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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, young author Temi Owolabi talks about what inspired him to write his book, Lost In Space – The Story Of Tom Walker.

the best creativity magazine in the UK, the best book magazine in the UK, the best arts magazine in the UK, the best entertainment magazine in the UK, the best celebrity magazine in the UK, book marketing UK, book promotion UK, music marketing UK, music promotion UK, film marketing UK, film promotion UK, arts and entertainment magazine, online magazine uk, creativity magazine

Written by JJ Barnes

www.jjbarnes.co.uk

I interviewed 13 year old author Temi Owolabi about his life, what inspired him to start writing, and the creative process that went into his new book, Lost In Space.

Temidire Owolabi on The Table Read
Temidire Owolabi

Tell me a bit about who you are.  

My name is Temi Owolabi, I am 13 years old and I live in the UK. I am a space enthusiast. I just love the idea of space exploration because there is still so much left for us as humans to uncover and learn about the things happening within and outside our solar system. After all, we are just a minuscule part of the universe. Aside from this, I also love to play games with friends and family and also play sports like rugby. 

When did you first WANT to write a book? 

The idea of writing a book started when I was 10 years old. I read a lot of books by other brilliant authors like J.K Rowling and Suzanne Collins, and I was inspired by the magical adventure in their writing. I thought to myself, that one day, I may be able to put my ideas and thoughts into writing a book too.

Around the start of the 2020 Summer Holidays, when we were still plagued with Covid, I joined an online Summer Camp for Creative Writing. The facilitator, Mrs. Sophia Ovonlen, mentioned that the best writers from the summer virtual class will be offered a 1-year creating writing academy and also given a chance to write their book. It was a brilliant idea and everyone in the class gave their best to showcase their writing skills. I won the best writers award in my category and was offered the 1-year creative writing academy, which was a great opportunity to put my thoughts into writing.  

When did you take a step to start writing? 

It was in late 2020, and that was around the time I finished the virtual summer camp for creative writing. At the end of the camp, I was chosen as one of the best writers and got the chance to write a book. I was really happy about this. I joined the creative writers’ academy and we had a series of lessons on writing plots, writing authentically, grammar, character building, etc. I had an idea of the story and characters I wanted to showcase in my book, so it didn’t take me much time to build the plot. It was only in early 2021 that I started writing the book.

How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release? 

It took me about 2 years to complete the book. 

What made you want to write Lost In Space? 

This is my first book and I wrote it because I wanted to share a story about what was happening around me at the time. I also wrote the book because I have always loved writing and I wanted to see if I could write a complete book. I enjoy reading books that captivate and take the reader to an unknown place. A weird but adventurous and thrilling plot that keeps the reader engrossed till the end.  

I have always enjoyed writing in school as part of class activities and most times, I write about any topic assigned to me but had never written a complete book. So, I thought to challenge myself when the opportunity came and I believed that if others could write a book, I could do it too. What I didn’t realize was how much dedication it required.

So, as regards the book, ‘’Lost in Space- the story of Tom Walker’’, I got inspiration from SpaceX launching astronauts into space to board the International Space station (ISS). The historic event that happened in 2020 was quite fascinating when SpaceX launched its first crewed orbital spaceflight. The fact that scientists were trying so hard to find answers to some of the universe’s secrets really motivated me. I was also spurred on because of what I already knew at the time, I had been listening to online classes on coding and participated in coding projects that involved writing a coded script to ISS.

Lost In Space - The Story Of Tom Walker on The Table Read
Lost In Space – The Story Of Tom Walker

So, I learnt a lot from the lessons, gained interest about space and I thought it would be great to put everything into a good story that other people would like to read. I also wanted to share some interesting and common experiences that young people face during difficult times in a story format. Space exploration involves a lot of uncertainty and a lot of such uncertainty also happens with real-life experiences and I wanted to combine both into a compelling story to inspire people including myself. So, these are the reason why I wanted to write my book.

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What were your biggest challenges with writing Lost In Space? 

I would say that there were a few challenges along the way. It took about 2 years to complete writing, editing, and finally publishing the book.

During this period, I started a new school (boarding), met new friends and I had to combine my school work alongside the creative writing lessons. I attended creative writing lessons to review each chapter on Saturdays after my school games. Most times, I get very tired but I still attended the class.

Another challenge was the frequency with which I changed the plots. So many ideas were real and visible in my head and having to put that into writing and have a consistent plot structure was a challenge. I spent hours reviewing each chapter before sending it back to the editors. Because of the difficulty of the task, I had many long nights of editing in order to meet deadlines. I can vividly remember one occasion where I stayed up till 2 am to finish the review of one of the chapters – it was quite difficult as the plot involved a dream. It took me a while to get the right language, punctuation for the dream plot. Once I got that part right, the other chapters were easy to write.

Still, I’m glad I put the work in and I am very pleased with the outcome. I eventually surmounted all these challenges with the help of my coach. 

Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist? 

I made the characteristics and personality of my protagonist, Tom, similar to me in some way. At the time I started writing, I was 11, like Tom is. Tom sometimes motivates himself by soliloquizing (which means talking to himself) which I do sometimes too.  I needed a character that would be able to handle all the emotional trauma that I would send his way, hence Tom’s perseverance.  The problems Tom faced with his family is what I think makes him relatable to the young people of today. I wanted to tell the story of young people, how believing in yourself can change things. 

In the book, Tom tried so hard to persuade his family to trust him, his inner voice kept telling him that his father is somewhere alive but no one believed him. This I think happens to most young people where sometimes you need people – if just one person to believe in you.

So, the protagonist was actually inspired by the aspirations of young people like myself and the inner challenges we battle with before achieving our goal.

Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?  

In most sci-fi films and books, the antagonist is more than one thing, it is normally a giant force of aliens that hold enmity toward humans. I wanted my antagonists to be full of suspense up until the very end, and to fit the part of an unknown enemy. I created a discreet alien civilization that nobody knew about, hence the mystery to Tom’s dad disappearance. My Antagonists are very cautious beings, but not hesitating to attack anyone who approaches their homeland. Overall, I was inspired by other Sci-fi stories to create my antagonists.

What is the inciting incident of Lost In Space? 

The inciting incident of my book would have to be the part where Tom’s dad disappeared on his 11th birthday. This was the kick-starter of the book and what really gave Tom a purpose and drive all through the story. 

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What is the main conflict of Lost In Space? 

I would say that the main conflict of the book had to be at the start when Tom was trying to persuade his family to support him in the mysterious search for his dad. The uncertainty, the confusion about the disappearance of his dad brought a lot of conflicts in the family.  This is because everyone had given up hope of finding his dad and concluded his death but Tom kept that hope alive. It took a long time in order to bring his family on his side and had to explain multiple times in order to get a response. Another conflict was when the space mission was aborted because of the dangers involved. It caused a bit of tension between the two planets involved.

Did you plot Lost In Space in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely? 

Lost In Space - The Story Of Tom Walker by Temi Owolabi on The Table Read Magazine
Lost In Space – The Story Of Tom Walker

Actually, while I was planning the book, the plot I wrote then was almost completely different to the story that’s in the book today. I had vivid imagination of the storyline and wanted to incorporate the things happening at the time around me in the story. So, the plot changed at some point as I got more ideas to make the story more interesting.

The #1 Writing Tool

Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Lost In Space need? 

Yes, I got help with the editing from my coach and parent. I would usually edit a part of the book, chapter by chapter, and then I would send it to a professional editor who would look through the chapter in detail and send it back to me. I followed this same process for all the chapters until I had the book fully edited. 

What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story? 

My advice would be to read a lot of genres for inspiration. Reading books are one of the best ways to build up creative confidence and are great sources of inspiration. In addition to this, I think that writing plots and plans are the best way to start a book. It is the foundation of the story and it shapes the outline of the whole book. I also learned in my 2-years journey in writing about writing authentically. This means bringing in those true feelings and real-life experiences to boost one’s writing. I think young people naturally have the ability to think on the spot, and this skill can help with your creative imagination which is essential for writing. If you can harness all these and use them effectively, it won’t be long before you notice your writing work shining bright.

Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?  

I plan to write a sequel to the book and make it a series. I will be working on the next book soon and it will be a thrilling adventure story, taking surprising twists and turns along the way.  

And, finally, are you proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort? 

Yes, I am proud of all the hard work I put in the book, and I am ultimately pleased with the results. I have learned a lot along the way and it has been a worthwhile experience and a lot of fun writing the book. 

Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you: 

Website: www.temiowolabi.com 

Instagram: @lostinspacewalkerseries 

YouTube: @lostinspacewalker-series2833 

Email: lostinspacewalkerseries@gmail.com 

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