The survivors of humanity struggle to survive and deal with the loss of everyone they have ever known. Their only hope is Arcadia Smith, the only child born after the apocalypse. He has been augmented and trained from the age of four to travel back in time and save humanity. Alone, against the combined might of four nuclear supers powers, Arcadia Travels the globe to stop the four leaders from destroying the world again.
Will Arcadia’s quest to save the world be successful? Malcolm Mcdonald, the author of the young adult novel, Past Tense, has joined me today to chat about the first instalment of the Arcadia Smith trilogy. Malcolm, what inspired you to explore the post-apocalyptic world that Arcadia lives in?
I saw the movie 12 Monkey’s and really liked it. I started thinking about the things I would do different and came up with the Past tense series
When you were looking for things that you would have done differently did you cast your mind towards events in your own life that you felt should be used to texture your story?
The biggest thing influence for me was the culmination of all the books I have ever read. There is a little lee child, a little B.V. Larson, and a little Vince Flynn to mention just a few.
Those are some great authors, did you feel that their influence has helped you write better characters?
I am a child of the 80’s bigger is better, and a huge fan of Lee Child.
Bigger can indeed be better. Was the idea of bigger being better the most important thing you wanted to share with your readers in the novel, or did you want to share something else?
There is a lot of action and adventure but in the end, the book is about grief and how we deal with it as well as relationships.
Action, adventure and grief are all very powerful. Did you find sharing these dynamics in relationships the best reward? Or did you find greater rewards elsewhere when writing, and can you share what they were?
I read some were that well over 90% of people who start a novel never finish it, So I am very proud that I have now finished 2 novels.
Finishing two novels is a fantastic achievement! And in my experience talking to authors, quite addictive. Once you’ve done a few, you tend to do more. Have you been bitten by the writing bug, and if so can you let us know what we can look out for them in the near future?
Past Tense 2 Infiltration Earth is finished at the editor as we speak.
Looking back, what do you feel that you learnt during the creation of ‘Past Tense’ that has helped you improve your writing to a point where you’re now working on Past Tense 2 Infiltration Earth?
How important it is to write something even it is only 100 words every day
Only 100 words every day?
Yes, I try to write something every day, at least 100 words, more if I can.
100 words really aren’t much, but if you can stick with it every day you can see a marked increase in your writing, which I’m sure you’ve seen over the course of ‘Past Tense’.
Yes, every time I write something I seem to get better. A veteran writer once said if you want to be a good writer then write.
Is editing a part of that good writing process in your opinion? Do you edit your own work?
I used to and found that it is impossible to edit your own work, more so for me as I am horrible at it.
Okay, so you’re not heavily involved in the editing side to tidy up your writing. Instead, do you find like to centre your focus on planning where the novels will go before they start?
I am what is known in the business as a pantser, meaning I fly by the seat of my pants when writing although I don’t recommend it.
*Laughs* It’s good to know that the panster method isn’t recommended. What is it about writing that you do love?
Writing is hard and frustrating, but I have an itch, a passion to tell stories
Do you think about that passion when you’re writing, or do your thoughts turn elsewhere, and you share where they do turn?
I think of all the authors who I enjoy reading
Do you ever think about your author brand as you write?
I have not. My focus now is writing and improving at put pen to paper
That’s a great place to start. As someone who has produced two novels, what do you recommend for others looking to bring their own fictional adventures to paper?
Yes, the advice I hear in podcasts from successful authors; Butt in chair write, write, write.
The simple message is often most effective. Malcolm, thanks for sharing a taste of the Arcadia Smith series with us today, I will let you return your butt to the chair so that you can write, write, write your next novel.
Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘Past Tense ( ASIN: B077TCSJ42 )‘.
Want to find out more about Malcolm McDonald? Connect here!