Interview with Heath Shedlake

Heath Shedlake is the author of “The Shamanic Prophecy”. I recently interviewed him through facebook. Here is the interview.
A. J: 1) Tell us a bit about your book and yourself.

Heath Shedlake: Hello AJ, Thank you for inviting me onto your blog. I am 48 years old and I live on the south coast of the UK. I am lucky enough to have sufficient spare time to pursue my love of kite-surfing and paddle boarding. Where I live it is ideal for both; when there’s wind and no wind! I live in a lovely little cottage, which has a secluded garden, which I have lovingly attended to over the years. I have always been an avid reader throughout my life, and if I don’t have a book to read at home I begin to start sweating! As a lover of history I decided to set my novel in a historical setting. I chose Venezuela in the seventeenth century as it was a time of massive upheaval for the countries of South America. I thought with the backdrop of this change I could introduce some exciting elements into my book and some characters of dubious integrity!

A. J: 2) Which was the first story that you wrote? Who first inspired you to write and at what age?

Heath Shedlake: The first story I wrote was a short story entitled Frozen Dinners. It is set in the coastal town of Brighton during a long hot summer. It is a fictional crime story with a flawed, yet engaging central character. No one inspired me to begin writing, it was more a case of life pushing me in that direction. I was growing increasingly frustrated at having no outlet for my creative urges, but slowly I came to the realisation that writing was my intended path. Writing came to me quite late in life, but I feel that I have more experiences and skills now in order to craft an engaging and convincing story.

A. J: 3) Are you currently writing the sequel to your first book? Does it have the same characters?

Heath Shedlake: Yes, I am busy finishing the sequel, which is entitled Hope Not Lost. It does feature some of the same characters and a whole host of new ones. I am really excited by the sequel as it takes the characters and the reader to some really exciting places and situations.

A. J: 4) Did you ever submit to a traditional publisher before deciding to self publish?

Heath Shedlake: No, I decided from very early on to self-publish as one can remain in control of the whole process. However, I did send off my manuscript recently to a publisher to see what reaction I would receive. I was pleased that they offered me a contract, but I decided to turn it down in the end as it wasn’t the right fit for me. That’s not to say I won’t consider it again, but it would have to be a very good offer.

A. J: 5) How was the self publishing process like. Did you hire any editor or book cover designer? Or was it just you ‘juggling the mountains’?

Heath Shedlake: The self-publishing process is actually really easy if you follow the steps on how to format your files correctly for Kindle. I didn’t hire any editor as my grasp of the English language is quite good – plus, I’m a perfectionist and I would never knowingly publish any errors. I did however employ the services of a book cover designer, who I think did a marvellous job on the cover of The Shamanic Prophecy. I’ve never heard of the expression ‘juggling the mountains’ before, but I quite like it. That expression could be used to describe the self-promotion part of the whole exercise of being an indie author!

A. J: I made up the expression anyway, on to question 6) You recently organised a book signing, didn’t you? And was it the first time in your life? How did it go?

Heath Shedlake: Yes, AJ, I did hold a book signing. It was the first properly organised event that I had arranged and it was quite nerve-wracking the night before to be honest. Many thoughts go through your mind such as – ‘What if no-one turns up?!’ I needn’t have worried though, as plenty of people turned up, along with friends and family who were very supportive. I chatted to many new people and sold a lot of my paperbacks – thankfully!

A. J: It must have felt pretty good after all the worrying, anyway 7) Did you suffer from writer’s block while writing your novel? How did you get past it?

Heath Shedlake: Yes, it did thank you. I think ‘Writer’s Block’ is an often misused expression. I think a lot of people imagine that an author ‘suffering’ from this condition will sit in front of a blank page and begin to start wailing and crying at their lack of creativity! In fact it is more mundane than that and can be the result of many causes. It can be that one has just simply run out of steam or is just too plain busy or tired in their daily lives to even think about writing. It could be that they start thinking too much about the end product and worry about how it will be received – which can lead to a state of paralysis. I have had many times when I have not written for a while, but it hasn’t been as a result of ‘Writer’s Block’. What keeps me returning to the keyboard is a sense of guilt at not having done anything creative with my day. Any author can write something if they have taken the trouble to open up their manuscript. The key is just to write and not to fret over whether what you’ve written is any good or not.

A. J: 8) Do you think print books will survive the growing popularity of cheaper ebooks? Or will they get ‘outdated’ ?

Heath Shedlake:I think there will always be a market for both actually. I for one like the look and feel of a paperback in my hands. There will always be proponents of both and I believe they each have a viable audience and individual attraction.

A. J: 9) What is the best thing about being a writer? How has being one changed your life?

Heath Shedlake: The best thing about being a writer is the opportunity to create a world of your making and lose yourself in it completely. It is also a very humbling experience to know that readers are willing to spend their hard-earned money to buy your books. It has changed my life in that I have become more focused and I feel proud of my achievements.

A. J: 10) Anything else you’d like to add?

Heath Shedlake: I’d just like to say thank you to the people out there who have read my book – that is the reason why I continue to write. Thank you for inviting me onto your blog.

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About A J Chaudhury

A. J. Chaudhury is a young author from India of fantasy and historical fiction. His short story "A Song of Blood", set in historical Pragjotisha, has released recently, and more tales are following soon.
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