What’s your pen name and tell me about the books you like to write.
My pen name for my YA fantasy books is T. J. Mayhew (although I also write contemporary romance under Tracey Mayhew). My fantasy books are often based around myths and legends: my debut trilogy was based around the legend of King Arthur, taking the original myth and using that to imagine what would have happened if Arthur had had a child when he had died. The trilogy I’m currently working on is based on the Norse legend of Ragnarok.
What part of your stories are hardest to write and why?
Great question! For me, the hardest part to write is always the middle – they don’t call it the ‘murky middle’ for nothing! I often find that’s the part where everything has to be tightened up and things have to be put into place in order the finale to work and that means trying to keep track of a lot of threads!
What kind of reaction/biggest emotion are you wanting from your readers?
I just want readers to root for my characters because I put them through a lot! Their journeys are never easy and so if I can create characters that people love through the dark times, I’m more than happy with that!
If two radio hosts were having a heated debate about something in your novels, what would it be and why?
Whether I was right to kill off certain characters (especially in The Prophecies of Fate series, which is based of Arthurian legends). Let’s just say, I’m not averse to killing off characters and a lot of my feedback tends to be: ‘Why did you do that?! He/she deserved better!”
What actor/actress would play your leading characters?
Ooh, this is a hard one, mainly because my main characters are all about 15-16 years old and, I have to admit, I don’t know many actors around that age. I suppose I’ve always dreamed that, if any of my books were made into a movie/TV series, then an unknown actor will come along from nowhere and be perfect for the parts.
What song would play in the background of the first scene to your novel?
The first scene in The Book of Legend depicts Merlin trying to evade the dark forces holding Britain at bay while at the same time trying to hide the key to Britain’s future so I think something instrumental and ominous would be a good choice.
What is your main character NOT supposed to do?
Cai Pendragon, the main character in the Prophecies of Fate series, is not supposed to is lose faith in himself as, due to his past, he has a tendency to see himself as weak and not worthy. The thing Cai has to remember about himself is that he is stronger than he gives him credit for.
Who believed in your goals no matter what and how did they support you?
That’s easy, my mum has always been my biggest supporter. She was the first person I told that I wanted to seriously pursue a writing career and is the first person I run all my ideas by. If I’m stuck with a plot hole, I can talk it through with her. She’s been supportive in so many ways but, I guess, just by being there, no matter what, is the main way she lets me know she’s on my side.
How do you improve your craft?
I watch a lot of AuthorTube videos about craft (some of my favourites are Kristen Martin, Heart Breathings, Natalia Leigh and Kate Cavanaugh). I also read some books about how to improve plotting etc (Save the Cat is a good resource for that). Really, though, it’s all about practice and finding a routine that works for you.
What book do you want to read next?
At the moment, I’m reading ‘The Obsidian Tower’ by Melissa Caruso so, after that, I would love to read ‘The Quicksilver Court’. Other books on my reading list include: ‘Itch Rocks’ and ‘Itch Craft’, ‘Sky in the Deep’ by Adrienne Young and ‘A Time of Dread’ by John Gwynne.
What are your 2022 goals:
Ooh, where to start? I want to publish the second book in my Viking Saga trilogy and then begin work on the final book in that series; I want to research and launch my own YouTube channel and continue spreading the word about my existing series. I also want to update my website. These are very broad goals at the moment because I’m not actually sitting down to really plan for 2022 until December, after NaNo is complete.
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