Guest Interview with Steve Griffin-Author of The Secret of the Tirthas Series
I met Steve Griffin, the author of the adventure mystery series The Secret of the Tirthas in a supportive author environment on Instagram and have since read his first book in the series, The City of Light and I highly recommend it to your middle readers and beyond. Not only have I reviewed this book on Amazon US and Goodreads but also think it's noteworthy to share his work on my here on my website and social media for my readers. (By the way, I adore the book covers!)
Learn more about Steve Griffin and his books in this interview and connect with him at his website and on social media. Thank you for your readership.
INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR STEVE GRIFFIN
First of all, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up in Warwickshire, England, and at school I used to write all the time – action adventure stories involving my friends as heroes and villains, which got passed around the class. I was sure I was going to be a writer but somehow it all got lost during my college years in Southampton and Stirling, in Scotland. I began writing poetry in my twenties at the same time as working for environmental organisations, first in the old industrial valleys of South Wales, then in London. I was spurred on by getting poems published in poetry magazines and for schools. Then a few visits to a lovely garden in a remote part of Herefordshire gave me the idea for a new adventure/mystery series, The Secret of the Tirthas, and I began writing adventure stories again. I now work part-time for a non-profit in London and live in the Surrey Hills with my wife and two young boys. I write whenever I get the chance!
Can you tell us how the idea for The Secret of the Tirthas came about?
Well, it was two things really. I’ve mentioned the fabulous garden of rooms that my wife’s parents owned in the English countryside, which my wife and I used to visit. It was walking through there and seeing all the magical statues and sculptures that made me think how great it would be if they could transport you to the sacred places they were inspired by. And then, when I started thinking about this in the context of my own travels through India, Africa and other places, I realized a ‘fantasy’ element for the story could be created just by throwing someone – our hero, Lizzie Jones – into new places and cultures she’d never visited before. So, whilst there are a handful of monsters in the series, the real sense of fantasy comes from the real world seen through new eyes. I wanted to convey a sense of the value of our world, which is always a place of discovery and wonder – provided you don’t let yourself get beaten down!
A big theme in the series is about people (and situations) not being who we think they are. Can you tell us more about that?
Not easily without spoilers! Some people might not have read all the books when they see this interview. But yes, mystery books thrive on hidden identities. The Lady who wears the Moon Moth Mask is perhaps the most extreme case of concealed personas, but many other characters are pretending to be someone they’re not, for a whole range of reasons. Lizzie’s own family history is a mystery, she idolizes her dad but her mum doesn’t, and similarly Eva is her hero, like the mum she wishes she always had. But Lizzie has a lot of learning to do.
Why did you pick to write books for younger readers, from middle grade upwards?
I write mainly for the older middle grade/teen audience. There’s a huge flourishing of imagination and independence at this age which makes it possible to believe in heroes who deal with things that adults, often fixed in their ways, would struggle to cope with. But I find my books seem to appeal just as much to older readers. I know quite a few retired people who read them avidly!
When you are not writing, what do you like to do? I live in a lovely area of rolling pine-clad hills just 25 miles south of London, so I love getting out and rambling. When I lived in Scotland I did a lot of proper hill walking, but it’s going to be a while before I can get my two small boys up a mountain! Thankfully, there’s nothing too high for them here in Surrey. I also love reading and socializing and going to gigs with friends in London – including some of those old school friends who starred in some of my first adventure stories! And of course, I love to mess around with the boys.
What’s next for your writing? I’ve got a few ideas. One is a psychological thriller with supernatural undertones, for older teens and adult readers. I’ve also got another book for teens which I’ve been working on for a while. But first of all, I’m going to put together a collection of poems that I’ve had published over the years in magazines such as Poetry Ireland and Poetry Scotland.
Where can readers find you and your books?
I have a website: http://www.steve-griffin.com You can get the ebooks and paperbacks from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Steve-Griffin/e/B00KOVWQQ6 The ebooks are also available at most ebook retailers including Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo etc.
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