Monday, 27 February 2017

Q & A with James Hartley

The Invisible Hand: Shakespeare's Moon, ACT I
by James Hartley 

The Invisible Hand is about a boy, Sam, who has just started life at a boarding school and finds himself able to travel back in time to medieval Scotland. There he meets a girl, Leana, who can travel to the future, and the two of them become wrapped up in events in /Macbeth/, the Shakespeare play, and in the daily life of the school. The book is the first part of a series called Shakespeares Moon. Each book is set in the same boarding school but focuses on a different Shakespeare play." 

Paperback, 168 pages
Expected publication: February 22nd 2017 by Lodestone Books

Find it on Goodreads
Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Read It & Reap:  June 4, 2017

James was born on the Wirral, England, in 1973 on a rainy Thursday. He shares his birthday with Bono, Sid Vicious and two even nastier pieces of work, John Wilkes Booth and Mark David Chapman.

His mother was a hairdresser with her own business and his father worked in a local refinery which pours filth into the sky over the Mersey to this day. They married young and James was their first child. He has two younger brothers and a still-expanding family in the area. As an Everton fan he suffered years of Liverpool success throughout the seventies and was thrilled when his father took a job in Singapore and the family moved lock, stock and two smoking barrels to Asia.

He spent five fine years growing up in the city state before returning to the rain, storms, comprehensive schools and desolate beauty of the Scottish east coast. Later years took he and his family to baking hot Muscat, in Oman, and a Syria that has since been bombed off the surface of the planet.

James studied journalism in London and later travelled through Ireland, France, Germany and India generally having a good time, before finally settling in Madrid, Spain, where he now lives with his wife and two young children.

James loves writing and reading - the former a compulsion, the latter a pleasure - as well as running, boxing, eating, drinking and trying to see, and enjoy, the good things in life.

Connect with James Hartley

Q & A with James Hartley

Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
The main characters in the book are Sam and Leana. Sam Cauldhame is a new pupil at a boarding school called St Francis. His mother is a writer and his father is an archaeologist. The whole experience of boarding school is strange for Sam, who´s a fairly normal guy, but things get even stranger when he awakens one night in medieval Scotland. It´s there that he meets Leana, a headstrong young woman. Both of them become involved in the plot of Macbeth – Lady Macbeth thinks Leana might be her daughter – and things get complicated when Leana somehow turns up at Sam´s school.

Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
The cover of The Invisible Hand was done by an in-house designer at Lodestone Books, my publisher. I had some say in the general design, the themes and colours, and I´m happy with how things turned out. I wrote two short stories which introduce characters and themes from the series, Heart of Winter and Eve´s Christmas, and in both cases I worked with a very talented young designer called Lpixel. That process was very creative and satisfying. I like designing my own covers for stories I write on Wattpad.

Describe your ideal writing spot.
My mother-in-law´s kitchen. That´s where I wrote The Invisible Hand. These days I write in my own kitchen. I´m a kitchen guy.

What is the best advice you have been given?
Nothing directly. But I like: “No fear, no envy, no meanness,” which Liam Clancy told Bob Dylan. And, “Everything in moderation. Including moderation,” which I heard Paul Anka say years ago on a morning TV interview.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A writer.

Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
Hardbacks and paperbacks.

If you could have any supernatural power, what would you choose and why?
Probably to fly. I love the idea of flying over black, choppy seas at night or diving off green hills, enjoying the warm currents. I have a half-dream, half-plan to somehow learn how to fly a small plane but it sounds like an expensive hobby.

What book are you reading now?
The Maias by Eça de Queiroz: a fantastic writer I discovered by accident on holiday Portugal years ago. Has to be translated by Margaret Jull Costa, though. The Crime of Father Amaro is amazing. He would be much more widely read if he hadn´t of been Portuguese.

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