Interview with young author Simon Elson and his dystopian novel Hades Forest.
Today's guest blog is Simon Elson, and his debut novel 'Hades Forrest' has just hit the market. The cover was a challenge for me because I had to do something gloomy and sinister. Fortunately, Simon had a good idea of precisely what he wanted, and I followed his instructions as we worked out the last detail.
Only 19 years old - yes, there is no mistake in the numbers! And I was impressed too! - Simon Elson is already an author of a published novel. A dream come true! And how many people can boast of such an achievement at this young age!
Simon, tell us how the idea for this novel was born? And how can a young man as sunny as you create such a dark, dystopian story?
The idea for Hades Forest was born in March, 2019. When taking a break from my exam studies, I wrote several poems over a short space of time. I then reviewed all of my writing, and decided that if I combined some of the ideas in the poems together, I would have a fantastic novel. So that’s what I did!
I enjoy exploring dark subject matter, because it enables me to explore aspects of human behaviour that I rarely encounter in daily life. People act differently when they are scared, in danger, or upset - and I love exploring how perilous circumstances can unite, or divide, people.
'Hades Forest' is a political novel that grows into a battle of life and death, isn't it? Tell us more about the plot.
Yes, that's correct. The novel is set in the future, when the entire world is governed by a totalitarian regime. Perry, out of hatred for the government, escapes from the mainland and travels to a distant forest - yet he is not the only one living between the trees. He must fight for his live against five murderous tribes, while trying to unravel the government's secrets.
But let's also see the trailer for the book. I think book trailers are starting to get more and more popular these days, and this one is fantastic! How not to buy Hades Forest right away!
I believe that after this awesome trailer, you have already won a few more fans on your side. However, I am also impressed by the illustrations of the characters that I found on your website. Really great idea to introduce them to your readers before they open the book! Tell us whose work they are and when they were created - before or after the novel was written? What is the story around them?
They were all painted by my girlfriend, Tabitha, while the novel was still being written! Over the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, Tabitha was home from University and had a lot of free time. So, I offered to pay her to paint the seven main characters from my book... and as you can see, she did an incredible job!
Simon, I'm interested to know how long it took you to write, edit, and the whole process of completing the manuscript. What was the most challenging part of the entire process? What pitfalls did you encounter along the way, and what did this life experience teach you?
It took me 18 months to write Hades Forest, in total - but future books will only take half as long. This was my debut novel, so I did a lot of learning along the way. The main thing I learned is that once you have finished the first draft, you are only 20% of the way towards completing your book. Then, once you have edited it completely, you are only 50% done... because the constant marketing and sales efforts post-publication takes up more time than anything else!
Read the excerpts on Amazon
You grew up in Chorleywood, England, where you still live. I saw this picturesque place on the internet, and I believe it is fantastic to live and create in such an atmosphere. Tell us, if it's not a secret, what genre your next novel will be in and what your readers will expect from you in the near future.
My next book will be the sequel of Hades Forest! The response to the first book has been sensational, so I am keen to write a second. Furthermore, I already planned out the entire trilogy before I started writing the first book... so I know exactly where the story is going.
You are an interesting young person, engaged in marketing, investing in the stock market, writing books, playing football, and managing to lead a social life. Tell me another fun fact about yourself!
My grandma has the world's largest collection of royal family memorabilia. If you look her up on Google ('Margaret Tyler') you will see what I mean!
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Dear readers, I believe that the meeting with Simon Elson in this virtual space was interesting for you. You can meet the characters from Hades Forest, as well as to read excerpts from the book on the author's personal website www.simonelsonauthor.com or on Amazon. Enjoy!