LF: Tell us about yourself.
JG: I am a UK-based musician, composer and writer. I enjoy reading, and have a wide-ranging ‘favourite book’ list, though I particularly enjoy science-fiction and fantasy. I am a big fan of Angela Carter and Tom Wolfe, though I also read a good deal of non-fiction. I am currently working on a sequel to my children’s/young adult fantasy ‘Aliens In My Garden’ as well as a sci-fi thriller entitled ‘The Orb Forest’. I hope to complete a soundtrack for this novel in the very near future. Ideally, I would like to compose music for films and TV. Two of my favourite novels are: ‘All Hallow’s Eve’ by Charles Williams and ‘Le Grand Meaules’ by Alan Fournier. I sell my music online through my website at www.judegwynaire.com and recently released a ‘best of’ CD entitled ‘Tales From The Blue Machine – Essential Tracks 2012 – 2018. I mainly create instrumental soundscapes and mood music within the genres of chillout, rock, pop and experimental.
LF: How did the idea for Aliens In My Garden come about?
The original idea for Aliens In My Garden came about a few years ago when I moved, with my family, to our present home. I immediately fell in love with the large garden, which was (and still is) completely surrounded by a high hedge. Although I had written a few unpublished novels, I decided to begin a new story about the various characters I began to imagine might be living there – The Green Man, Harper The Owl, and Skoros The Wizard, to name but a few. I also decided to ask my son, who was ten at the time – and quite good at art – to make me a selection of characters to accompany the book. Using coloured clay, he created almost 40 models over the next two years – such as witches, wizards, trolls and elves – which I photographed in various places around the garden. A growing interest in aliens and UFOs meant that a group of aliens soon joined the character pool. This rather eccentric beginning soon developed into a full-blown website called Aliens In My Garden which featured the characters having adventures etc., with many even developing their own blog pages. Then, over the next few months, the novel began to take shape. Although the content of the story has developed and changed over the years, many rewrites later, I am proud to say that the novel has finally found a publisher. Although the internet site no longer exists, I have fond memories of working on the project with my son – and we still have the character models in the loft!
Prior to finding a publisher, I approached many film companies with the concept in the hope they could use the idea for an animated film. One company, based in California, suggested that if I could make the characters move, I might be on to something. Sadly, I lacked the ability or resources to do this, but it was encouraging to hear back from someone in the film industry.
With regards to the content of the novel, I think I wanted to bring together more traditional fantasy characters such as owls, witches and wizards and blend them together with modern sci-fi elements such as aliens and UFOs to make something original and unique.
LF: You build a very strong group of characters in this book, that all come together. It seemed really important to you, to have that in your story. Why was that?
JG: I like stories with multiple characters, and wanted Aliens In My Garden to have a wide range of different characters, also. This way, there is plenty of scope to develop and project interesting personalities within the story.
LF: Self-published vs traditional published. What are your thoughts?
JG: While every author must dream of a successful ‘mainstream’ publishing deal, I think self-publishing gives many authors a chance of publication that they wouldn’t have received if they’d only tried to find a traditional publisher – and this can only be a good thing!
LF: Anything else you would like to add?
JG: Look out for Aliens In My Garden – the sequel!