Meet Ian Hughes, Author of Zeki and the Space Cadets

When did you first consider yourself a writer? 
It was back in the summer of 2012 that I decided to look at becoming a writer. I knew I had lots of ideas, and my ideas were a little wacky. I thought, “What the hell,” and took the plunge. Then, in December of 2012, my father passed away and my writing was put on hold.  After a cancer diagnosis back in the middle of July 2014, everything relating to writing was stopped indefinitely.  Then, in January 2015 after the new year, I set out to complete and write the book and get fat least the first draft finished.  I am currently half way through the final edit and at the point now where I am happy with where the story is going and how well a reader can relate to the characters portrayed in the book.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
I decided to write a children’s book mainly for my son Mason. He is currently 5 ½ years old and is very good with reading already. I wanted to create a book my son could be proud of and so that he could tell his friends that his father writes stories for young adults and children. I wanted to write books that are different from the mainstream and generic subjects currently on the market.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer and how does that affect your writing?
I would love to become a full-time writer, but with work and bills and getting ‘your name’ out there, it takes time and more than one published book.  I have 4 to 5 books in the pipeline and perhaps if I keep chipping away at them they will be of interest to a wider audience.  I don’t want to stop at 4 to 5 books, but at this stage, I hope I have a big enough following to use some of the funds I generate to help others and ‘pay it forward.’  My third book, which I have started titled Battleborn, is a book for adults. All the proceeds from the sale will go to the homeless of the UK through a couple of charities I have been in discussions with.

What are some day jobs you have held?
I am currently a qualified electrician, but I work in sales at an electrical wholesaler’s in Salford. It is a job I have held for the past 13 years.  I also have a diploma in Gemology, obtained from my previous job as a Jeweller and Pawnbroker.  I would have loved to become a diamond smuggler [laughs], but I know how dangerous that part of the world is.

Do you have a special time to write, or how is your day structured to accommodate your writing? 
I try and write during my breaks and lunch at work.  When I do get a moment after I have come home, I feed all the animals I have (I have 2 cats, lots of fish, a hamster and two rabbits who escape their cage constantly), then sit down and have my tea. I have to turn the t.v off and sit down and be quiet for a few minutes before I start writing. It’s hard when one of the cats always sits on my keyboard or gets in my way sitting next to the laptop.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
When I first started to write as a teenager, I decided to keep the stories I had written and compared them to later writings.  Obviously, with time, my writing has become stronger. After completing a few courses for creative writing, my style is better.  The more you write the better you become.

What have you written so far?
I am currently editing Zeki and the Space Cadets Volume 1,  which should become available around June 2016. I am looking at completing Volume 2 and have a release date hopefully on or before Christmas 2016.  I would like to write a book about my experiences as a Paranormal Investigator at some point in 2017. I have had a few pieces of poetry that have been published in various styles and for various publications.

Do you work to an outline or plot sketch, or do you prefer to let a general idea guide your writing?
When I start to write, I think of an idea and then go with it. If I don’t see the story going anywhere, I stop at the first chapter and start again.  I have never been to university, and I did very poorly at Secondary Comprehensive school. Even if I ever only sell one book, it would mean I have achieved something and that someone wants to read what I have written regardless of my background.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
If you want to write, write. If you want to become a firefighter, become one. In either case, learn about your craft. The more you write, the better you become unless you are one of the extremely lucky ones. Just keep pushing yourself, even if you get 100 or 1000 rejection letters. If it’s something you have a passion for, then keep going.  100 or 1000 rejection letters are only 100 or 1000 people’s opinions out of all the people currently alive on the planet at this moment in time, and those opinions may not actually reflect the majority.

Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?
The year is 2150. The Galaxy is a haven for Alien Pirate Ninja Squirrels, but our home planet ‘Earth’ is still holding out against the dreaded General Cussler and his group of bandit Alien Pirate Ninja Squirrels.  The planet’s only hope against these impending invaders is a group of young sprightly space cadets, a team of boys and girls aged between the ages of 7-16, training in the arts of Monkey Kung-Fu and Cat-Kwon-Do and with technical knowledge in operating the new special C-shaped space fighter.

Hope is fading fast, as the days and nights of fighting and the spread of war gets more and more intense, and the battles fiercer. One boy dreams of becoming a space cadet and following in his family’s footsteps to fight the evil in the Galaxy and make the Universe a safer place.

Our adventurer on this journey is an eight-year-old boy, smart but shy. His companion on his adventure is a five-year-old talking tabby cat aptly named ‘Muffin’. Zeki wants to become the youngest cadet in his family and join the Earth cadet elite while searching for his abducted mother. Zeki knows that something inside him urges him to fight for freedom and become the savior of the planet, the galaxy and possibly the Universe.  Not even he knows his true destiny.

There has been a disturbance in the little town of Loopyluna Villa in the heart of England where he, his mother and Muffin the talking cat live.

This is where our story begins.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start writing this book?
I was looking through some old books in the loft and came across a play I and my deceased best friend had written as teenagers. The book was a little worn, and one main page was missing. I thought, “Hmm, perhaps I could write the story and expand it further into a book rather than a play.”  I toyed with the idea for a couple of weeks and decided to start, but as personal circumstances changed, I shelved it.  Hopefully, by June, it will finally become available the masses who I hope will enjoy it for years to come.

Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
My favorite character has to be Muffin the cat. His name is silly, he can talk, he is small, he is furry, you can cuddle him, he knows Cat-Chun martial arts and he has feelings and an awesome personality similar to that of a human being.

Who is your least favorite character and why?
Captain Ivan Talollipop is my least favorite, however, he is probably more evil than the dreaded General Cussler!  He is battle-hardened and has no remorse and no time for any human being.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Time. It’s all about time and just sitting down and getting it done.  The worst part is the editing stage; I despise it> Writing a story is all well and good, but if you just send your book to a publisher without checking over your wording and form, then the 1000 rejection letters are justified.  The amount of time I spend editing is three times as long as the time I spend writing. But I try to stop at 3 edits. Otherwise, none of my work would ever see the light of day.

What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer?
Keep pushing, no matter the obstacle. Keep believing in yourself and your ability. You will get there. It may not be next week, and it may not be next year, but it will be one day. That’s the day of all days for you as a writer to look back at your struggles and push through them.


How can you discover more about Ian?
Website | Facebook | Goodreads

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