kevin mcleodKevin McLeod is the author of the Viking‘s Apprentice series, award winning children’s adventure stories.

How long have you been writing for and what made you start writing?

I’ve been writing stories since I was in primary school. I really started to get properly interested in writing after reading The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King. It’s a brilliant story written for his children.

Do you write for a living, or do you also do other work?

I gave up my day job on my 39th birthday as a present to myself for the success of The Viking’s Apprentice. I used to work for the Civil service. I’ve never looked back.

How did you get into being a professional writer, and how much effort did it take to be able to write full time?

I always enjoyed writing and I had an idea for a story a few years ago that was originally called The Campbell’s Cove Adventure. I toyed around it with it without really taking it anywhere. My wife read it and thought I should pursue it so I sat down and from that short piece of writing The Viking’s Apprentice series was born. It takes a lot of effort especially when you are working a day job and writing maybe 2 or 3 hours a night. The writing never felt like work though. I love doing it and I love everything else that comes with it.

Were you always good at telling stories, or has it come to you as an adult?

There’s always been a bit of the story teller in me, which comes from my gran I think. She loved to tell stories and I picked up the habit. Then later in my own life when my kids came a long you develop a further knack for telling bedtime stories. If you can hold a young child’s attention with your story then you are doing well.

Were you good at English in school?

I was always good at English, I remember writing a story when I was 15 that my English teacher was amazed by. I wont tell you what it was about as I plan to release it as a short story in the future but it was called The Journey. That reinforced my belief that I could grab the attention of the reader.

What advice would you give someone who wants to be a writer?

I always give the same advice when this question is asked. Don’t give up. If writing is what you love and what you want to do then do it. Write what you love and write it well. Make sure the story that comes out at the end is the best story you can write. Get your work proof read and edited by someone who isn’t you. The writer is too close to the work and will read what they thought they wrote not what they actually wrote.

What is the most useful advice you’ve been given?

E.L. James (name drop!) once told me to just write what I love to write about and not to worry if anyone else agrees with me.

What is the strangest advice you’ve been given?

That’s a tough one. I don’t think I’ve been given any strange advice when writing, but when I worked in Jobcentres I used to get odd advice from customers all the time. The oddest being, ‘if you want someone to pay their rent on time, hide their false teeth.’ There is no simple way to explain how that came up in conversation but it did.

How do you deal with the stranger reviews?

I’ve been lucky in that I’ve only had two strange or bad reviews in 2 years. I do read them to see if they have any merit or anything I can take out of them to improve. However people have a right to write a review however they see fit and if they don’t like your book or have an odd opinion you need to just accept it and move on.

Who do you write for?

I write for my children. The idea was to write a series they could enjoy when they got old enough. My oldest daughter is now 8 and has started to read my books.

What sort of things do you write?

I write fantasy adventure stories for everyone 8 and over. Adults enjoy my books as much as children judging by the reviews.

What do you have in the drawer?

I literally have no idea what that means but I’ll answer what I think your asking. I’m currently writing book 4 in The Viking series and I have some unfinished business with it that could see 6 books and a prequel. I then intend to write a book of short stories for a more grown up audience (not porn). After that I have an idea for something based on my old life as a Civil servant.

Describe your writing process, what, where, when and how please?

I always write at my dining room table, always. I need music on, usually it’s the Tron Legacy soundtrack as it fits the pace of my books and my writing. The music helps me focus and visualise. I must have a coffee, a notepad, my iPad flipped open to google for research and the hope of not being disturbed for at least two hours.

Where can we read your words?

All my info, where to buy, reviews, artwork, info about me and resources for writers are on my website please drop by and join the mailing list if you get a chance.