Dawn Chapman has been creating sci-fi and fantasy stories for thirty years. Until 2005 when her life and attention turned to scripts, and she started work on The Secret King, a 13-episode sci-fi TV series, with great passion for this medium.
In 2010, Dawn returned to her first love of prose. She’s been working with coach EJ Runyon from 2012 who’s encouraged her away from fast-paced script writing, to revel in the world of TSK and Letháo as an epic prose space journey.
Dawn lives in a country village in the UK with her husband, parrot and 30 koi.
- When did you first discover your love for writing?
My earliest memory is of wanting a typewriter, I was 6. And I wrote my first story titled ‘Roger the Fox’ I couldn’t use the typewriter well so my next door neighbour typed it up for me and I paid her from my earnings as around the village, shopping or car washing.
- Do you have a favourite place to write?
I pretty much write anywhere, but a couch is as good a place as any. I do prefer no noise. Though the other half will put the TV on as soon as he comes in. I’m good at blocking out anything he watches, but if he puts a Sci-Fi program on I’m soon distracted.
- Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?
I am usually home at 3:15 pm so anything from 4 pm onwards is my writing schedule till 8 pm when I’m usually too tired and turn to social media or critiquing for my team-mates.
- Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?
Not really, of course, I’d love to earn a living, but I will do everything I can in my own time till I get to that point.
- What inspired you to write the novel of, The Secret King- Lethao
It was a friend who pointed out NaNoWrimo (after scriptFrenzy was culled) and she said, have you ever thought about a TSK novel? I hadn’t but I was soon able to write it up after all the work on our TV show.
- Can you tell us a little about your book?
Set 18 years prior to our penned TV series, is where book 1 begins.
Kendro, King of the Aonise, can do nothing to prevent their sun from collapsing, consuming their home planet Letháo in a single fiery blast. Running out of time and options, he evacuates the entire population, setting off into the unknown galaxy in four crowded ships. Under constant danger from their ancient enemy, the Zefron, treasonous dissent seeps into his inner circle. Threatened inside and out, Kendro struggles with whom to trust, until a mysterious vision finally brings hope to the distraught King. A new home awaits the Aonise, if Kendro can only unite them long enough to survive the journey.
- Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?
No matter where I am in the whole series, I have to still say Taliri is my favourite character. He is the secret prince/king after all. His story is the first I wrote, back in 2007 when I broke my hand at work. I penned a feature film (yes, one handed) and after joining a website called Zhura and meeting my co-writer Steven it is where the TV series stemmed from. I spent a lot of time with Taliri, my co-writer, and the world around them. Everything else, of course, I still love, and my other two fav characters are Ainoren Broki and the human character – Sarah Mendoza, whose story is set far into TSK’s timeline.
- Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?
I like to think there are a few hidden messages. The world around us, how we accept people no matter the race or religion, who they love. But mostly the story is about normal and some extraordinary people who struggle through life, and hope to protect those around them they love. Pretty much what most of us go through on a day to day basis.
- Because we’re about to launch book 2, First Contact, I’m including a short excerpt from there.
A loud ringing echoed through the house. Prime Minister Robert Walker bolted upright. His wife, Christine, still slept, her chest rising and falling in even breaths. Is that… the…
His heart pounded in his chest, as the ringing stopped. Silence. No…
Glancing at Christine, he let out a breath seeing she hadn’t stirred. The chemo from yesterday had wiped her out. They were trying to rest, and now, he was terrified what little rest they’d had at their country holiday home would be ruined. As the phone rang again, Walker threw the covers off and reached out for it. Damn, this will wake her.
Monday, 23rd Sept 2041 – 1:14 AM flashed on his clock.
Picking up his phone. Walker hit answer and slid out of the warm bed into the cooler air of their hallway.
“Robert?” The Chief of Defence’s adrenaline-pumped voice almost screamed across the line. Walker listened to words he never thought he’d hear. “We’re at Threat Level Critical. A copter is on its way. Suffok will meet you at the nearest hotel conference room.”
What? Critical? The UK hadn’t issued critical status ever. What on Earth is going on?
“I’ll be right there.” Then, Walker thought of Christine. He couldn’t leave her alone. Not tonight. Phoning his sister-in-law, he asked her to come over and stay with Christine.
There were highly trained nurses stationed in the house, but they weren’t family. Guilt clutched as his conscience, as he headed back to the bedroom and dressed.
Christine had settled back, and he perched on the end of the bed, stroking the back of her head. “I’ve got to go out. Ani is on her way. She’ll stay with you tonight.”
His wife turned to face him. “At this hour, seriously?” The annoyance on her pale face and bloodshot eyes spooked him.
Walker sighed. Christine knew his job came before lots of things. “I’ll see you for dinner.” He kissed his wife gently on the forehead.
Christine didn’t respond. She turned her head away from him. Concern filled him, as he gave her one last look before hurrying to the door. He had no way of knowing if he would be home for dinner today, or next week.
- What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing TSK?
The biggest challenge for me is and might always be I’m a born script writer, it’s the style I much prefer, writing prose is hard for me, and takes me a good amount of effort. I do think with my writing and editing regime that it is the best I can do though and I’m proud to put these books out there.
- What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing The Secret King?
That not everyone will love your work, same as with writing scripts, there will always be a difference of opinion. But I do like to think I can take on board those opinions and learn and keep trying.
- Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?
Just practice every day, join crit groups, make friends and grow together. The more you do for others the more you get back, don’t be selfish. Don’t expect people to read your work without helping them back in some way, supporting this community is very important.
- Anything else you would like to say?
Please click the link and download book 1 for free, from 12/12/16 to the 15/12/16 and if you’re an audiobook fan, the whispersync deal will be 2.99! bargain. I love Greg Tremblay’s voice, and for the first person to ever speak our conlang (beside its creator) sounds just perfect!
- And finally, do you have any future works planned?
Of course, the release of book 2 – December 20th.
We’re also working on two more audio shorts from Doctor Brie and Lieutenant Hadi’s story line. Narrated by Holly Adams and Greg TremblayJ
And a fully illustrated anthology, with illustrations by the very talented Andrew Dodd.
And also 50k novella from one of our TV episodes, penned by my co-writer, Steven Kogan!
I’m totally excited for next year! We’ve so much more planned and ready to launch, you have to follow us though to keep up.
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