Friday 3 November 2017

Interview: Simon Rose

Last Updated: 19 July 2024

Shadowzone by Simon Rose book cover

Today, I am thrilled to be able to share an exclusive interview with Young Adult author Simon Rose with you all. Make yourself a cuppa, sit back and enjoy our chat!

Firstly, tell me a little about yourself and your background.
I’m originally from the UK and am currently based in Calgary in Western Canada. I’m an author of science fiction and fantasy novels for children and young adults. 
I offer a wide variety of programs for schools and libraries, work as an instructor for adults with the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University, and offer a variety of online courses for both children and adults. I also offer a number of services for writers, including coaching, consulting, editing, and writing workshops, as well as copywriting services for the business community.
How did you first become interested in writing?
My first novel, The Alchemist's Portrait, was published in 2003 and I began writing on a serious basis a few years before that. When my children were small, I starting reading children’s books again for the first time in many years. This made me wonder if I could write stories of my own. I started thinking that I should write fairy tales and picture books for younger children but after reading the first three Harry Potter novels, I realized that I wanted to write for the age group that those books are aimed at. I wasn’t interested in writing about the same things, such as magic, wizards, and imaginary creatures, and instead focused on themes that I was interested in, such as science fiction, fantasy, time travel, history, comic books, ancient mysteries and civilizations, superheroes, other dimensions, and the paranormal.
Tell me about the trilogy.
The Shadowzone series involves the discovery of a grim dystopian version of Earth that’s ruled by a totalitarian dictatorship, the threat of a deadly virus, and a race against time to save the lives of millions. Without giving too much away, here’s a synopsis for each of the novels.

While watching intense flashes of lightning during a violent storm, Ben experiences mysterious and disturbing visions of another world, one very different from his own. In the chain of events that follow, Ben encounters Charlie, a girl from a dark version of Earth, a planet doomed by the effects of environmental catastrophe, where the leaders will stop at nothing to complete their deadly mission.

Into The Web 
On a doomed version of Earth, the sinister schemes of the Ministry are moving ever closer to completion, with dire consequences for the inhabitants of two worlds. For Ben and Charlie, an unlikely alliance, unexpected reunions, and the mysterious prophecy of the Chosen One offers a glimmer of hope, with the ever-present prospect of betrayal, as they embark on an unpredictable journey into the unknown.

Black Dawn 
In a dark parallel world, following attacks by its most determined opponents, the Ministry has been forced to change its plans. Yet the ruthless Director-General is prepared to sacrifice anyone to achieve an entirely new beginning, no matter what the cost. In a deadly race against time, as events spiral out of control, Ben and Charlie must risk their lives in a desperate attempt to save two worlds from destruction.
Into the Web by Simon Rose book cover

What’s the best thing about writing fiction?
I think it’s perhaps having lots of story ideas and being highly motivated to bring them to life. Many of the first ideas I ever had for stories have become now novels but I still have plenty more yet that I’d like to work on. The Alchemist's Portrait was one of my earliest ideas and was published first. However, other novels such as Flashback, the Shadowzone series, and The Sphere of Septimus were also among my earliest ideas for novels and just took longer to fully develop.
How do you get inspiration?
Ideas can come from anywhere and everywhere. Out walking the dog, in the car, something in a conversation, a newspaper story, a billboard, an item on the evening news, books, historical events, other people’s stories, movies, or something out of the blue. I often find myself wondering 'what if?' Sometimes the challenge is to stop having ideas. Some may never be used, but I try to record as many as I can. I never know when they might fit in with a story I’m writing. Even ideas that don’t seem to work right away may provide a spark of inspiration in the future.
What made you decide to write for a young adult readership?
I have many story ideas for adults but the best thing about writing for young adults is that it allows me to write about the kinds of things that used to fascinate me when I was growing up. And of course, the stories can be very imaginative if they're for younger readers, which makes writing them so much fun.
Did you always intend for this story to be a trilogy? 
Shadowzone was originally only one novel, but once I’d finished it I immediately realized that the story wasn’t over and that I need to write more. The final instalment was written very quickly and in the process I knew that I needed to expand the earlier sections too, so in the end, I had a trilogy.
Black Dawn by Simon Rose book cover

What’s your writing process?
I don’t really have any set process, but once I feel that I’ve got a good idea for a novel and enough material for the story I usually create an outline before I start writing. I like to make sure that the plot works well before I begin work. The outline might certainly change during the writing process but it helps to keep me on track and to write the novel more quickly.
What’s the hardest thing about writing?
Perhaps the editing process toward the end of the project, when you’ve already gone through the stories so many times, but editing and revision is a vital part of the writing process and always makes the story better.
What do you love most about writing?
I enjoy many aspects of it but perhaps the most enjoyable aspect is seeing ideas develop and a project come to life. In common with many writers, I usually have lots of ideas for stories but not all of them become fully developed for one reason or another or might simply not have that much potential. Once I’ve had the initial idea and started to think about the characters and the plot, there’s usually a stumbling block of some kind that threatens to derail the project. It’s always a great feeling when the problem is somehow resolved and the ideas often emerge flow even faster than I can get them down on paper or onto the computer. That’s usually the point at which the entire project becomes very exciting and I’m convinced that completing the novel is going to be a wonderful experience.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Many new authors decide not to listen to advice regarding their story and suggestions regarding how it might be improved or how to fix problems in the plot, believing that they know best. You don’t have to make those changes if you don’t agree with them, but as an author, you at least need to consider them. Some new authors, especially those that self-publish their books, also often don’t do enough editing and checking of their work before they make their book available to readers and this should be one of the most important aspects of the process, no matter how a book is published.
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
I don’t spend much of time away from writing since I do enjoy what I do, whether it’s crafting new plots and outlines, writing books, or doing all the marketing. Since it doesn’t really feel like work there’s isn’t as much motivation to get away from it, I guess. However, my dog does insist on going out for walks on a daily basis, which pulls me away from the computer. Even then, I always seem to be thinking about stories while we’re out, but I guess a lot of writers appreciate those times when they can let their mind wander while appreciating the great outdoors. I also watch movies, keep up to date with current events, read a lot, and enjoy the company of friends whenever I can.
What are you currently working on?
I always have a current project or two and right now I’m working on a historical fiction novel for young adults set in the turbulent era of the English Civil War in the 1640s. The novel’s about half finished, but I still have a lot of work to do. I’m also working on sequels to Future Imperfect, which was published in 2016, and The Sphere of Septimus, which first appeared in 2015.
To find out more about Simon and his work, check out his website or follow him on Twitter. Shadowzone, the first book in the trilogy, is available to buy now (paid link; commission earned).

Will you be reading the trilogy? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. Thanks Lorna, this looks great and I really appreciate your support :)