Behind the Book: Wilcroft Chronicles: The Waterfall Warrior by Owen B. Lewis

Thank you so much for agreeing to an interview about your debut fantasy novel.

Tell me about your beautiful book cover?

The beautiful artwork was illustrated by Yu-Hsuan Tseng who I happened to find online. I came across her wonderful art from a graphic design website and fell in love with the colours and imagery that she used. The style felt the right vibe for what I was imagining for The Waterfall Warrior. I got in touch with her and she was very happy to create my front cover. I was hugely honoured as it can be hard to find the right image for your work that captures what was originally in your mind, but not in this case. Yu-Hsuan Tseng listened to my ideas and with her talent and unique style she made the most perfect artwork I could ask for.

The Waterfall Warrior is book 1 in the Wilcroft Chronicles, how many books do you anticipate in the series?

I plan to do two more. When I came to write the first one I always had a trilogy in mind. It’s exciting because now the first book is out there, people can find out about this world and these characters I have created. I have lots of ideas for what’s to come. I know how it all ends, but there’s a lot of exciting things to happen before that. 

Can you introduce the main characters, Hannah and Callum:

Hannah Barrington is a twenty-five year old woman who works at a hotel. She roams Epping Forest whenever she is feeling depressed. It brings comfort to her as she has fond memories of staying there with her grandparents and siblings when she was little. One day she comes across a waterfall which seems out of place; she walks through and finds a portal that transports her to a different world called Therrhain. Hannah befriends a Warrior there called Fay. To get Hannah back they must go to Wilcroft University to meet a woman named Carol Wells, but first Hannah and Fay must unveil the secret of the ancient prophecy before Therrhain is destroyed.

Callum Barrington is Hannah’s youngest sibling. He’s currently a student at university in Manchester. He also deals with mental illness. There’s a young man named Elliott Heartwood that he can see through his mirror, and in the early chapters Callum isn’t quite sure if he’s real or if his mind is playing tricks on him.

Is the Epping Forest in your book based on the real Epping Forest? Why did you choose this location for your fantasy book?

Yes and no. It’s real in the sense that in the story Hannah is walking through the actual Epping Forest, but I have added things that aren’t there in real life, such as the house that her grandparents lived in. I chose this location because I needed a forest that was out in the middle of nowhere but also close enough you could travel there from London, and also because Hannah needed somewhere to go that gave off a childlike and magical atmosphere. 

The book includes your main characters facing mental health issues. Is mental health something that’s important to you?

Most definitely. Over the last few years I have been very open about myself having mental health problems. I also used to be a care worker before I became a writer, so I have worked with a lot of people who also have had mental health issues. I think it’s an important theme to put into stories, especially when it’s not the main plot device; the character just so happens to have these issues, but they also are shown to still live a life and have other qualities to them.

What advice do you have for anyone that may be struggling with similar issues to your main characters.

I’m not sure I am the right person to give advice, but I guess all I would suggest is to talk, and not be ashamed of the difficult emotions you are facing. From personal experience when I talked about it I felt better for it. 

Can you share a short snippet from The Waterfall Warrior?

Walking through the forest brought back so many memories. It seemed smaller than it had when I was a child. I remembered the time I had fallen over a branch, the one that was still sticking out menacingly between the trees. It had made me fall and cut my knee. I had cried for hours. I used to play there with Chloe, Laura and Callum. They were my only friends back then. It was a time in my life before I realised you could have friends that were not part of your family. We used to use sticks as swords and playfight with each other. We even made dens with blankets. There was a house there that looked as though it was about to collapse. It used to belong to my grandparents, Grumbles and Numbles I called them for some strange reason. Back then I used to think this forest was their garden. When I passed this area, I could almost smell the cooked dinner that my grandmother used to make. It had always tasted as good as it smelt. My mouth was watering. The memory cheered me up but not for long. I was now further into the forest. I wasn’t very familiar with this part. We were told to never cross this point when we were kids, or we would be in “very serious trouble”. It was hard to believe it now, as this part of the woods felt very innocent and peaceful compared with the rest. The ground was flatter, there were no stones to graze your knees if you fell, and no hills to climb and fall down. I came across the stump of a tree. It was right in the middle, all by itself. Lines of trees standing tall on either side of it, squashed together like sardines. I went and sat down on the stump. Without even a thought I broke down and cried for about ten minutes. I didn’t understand why I suddenly felt so upset. I was feeling low, but I didn’t think I was as bad as all that. Then something startled me. The strangest, but most beautiful sound. Someone was singing.

Where can readers connect with you and discover more about your books?

The best place to do that would be at my book launch. It’s being held at Bristol’s Waterstones on September 28th at 7pm. I will be talking about the book, and there will be readings by two actors who narrated the audiobook edition of The Waterfall Warrior, which is also out soon. I will be signing copies of the book. It’s a free event but you still need to claim a ticket by visiting Waterstones website and going to the event section.

https://www.waterstones.com/events/book-launch-with-owen-b-lewis-wilcroft-chronicles-the-waterfall-warrior/bristol-galleries

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Indie Author Summer Fayre

Indie Author Summer Fayre 2021

I’m excited to be one of the authors taking part in the Indie Author Summer Fayre 2021.

It’s a great opportunity to discover new books by UK Indie authors. Here is the summer fayre line up!

This event is happening over two days on Facebook. Join using the link below 🤩

Also, these seems like a good time to remind you that Ocean Heart is currently free on Smashwords for July 2021.

[kofi]

What Banned Books Week is all about

Banned Books Week is celebrated every September, bringing together the book community – including writers – to celebrate the freedom of expressing different ideas as well as the freedom to read and thus writers’ freedom to write. In the United States, the Constitution guarantees Freedom of Speech and the Press. Alas, these basic rights and freedoms haven’t stopped different groups calling for books to be removed from libraries, bookstores, and schools. These challenges continue to this day, and thus censorship does too.

Perhaps the reasons for calling to ban a particular book can bring to mind those elements that would give a movie an R rating – violence, profanity, sexuality, drugs, etc. As a writer however, elements and perspectives must be considered as to whether they serve a purpose to the story, no matter how controversial or unpopular. Plus as a reader, one must take into account where and when the book was written, who for, and why. Because the simple truth is when a group or the majority finds anything taboo in a book they will call for it to be removed from shelves.

Banning books is nothing new either. From Ancient China to Elizabethan England to Nazi Germany, there have been challenges and even book burnings! Now certainly when living under an absolute monarch or a dictatorship being a writer is dangerous because written words could reach to the masses – in praise of the authoritarian regime or against it. But that hasn’t stopped brave souls to fight for their rights, and nor should it. And the sad truth is even in democracies there are attempts to control the flow of ideas, to restrict them or destroy them outright.

Sometimes books are challenged not because of their content but who the author is. Take the Red Scare –writers were blacklisted by publishers and in Hollywood for their political beliefs. Even today when writers and artists are convicted of crimes or caught in scandals, censors are put on promoting their work. Don’t get me wrong; anyone truly guilty of a crime should face justice. But having worked in a public library for over five years, I know libraries must serve ALL members of the community, and censorship goes against this mission, and against creativity.

Writers dream of their work being read and enjoyed by many. Reading is just as important to writers because it enables them to tell stories better. Just as a writer would want their colleagues to read and review their work, they must do the same for them. They can be checked out of a library or purchased. Sometimes one can get an inscription from the author, making their copy special. (To see my most recent post on my inscribed collection, click here). Writers are supporting one another, as are readers, teachers, librarians, booksellers and publishers.

We’re all in this together,supporting one another and promoting intellectual and creative freedom for all humanity, the right to read and write what we choose to. That’s what Banned Books Week is all about.

Further Reading

  1. About Banned Books Week.
  2. American Library Association. Banned Books Week.
Mystical Greenwood, Book I of One with Nature

Publisher: Mockingbird Lane Press

Available in Paperback, Kindle, and Nook:

Amazon  |  Barnes& Noble  |  Books a Million  |  Goodreads

Amazon.co.uk  |  Foyles

Amazon.ca

The cover art is available at Deviant Art

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A local girls guide to Felixstowe Book Festival

If you have decided to attend Felixstowe Book Festival then you are sure to have a great time. The program will tell you about all the events taking place and ticket costs but I am going to tell you about how to make the most of your visit to Felixstowe!

Where to stay

There is a variety of accommodation in Felixstowe.

We have two caravan parks (Beach Holiday Park and Suffolk Sands). Look out for Sun Holiday deals to make your visit a very cheap holiday.

There is a large Premier Inn a few yards from the beach, pier and hill that leads into town. It’s a great budget option for short stays.

For Bed & Breakfast you may like to stay at Castle Lodge. This hotel starred in the TV Show Four in a Bed and was once home to award winning crime writer Ruth Dugdall. It is still owned by her mother.

If you want to be in the heart of the action then The Orwell Hotel will be your first choice as many of the events are split between here and the library. The next closest hotel to town is the Brook Hotel (Best Western).

If you want sea views then The Fludyers Hotel is an excellent choice. This Edwardian building has been beautifully renovated with modern amnesties.

 

Where to eat

All the places to stay serve food, with the best for sea views being The Fludyers.  In addition, both the Library & Orwell Hotel serve food so you could eat right where the action is taking place. However, here are some more worth checking out:

My first choice has got to be The Mad House (caters for vegan and gluten free diets). This is new to Felixstowe but  literary fans will adore The Alice in Wonderland themed decor and being so close to the library.

Another cafe by the Library is The Oaks Tearoom. This little cafe has a sweet country decor and often full of fresh flowers.

A lovely restaurant near The Orwell Hotel is Cafe Bencotto for sit down food or if you are in a rush get a healthy take away at Spud Hut (serves vegan food).

Whenever you visit a British seaside town you must eat ice-cream and chips on the beach and in Felixstowe you will find plenty of choice. For homemade ice-cream my favourite is The Little Icecream Co and for chips is The Regal Fish Bar and Restaurant.

For sea views you can’t rival Boardwalk Cafe on the pier with outdoor seating. Other hot spots is The Alex Cafe Bar & Brasserie that sells great food but also has an upstairs restaurant.

Or for a cafe on the sea front try One29 Bar at the bottom of Bent Hill. If you venture into the spa gardens you may find Cliff Top Cafe which is a hidden gem.

Where to eat your lunch

If you brought a packed lunch or bought a take away then you’ll be pleased to know there are some lovely spots close by to town to eat your lunch other than a bench at the Triangle (the island in the middle of town).

A short walk from the Orwell Hotel is the Grove. This is a little woodland area with paths through the forest or a big field to sit and eat your lunch.

Another option is the Spa gardens. At the end of town (towards the sea) turn left and go through the gardens. There are lots of steps but it is possible to avoid them if you have a pushchair or wheelchair, etc.

Of course, there is the beach with benches along the promenade or just find a spot on the beach. If you have transport, you may wish to go to Landguard Fort or the Ferry for a different experience.

Book Shops

You can buy books from Charity Shops, WHSmith or The Works but why not check out these local independent book shops:

Richards Books: Sells secondhand books.

Treasure Chest Books: Sells secondhand and antiquarian books

Stillwater Books: Sells new books and some are signed by the author.

Don’t forget the festival will be selling books. These are usually sold at The Orwell Hotel or after author talks (where they sign them).

Stationery shops

You can buy stationery from WHSmith, The Works or Poundland but I would encourage you to check out Pierrot, a small local stationery supplier.

A little maps of where to find these shops on the high street:

The Orwell Hotel

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