try to, because I certainly write the kinds of books I want to read, and I think that’s important to do as a writer. The Catcher In The Rye is one of my favourite books ever and I adore everything written by S.E Hinton, especially The Outsiders, which influenced me a lot as a young writer. I am a huge fan of Stephen King and Charles Bukowski, and although they are very different, they both focus on characterisation, which I really like. I like dark, gritty stories with unlikely heroes. I’ll read pretty much any genre so long as the characters are good!
What can we expect in the future from you?
I’m relaunching my short story collection Bird People and Other Stories very soon with a new cover and a few extra stories. All of them are related to my novels so it works as a nice little introduction to my work. After that I will release a brand new poetry and short story collection which is almost ready. My current work-in-progress is a four-book post-apocalyptic YA series. I am almost at the end of the first draft of book three. I don’t plan to release any until all four are written in case I make changes! I am also working on a supernatural YA trilogy with author Sim Alec Sansford. It’s the first time I have written with another author and it’s been a brilliant experience! We are about half-way through the final book and again, we won’t be releasing any of them until all three are finished and we are completely happy. We also have another YA series in the planning stages that we will write together. And I have a book in the planning stages which will be a spin-off from The Boy With The Thorn In His Side series!
How can my readers follow you or get in touch?
Feel free to follow my blog The Glorious Outsiders https://chantelleatkins.com/
My Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/chantelleatkinswriter