Thank you for coming on the blog Francis .
Francis Leggett , thank you for having me .
Tell us a little about yourself
Though I consider myself an open book, I always struggle to talk about myself. My name is Francis Leggett, a children's horror author and professional wrestler from Newcastle, England. I spend most of my time either writing, reading, wrestling, or coaching, but stepping back from all of that, I am a huge lover of animals and do all I can to help support local animal shelters and charities.
Tell us about your book.
BANSHEE IN THE BASEMENT is book one of my children's horror series, "Tales of Dark Wonder". It's a story of a ten year old boy called Danny, who visits his Aunt Agnes for the first time with his mother. He suddenly finds himself alone with his aunt and discovers that she's not the pleasant old lady he first thought. We then follow his desperate attempts to find his mother and escape his aunt's controlling grasp, encountering a lot of mysterious things along the way. I won't give away too much for those that are yet to read it!
Have you always wanted to write children's books.
Honestly? Actually no, haha. As a teenager I wrote some poetry that ended up being published and alongside that, I persistently attempted to write an epic fantasy novel, but I just didn't have the passion required to finish those projects. I didn't truly find my niche until I started writing children's horror though.
What is the best part and the worst part of writing / publishing your first book.
I have to say the hardest part of writing my first book was the level of uncertainty around getting published. At this point I hadn't contacted Christina at Optimus Maximus Publishing, so like many others, I was just a person with a wild dream of holding his book in his hands. Another issue I had personally was that the more research I did into the publishing process, the more disheartened I seemed to become. Thinking back I can say without a doubt that this was due to most websites offering poor advice and making you feel like you don't have what it takes to become a published author. To any aspiring authors reading this, you can do it, keep writing and please don't give up.
I heard from a little birdie that you were once a wrestler. Got any good stories to tell us all.
That's absolutely right, I've been a wrestler since 2002 so fifteen years and counting. Though I focus more on my roles as a coach and promoter these days, I do still wrestle now and then. Thinking of a story is a tricky one, I've been hit in the head a lot, you know! I can tell you that I've portrayed the bad guy for most of my fifteen years in wrestling and throughout that time I've had people try to break locker room doors down to get at me, throw drinks and glasses at me, and even wait outside of venues for me. Fans can be crazy. A funny story for you though, me and a friend of mine were wrestling in Carlisle. At this time we were both wrestling under masks. After traveling and wrestling, we were exhausted but in order to keep our identities hidden, we had to keep our masks on until we got to the car and drove away from the fans. My friend jumped into the driver's seat and set his satellite navigation to home... or so he thought. A few minutes later the SatNav had taken us down a pitch dark, back lane and who should follow us but a police car. They pulled us over and we stepped out of the car in street clothes and wrestling masks. That was an interesting thing to try and explain to two officers, but luckily for us they found it hilarious and after showing them our cases full of wrestling attire, sent us on our way.
when you write do you have any rituals that you have
You know, I've heard that a lot of authors, including those that I talk to, have rituals or even like to sit in a peaceful place in order to get the best results from their writing. Some like to listen to their favourite songs, others like to listen to heavy music in order to maybe switch on the right areas of their imagination. Everybody seems to have their own thing, except me! I am pretty much an insomniac thanks for years of working nightshifts, so I peak at strange times and get most of my best ideas whilst lying in bed staring at the ceiling. When it comes to the actual writing I don't need silence or a specific setting, as long as I have my laptop on me knee and a clear mind, I'm good to go.
Do any of your books come from your childhood.
My books are certainly influenced by the Goosebumps series but my parents wouldn't let me read them as a kid because they were too scary, which is crazy because they didn't mind me watching Nightmare on Elm Street and things like that. There are certain parts of the book that are influenced by my childhood but I'll let you all guess which they are.
Does writing come easy to you
If I have a clear mind then the words will just flow from me without any issues. I often think that writing children's books holds its own challenges in that department though because you aren't just writing freely, you have to limit the complexity of the language you use. Personally I always try to make my books enjoyable for adults as well as obviously the kids they're aimed at which can be a difficult but enjoyable task.
What authors have inspired you
I think the one that will be no surprise to anybody at all would be RL Stine. His Goosebumps books are absolutely incredible and have truly stood the test of time. I am also a huge fan of Robin Hobb, she is in my opinion the most well rounded author I've ever had the pleasure of reading. She was also kind and humble enough to reply to an email, offering me advice when I was a teenager attempting to write fantasy novels and I will always be grateful for that.
How many books are you going to write in this series
I feel like I've just laid down the foundation and it's time to build upon it. I would love to release a huge amount of books in the Tales of Dark Wonder series but at the end of the day I believe that's a decision that would require a lot of input from Christina at Optimus Maximus Publishing. As long as she wants more, I'll keep on writing them.
now for some fun questions
I've enjoyed them all but sure, let's make a game of it!
COFFE OR TEA
That's a funny one because I love both but don't drink either. I used to drink far too many energy drinks and now my body disagrees with caffeine.
FAVOURITE BOOK AND AUTHOR
Can I pick two series that go hand in hand? If so then I'd have to say The Farseer Trilogy and The Tawny Man Trilogy by Robin Hobb. If I can only choose one then I'd have to say Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb because without book one, there could be no others.
FAVOURITE JUNK FOOD
All of it. I'm actually allergic to peanuts and tree nuts though so I can't have a lot of tasty treats. What sort of Brit would I be if I didn't say Fish and Chips though?
NIGHT OWL OR EARLY BIRD
Complete insomniac. I usually go to bed around midnight and spend most my time staring at the ceiling or coming up with crazy ideas.
IF YOU HAD A SUPER POWER WHAT WOULD IT BE
A: The power to scare people... oh wait, maybe I do.
AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST
What would you say to any aspiring writer out there.
Writing isn't always easy, but it is always fun. There will be people out there who don't believe in your dreams like you do, don't let that damage your passion or self belief. Keep writing and never give up.
HERE IS WHERE YOU CAN GET FRANCIS'S BOOK