© 2013 Clive Eaton
Born in South East London in 1964, I grew up playing in Greenwich Park, climbing trees in the summer and sledding down the snow covered hills in the winter, a huge part of my life spent on Blackheath common and surrounding areas, riding scruffy old donkeys on the heath and bringing home coconuts and many a gold fish from the Blackheath fair.
I migrated to Australia in 1989 shortly after the birth of my first child.
I was married to a troll for a good many years but seven years ago I married Prince Charming. Now living a blessed and happy life on Mandjar bay, Mandurah WA with my husband and three grown up children.
Daughter number one who lives five minutes away with my adorable grandchildren, daughter number two who lives at university, and only son still at home but not for long I expect. I May have to adopt a few orphans once the nest is empty…can’t imagine not having kids around.
Owner of a cute little Papillon called Moses, and a restaurant called ‘Chapters on the terrace’ situated on the foreshore in Mandurah WA…
A vexing and torturous venture…any one who owns a restaurant will know what I’m talking about haha.
Long time Member of C3 church Port kennedy/Mandurah, and a supreme authority on the modern day fairy.
Book title Pumkiniah the Brave
Pumkiniah the Brave is a story about a tooth fairy who; is replaced with a hobgoblin called Wilbur by the Bureau of young human defence. The witches have become very active in these modern times and Pumkiniah’s skills are no longer adequate or required.
Pumkiniah has to retrain and becomes involved with an old friend Faniella Firestrum who works for the Bureau of Young Human Defence, and she soon becomes embroiled in a plot to foil a prophecy that could end the ethereal world, as she knows it.
She updates her TVFQ's, earns her Rave dust requirement authority badge, rescues a witch who used to be a sworn enemy, survives a 'Filton by stilton' spell, saves a temperamental werewolf, falls in love, falls out of love, risks her life in an underwater cavern, fly's an empathic unicorn, ...and finally goes into battle armed with 'The sword of truth' against the most evil witch of all time! Can she stop a dreadful prophecy from coming true and save the entire ethereal world from the clutches of a madman? Can she indeed become … Pumkiniah the brave?
What do you do to relax when you are not writing?
I love to spend time with my grandchildren Chase and Rumer, I read a consummate amount of books, and I travel quite often, as I love to chase the sun…not a fan of chilly weather
What, or who, inspired you to become a writer?
I can’t say for sure where the idea came from but I can remember at the age of seven being the proud owner of many books and also a dinotape, I once printed off lots of little labels with my name on and went on a trip to my local bookstore where I stuck the labels over the authors name on all my favourite books. The shop owner was not impressed! She locked me in a storeroom. I was terrified! I made my escape out of a tall high window and scraped my knees falling off of a wall. But you see even at seven years old I had a dream.
What or who inspired you to write your current novel?
My children were my inspiration for Pumkiniah the Brave, of course they are all grown up now but they were only five, seven and nine when I started Pumkiniah.
I wrote it for them on long, cosy, wet Sundays, in my study, with them all sitting at my feet. We lived in England then and it rained an awful lot so it was a great way of keeping them entertained.
When they were really small I used to draw and write picture books for them and laminate and bind them because I couldn’t afford to buy books as often as they wanted them, as they got older my writing style changed to suit their age group.
I wrote Fishes n wishes n wings n things in England; which will be published next year, and Pumkiniah the Brave was my second book, after six chapters it went into a box in a drawer and then we were off to Australia again.
Ten years later a visiting pastor to our church who didn’t know me from Adam told me I had a book in me that needed to be out in the market place, an unfinished piece that needed to be padded out and looked at from a different perspective. Pumkiniah the Brave was the only unfinished story I had written and so I dug it out and finished it. So I guess you could say my children inspired me to write it and Simon McIntyre inspired me to finish it.
Tell us three interesting facts about your book which; are not covered in the synopsis.
1) Pumki’s very best friend ‘Eric’ is a bookworm
2) The characters in the book show their emotions through their wing tips, ie:
‘It was just a fleeting kiss, just a brushing of lips really, but it was the first time Pumki had ever been kissed, and the tips of her little white wings glowed burnt orange like candles in the darkness.’
3) The boy ‘Hannigan’ in the story plays just as important a role as Pumki, so this is a gender neutral read, My nephew who is 12 is an ardent Pumkiniah fan after reading my proof. So although it’s about a fairy it’s not just for the girls.
What research did you need to do for this book?
Poked a lot of sticks into tree hollows over the years and searched a lot of parklands for evidence of ethereal creatures.
Are any elements/characters of your book based on real life experiences or people you’ve met/known?
Absolutely! Characters are definitely drawn from characters I’ve known throughout my life, the only way to write a character well and give it true personality I believe, is to draw from real life.
When I was young I had a friend who was stick thin with a face full of freckles and wild curly hair, she, however thin, always seemed to have a swollen tummy and in her funny northern accent she would say to me - “Today I must’ve swallowed a pumkin!” Her personality definitely became a part of Pumki’s overall character, and that is also where the name ‘Pumkiniah’ came from.
Tell us a little about your current work-in-progress.
I am rewriting ‘Fishes n wishes n wings n things’ right now and padding it out a bit. It’s almost ready to fly the nest.
I am also working on my second and third Pumkiniah books
Pumkiniah & the polar bear princess and Pumkiniah & the letter of hope
I have written the plots for both and have just finished chapter one on the first one. So exciting to follow Pumki and find out where her adventures will take her next.
What process did you adopt from inception through to the finished book?
I contacted around 10 publishers in total with some very nice polite rejections, or in return just a simple letter stating unsolicited manuscripts were not accepted.
I decided to try America after finding Australia quite impossible. After three attempts I received three contract offers and the best by far was from Tate publishing.
I get a good return on my book plus I get to keep all my subsidiary rights. I didn’t have to pay for the publishing process. They covered all publishing costs, and the journey with them from start to finish has been hassle free and very much enjoyable.
What do you need (or not need) around you whilst writing?
I write best in quiet, I don’t quite understand how some people can listen to loud music whilst writing? I like to lock myself away from all distractions because then the words just flow.
I do however have a quirky little habit if I get writers block… I’ll go and sit where there are children playing, outside a school or by a children’s pool or near a swing park, close enough to watch them or listen to them laughing and playing. This always works for me, I don’t know why? But my mind goes nuts with ideas when I am around children and then the writing just flows like a river. I’m thankful I’m not a man or that little habit could make people think I was a total pervert! Haha.
What prompted you to self-publish your current book? (If you are not self-published please answer this question – How easy did you find it getting a publisher?)
Well I hadn’t really thought about self-publishing, everyone I sent off to was a traditional publishing house. Tate is a traditional publishing house but it is rather new compared with the old established companies and as such currently uses an outside marketing company, (which must work for them as they are the ninth biggest book wholesaler in America.) They do charge a fee for marketing or you can choose to do it yourself, but they cover all publishing costs. I guess at some point when an author does really well and helps them to become one of the big guys then they will open their own marketing department. They only accept 4% of submissions yearly and they are also a Christian company; which appealed to me greatly. I can honestly say they have been an absolute pleasure to work with, such a lovely bunch of people and so efficient. They were the second company in America I had submitted a manuscript to after seven Australian rejections.
What were the three biggest challenges you faced when writing your book?
1) Rewriting was tough! Cutting off the slack is like removing a baby’s arm but it has to be done. My book is 60,000 words now but I had to lose 10,000. This was by far the hardest part, deciding what was irrelevant/relevant to the storyline. However it has fine-tuned the story, so it was for the best.
2) Time, when I write I find it hard to stop, it’s like stopping a flood with a spoon. I find it irritating if I have to stop for mundane things like: living, talking to family members, cooking, washing, shopping, eating, lol.
3) Editing! Aaarrghh! I find this the most painful part because of course every author wants a perfect work. I think I scoured my book at least 20 times and forced family members to do the same. I think editing is the most important part of the whole process especially with children’s books. If a book is to be used to teach young minds in schools, libraries etc then it should be completely grammatically correct. I can’t stand to read a book and find little mistakes. I know it happens and sometimes can’t be helped but too many good books go to print without being checked thoroughly and it reflects poorly on the author and the publisher.
Every author seems to suffer with writer’s block at some point. How do you overcome it?
Oops I think I already covered this question a little way back when I talked about my habit of stalking children haha.
What single piece of advice would you give to any aspiring writer?
Rewrite and edit to your hearts content, don’t rush the process and let poor quality books go to print. It’s your name on the cover, your reputation as a great writer is at stake, take your time and send out great work.
What genre does your book fall into?
Children’s fantasy fiction
How did you get interested in this specific genre?
Writing for my children
You as a reader
Which three authors have inspired you the most, and why?
1) CS Lewis: Do you really need to ask why?
2) Enid Blyton: The faraway tree childhood addiction!
3) Cecily M Barker: The book of the flower fairies
4) Frances Hodgson Burnett: The cozy lion and other beautiful works
What was your favourite book as a child?
‘The faraway tree’ by far my favourite, but way too many favourites to list.
What is the best book you’ve read in the last 12 months?
A book called The woman who dived into the heart of the world, by Sabrina Berman.
An amazing story: written from the point of view of a high functioning autistic girl. Left me feeling sorry for myself, and my limitations. Fantastic read, I would recommend to anyone but especially those wanting to know more about the autistic mind.
What was the last book you recommended to a friend, and why did you think it was worthy of recommendation?
Proof of heaven A Neurosurgeon's journey into the afterlife. By Eben Alexander, M.D. A must read for anyone who wants to know that eventual death will bring much greater delights than any un-conscious being could ever hope for. I want to live this mundane earthly life because of the people I love and don’t want to leave behind, but when it's my time to go I believe I will be going with a smile upon my face!
Kindle (or other e-reader) or paperback, and why?
Absolutely without a doubt paperback! Nothing beats the feel or smell of a book, new or old! I am addicted to bookshops, especially old bookstores that smell of my childhood, libraries and really just about anywhere that I can look at and feel those beautifully bound other worlds
Hollywood is calling
You’ve had the call from Hollywood and they want your opinion on who should play the leading roles in the film based upon your book. Who would you choose, and why?
I seriously can’t imagine who would play Pumkiniah or Hannigan, the leading roles, there would have to be a casting to see who fits the part best because for me it would be about personality as well as looks.
I think Jack Nicholson would play an awesome Hamandracol.
When I wrote Batly he was based on my son Jak (the adult version, as Batly was a late addition to the plot) who so wants to be an actor, so maybe Batly could be his lucky break!
The film of your book is now going to need a soundtrack. Which musician(s) would you want to write and play it?
I loved Miley Cyrus and John Travolta in Bolt, the soundtrack was awesome so I guess somewhere along those lines.
Drink – Strawberry milk
Meal – Sunday roast
Holiday destination – Thailand is one of my fav’s but there are many places I love, Cambodia second on the list.
TV programme – Once upon a time
Film – All time favourite “Something’s gotta give’ with Jack Nicholson & Diane Keaton…simply the best
Method of travel – Car, motorbike, plane…No boats….Absolutely no boats!
Sport – What is this?
How can people connect with you?
Where can readers find your book
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