We’re delighted to publish Joseph V. Sultana’s debut novel, ‘Unsceptred Isle: Three of a Kind’ on Book Sanctuary. We asked Joseph to share some information about himself, and his book, with you.
Tell us about yourself:
I'm a 48 year old Assurance Manager from East London, now living in Essex. My dad was from Malta and mum is from Scotland so that makes me a malt scotch, I guess.
When did you start writing?
I've always written I guess, even if only in my head, and over the years I've tried my hand at short stories and the odd script. I even sent one in to the BBC; a sort of UK version of friends, if you like.
They wrote back declining it, but said they liked my style even if it wasn't what they were looking for.
When did the idea for ‘Unsceptred Isle’ come to you?
To be honest I had the seeds of an Idea many years ago. I've always liked the name Maitland for a character and I knew he was going to be a loner type. But it wasn't until 2008 that it began to gel.
I liked the idea of the break-up of the United Kingdom, not literally you understand, and I thought of what would be a good catalyst that would make it happen more or less overnight. The rest is in the story.
At what stage did Jon Maitland first develop as your main character?
Like I said, I had the idea for Maitland years ago. But I really started working on his back story in earnest in 2009. That was when he began to develop his life, his ways and his aims.
Without sounding like I'm schizophrenic, I seem to have an empathy that allows me to place myself into the shoes of others. For me Jon Maitland and co are real people, in my head at least, and I've tried to make them as three dimensional as I can.
Hopefully I've shown in Three of a Kind that I can think like they would under the given circumstances.
As you were writing, did you share your work with family and friends, and how much did this help you?
At first I was writing in secret of my immediate family, in fear of being mocked and ridiculed. But when I came out so to speak, to my wife and children, all I got was support and encouragement, especially from my son.
But it wasn't until much, much later I decided to tell the rest of my family. Except for my sister that is, she knew from the early days and has been a real boost in acting as my sounding board, as were a couple of my colleagues at work, hence the dedication.
How long did it take to write ‘Unsceptred Isle’?
Form start to finish, about a year. But that was spread over nearly a three year period. The biggest problem I found was finding the time to write. I had my journey into work in the morning and a forty minute lunch break.
How I got to an eighty seven thousand word count is beyond me, but thankfully I did and here we are.
Without revealing too much of the story, what is the main message of the novel?
I didn't set out to write a story with any type of moral or message so I'm not too sure there is any in Three of a Kind. I think perhaps it’s a story that shows we, as a race, are either good or bad. That we are products of our choices as well as our environments. Unless of course you want to say what you think is, if any, the message.
Will we see more of the characters introduced in ‘Unsceptred Isle’?
I don't want to spoil anything, but what I can say is that I didn't set out with a plan but, having said that, I now have the idea that Unsceptred Isle is initially going to be a series of four books, with Three of a Kind being the first.
The next I have almost twenty thousand words written, and am looking to grow that to around one hundred thousand or so by the end of 2011.
And in 2012? Well, the next two books will be out and we'll have to see from there really.
And finally, what made you approach Book Sanctuary to be your publishing partner?
I have been touting Three of a kind around the traditional publishers for a while with the only result being told that due to the recession publishers were not really taking on new authors as it was an expensive process.
So I decided to look at self-publishing and ebook publishing and that's where I came across Book Sanctuary. Your ethos seemed to click with me and after an initial email and then a telephone conversation I knew that I could work with you, and so here we are.
** Unsceptred Isle: Three of a Kind is now published and available for purchase. It is available from the Book Sanctuary store, with three file formats included in the purchase, and also on the Amazon Kindle store (just search for 'Unsceptred Isle). **