Worthing author loves "the malleability of the sci-fi/fantasy genre"
Worthing author Jules L Grant creates new worlds in Zero-Dark: Origins (Book 1 of the Zero-Dark Legend), independently published and available on Amazon, Kindle and BookBub.
Jules, aged 39, said: “I love the malleability of the sci-fi/fantasy genre and that anything goes in terms of events and world-building.
“I wanted to create a world which is immersive, yet relatable – similar to the Sussex countryside – and character-driven. Simple things are important, such as making sure it was in a font that was easy to read and with spaces between the lines so teens with dyslexia and other reading difficulties could access it still.
“The book puts Rey, the protagonist, through a lot of rough situations and she experiences trauma from it, making the sense of realism a key aspect of her development.
“With a lot of teens experiencing their own trauma, I wanted them to be able to read it and know that they are not the only one who feels like that and there is a light and that sometimes we have to go through things to become who we are as strong people.
“With the fantasy backdrop, it appeals to teens and young adults and gives the story depth.
Jules added: “I have always wanted to write and spent a good few years trying to work out exactly what to write and what genre.
“This was up until about four years ago when I started writing notes and doing my own research.
“Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff VanderMeer book has been a massive inspiration to me and after being given this as a birthday present a while ago, it inspired me to write sci-fi/fantasy. From there, the ideas have flowed at a rapid pace – too fast for me to actually write.
“I thought: perhaps I could blend self-help for teens and young adults battling with trauma with sci-fi/fantasy?
“The very first time I started to actually do the writing, the blank screen was quite daunting, but that was a fleeting moment and since then, it has never fazed me.
“I usually use tiny events or situations and try to work out a good way of incorporating them in the book as well as larger, current events.
“I also love the music by Two Steps From Hell and use the emotional pull of their dramatic compositions to help with different scenes within the story – especially the battles!
“I also have done a ton of research in relation to tracking, weapons, war and other stuff to ensure that the realism is there. The tough part is then writing it for the age range and not being too graphic.
“This is book one of a planned series of at least ten books. I also have the actor and inspiring Stephanie Gould narrating the audiobooks.
“This is my first book. I started this book about four years ago, but most of that is for the world-building and creating the characters.
“The actual writing of the book has taken about 18 months.
“I want to be able to give teens and young adults a hero they can root for, but is an accidental hero and therefore more realistic.”