Thursday 13 October 2016

Q & A with M.L. Mackworth-Praed

The Future King: Logres 
The Future King #1
by M.L. Mackworth-Praed 

Britain, 2052. In a world of war, disease and hunger the UK stands alone as a beacon of prosperity under an all-powerful ruling party. Life at new school Logres seems promising for fifteen-year-old Gwenhwyfar, and quickly she falls for the school's handsome catch, Arthur. When Arthur’s rival, Lancelot, returns after a suspension, her heart is soon divided. Realising that behind the UK's prosperity lies unspeakable cruelty, Gwenhwyfar sets off on a path to dismantle everything the government stands for. Suspenseful, raw and awash in a dystopian setting, The Future King: Logres is a story of identity and discovery against this backdrop, the second coming of the Arthurian legends. 

Paperback, 1st Edition, 518 pages
Published December 5th 2015

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                                                                                     Read It & Reap:  October 13, 2016

I'm a prolific doodler, which over the years has translated into being an illustrator; a here-there artist who dabbles with embroidery, and a keen writer with a taste for fantasy, sci-fi and young adult fiction. I just self-published my first novel, The Future King: Logres, an Arthurian second-coming set in dystopian 2052 Britain. If you like YA Fantasy or are a lover of the Arthurian legends then check it out! 

                            Q & A with M.L. Mackworth-Praed 

                                        Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
Principled, smart and sometimes misplaced in her judgement, fifteen-year-old Gwenhwyfar comes from a sheltered life in Swansea, Wales. She had everything she needed there, a good school and close friends; but after an unexpected move to Logres Secondary School in Surrey she struggles to find her place. As she gets to know her classmates and adapts to her new home, Gwenhwyfar becomes more aware of the dangerous political situation in the UK. During this journey she finds herself guided by her heart more often than her head—and soon discovers that standing up for what you believe in comes at great personal cost. 

Arthur is in Gwenhwyfar’s year at Logres. He has strident beliefs and he has yet to understand that his own stubbornness can sometimes hurt others. Eager to forge a path in the world that is different to that of those around him, he leans heavily on his History teacher Marvin, who has been his friend since Arthur fell out with his best friend, Lancelot. Arthur and Gwenhwyfar are very much on the same wavelength—they connect almost immediately and recognise themselves in one another: two lost teenagers who are trying to find their way.

Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
I do! That is the great thing about being self-published, you get complete control over how your book looks and feels. I studied Fine Art at university and so producing the actual cover art was straightforward enough. It was the brainstorming that was the challenging part, and choosing the colours and party logo for the ruling political party in the novel, New National, was difficult. I wanted to keep the cover as graphic and as iconic as possible—the colours of the New Nationals dominating the cover with the dividing crown motif alluding to the legends of King Arthur. Obviously I’m excited to get the next instalment in the series published for the continuation of the story, but also for the cover art—I have a great evolution planned for the whole Future King series.

Describe your ideal writing spot.
A clean desk, a clean laptop, a comfortable chair and my Future King notes spread out next to me. I got the best of my writing done while I was living in Belgium—my old apartment had plenty of light and was a great place to focus because I could work to my own routine. Writing isn’t just happening when you’re sat in front your manuscript typing—some of my best ideas came to me while I was taking the time out to do other things. I did several temp jobs while working on the first draft of this novel. They usually included digitising large amounts of paper or data entry for slow systems—perfect opportunities to scribble out some scenes on paper or to sketch out some ideas for the cover and title of my book.

What is the best advice you have been given?
Though I had great help and feedback from sample readers, I worked on this project on my own, which meant that I had to learn by trial and error. My first draft of The Future King: Logres is unrecognisable to the final published version, as my approach to writing changed dramatically. The most useful thing I learned was that you shouldn’t try to write like someone else because you’ll lose your voice. Write the book that you want to read, write the characters that you want to know. You have to enjoy the writing process otherwise your prose will become stifled and the book will die a trailing death. Writing a book is hard work, and you definitely shouldn’t expect to get it right the first time you try it.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Not many things. I wanted to be a vet until I was about eleven, then when I went to secondary school I decided I wanted to be an actor (mostly because The Lord of the Rings films were out). That eventually changed and then I wanted to be a novelist. Whilst at university I finally made a new start at the same book I had attempted on and off since college—The Future King: Logres. I feel the most at peace when I am drawing so I would be thrilled if I could make a living illustrating and writing, with a bit of fine art practice on the side!

Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
I prefer paperbacks. Hardcovers are too bulky to carry about and you can’t collect ebooks in the same way as you can with paperbacks. The physical act and the scents associated with reading on paper are just too unique to lose—the older the book the mustier the smell and the more delicate the ritual. I grew up with an extensive library that my grandfather collected throughout his life and there were some very old treasures in his collection. I am very impressed by the quality given by Kindle however—the way the text is displayed does almost give the feel of the printed page.

If you could have any supernatural power, what would you choose and why?
The power to heal myself and others is pretty self-explanatory; either that or the power of teleportation—being able to teleport myself and others across the globe would be great for holidays and always seemed so appealing when I was running around as a model for Paris and London Fashion Weeks! At the moment I’m leaning toward the idea of being able to erect Utopia from the middle of the Atlantic. Those who believe in peace and green technological advancement could go and live there and hopefully redirect the path of the world. Read into that what you like!

What book are you reading now?
Ashamedly nothing—work has been keeping me busy and any spare time that I do have I’ve been trying to pour into the second novel in The Future King series. I’ve been dipping in and out of a collection of poems by W. H. Auden, and The Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling were last on my reading list so I will get back to those at some point. There are also plenty of old Penguin books on my shelf that I’m hoping to find new homes for which I can read when I get the chance!

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