Author Interview With Ian Copsey
One of the struggles of writing is determining how much thought to put into pleasing your audience as you write the story. It’s impossible to determine how readers will respond to the story you are trying to tell. In interviewing Ian D. Copsey, who has just published his first middle grade novel, I noticed how well he has been able to keep his target audience in mind to help in writing his book while still making it available to all age groups. After all, if we writers can’t connect to our readers through our storytelling, we are not doing our job. Based on his reviews, however, it is apparent that Copsey has achieved what he set out to accomplish with his novel. Below are his answers to my interview questions along with a link to buy his book.
- How many books have you written and where can you buy them?
The Game Master is my first book and took me three years to complete and written for 10-13 year olds. It can be purchased at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
2. What famous books can you compare to your own?
Being a pretty ancient chap and having lived away from English speaking countries for 27 years, I haven’t really kept up-to-date with children’s books apart from the books I read to my daughters when they were younger. If I can recall one book from my young days that has some similarities then it’s Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce.
3. Why do you write for this particular age group?
I am fascinated by children’s fascination. By 10-13, the books of wonderment are behind them, their reading skills are beginning to blossom, and they are seeking more adventurous stories that match their own lives. They understand more about life and have an open mind for fresh knowledge. It is also running up to a very important period in the development of their brains that occurs in early puberty (synaptic pruning) that can have impact on the rest of their lives.
4. How autobiographical are your books?
I hadn’t anticipated this question! I don’t think it’s autobiographical, but it is a reflection of some personal experiences. The book is set where I grew up as a child, and the school Josh and Alex attend is where I went to school. However, the story is not about me but more the learning I have experienced over many years.
5. What’s the best compliment that you’ve ever received about your writing?
That’s easy! I had a set objective when I began to write The Game Master, and that was to write a book for this age group that would be fun, make them laugh, and provide a few alternative perceptions about life. I also wanted to make the book one that could be read by adults also. As authors, we all want our books to be dramatized, and I’d like to think The Game Master would make a great family movie. The selection of reviews I have been blessed with so far have a selection of comments I can share:
“Pure fun and adventure – a terrific book for avid readers and for those influenced by the ubiquitous ‘games’.”
“An engrossing story targeted at this age bracket isn't something I often find myself enjoying, and yet this unique tale of Josh and Alex and the Game Master delivers on all fronts, from humor and mystery to action and a bit of fictional whimsy. If you can blend sci-fi, mystery, fantasy, and adventure so neatly into a book, then someone of any age can enjoy it - even me.”
“Its always nice to learn from the material you read. That’s something I greatly appreciated from this book, to be able to reflect on what I’ve just read. To be able to put down the book for a minute and simply contemplate the words you’ve just taken in. I didn’t expect to have that sort of experience with a book written for a younger audience but it was a pleasant surprise nonetheless.”
These have given me great satisfaction to read.
6. What has been your greatest moment as a writer so far?
So far, at this early stage, there are two outstanding feelings of achievement: that the book appears to be well received so far and that I actually managed to complete the book on the first attempt at creative writing for around 35-40 years.
7. Where do you get your covers?
Living in Japan, I was lucky enough to be referred to a young Japanese artist, Chihiro Tani. I outlined the image I wanted for the book cover (the chapter in which the Game Master hosts a TV game show), and she produced an absolutely original and stunning illustration. She also tidied up an internal illustration I gave her for a Rube Goldberg machine that is part of the story in the penultimate chapter.
8. Who is your biggest fan?
At this stage – my daughters to whom I have dedicated the book!
9. What is next for you?
Well, I have to say that I am being contrary to the norm of writing a series but looking at a vertical series of books that are linked by concept. I am just in the process of outlining the story that has a high level of complexity with multiple threads and a surprise ending. I would prefer not to divulge the theme purely because it’s best read from the beginning. However, it will highlight alternative perceptions of who we think we are.
10. End with a favorite quote.
One quote has always stood out in my mind for many years, told by an elderly friend. It highlights how we learn from negative events in our lives:
“If you were always happy, how would you know it?”