1. What can you tell us about your new book “I” Quest for the Invisible Keys?
“I” invites the reader to participate in a soul searching journey to discover who you really are. The story is not so much about “human beings” as it is about “being human”. The reader is asked to “be” the main character, the lost child. Along the way, there are many obstacles and challenges, requiring you to make decisions, hopefully the right ones. Initially, you will feel sympathy for the lost child, so innocent and unfortunate. As the story progresses, you will realize the child is there for a very specific reason. The child is not as innocent as you think.
The story is entirely symbolic. The lost child represents all humanity regardless of ethnic origin, or religious belief. The journey represents life with all its trials and tribulations, challenges and emotional ebbs and tides.
The child is instructed by a “Voice” in his head, that he must find 10 keys and only then will he be able to find his way, and if he fails, he will remain lost forever. The child has no idea the “keys” are invisible, but will come to realize, these keys are more valuable than any form of material wealth.
The journey is a roller coaster ride through a dimension located somewhere between time and space. The reader may think the storyline is merely a dream, however they will come to learn this adventure was no dream or figment of the child’s imagination. The ending will leave the reader guessing, what really happened here? The reason the journey happened should be fairly obvious by the end of the story, but may take another read or two for reader to really understand the powerful message the story contains.
I have also included a “writing challenge” with cash prizes. I want the young readers to use their intellect and imagination to answer a question. This interaction, I hope, will make the reader think carefully about what he/she has just read and what they have learned. Writing something always helps one remember.
2. The book is an unusual concept, so where did the inspiration come from?
The beginning of the story is based on a true life event. A few days before my eighth birthday, I found myself on the side of a mountain road in the middle of nowhere, flat on my back, blinded by the sun, staring up at the blue sky, silence, no one around.
The concept in story style is a self creation, daring to write in an unconventional manner, thinking outside the box. The story is written the first person, me, myself, and I. The characters have no names and there is virtually no dialogue. The entire story is told from the perspective of the lost child. I took a genuine risk in choosing this style, but over much self debate, decided this is the best way to tell the story.
The concept for the story began with personal observations of my students over a period of time. Most come from affluent families, and from day one, noticed these young students took everything for granted, expected everything to be given to them, were not concerned about their behaviour, and had a general lack of respect for everybody, and everything, including their parents.
I came up with this concept as part of a summer writing program entitled “I.” “I”, as a title because the students were so…about themselves. They were told to take the place as the lost child, and every lesson they were confronted with a different situation. They had to write about what was going to happen next and what they would do now? They had to write in story form, continuing the passage I had started for them, telling us about the decision they would make. If their decision was correct, they would receive one of the “keys”. They thought this was really cool and were eager to try and figure out what they would do, and find out what the next key would be. It was quite apparent; many of the students did learn something, and the parents, especially the mothers, were very appreciative and complementary in regards to the subject matter.
I thought the concept could be expanded and turned into a novel with a prominent message that would help young people build character and stay grounded. We live in a very impersonal world. Technology has made communication easy; we don’t even have to talk to each other anymore. This is my small contribution, to help us humans stay in touch with ourselves, others, and reality.
“I” may be targeted at young readers, but the truth is, every adult should read this book as well. We can always learn something about ourselves, improve, and become a better person. The message is timeless. It is never too late.
The story transcends all cultures, races, and religions. Although the virtues I have chosen are embraced by all major religions, there is no religious motive, and where I discovered the main cluster, actually has no religious bearing whatsoever. Human dynamics play the “key” role.
I will let you think about it, and see if you can figure it out where these virtues might have come from.
3. How does writing for children differ from writing for adults, for you?
Adults are complicated, wanting entertainment, adult subject matter, the big “WOW” factor, and an escape from reality. Young readers need to be given material that is exciting, entertaining, fun to read, encourages them to read more, and learn something important from what they have just read. This is an opportunity to inspire, motivate, and educate young minds, giving them some additional direction and moral guidance. I believe “I” does just that.
4. You have a background in finance, marketing and education, so at what point did you know you wanted to write?
I graduated from high school at 17 and wanted to be the guy that wrote the TV commercials and slogans for companies like Coca Cola, McDonald’s, etc. No such university course for this kind of learning existed in Canada at that time, so I chose Marketing because the major had some advertising courses in it. I graduated with a degree at 19, cramming 4 years university into 2 years, but really the course had nothing to do with writing. I dabbled with my writings, short stories, movie scripts, than met a publisher in Hong Kong who commissioned me to write books which would assist the Hong Kong students in their English language development. One novella being an environmental mystery adventure was used by some schools. From this point on, an endless stream of ideas and concepts occupied and continue to occupy my mind. I really need to write.
5. How much has this background aided your writing?
Done of my writing really had anything to do with the finance or marketing background because I never set out to try and make money at the craft. As a creative writing teacher here in Hong Kong, I wanted to create a series of work that would inspire students to read more, improve their English, entertain and motivate them. Only about 1% of the population here is English speaking and I believe my books have international appeal, especially “I” because the book contains a very powerful, universal message. Hope the world thinks so.
6. Who did you most like to read when you were young?
My favourite book series was the Hardy Boys Mysteries which included over 50 novels and I collected all of them. I modeled my book, “The Mystery of Hong Kong’s Pirate Island”, after this series. I also enjoyed such classics as Lord of the Rings, Animal Farm, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. All in all, mystery adventures were my favourites and remain so today.
7. Who are your favourite reads now?
Novels by Dan Brown (DaVinci Code), Guillaume Musso, Nicholas Sparks, Patricia Crowley (CSI type subject matter), and Dean Koontz. These authors have sold hundreds of millions of books, so I like to examine the style as well as their content, analyzing the “why” readers enjoy these novels. Many of their writings have become movies. I am also a huge movie buff. I have a great appreciation for these writers, their creativity, and their ability to communicate their ideas in this deliciously consumable form, the novel.
8. Which authors have been the greatest influence to you?
Early influences came from great authors such as Hemingway, with The Old Man and the Sea, being my favourite. Hemingway was truly a great storyteller. A couple of books that tweaked my writing confidence were Sun Tzu’s Art of War and Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. These two also were helpful in developing business strategies and to think outside the box. Presently, the authors previously mentioned remain prominent, and life experiences combined with a vivid imagination influence my story concepts.
9. What can we expect next from you?
If all goes well, I have a concept for the sequel to “I”. This time the main character will be a young girl. I have at least 7 more story ideas for the Hip Hop Twins mystery adventure series, if the readers like “The Mystery of Hong Kong’s Pirate Island”.
I have some other works in progress for the adult market, one of which is a DaVinci Code type thriller, combining a lot of Renaissance history, mathematical computations, riddles revolving around numbers, and a controversial plot line. My consultants are an Italian priest, history expert, and a computer science and mathematics professor, also from Italy.
I also have a highly humourous novel on the drawing board exploiting the North American sports culture.
Another try at a movie screenplay is not out of the question.
I have more ideas than time, but hopefully will be able to keep doing what I love most.
Someone said, “If you find something you love to do, you will never work a day in your life.”
Thank you for this opportunity. “I” is intended to convey a very positive and important message. Hope your review will help young readers and all readers to look at themselves and others in a very “human” way.
Get your copy from New Generation Publishing now!
Female First Lucy Walton