Jan 232014
 

WELCOME GRAHAM WOOD


GRAHAM WOOD

Graham Wood was born and raised in Manchester and currently lives in Timperley, Altrincham. He works freelance, coordinating large global IT outsourcing contracts for clients of Efficio Consulting. Many of the characters in the book are based on idiosyncrasies he has encountered throughout his life and the ideas for the book have been developing over many years. Wood is already working on the second book due to be released later next year.
Connect with Graham at these sites:

WEBSITE        TWITTER   

Q&A with Graham Wood

On Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
Yes, is the short answer to both parts of the question. Taking the first part of the question first, I feel it is important for any fictional writer to draw upon a mix of inspiration, life experiences and elements of individual characters and personal attributes they have noticed. For me this brings the individuality of the author into the storyline. In relation to the current events element of the question, this is harder to do for science fiction but I have incorporated more general themes of dictator oppression, rebelling against adversity, energy concerns and extent we rely on our communication structures. In the second book there is more concern on population growth, immigration and differences in culture.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
Zein started with an idea of a different world close to but apart from Earth. This then transformed into a land, unseen to our eyes due to greater alien technological advances, in the sky above Earth. Therefore, I very much start with the idea, threat and struggle facing our heroes and heroines, though once I have established this I do jump to the conclusion i.e. where is this leading me? The old adage, whether you’re writing an essay for an exam or a novel is to have a beginning, middle and end. The rest simply falls into place. For me it’s beginning, the end and then back to the middle. That is how my brain is wired!

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
The reason I have not managed to publish a book until now is due to the extent life is just so busy, always interrupting what you really want to do. The wonderful merry-go-round of family life, bringing up the kids, and acting as a taxi service does not lend to quiet downtime to concoct your first novel. To break the mould I wake up at 5am in the morning and walk out, usually in my pyjamas and fleece and sit in the hut at the bottom of my garden. The hut has heat and power and is very secluded with just birds for company. No phones, no kids asking for lifts and no one knocking on the door or dog barking. Bliss.

This is how I pull together the structure and chapters. I write one or two chapters and then through the day, when the noise starts again, I develop the story whilst doing my errands or walking the dog. I then critique the chapters when I can. The next morning I am up again at 5am and the next couple of chapters are completed. I found that I could write a 90,000 word novel in four months whilst still working my day job.

Is writing your full time job? If not, may I ask what you do by day?
No, it is not my full time job. I am a freelance IT Procurement Consultant specialising in outsourcing. I enjoy working for myself and the type of work I do is demanding and usually away from home. There is an element of flexibility and I do sometimes work at home which allows time to write and then work. I should say that I do not see writing as work but more of a hobby and pastime. My dream is that within the next five years, when I have completed the nine books I have planned for the Zein Chronicles, writing will become my full time career.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
I have no fixed genres or authors that I follow as I read all types of books. However my inspiration was Tolkein and I have recently enjoyed reading Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games trilogy) and George RR Martin (Game of Thrones). If you took a look at my bookcase there are many books from Grisham, James Clavell, Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, David Baldacci to name just a few.

What are you reading now?
I am reading Lee Childs – The Enemy, a Jack Reacher book.

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
Yes I am and making very good progress. The second book is nearly all about Zein the planet. The first Joint Human and Zeinonian Task Force set off on a quest to see if there are any survivors back on Zein. The book introduces new, exciting characters as well as the key surviving individuals from the first book. The struggle between good and evil continues and relationship issues between the companions hots up considerably. The book is full of epic fights, new worlds and a growing menace back on Earth. One thing I will promise is that in every Zein book I write the opening chapter will have a battle to remember!

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
Good question.Both Kabel and Tyson are tall, good looking guys in early twenties so I would probably have Rob Pattinson as Tyson and Liam Hemsworth as Kabel. Zylar needs to look mean without trying so Christian Bale is the right actor for that role. For the female leads – Jennifer Lawrence for the spiky Gemma, Rachel Hurd-Ward for the fiery Evelyn and Emilia Clarke from the Game of Throne as the beautiful Amelia.

Manuscript/Notes: hand written or keyboard?
Keyboard. Tried the hand written notes and I am a notoriously messy writer, couldn’t read my notes….

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
Golf, although I am a beginner. As I am over six feet and reasonably strong I can hit the ball far but not always in the direction I want it to go. I do love walking my cross breed dog, Mitzy.

Favorite meal?
Food, I love food, all food. My favourite has to be a toss-up between a good madras curry or a Lebanese meal with many starters.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Inspired by recent events in his personal life, debut author releases first novel in an epic sci-fi trilogy, in which two races must form an uneasy allegiance in order to shield the Universe from total destruction. ”

One hundred years ago, fleeing terror in their homeland, The Zein Expeditionary Force arrived in a new galaxy, where they found planet Earth and its rich supply of the extraordinary and rare raw material zinithium. They also found Earth to be inhabited by humans: an aggressive race similar in appearance to their own, but technologically inferior. The indigenous species were too numerous to conquer, yet too engrossed in their own wars to make peace with. Instead of joining with the humans, the Zeinonians settled in four quadrants in the skies above Earth, masking their presence with their advanced alien technology. For decades they lived peacefully, mining the precious zinithium, awaiting a time when the human wars would cease, and the two might live side by side, in harmony.

One hundred years later and peace continues to allude the Earth. The Zeinonians must now face their own uprising, as the evil Zylar leads a powerful sectarian rebel army against the remaining protected quadrant, to once and for all take control of the Zein Earth Colony. Zylar’s plan is to invade and conquer Earth and plunder the precious zinithium to aid his empirical ambitions across the entire known Universe. Only one Zeinonian can prevent a devastating interplanetary war; young Kabel Blackstone, destined to be one of the most powerful Zeinonians to have ever lived. Following the mysterious ‘Ancient Prophecy’, Kabel travels to Earth where he forms a small band of unlikely human companions. Amongst them is Tyson Mountford, who has recently started to experience disturbing new powers and abilities; signs that he could be the key to the Ancient Prophecy. Kabel and Tyson, two strangers from different worlds, must join forces to overcome the tyrannical forces that threaten their lives, their families, and the future of their races. If they fail, Zylar will stop at nothing to destroy their home planets on his mission to dominate the Universe.

Zein is the fast-paced sci-fi thriller charting an epic battle of good against evil, as an alien species allies with the human race to fight dark forces, both on Earth and in the skies above it. While aimed at a young adult audience, Zein explores pertinent themes of romance, friendship, and adversity which will undoubtedly resonate with many adults too. Author Graham Wood has long wanted to become a novelist, but it wasn’t until summer 2012 that he finally decided to pursue his dream. When his daughter Becky was just fourteen-years-old, she was diagnosed with a potentially fatal congenital condition with a previously undetected major heart defect and underwent open heart-surgery. Astonishingly, Becky diagnosed her own heart defect in a school biology lesson, when her friends were trying to find a pulse on her left-hand side, but couldn’t; a subsequent enquiry with her GP concluded with terrifying heart surgery at Alder Hey Childrens Hospital in Liverpool. Witnessing his daughter face this fearful challenge had a profound effect on Graham Wood, who, inspired by Becky’s bravery, realized life is too short and too precious to be wasted. During many sleepless nights at Becky’s bedside in hospital during her recovery, Wood began formulating the book in order to take his mind off the distress of seeing his daughter so ill. In January 2013 he began to write and after only four months, the first installment of the Zein trilogy was complete. The family are deeply indebted to Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and Ronald McDonald House, and will be donating 50% of the book’s profits for the next three years to the two charities.

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I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
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