Well, I’ve been out of touch for quite a while now - so especial thanks to those of you who have made contact with me recently via the website mail page - it’s always great to hear from people who have read and enjoyed my books!
The explanation for my prolonged silence is simple and fairly boring. I have been very busy working as what’s called a “Writer for Hire” - otherwise known as a ‘ghost-writer’. That is, I’ve been writing books for other people under other names. When you want to make your living from writing, you sometimes have to do this to pay the bills!
To be honest, I really don’t mind doing writing-for-hire work - it can be fun, even if my name doesn’t appear on the cover. (Often, my name will appear somewhere inside the book under the heading: “Special thanks to…”). In case you’re interested, what happens with writing for hire is that you are approached by a publisher, who has a series on the go, and who needs the books to come out more quickly than can be written by a single author. So, they hire various people to write the books for them - these will always be experienced writers whom they know will produce good work on time and on word-count - and who will follow very careful instructions. For instance, I’m working on a book now that has to be 8,500 words long. I have a chapter breakdown, explaining the story scene-by-scene, and my task, in a fixed period of time, is to produce a ‘first draft’ of the book. Then, a few weeks later, I will get the manuscript back with a whole lot of changes that the publishers want. I then have to make these changes and send the 2nd draft back on time.
Anyway, at the same time as working on that kind of stuff, I got together with a friend and colleague - a man by the name of James Noble - and we’ve been working on a new series together. We found an interested publisher in the UK - they’re called Little, Brown. For the past year or so, we’ve been honing the idea and plotting and planning and writing like crazy - and now, at last, the first book has hit the stores!
The series is aimed mainly at 8 to 12 year olds and is called MYTH RAIDERS. As usual, it has plenty of fantasy elements in it. The basic story revolves around two cousins - English-born Samantha (Sam) and her American cousin Trey. Trey is fascinated by archaeology and collects old artefacts, when he can afford it. He has recently discovered and bought a half-disc which was found on the east coast of Brazil. Sam’s mother is working in West Africa - and she has sent Sam a half disc discovered on the coast there - apparently quite old! When Sam goes to New England to visit her cousin for the summer, they compare discs and find they are the two halves of the same disc!
How can that be, when they were found a whole ocean apart? Well, it turns out the disc was buried when the two contents formed part of a massive continent millions of years ago - before continental drift separated them. The disc is crazy old! Millions of years old - but it has carvings on it - it was made by a person!!!!
That is weird enough, but when they put the two halves of the disc together, the cousins are sent back in time to the Mythic Times, where they encounter a very angry Medusa and her vicious harpies and a bunch of weird satyrs. Managing to scramble home again, Trey and Sam are confronted by a man who appears out of nowhere. He introduces himself as Michael First Lord of the Light - and explains that they are the Chosen Ones - warriors of the Light whose task is to find the lost pieces of the Shield of Light in order to fend off the attack by the Lords of the Dark. The pieces of the shield have been lost in the Mythic Times -and Trey and Sam must go back there to find them.
And thus, the cousins set off on their adventures. Book one takes them to Ancient Greece, book two sends them into Egypt at the time of the Pharaohs, book three sees them in Tang Dynasty China and the fourth book is set in Babylon at the time of the Hanging Gardens.
Well, thats what I’ve been up to! And now, with Myth Raiders almost finished, James and I are about to embark on another idea. I’ll keep you posted.
The first book is already available online in America, and in shops in the UK. It is called Myth Raiders: Medusa’s Curse. Because James and I have worked on this series together, we came up with a joint name for ourselves: A J Hunter. So, look out for Myth Raiders by A J Hunter. As I say, book one is already out there - book two will be published in May and book three in the Autumn.