Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Interview with the Author and Illustrator of Cardsharp, Paul Westmoreland (POW)

I am very excited today to be interviewing author and illustrator Paul Westmoreland (also known as POW) and discussing his Young Adult novel, Cardsharp.

Cardsharp's Goodreads Blurb:

Burning houses. Daring robbers. Motorway chases. Exploding boats. Flying daggers. Brutal policemen. Ruthless pirates. Beautiful women. Deadly bullets. Racing hearts. International Criminals. Narrow escapes. Tricks, stings and electrocutions. And a priceless painting by one of art’s world’s most notorious masters.
Welcome to the adventures of Vincent Ward, where getting through each day alive just isn’t enough.

Did you always want to be an author?

No, I wanted to be a film director. But when I started writing stories that I hoped would become movies, I realized how much fun you can have just writing. With movies you have limits like, Can you film a robbery in the national Gallery? Can you blow up a luxury yacht? In a book you can do it from the moment you decide you want to, and no one can stop you. Writing is still the most liberating place to be creative. Your only limit is the alphabet, and it’s free!

Tell us a bit about Cardsharp.

My novel, Cardsharp is a roller-coaster thriller set in the art-smuggling underworld. It follows Vincent Ward as he travels across Italy to save a lost painting by Caravaggio from a ruthless organization of international criminals. It’s edge-of-your-set action all the way through, with a healthy shot of art history so you can look cleaver after you’ve read it.

How did you come up with the idea for your novel?

I’ve always been interested in art, and I find the art world fascinating. Because paintings are worth so much, people with a lot of money – many of them bad people – will go to extraordinary lengths to get their hands on paintings. All this makes it a rich area for writing exciting stories, and I went from there. I always start with an interesting artist and a goal for Vincent, and the story grows from there.

If you got the chance to spend a day with any character from your books, who would it be and why?

I would choose Mr. Masters, my curator of the National Gallery, because he could open the vaults and show me all the pictures no one else ever gets to see. Though I’d probably chicken out of a day with Vincent, my main character, because too many people shoot at him and there’s always trouble chasing him. 

What drew you to the YA genre? 

Again it’s freedom and creativity. I always wrote for adults, but then my dad told me about a competition for writing YA books, I tried it, didn’t win, but it was so much fun I didn’t want to do anything else. You can do anything with YA, so long as it’s exciting! And I love writing like that.

What do you hope readers will get out of your novel?

I hope readers get a taste for art. Most people, especially my adult readers, have enjoyed it and learned something new, and some of my young readers have dragged their parents to galleries.

Where do you like to do your writing?

My favourite place to write at home, in my kitchen. But I can write anywhere – on the train, in a coffee shop – last week I even wrote while I stood in a queue at the post office.

What are some of your favorite YA books or authors? Non-YA?

H.I.V.E., CHERUB and Young Bond are all great. I also read adult books and biographies by interesting people. I also re-read Tuesdays With Morrie every few years because it’s full of lessons in life.

Are there any books and stories that have influenced or stuck with you from your childhood or youth?

I had a short version of The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle when I was little and read it over and over. There are some scenes in that which had an effect on me that I try to put into my stories. The fear of dinosaur attacks and adventures with nerves of steel – they’re great ingredients for fiction.
Do you have any other works published and how do they compare genre/style wise with your current work?

Sadly I don’t. I have a story set in the circus that nearly got published, but alas, it didn’t happen. I’d like to go back to it, but Vincent’s next adventure is taking up all my time right now!

Do you have any current writing projects? Can you tell us a bit about them?  

As I mentioned, the next adventure for Vincent sees him racing across France and battling an insidious art dealer who is trying to re-write art history. I also have a TV series going to the BBC, which could be very exciting!

If you would like to know more about Cardsharp, read a few sample chapters, or get a copy, visit www.powbooks.com

Cardsharp is available for Kindle on Amazon, or as a paperback from Lulu. There are also links on my site.
Thanks for reading. POW

Thank you, Paul! 

I'm really looking forward to reading Cardsharp. Look for my review coming later this month!

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