Paul Ian Cross - Moving Through Time and Space
Paul Ian Cross has always enjoyed creative writing, but pursued a career in the sciences. After the birth of his nephew, Hayden, Cross however felt inspired to start sharing his stories with the world, inspiring and captivating the imaginations of young kids everywhere. His work in science gives Cross a lot of ideas and Engella is no exception. The book follows a girl who travels through space-time and as readers have been begging for more, Cross is working on sequels. As our Author of The Day, he tells us all about it.
Please give us a short introduction to what Engella is about
Engella is a science fiction short story for ages 8 and over. Engella is on-the-run from some very bad people called the Hunters. She travels through space-time using a special wristband which allows her to move between different times and places.
What inspired you to take your readers on a journey through time and space?
I read an article about wormholes and the theory behind time travel. This topic has always fascinated me. I started thinking about moving through time and before I knew it, I could see Engella’s story in my mind!
Tell us about your journey as an author. Did you always want to be a writer?
I loved creative writing and art at school; but I was also good at the sciences. I ended up doing a biology degree and went into a science career. I always loved writing but I didn’t think I would be good enough. I now understand that most writers feel that way! I finally decided to give writing a go when my nephew Hayden was born. I wrote my first picture book with him in mind - Praxx and the Ringing Robot. It’s for younger children (ages 2-6) and is about an alien called Praxx and his best friend Zobott. That was about 18 months ago and it was the best decision I ever made!
How much does your background in science influence your writing?
My science career really does influence my writing. I work in clinical research in a hospital so we’re always learning new information about the human body and medicines. The more I learn, the more ideas I get for stories! In addition to my biology experience, I also did a short course in astronomy which influences me greatly… I love space!
You enjoy traveling. Do any of the locations you visit ever end up in your books in some way or the other?
Yes, most definitely, in fact I went to the Isle of Skye, Scotland, a couple of years ago and the location has ended up in Engella! We walked to the top of the Old Man of Storr which was stunning. We were there in time for sunrise and it was beautiful. Take a look at my picture I took from the summit!
Another time I wrote a story on a flight from Hong Kong to the Philippines. There was an in-flight magazine which had an article about Japanese culture in it. After reading it I had the idea for Ayami’s Origami. It’s a picture book and we’re working on it now! It will be illustrated by Alison Rasmussen, who also illustrated Engella, and will be released in 2018. The book has now inspired us to travel to Japan and we’re hoping to go there next year!
How was Engella's character conceived in your mind? What makes her so special?
I don’t really know how, she just appeared in my mind! The more I write the more of her story I see. Engella was on-the-run for many years. In order to survive, she had to be determined, smart and resourceful. I think she’ll make a strong leader one day.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I’m starting to really enjoy photography. I love travelling and taking photos of the locations we visit.
You keep your readers guessing throughout the book. How did you pull this off?
I try to write stories that I would enjoy myself. I love twists and turns in a story, so I added in a few exciting, unexpected moments when I wrote the final draft.
Why did you decide to publish Engella as a short story?
It was the first piece of writing I shared with the world, so I guess I wanted to see what people thought of my work. I’m really pleased with the feedback (both positive and negative) as all opinions have helped me develop as a writer. I realised that the ending leaves the story wide open, which a lot of people didn’t like and they also felt it was too short. With that in mind, I have now started work on the next chapter in Engella’s story.
The story contains a couple of twists. Did you plan them out before you started writing?
I really didn’t plan it that way, it just happened organically! When I plotted out the story I had a general idea of where it was going, but the twists just felt right as I wrote them.
Your readers are all asking for a sequel to Engella. Are you working on one?
A lot of the feedback was about the ending. The more I thought about it the more I realised that Engella’s story was only just beginning. I’m now writing a full-length novel, which will be launched in the Fall/Autumn of this year. I have also planned a series of sequels too. The series will be called The Engella Chronicles.
Tell us about your writing habits. How do you make time to write? Do you have a favorite writing spot?
As I work full-time in research I do find it hard to write, but I try to build it into my everyday life. I read a fantastic book by Monica Leonelle called The 8-Minute Writing Habit. I try to write in bursts of 8 minutes whenever I have time, so I make progress. Breaking the work down into small bitesize chunks means I make progress every day. I have just bought a vintage writing desk for my new office! This will hopefully become my new favorite writing spot!
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
My books are listed on my website (www.pauliancross.co.uk). I’m also on Facebook (Paul Ian Cross – Author), Twitter (@tyrannopaulus) and Instagram (@pauliancross). Please do get in touch!