D J Shaw
The work of art:
The 13th Doorway series
Where he creates his masterpieces:
Central Scotland, near Stirling.
The genre that gets to claim him:
I write sci-fi, aimed at 9-16 year olds but try to make my stories appeal to all – all my reviews are actually from adults.
The Heart Of The Story:
This book starts in a Scottish boarding school. Three students are in their English classroom when they notice their teacher’s hand seems to slip inside the interactive whiteboard he is using. Shocked, they wait behind after class and are desperate to discover whether it’s real or not. In one characters case, a little too desperate! The book follows their adventures as they discover what lies through the doorway, or portal. They discover something on the other side that leads to a search, back in school, to solve the mystery of a disappearance back in the 1940s. They are put through a series of trials and puzzles and try to fight to find out the secrets of the place they have discovered.
There is a lot to discover in this book – it’s called The 13th Doorway – that must mean there are at least 12 more! Where do they lead? Why are there statues of 30m tall beings? And who is watching them as they continue along their path? You even get a trip back to witness the moment of creation itself – it’ll blow your mind!
D J's muse works in mysterious ways.
I tend to just sit down at the computer and start typing. I usually think about where the story will go or how the plot will develop while I am out running or hillwalking. But when I start typing, it seems to take on a life of its own. New ideas just seem to happen as I type and sometimes I’m amazed that something I’m writing one day, ties in neatly with a plot point from the other day. I guess I just let my imagination flow and see where it takes me.
Funnily enough, I’ve just finished writing ‘The 13th Doorway 2: Worlds of Wonder’ and I had some strong ideas how it was going to end, so I wrote down a plan for my ending. For some reason, this seemed to block up my creativity and I ended up writing not one word for two months. I then scrapped the plan, started writing and the story built to a wonderfully exciting conclusion all on its own.
He says his books won't take over the world but he's OK with that.
I’ve thought, “people will like my ideas” but I’m not the kind of writer who could write something the world needs to see! I’ll never write a literary classic; my stories are about sheer entertainment.
Those who helped The 13th Doorway reach perfection:
I’m so lucky to be a teacher because I have a wealth of artistic talent at my disposal. What I mean by that are my students, many of whom are very talented in the field of Art. So my front cover was drawn by a 15-year old girl by the name of Ashleigh Houston. All she wanted in return was some Ferrero Roche; she’s just delighted to see her work published. She’s also going to draw the cover for the next book and another lovely lady I met on twitter, Linda Smith, is going to do some sketches too!
Note from Nikki: I love Ferrero Roche! Good payment option.
Again, regarding editing, for ‘The 13th Doorway’, the school librarian, Christine Sheerin, offered her services for free. An expert in all things ‘book’, she is wonderful to have as a friend and ally. For the sequel, my Head teacher has volunteered to edit if for me. She is stickler for correct spelling and grammar and she’ll have her work cut out trying to spot all my mistakes!
Once again we have one of the greats to thank for first inspiring D J to start writing:
Stephen King is my favorite author and has been since I was 15 years old. I’ve read all his books; the first one I read being The Shining. And then he began releasing ‘The Dark Tower’ series of novels, which is now 8 books long. Those books have been the highlight of my reading life and some of his ideas are just total genius. That series has a hero called Roland and when I’m reading those books, I am Roland, marching steadily towards the Dark Tower, leaving nothing but chaos in my wake.
The one thing about the writing process that he never has enough of.
Finding the time to do it definitely ranks as the most difficult thing, but I use my long school holidays as best I can.
D J's characters come from the children he has taught.
Again, I think being a teacher really helps with this. I've taught now for 19 years and have had thousands of students pass through my classroom doors, each with a different and unique character and personality. My characters in my books are very much based on some of the youngsters I have taught.
He has definitely written himself into his characters.
Yes!! Mr Scott, the teacher in the books. He’s me. My students knew it straight away.
Mr. Shaw has no intention of quitting his day job:
Even if I became the next JK Rowling, I’d still be a Maths teacher. I love my job and want to work in Education for the rest of my working life.
If he could go back in time to meet anyone, D J would definitely aim as high as he could.
Great question. My answer is Charles Darwin, who was the first to come up with the idea of Evolution. By studying the wildlife of Islands far from other land masses, he realised that the creatures there were different from others on the planet and made the leap that we all evolve due to our surroundings. I would love to have been part of his expeditions. The idea of different evolutions is a strong theme in ‘Worlds of Wonder’.
A hero better have some brains in his head. Brawn alone just won't do:
Even though the basic premise of my book (doorway to another world) is an old idea, I like to think (and my reviewers agree) that it’s full of new ideas, unique characters and plot settings and it has something for everyone; maths puzzles, giant creatures, drama, excitement, death, bit of romance, dark scary tunnels, hundreds of rats and a new world which everyone would want to visit.
D J stands behind KDP as a means of free marketing.
I’m afraid I mostly just use facebook and twitter to get the word out there. The Amazon KDP deal is really good though, as it allows you to promote your book for free for a few days, allowing much needed exposure. I recently blogged on the benefits of KDP.
I know. I know. You want to know how to reach and follow D J Shaw:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/13th.Doorway
Thank You so much for being a part of my Indie Author Spotlight Donald! I really enjoyed your answers. And now, I can see I will absolutely have to read and review this one myself as well. Everyone else should as well. Seems to me like a book that will challenge my wits as well as my imagination.
And now, I'll finally give ya what you've been wanting. Here's how to get your own copy of The 13th Doorway:
It’s also available as a paperback on both amazon sites.