Featured Interview With A. J. Eccles
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I was born in Australia and as a kid and teenager I had a fascination with books and comics. In my early twenties I produced a weekly children's TV puppet feature for our national broadcaster, the ABC. I then went on to provide a five-days-per-week half-hour pre-school puppet program for the TEN network in Australia. Following this I spent several years in corporate marketing with two major multinational direct selling companies, working in the UK and California. I returned to Australia to devote my time to writing and video production. My family share our house with two very intelligent (and stubborn) chihuahua cross Maltese terrier dogs.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I've always been an avid reader. My earliest books included Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, The Just So Stories, by Rudyard Kipling, and almost any book about horses and animals. Later I plunged into sci-fi stories by Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and others. I started writing in my teens, mostly puppet scripts for television, and later in my corporate career vast quantities of training and promotional materials.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
Writing for children I am inspired by the works of Roald Dahl, Dr Seuss, J. K. Rowling, C. S. Lewis, A.A. Milne, Lewis Carroll, J. M. Barrie, and William Steig (creator of Shrek).
Tell us a little about your latest book?
My first book is The Ickles: 20 Short Stories including Heroickle and the Alien Invasion. It is available at Amazon in both eBook and paperback. The stories are suitable for all ages, but aimed at young readers 9 – 12 years.
The Ickles are members of a far-flung family of rugged individuals, all with their own incredible stories to tell. They live in a parallel universe with nice straight edges. Their world is pretty much like our own. Messed up, but much more magical and exciting. They experience some extraordinary adventures, get themselves into all sorts of trouble, but always come out OK.
Imagine if your name tells us everything about you. That's how we recognize The Ickles in their own Ickle world. In many ways the Ickles are just like us. They laugh, they cry, they have adventures and disappointments. They discover new things about themselves that surprise and delight them.
You'll meet Heroickle, who is a whiz at computer games. He can beat all other players in any game you can name. In his short gaming career, he has slain hordes of ugly fire-breathing dragons, indestructible robots, rampaging space aliens, hideous flying monsters, and grotesque fantasy creatures requiring industrial-grade weaponry to conquer. So, on that fateful day when space aliens invade Earth (for real) Heroickle is one of the most qualified people on the planet to fight them.
You'll meet Physickle, who sets out to walk around the world; Tentickle, an octopus who captures a band of smugglers; Spherickle, who outruns an avalanche; Zoologickle and her wonderful world of animals; Aquanautickle, and her encounter with a shark. And many, many more incredible characters and stories, with each Ickle living up to their name.
I am often asked how I come up with the stories. With The Ickles their names suggest the plot. Astronautickle has to be an Astronaut, Zoologickle a zoo keeper, etc. There is no shortage of ideas, not with the long list of characters available. Some of the stories almost write themselves and are finished in a day. Other stories develop more slowly and may not be completed for several weeks. I return to an unfinished story when the inspiration hits me, otherwise I keep writing for as long as the ideas flow.
I have three more books in production – a further 60 stories to release in the very near future. If you buy my first book from Amazon and enjoy the stories please take the time to post a review. I would appreciate hearing from you. Happy reading!
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