Stephen Hayes is a 26-year-old Australian author who writes novels in the fantasy genre. Find out more about him and his work at his website: www.themagiccrystals.com.
Thank you for joining us today, Stephen. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?
Thanks for having me. I’m 26 years young from Melbourne, Australia, and have been totally blind since I was thirteen. I’ve been writing in some form or other since I was eight; it has always been a hobby of mine, a way of expressing myself. I’ve only been serious about it for a few years, though. My main project at the moment is The Magic Crystals series of novels.
When did you first get bit by the writing bug?
When I was a child. Although my preferred method of artistic expression up to the age of thirteen was drawing, I was even then writing short stories. After I lost my sight, I began writing more, expanding my plots until finally, I had completed my first novel.
Why did you decide to write stories for the YA market?
It wasn’t a decision at all: The Magic Crystals could only be for the young adult market when I started writing it because I was only a teenager myself, so I couldn’t have written it for a more mature market if I’d wanted to. Actually, when I first started, the only intended audience was myself, and since I was a young adult, that’s what it was geared towards. Even though I’m older now, I decided not to change the content to be more suitable for adults—I quite like it the way it is. Not that adults can’t enjoy the story, though.
What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?
My favorite part, and the greatest challenge, are the same thing: Thinking like the audience. On one hand, writing for young adults makes me think like one (which I still am, I suppose), and keeping my mind young makes me feel refreshed. On the other hand, I have to continually ask myself if what I’m writing isn’t too full-on for my readers. I have taken a couple of things out of my books, but for the most part, I think that my target audience can handle most of what I write. I would not recommend my books to children, but anyone over the age of thirteen should be able to understand and enjoy my work.
Can you tell us what your books are all about?
Well, I can try. Essentially, The Magic Crystals is about power, and how it should be used. On one hand, you have those who wish to hold on to power so that it can’t be used to harm people; and on the other, you have those who wish to use it to improve and optimize the world and everything in it. Although one side is depicted as good and the other as evil, both sides have valid points, which in my opinion makes the struggle that much more interesting. As you can probably guess, magic is the source of the struggle.
In the first book, The Seventh Sorcerer, a man representing one side of the debate defects and attempts to steal all the magic from both sides, and it is down to the protagonist John Playman and his friends to stop him from taking over the world. In the second book, Rock Haulter, the same man is recruited by those he had previously betrayed in order to acquire an even greater source of magic than before, and once again it is down to John and his friends to get a hold of it first. And in the third book, Hunt and Power (scheduled for publication in mid-2014), John and a couple of his friends will be abducted, held hostage and put through a terrible ordeal by those who he had twice defied.
What inspired you to write them?
It wasn’t really a single idea, but more of an accumulation of ideas over many years. In fact, even though I wrote the first draft of The Seventh Sorcerer more than a decade ago now, I only worked out how the series would end a few years ago. The inspiration for the first book can be traced back to the games I played with my sister as a child, games that included a lot of magic but only a certain handful of people who could use it. That’s why there are only half a dozen magical people in my books (until the Seventh Sorcerer is discovered, of course), and also the reason why I wanted the source of the magic to be transferred from one person to another. In my mind, it makes things much more interesting, and certainly creates the potential for a lot more drama.
Where can readers purchase a copy?
So far, my books are only available as eBooks, but they will soon be available as audio books as well. Anyone interested can check out the following links:
The Seventh Sorcerer: https://www.ebookit.com/books/0000002323/The-Seventh-Sorcerer.html
Rock Haulter: https://www.ebookit.com/books/0000002325/Rock-Haulter.html
Or just go to my website at www.themagiccrystals.com if you’re undecided. You can even read the first three chapters of the first book for free.
What is up next for you?
Well, I mentioned the audio books just before, and getting the third book in the series ready for publication. There’s still more writing to be done, and more work spreading the word about The Magic Crystals (and to that end, go tell your friends about it). Beyond that, I’m not sure, but I intend to publish plenty more books in the future, so if all goes well, you won’t forget about me.
Thank you for spending time with us today, Stephen. We wish you much success.
The pleasure was all mine.
I’ve read all five books so far and a quarter of the way through the sixth. Since starting on The Seventh Sorcerer, I had in my mind that this is going to be a real good yarn and although the books are long in the tooth, it’s a ripping yarn.
Stephen has taken the moral values of previous generations – hidden away in moth-galled cupboard at grandma’s house – and has turn them inside-out as the ‘noughty’s’ generation pay no heed to a once strict set of rules. As the characters form, so does their inter-personal relationships and as teenagers, hormones always get in the way.
The good and evil proforma with magic as its counterpoint provides vehicle where teenagers are no longer restricted in their feelings and desires while coming to terms with the consequences of their actions.
Great set of books and well do I recommend young teens get stuck into reading them.
Great work Stephen Hayes.