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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, author Ken Elphinstone talks about the inspiration behind his new book, Q.E.S.T. Cause Affect Effected, and his creative writing process.
Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed Ken Elphinstone about his life and career, what inspired him to write his new book, Q.E.S.T. Cause Affect Effected, and the advice he has for other authors.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
People considered me to be sporty at school, but apart from maths and the sciences, my formal educational teachers reported, ‘he could do better’. As a note, current educational systems would now consider me dyslectic.
I therefore elected to travel. First spending 12 years with the British army, serving in Germany, Cyprus, Libya and finally back to the UK for the last 18 months of service. Following this, my taught skills gave me the opportunities to travel in the middle east for several years before returning to the UK to catch up with college education thanks to ‘MS Word spell check’ help.
With a little more education, I joined a tech company to settle for a time, but they persuaded me to run their distributor operations throughout Europe. Following a successful few years, they persuaded me to relocate and run their operations throughout Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent.
On a personal level, I have four children, two boys, two girls and am now living happily with my 2nd wife. I still have a house on a tropical island, but now spend my days in sunny Scotland.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
I first wanted to write while spending lonely hotel-days while travelling throughout my many business trips worldwide; writing notes on scraps of paper.
When did you take a step to start writing?
I took the first steps writing prior to having a laptop. I then collated the handwritten notes prior to being typed up on a PC.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
My first released book, ‘LUNA’ took about 2 years to complete before being published in early 2022
How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?
My latest book, ‘Q.E.S.T’, took about 15 years to complete after digging out my old handwritten notes. Although it’s my second ‘release’ I still think of it as my first book.
Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write Q.E.S.T. Cause Affect Effected?
Q.E.S.T – This is all about someone subjected to being alone and needing to find their feet in new theatres of life. I suppose, much like myself, being landed in many countries worldwide and having to survive the different languages and cultures.
My time spent in the many different countries and their beliefs taught me it’s not formal education that makes intelligent and empathetic people.
What were your biggest challenges with writing Q.E.S.T. Cause Affect Effected?
The biggest challenge was my reluctance to get started. The notes were there. My time was at last free to do as I pleased. Then, with no more excuses and on a sunny morning I opened the page. Once set, and the path started, I knew I had to finish.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?
Those who think on their feet inspired the protagonist pair. Also, they who succeed in life despite being ordered by a hierarchy who only rely on doctrine.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?
Loneliness and the need to survive in an unforgiving world every day with no hope of rescue or help. Nature itself is the Antagonist. Survival alone in a challenging world is much like being in a forest of wolves.
What is the inciting incident of Q.E.S.T. Cause Affect Effected?
The surprise and realization to the innocent pair that they had been transported back in time. This and the realization that every sound could be a threat.
What is the main conflict of Q.E.S.T. Cause Affect Effected?
Overcoming the fight for survival and that different cultures have their own agendas.
Did you plot Q.E.S.T. Cause Affect Effected in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?
Apart from the plan to send the protagonist into the past, the story came out freely.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Q.E.S.T. Cause Affect Effected need?
They did very little editing, requiring some needed clarification of the story timelines.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?
With an idea in your mind, take it to your bed at night and think of it before sleep overtakes you. While asleep, your mind will be working. The next day, or at the earliest available time, type up your thoughts, which will then begin to flow. Next, give it a day or so and review it.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
Although at first reading ‘Luna’ and Q.E.S.T are on completely different levels. As a note, Luna is more on the spirit/spectral level, while Q.E.S.T is more of a time-travel story. I am linking them into a trilogy.
And, finally, are you proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
Oh yes! It’s very satisfying finally to get my scribbled notes out of my head. I recommend this to anyone who has a story to tell–but then, don’t we all?
Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:
My available e-mail is Kenelph@gmail.com and am on Facebook as ‘Bilbo Ken’
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