I hope everyone is keeping safe and finding ways to keep busy and entertained in these tricky times.
After a few quiet months, its lovely to talk to YA writer, EJ Parry.
How long have you been writing, Ed?
I’ve been writing pretty much my entire life…and sadly I’ve still got nearly all of it filed away somewhere. I’d never looked to get anything published, or if I’m being honest even read, until my first book “Golem” came along. The first thing I ever wrote was a short piece of music, written on an old, broken guitar which only had three strings. It was very simple but I liked it. That’s what started me writing. That first piece of music just happened. I don’t remember anything about it other than thinking it was a pretty tune. Then the teenage angst and anguish kicked in lol and I wanted a safe way to express my thoughts and feelings. My childhood wasn’t a great one and writing seemed a good way to get a lot of “stuff” off my chest.
I then moved on to writing more songs and lots and lots of poetry, the sort any anguished teen would be proud of. I continued writing poems and songs through university and early adulthood but it all came to a crashing halt when I became a teacher. I just didn’t have the free time to sit and write anything. I only started writing again following an accident in September 2016, which cost me not only my health and fitness but also my career. I was severely limited with what I could do and pain management became the focus of my time.
Then one day I had an epiphany, inspired by Rocky Balboa of all people! I was in a severe depression and I had been focussing too much on the things I could no longer do, Rocky said “Life's not about how hard of a hit you can give... it's about how many you can take, and still keep moving forward.” That rang a bell and I decided to start concentrating on the things I could do. So, I started writing again.
At first it was silly little poems about anything, I even wrote one about my belly button fluff! Then I started writing music again, then short children’s stories, one of which morphed itself into “Golem.”
All of my writing is aimed at young people. “Golem” is a thriller/horror aimed at young people/teens. I’ve finished the sequel, which is going through the editing process as we speak and have made a start on part 3.
My short stories are aimed at a much younger reader, whilst my music and poetry aren’t really focussed at any age but are aimed more at a wide range of ages and abilities, from a sensory musical written for youngsters with special and sensory needs to string quartets and poems written for a more mature audience. As yet I haven’t any plans to publish these and am sticking to my “proper” novels, but we’ll see what the future will bring.
How do you collect ideas and build up the characters for your stories?
“Golem” is based very much on some real life experiences, gathered from my own school days and stories others have told me…obviously I’ve embellished these for the book. Once the initial idea is there, I then let the book follow its own course and see where it takes me.
Every one of the main characters is based on somebody I either knew, worked with or taught, so they are very real to me and I care very much about them…well, some of them. There is part of me in the book however as it touches on some real life experiences. There is a cheeky little nod in “Golem” to the three teachers who have scared me the most.
The settings for my stories are a mixture of imagination and places familiar to me. The school the children go to is very much based on my old secondary school, and “the Den” they have is loosely based on a den we made as kids in a local park.
My books are meant purely for the reader to enjoy…with a few scary, edge of the seat moments thrown in for the sheer terrifying thrill of it!
Do you have a writing routine?
I usually write at home, either in my little home office or in the garden. I’m unable to work (in a proper, full time job) due to my conditions and have to fit writing around my management of them. Unfortunately, this means I can’t write for long periods or even write every day, but I try to fit it in when I am able.
The best part of writing is getting lost in the world I’m creating, and watching the characters grow and develop. I also love hearing from people who have read the book and what they have to say about it.
For me, the hardest part is being a writer is being unable to write every day and the physical pain it can cause me when I do write…. oh, and the sales side of it. I’m rubbish at it.
I am a keen reader myself and enjoy reading all sorts, from fantasy (Lord of the Rings etc), to action thrillers (Scott Mariani’s Ben Hope books) to the brilliantly creepy and scary world of James Herbert, to the incomparable Harry Potter books. I enjoy all sorts.
I certainly think being a reader is helpful for a writer, however, I think it also depends upon why the writer is writing. I didn’t read much when I was growing up but I loved writing. I’m sure there are many writers out there who write for themselves with their own reasons for doing so, who aren’t looking to be published and don’t necessarily read much.
It has been really interesting talking to you today, Ed, Thank you.
My Pleasure, Trish.
You can find out more about EJ Parry and his work at: