Saturday, June 11, 2011

Author Spotlight: Kurt Chambers

When I first met Kurt (on Twitter), he introduced himself as "Kurt from England" to which I replied, "I'm Cyndi from America." I still call him "Kurt from England" 'cuz it cracks me up. It's great having a friend across the pond, especially when he gave me a crash course in British swear words on Facebook. *grin*

He recently did a great interview with Annie McMahon's daughter on the Dutch Hill News blog, so I asked if he'd be so kind as to interview with me as well. Lucky for you, he said yes!

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Okay, where should I start? I live in the south east of England, about thirty miles north of London in the leafy county of Hertfordshire. I'm married, I have three children, and I'm a very young granddad with three grandchildren. My kids made me a granddad at forty one. Nice! LOL I love it really. My wife is my childhood sweetheart, and my best friend. We have been together for about twenty-eight years, and known each other since we were in junior school. We used to walk home together from school when we were about eight years old. I have always lived in the same town, in the same area as where I grew up. I like to think I'm quite a happy-go-lucky person, and hardly ever take things seriously. I hate being an adult, kids have way more fun. I'm so jealous :) 

How long have you been writing? Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I only started writing when I was in my mid thirties. I never imagined in a million years that I would be a writer when I was younger. Because I wasn't very good at reading or writing, I used to see it as a chore. I know that sounds a bit of a strange thing for an author to say, but it's true. I always liked the idea of writing a book, but I never thought I could do it. I used to think that was the kind of thing clever people did, who have degrees in English and creative writing. Then one day I decided to write a novel. It seemed like a good idea at the time. LOL Little did I know just how much was involved. 

I spent two years writing a novel, then joined a writing forum, the Young Adult Novel Workshop, after taking advice from a friend. That's when I discovered just how much I didn't know. :D They took me under their wing and taught me everything I know today. They are the most amazing people I have ever met. I've come a long way since then. I'm now moderating the forum and helping to mentor new authors. It just goes to show, nothing is impossible if you want it enough. 

Why did you decide to write middle-grade novels?
I think the simple answer to that is I have the mental age of a ten-year-old. LOL I love children, they are the funniest things in the whole world. I adore the innocence of young children, it's their most endearing characteristic. I made up a saying that I always use, "The innocence of children is what makes them stand out as a shining example to the rest of Mankind." I try to capture this innocence in my stories. I couldn't see myself writing Young Adult after experiencing having three teenagers myself. All those issues I'm still trying to put behind me. :D Middle Grade is much more fun.

What have you written so far?
So far I have four complete novels, and I have started writing another two more. The first three novels I wrote were a series of Middle Grade Fantasy stories, Truth Teller, The Wrath of Siren and Favian's Law. I have always loved Fantasy from a young age, but not being the best reader in the world, I always struggled with some of the classic tales like Lord of the Rings. I wanted to write this type of story that would appeal to younger children, so that is what I did. 

Unfortunately, after many years in the making, I discovered Middle Grade High Fantasy wasn't the most marketable of books, and I could never find anyone interested in publishing them, despite their popularity among the young readers who read them. So, not to be put off, I wrote a new novel that would be more marketable. That's how Unknown Reality came into being. It's a mix between Fantasy and Sci-Fi. I have just started submitting this novel to publishing agents, so fingers crossed!

The two new novels I'm working on are still in their infancy. The first one is an idea I've had for a long time, The World in Johnny's Back Garden. The original idea was to give children an alternative view of living things through a series of mini adventures shown from the perspective of different creatures. This proved rather difficult, so the story has evolved quite a lot over time. I am still sticking to my original idea, but presenting it in a different way. I have also just started writing a brand new story, which at the moment I'm calling, Teddy. It's a strange story about a boy named Charlie who discovers a talking teddy bear. The story will be loosely based around the concepts of growing up and not believing anymore.

You seem to have a great network of author friends. How did you meet them?
It all started when I joined the Young Adult Novel Workshop. I didn't know anyone in real life that was even remotely connected to writing or publishing. I originally only joined because it was free to join. LOL At the time I didn't realise it was an American site. Once I found my way to the YA forum, I met writers from all over the world in various stages in their writing careers. They introduced me to the writing community through various sources and I have never looked back since. The writing community is amazing! So supportive and friendly, it never ceases to amaze me.

Your book covers are ah-mazing, I must say. How did you get such awesome covers?
Thank you! :) I love them too! One of the first people I met when I joined WDC some years ago was a lady called Dawne Dominique. We became really close friends, she is like a sister to me. We always joke she is my long lost twin. Dawne taught me so much. Not only was she an editor for a few publishing companies, but she is a published author and the most amazing cover artist. She has won several awards on the Preditors & Editors website for her work. As the old saying goes, it's not what you know, it's who you know. LOL
If you could buy property anywhere, what would you choose and why? Price is no object, of course! ;)
Awesome! I would buy a castle then! I love castles. I always visit a castle when I go on holiday, they are so inspirational. I'm a carpenter by trade, so I have always had this dream of buying a derelict castle somewhere on the south coast of England and turning it into a home. Spend my days rebuilding it a bit at a time.

Have you ever been to America? If so, where did you go? If not, where would you like to visit?
No, I've never been anywhere. LOL I've never left the country or even owned a passport. My kids kept me poor. To be honest, I'm not really sure, I don't know America too well. I have always loved the idea of visiting the Inca settlements in South America. I have friends all over your country that I would love to meet in person, so I would love to do a tour.

Are you a socks or barefoot kind of guy? (You thought I was going to say boxers or briefs, didn't you??) Any interesting hobbies?
Hahaha!! I'm a socks guy. It gets cold here in England. :D

I have millions of hobbies, from brewing wine to building telescopes, rockets and rocket launchers. Making websites, playing in rock bands and writing children's books, to name a few. I like to keep busy.

Who are your favorite authors/books?
That's easy. My favourite author is Terry Brooks. I read the whole of his Shannara series, about sixteen books in total. I started reading the first trilogy in this series when I was about twelve years old. 

What are you working on now?
At the moment, I am just starting to write the new novel I mentioned above. It will probably take me about a year to complete, then maybe another six months to edit to a publishable standard. In the meantime, I have started a submission campaign for Unknown Reality. If I can get anyone interested in this novel and get published, I will stand a better chance at getting publishers to look at my Truth Teller trilogy, hopefully.

How can people connect with you?
You can visit my website:

Thanks for the interview, Kurt from England!


  1. Thanks for having me, Cyndi from America! haha!! This was a fun interview, mate. Thank you so much for letting me appear on your brilliant blog, it's a real honour :)

    Did you have to mention the lesson in English swear words? :D

  2. Great interview! Feeling famous yet, Kurt? Will you invite us all to your castle once you're rich and famous? I'm really hoping your books will be published soon, while my kids are still in your age target. *crossing fingers*

  3. haha!! Thank you, Annie :) Yes! Of course you're invited! You can help me rebuild it if you don't mind getting your hands dirty :D

  4. Fabulous interview! It's wonderful making such friendships. Thank you, Kurt and Cyndi.

    Ellie Garratt

  5. Thank you, Ellie :) Isn't the writing community a wonderful place?

  6. You're so funny, Kurt! Oh, I mean, Kurt-from-England. Cyndi did a great interview--so many interesting questions--and you pored forth a lot of answers I didn't know before! (Her book BETWEEN sounds great!)

  7. Thank you, Laura :) Or should I say, Laura from Egypt? :D

  8. What a fantastic interview, Cindy and Kurt. For the record, I am a twin in real life (my sister is 45 minutes older than I am), but Kurt is my "authentic" twin brother. And he will NEVER grow up 'cause I'll kill him if he does. *snickers*

  9. hahaha!! Hi twin sis! How great to see you here <3

    This is the lady to see if you are looking for a book cover people! She is the best!

    Don't worry, Dawne, not much fear of that happening :)

  10. Terrific interview, guys. Cindy, you make Kurt look good! Kurt - socks? Warm woolen ones?

  11. Hi Jay :) Thanks mate!

    haha!! More like white cotton sports ones :)

    Thanks for stopping by!