Coffee chat with teenage author - G J Lonesborough
Welcome to G .J. Lonesborough who has joined me today to talk about his writing and his debut book "Caterpillars and Butterflies". Gary is only 18 years old and is very pleased to have his first book published at such a young age. It's a huge achievement.
About the book:Billy Harlen is a typical teenage boy who sees the world differently from other people. He sees people as caterpillars and butterflies. He sees caterpillars that go through life day-by-day, avoiding the spotlight, ignoring their special inner qualities, being a different person to who they really want to be. He sees the butterflies going through life happily, expressing themselves through their beauty and comfortable personalities. Billy sees people without any cares in the world strolling through life as if there is no such thing as a ’problem’. Billy sees their smiles, he hears their laughter and he can read the happiness on their faces. Billy sees the bad things in life more than the good. He comes from a disjointed home, broken down by life’s unexpected occurrences. He is part of a large friendship group of boys but he can’t stand them. He is hopelessly in love with a girl who has him in the friend zone. The only person who understands the real Billy is his brother Roy, but Roy is on the other side of the world.
DL: How do you take your coffee and what is your favourite time of the day to partake?
GJ: I like my coffee white with two sugars (although one sugar more recently) but I prefer a hot chocolate or a Milo! The mornings are my favoured times for coffee drinking as I am usually tired and need a jump-start.
DL: I read from your bio that you’re still in school. Was it through school that you found the publishing company or from an outside influence?
GJ: I found the publishing company purely out of curiosity. I was searching on the internet for self-publishing companies in Australia and came across Xlibris. My original goal was to just self-publish a book for my own fulfilment but after receiving some great feedback I decided to publicise my book.
DL: I love the premise of the book, how the main character sees everyone as caterpillars or butterflies. Can you tell us a bit about the story behind the story.
GJ: I have always personally viewed people in that sense myself and I thought long and hard about how to express that view in the book. The idea is about how people are always changing and situations are always changing. A caterpillar and a butterfly are both two different versions of the same organism. I used the caterpillar/butterfly analogy in the book to represent the transformations teenagers make during their journey through high school and into adulthood. The caterpillars are people who hide in cocoons, essentially hiding their true selves. They are not completely comfortable with who they are and are still trying to figure that out. The people who are expressing themselves and living their lives the way they want to live are the butterflies. They are proud of who they are and what they can do and they are happy to be themselves.
DL: How important is it that young writers seek guidance from teachers and authors about the writing process?
GJ: It is essential for young writers to seek guidance from teachers or authors or anyone who can advise them about the writing process. To have an idea is one thing, but to be able to express that idea in writing is another thing altogether! English teachers are always good sources of information when you are looking for guidance about writing. It is important to also remember that you are young and you should acknowledge that there is definitely room for improvement in your writing, even if you are getting top marks or awards for your writing abilities. Speaking to other authors about writing is a great confidence boost as they will be able to give you advice from a professional view. You should always remember that criticism shouldn’t be taken as a put-down, but merely advice on how to better your writing abilities. The main thing for young writers is believing in yourself and being confident that you are capable of producing material that is worth publishing. This confidence can be gained earlier rather than later by speaking to a teacher you trust or an author and you should never give up on a great idea.
DL: It must be amazing to see your book on online retail bookstores such as Barnes and Noble and Kobo. Have you received any helpful advice on marketing your book and if so, do you find the marketing side of things fun or boring?
GJ: Marketing is neither fun nor boring for me. When the book first came out, I was over the moon seeing it was available to purchase on the internet and knowing people wanted to buy it was even more exciting. Marketing your book is essential and at the end of the day, unless you are already an established and highly recommended author, your book won’t sell itself. I find marketing to be a bit scary sometimes, knowing that I have to put myself into the spotlight and get my face out there. The best advice I have received in regards to marketing is to aim at the local market and let your community know you have written a book. The local market is the best place to start when marketing your book because if people don’t know who you are or your name, they won’t be interested in buying and reading your book.
DL: Are you working on anything at the moment or are waiting until you get Year 12 finished?
GJ: I was working on a few different projects but put them on hold to focus on school. Now that school is finished for me, I am working on a children’s novel aimed at ages 9+ which I plan to send to a traditional publisher. I have a second book on my contract with my current self-publisher and I am planning the story I will write. It will be a young adult novel, just as Caterpillars and Butterflies was. I have the feeling I will always be writing because I am constantly getting ideas throughout my daily life!
DL: What are some of your favourite books?
GJ: As a kid, I always loved the Goosebumps series by R.L Stine. I also loved Andy Griffiths books, particularly the Just series, and Paul Jennings books and the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey. As for my current favourites, I would have to say Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Carrie and The Dead Zone by Stephen King, and The perks of being a wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, which I read after watching the movie and absolutely loved the book.
DL: If you could pick one author to emulate, who would that be?
GJ: If you could pick one author to emulate, who would that be? Stephen King. He is an inspiration in the sense of his originality and content of his books. The popularity he has garnered through his writing is what drives me. I think anyone who is serious about writing novels and stories would love for their work to be appreciated and respected just as Stephen King’s work has been.
DL: Thanks for stopping by Gary. Good luck with the writing.
About the author:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
D L Richardson is the author of speculative fiction. She has three teen novels and one short story anthology published. Her first novel reached number 2 at OmniLit and number 38 at Kobo Books. Her second reached number 1 at OmniLit. Little Red Gem is her third novel and recently won 2nd place Best Books of 2013 Paranormal Cravings. She lives in Australia on the NSW south coast with her husband and dog.