Guest Post and Giveaway with John Booth

Today, I am happy to have John Booth on the blog. He's the author of many novels including, Wizards and Hellagon plus many other short stories and poems. Without further ado, I'll turn it over to John Booth.

Hi, my name is John and I am a writer. I write fantasy and people put labels on it like ‘young adult’ because the main characters in my stories are usually in the age group fourteen to twenty. However, I don’t aim at that age group so much as write about them. 
 Why? Mainly because older characters come with far too much baggage and I find it more fun to let my characters grow by experience rather than flash back onto their first love, for example.
 I wrote a novel called Wizards a couple of years ago and it made it into print in November 2010. I thought I’d use this article to tell you about why and how I wrote it and what makes it fun.
 I’d decided to learn to write by doing it and for two years I set myself a target of writing 50,000 words a month. Wizards was my fourteenth novel written right at the end of that period.  I’d just finished writing a very long and complicated spy story set in Victorian times and I was looking to write something much lighter and more fun.  Unfortunately I didn’t have any ideas at all.
 Scratching around for inspiration I remembered a film by Alexander Korda called “The Man Who Could Do Anything.” The MC was given the power of the gods and tried to make the world a better place. Inevitably everything went wrong and he ended up giving the powers back after restoring the world to how it had been.
 So far, so stereotype.  I thought it would be fun to write about someone who could do almost anything who wasn’t corrupted by the power.  How would that work? How could I make him believable?  What adventures would he have?
 Thus began Wizards, a story about an eighteen year old lad called Jake, who lived with his mum and dad in modern Wales, didn’t have any qualifications, didn’t have a job, didn’t have a girlfriend, but did have a thirty foot fire breathing dragon who he kept hidden in a cave in the mountains.
 I decided that Jake could travel to other worlds by using a hopscotch court. The first chapter is about how he stole a dragon’s egg from another world. I discovered he did that when he was eight and the egg didn’t hatch until he was ten. 
 I decided to write the story in first person, which is highly unusual for me. The reason was so I could show the reader what Jake was thinking and why he did what he did. You and I might test our special powers, try things to see what we could do.  Jake tried one or two things that didn’t work and gave up, he was happy in his own skin and had no desires to be or do anything more.
 As the Author I was about to change all that. To push Jake into uncomfortable situations to see what he would do. Naturally, the one thing that totally messes up a young man’s comfortable complacent life is a girlfriend and guess what I did to him next?
 Jake saves Jenny from a serial killer. He had been using his hopscotch technique to find missing hikers in the mountains. Throw something of theirs through the court and then follow it.  He usually found dead people as he was generally called in too late. The police had dark suspicions about him because they didn’t know how he was doing it. Jenny’s parents contact Jake and he saves Jenny. This creates a conspiracy between them as she has to keep quiet to protect him from the police. Jenny is upwardly mobile, goes to college and has wealthy friends.
 Everything that happens in the book flows from Jake’s desire to please Jenny. He can’t afford a present so he travels to a world where he once gave away some stones he made lucky. Then he has to right the wrongs that caused before he can get her a present. That brings him to the attention of a scheming princess and some evil wizards. Before you know it chaos rules. There’s nothing like having two girls after you to do that and much of the story where it isn’t adventure is romantic comedy.
 Wizards is not a children’s book. There are sexual references and adult themes.  Without those it just wouldn’t have been a realistic story about modern eighteen year olds in the UK. Or even when I was that age, which was a long time ago.  Those who have read it seem to find it fun.

To find out more about John Booth, check out these sites: website | facebook | blog

John Booth and Pfoxmoor Publishing have given me a copy of Wizards to giveaway to one lucky winner.

Jake has a secret hidden in his bedroom, under the carpet. It is a game that every child knows and plays. But for Jake, there is one small difference. This game takes him to strange and wonderful worlds. He calls it hopscotch and it helps him find missing people. It helped him find Jenny.
Jake is a wizard but he doesn’t have a clue. 
But that’s not all; Jake has yet another secret, hidden away in the attic. It’s an accident, a strange object from another world. Jake has forgotten about this secret, but that’s all about to change. Because this secret is about to hatch!
Jenny doesn’t think Jake is weird - she likes weird. Princess Esmeralda of Salice thinks Jake should repay past mistakes. Evil wizards, kingdoms at war, chases, rescues, an offer he can’t refuse … Jake is a wizard and his life is about to get interesting.

1. Contest is open to US residents only. 
2. Must be 17 years or older to enter
3. You don't have to be a follower to enter
4. You MUST fill out the form.
5. Contest ends February 11, 2011