This month we focus on Monthly Author Focus – Evadeen Brickwood.
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1) What inspired you to write?
This goes back to 2003 when the Harry Potter series was all the rage. My kids were still in Primary School and addicted to the books. As I had stacks of research on ancient and lost civilisations from my studies in Cultural Sciences back in Germany, I had the idea to write my own books and get children excited about prehistory. Well, it wasn’t all that easy and took me about a year to finish the first manuscript, which was beta-read by real-life authors and editors as well as about 15 young readers. I hadn’t planned on a whole series, but kept splitting the manuscript as there was so much text. During the first 2 years, I learned about everything I could get my hands on from the publishing process, to how to find a publisher, to how to write a book for young readers. Thankfully, it became a success.
2) What was your first book? What genre/s do you write?
My first book was a novel called ‘Children of the Moon’ and the first episode in the ‘Remember the Future’ time travel series. The storyline is about 3 friends at a boarding school for gifted children, who come up with a time travel device and then use it to create a stunning project for their Quantum Physics class. They travel 12,000 years back in time and live through extraordinary adventures. The book was intended for young readers, but it became a bit of a classic for adult readers as well, and won the 2017 Book Talk Radio Club Award in the Science Fiction of the Year category. I write novels in the genres time travel, adventure mysteries and murder mysteries.
3) What do you like about writing in this genre?
As lost civilisations fascinate me, I eased into writing books in this genre and the adventure mysteries are based mainly on my personal experiences travelling and living in other countries I wanted to share. I also enjoy writing the murder mysteries, because I can show off South Africa as the main setting and our South African context. It sort of developed from ‘The Rhino Whisperer’, which was great fun to write.
4) What are your books about? Who is your favourite author?
My time travel books are about travelling through a vortex and adventures in the distant past. The adventure mysteries mix my own experiences while travelling and living in Pakistan, Botswana and South Africa (so far) with elements of fiction. The Murder Mystery series is about two friends, Lerato Gwala and Charlie Proudfoot, who solve murders together. Lerato is a proper private investigator and Charlie uses her talent for the paranormal, while learning about investigations.
I have many favourite authors, although I don’t get much time to read. One of John Steinbeck’s novels, ‘The Pastures of Heaven’ is so skilfully written that it ranges high up on the scale and when it comes to non-fiction, I read a lot of authors with the purpose of research. When it comes to hypnosis, e.g. Dr. Brian Weiss is doing a great job.
5) What are you currently working on?
I’m busy translating book 2 and 3 in the time travel series into German. I’m a qualified translator and have already produced ‘Children of the Moon’ and the adventure mysteries in German for my many readers in Europe. I hope I’ll have time to write the fifth episode in the Charlie Proudfoot series at the end of 2022. The rough story line already exists.
6) What are your plans for the next year in your writing career?
To online-market more efficiently with a little help from savvy friends and colleagues.
7) What tips do you have for aspiring, self-published authors?
It’s not the easiest of careers, as you will write, edit, publish and market your books and that’s only a few skills you need to develop. Even if you have a publisher, much of the marketing will be done by you. At the beginning, you must learn a lot of new things and not give up when the going gets tough. Patience and confidence will be your best friends and writing the best books you are capable of. Also, don’t be afraid of criticism. It’s always better to work in a team, but as this can be expensive, you should also shoulder as much as possible by yourself if necessary. Lastly, one book is like no book, so get onto your next project as quickly as possible.