SJ Oaksley lives in South Wales, has a gorgeously loopy wife, four remarkably sane boys, a house full of four legged friends and sports some perfectly pruned facial fuzz. He has a passion for reading and loves anything with a twist of fantasy or the supernatural, and in his debut novel, he demonstrates this passion by immersing you into a world of magic, mystery, intrigue and suspense.
OK – HERE WE GO !!
No.1 Would you break the law to save a loved one? …why?
Yes, without question. I’d love to give a witty and intelligent response and come across as a profound, original thinker, but I don’t think it’s possible to answer this question without sounding like a cliché. There are loads of things I want out of life – fame, fortune, a far better body, an even more perfect beard and the secret to eternal youth, or maybe even world peace, but that doesn’t play to my vanity. However, there genuinely is nothing more important than the ones you love. In my view, there would be no point in having anything else, including freedom, if you didn’t have the special people you love, and who love you.
God… that sounds so corny.
No.2 What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
Ooh, deep. Well, it’s easy to be alive – eat, drink, sleep, poop – It kinda comes naturally and takes very little effort. We all do it, every single life form on the planet does it. Truly living? Now that’s down to your own perspective but in my opinion, it’s still pretty easy to do. You don’t have to be rich, you don’t have to be famous, you don’t need to be a philanthropist, you don’t need to take huge risks or even need to make an impact, but if you love life, do the things you like and make the very best of every opportunity you are afforded, you are truly living. It doesn’t matter what others think. If you enjoy going out, conquering Everest or flying solo around the world, and that’s what you do, you’re truly living. If you enjoy staying in, keeping yourself to yourself and curling up and quietly reading a book, and that’s what you do, you’re truly living. If someone tries to stop you doing the things that make you happy, and you let them, you are not truly living. As long you’re having a good time doing what you do and you aren’t taking away from anyone else’s enjoyment of life, you are truly living. When the time comes and you’re lying on your back waiting for the lights to go out for the last time and you can really, genuinely say you have loved your life, even if there are still things you wish you had done but never got the chance, as long as you’re happy and content with what you’ve achieved and who you’ve achieved it with, you have truly lived.
No.3 What motivates you to write?
Money, money, money… Seriously, when I started writing my book, it probably was. I’d had bits of a story rolling around my head for years and in addition to wanting to see how it was going to play out, the thought of making money was rather appealing. It was around the time the recession hit, one of our businesses had just ceased trading, I had a little more spare time and thought this would be easy, I’ll write it down, give it a tweak here and there and bam – the next Ms. Rowling and a bank account with a large number followed by plenty of zeros was mine for the taking. Oh, how naïve I was. Getting the book written in the first place was hard enough. Getting anyone outside my immediate family and friends to read it was even harder. Then it hit me, yeah it would be great to sell loads of books, become a household name and live out the rest of my life on huge royalty cheques, but actually writing the story was the biggest adventure. The challenge of getting it right, the horror of re-reading what I’d written the day before, and the whole experience of emerging myself into a fantasy world completely of my own making, where all the characters did what I told them (most of the time), was just amazing. Yes, writing is hard, but striving to get my story down on paper as I see it in my head, constantly trying to hone my skills, or actually develop some, and the satisfaction gained in completing a chapter in my own life, as well as my character’s, is what motivates me to write.
No.4 Why do humans have children?
Ah, I’m not too sure I should answer this. If the truth gets out, the brown, sticky stuff could hit the fan. If you promise to keep it secret though, I’ll tell you… You see, thousands of years ago my species visited earth and crossed our DNA with that of the indigenous, poop-flinging apes you humans call your ancestors. We programmed them with an insatiable desire to breed in order to supply us with a vastly diverse, never ending slave race to do our bidding. Mwah, ha, ha, haaaaa…….
No.5 What was the biggest challenge in creating your book “The Lycetta Legacy”?
I hated English in school, being a lazy teenager I could never see the point in reading a ‘boring’ book, when it was far easier, and much more entertaining, to slob on the sofa and watch the film version instead; it required minimal effort. This, unfortunately, lead to a quite terrible understanding of how to write anything that actually worked. I have always been complemented, although sometimes derided, on speaking with more than a certain degree of eloquence. However, this does not necessarily translate into the ability to write with eloquence, on the contrary, my first draft was a rambling, pompous concoction of overly complicated words, phrases and opinions that resulted in a book that read as though a dysfunctional novel had stumbled upon a drunken dictionary who had a momentary lapse in judgement and decided it was a good idea to breed. Thankfully an editor, who wisely decided they loved the story, completely tore apart my writing, leaving me in tatters with no hope of ever getting this amazing story out there. After a brief period of feeling incredibly sorry for myself, I sat down, re-read the notes and set about learning everything I could about writing properly. The result, in addition to having a frazzled brain, was a completely re-written novel that shone like a neon bulb in a sea of candles – in my opinion, anyway. So the biggest challenge in creating my book was learning to write, learning to use the English language to help me tell an exciting fantasy story, and learning to accept help from others to make it better.
No.6 What is the most important thing you have learned in life so far?
With the exception of close family and a few select friends, I generally don’t like people; especially complete strangers who decide they want to start a random conversation with you whilst stuck in a queue or a doctor’s waiting room. In addition to this, I absolutely, positively hate heights; I don’t even like standing on a stool. So I would say the most important thing I have learned in life so far is to never to put myself in a situation where I am stood atop a rickety ladder surrounded by strangers. Apart from that, I would say I have learned not to take life, or myself, too seriously. I have a laugh, enjoy what I’m doing with the people I love and always look at the good things.
No.7 How did you come up with the title “The Lycetta Legacy”
The Lycetta Legacy (Book One of The Lycetta Series) is a story about The Lycetta (which you can find out exactly what it is by reading the first book) and it’s legacy. Oh, and it’s the first book in the series too. To be honest, it kinda just made sense to call it that. Although in reality, it took almost as long to come up with that as it did to write the actual book – strange…
No. 8 How do you handle personal criticism?
Criticise? Me? Seriously though, I hate criticism and can’t help taking it as a personal affront, even though I understand it happens all the time, and is a huge part of being a writer. You can’t put your story out there and not expect every ignorant philistine who doesn’t understand what your trying to do, not to offer their ill-informed, un-educated opinion; that’s just life, I guess. Unfortunately, despite my protestations, there are people who don’t understand that my opinion is the right one and if theirs is different, it is clearly wrong and should be kept to themselves. However, this is not the case and even though I don’t like criticism, I cannot deny it has made my book, my writing and my understanding of how I should use the English language to greater effect, far better than it was before. As I said earlier, I hated English at school and the first draft of my book was terrible – shifting from first person to third person to omniscient, terrible dialogue attributes and despite being a bloody good story, it really wasn’t a good book. Now, thanks to listening to the ‘constructive’ criticism I’ve received from readers of the initial book and a very tolerant editor, it is far better written, much more polished, flows from beginning to end, and if you don’t agree, you know where your opinion belongs.
No.9 Why should people read your book?
I think the bigger question is why haven’t they read it already? It’s out there, it’s available on Kindle or in paperback, it has a fabulous cover that really catches the eye and will fill your lives with excitement, adventure, joy, happiness, sadness, love… and any other feelings you can think of. It truly is one of the greatest works of fiction ever written, shrouded in secrets, misdirection, suspense, sprinkled with humour and takes you on a mystical journey to fantastic places like… a rural town in England, some place in a German forest and a city in France… ooh. There, I don’t think I could have used any more emotional power words without making it sound contrived (which it quite clearly doesn’t). If the readers of this interview don’t go and read it now, they’re obviously already dead inside.
No.10 Why is there something rather than nothing?
Urgh, what a bloody stupid question, honestly, are you trying to fry my head with some crazy, god versus science, existential cow poop? You are asking these questions, I am answering these question and my hoards of many loyal fans are reading them, therefore we are all made of something, doing something and the question of nothing becomes quite obscure. If you believe the many people who have written about this subject, then can there truly be nothing; a space void of any particles, matter, anti-matter or whatever else fills empty space, is still something, therefore there can’t be nothing.
Thank you Mr Oaksley 🙂
For taking the time to answer
my questions & the best of luck with your new book!
It’s been two long years since his death,
yet despite Julia’s gut telling her there was something more sinister to her father’s accident, at least the teen and her mother have finally come to terms with it. Although everything changes when a chance encounter with a mystifying stranger reveals the unbelievable truth about who she really is. Together they embark on a terrifying journey that sees her uncover a fantastic world of magical powers, and unearth even more bizarre things about the life she thought she knew. Now she’s fleeing from a cold and calculating psycho hell-bent on destroying her, and anything that gets in his way, she has no choice but to accept who she is and fight for the survival of everyone she loves.