Blog The Journey to Creating my debut novel 'Luke Stevens and the Blood of St George'
I wasn’t always going to be a writer. That was something that came to me later in life. First I was going to be a teacher, and then had a fairly successful (but brief) career as an actor until grown-up life came calling and I became a full-time house husband. Films and books were my escape from the incessant chores and work that came with looking after two children as well as a house. My amazing wife had to do all that as well as working full-time. Heroes don’t always wear capes.
The cinema would become my go-to place when I wanted to unwind. A friend suggested I write reviews as an outlet for the creative juices that were still inside me from my acting days and not long after, I had a website and was writing pieces for Filmhounds Magazine, Time & Leisure Magazine and several online blogs.
When I wasn’t watching films, I’d read. Usually thrillers or action-adventure novels. Middle-grade (10-15), young adult or for adults, it didn’t matter. If I liked the look of the cover and the blurb, I was in. Favourite authors include Matthew Reilly, J K Rowling, Carl Ashmore, Alex Scarrow, Simon Kernick, Scott Mariani, Greig Beck and Michael Scott.
A trip to the National Gallery with my family was where I was saw Jacopo Tintoretto’s (sounds like he should be Vin Diesel’s brother in the Fast & Furious franchise) painting of Saint George and the Dragon. Something about it captured my attention and I tried to think of a book I’d read where England’s patron saint had featured. I couldn’t think of one. I’m sure there are plenty out there, but none sprung to mind.
I bought a postcard size of the painting, took it home and began to jot down some ideas. I wrote, wrote and wrote some more. Most of it was terrible, but it was a start that I could play with and expand or cut short. It quickly became apparent that it would be a book for children and adults to enjoy. I wanted to write something my own children would read, but also something that I as a parent would want to engage with too.
Then Covid hit. Whilst lockdown gave me more time to sit at my desk and write, visits to certain locations were out of the question. Thank goodness for the Internet. Virtual trips to Stonehenge, The London Library and the now disused London tube station Down Street were possible and allowed me to tour the area, take what I needed as well as sprinkling a little bit of artistic license into the mix.
Several months later and countless hours typing away, I had a story. An actual story with a beginning, middle and an end! The fine people at House of Editors tidied it up for me and raised some valid questions about the plot that I was able to rewrite or adjust, and Tim from Dissect Designs designed my superb cover with me.
Luke Stevens and the Blood of St George was released in April 2022 and the reviews (so far) have been exceptionally positive. To any potential writers out there I say this: Write, write and keep writing. Look for inspiration whether it be from the news, another book, a film, the scenery around you or even a painting in the National Gallery. We all have a story inside us. We just need to find the pen.
You can buy a copy of 'Luke Stevens and the Blood of St George' here!Published: Fri 10th Mar 2023