Today I had the pleasure of interviewing a very talented
author, Clive Culverhouse. Between raising awareness for mental health and
blogging, he has created a whole new world in his book, The Legend of Heliodor.
Q: When did you start writing?
A: I have always enjoyed writing, whether it be short
stories or comedy sketches for television. I started writing my book The Legend
Of Heliodor: The Crystal Spirits in 2010 after finding myself with a long
period of time suddenly on my hands. Writing a book was something I always
wanted to do but never got around to it until I was injured out of my career as
a Paramedic and then I had all the time in the world so eventually I began to
Q: What inspires you to write? Do you have a muse?
A: I’ve always had an urge to write something no matter what
it is. Life is full of inspiration. I like the stories people tell. When I was
a paramedic I got to hear a lot of what people said as we chatted in the back
of an ambulance. Everyone has a story to tell.
Q: Tell me about your book The Legend of Heliodor. What was
the original idea behind it?
A: One thing I like about books, especially the fantasy
genre, is the world that can be created out of the imagination. I always liked
the world of Tolkien, the lands and the maps. I had the idea to invent my own
world, a magical land far away. I combined that with a long-time passion of
rocks, minerals and crystals to come up with a world and a people who worship
and use crystals. I also wanted the people to be named after the crystals we
know today. The other main thing about the book I was keen to install is also
Tolkien-like and inspired by the bible. I’m not religious but I do like the
fact that we have all grown up with ancient tales, folklore and myths. I wanted
my book to be centred on an ancient story that has been passed down for
generations where it suddenly springs to life as the current characters are
thrown into the legend and then become part of its continuation.
Q: You raise awareness of mental health, and have been
depressed before. What is one thing the world needs to understand about
depression and mental sickness?
A: It was the loss of my job and career due to injury that
sent me into a long clinical depression. I lost my function, my role, my
purpose both in work and at home in my family. I let friends go and drifted
into a world of solitude almost losing my family too. I cut everyone off. But I
did come back to reality after a long and difficult fight. In fact I retrained
as a counsellor and gained qualifications in mental health. I now co-run a
mental health support group. So it is there that recovery IS possible, a new
life can come from the ashes of the old. The life I have led since and
especially the people I met along the way is something I wouldn’t change, so
therefore I look at the depression and mental illness I suffered and think it
was necessary to make me who I am now. The illness and experience doesn’t have
to be negative, for me it is all positive and I wouldn’t turn back the clock. I
still have bad days and re-occurrences from time to time but I cope a lot
better now. They are just little nudges to remind me to self-reflect.
Q: If you could give advice to yourself when you first
started writing, what would it be?
A: Just to plan and plan again.
Q: Are you currently working on any writing projects? If so,
what can you tell me about them?
A: When I was planning The Legend Of Heliodor I wanted it to
be told over three books. So I’m working on the next two instalments. Although
actually, they’re taking a back seat because I decided to write a book called
The Legend Of Heliodor: Tales From The Realm. It’s a collection of short
stories, tales, myths and fairy tales from the world I created. It’s a way I
suppose to draw people into the main story. I’m really enjoying the experience
of writing short stories using different writing styles and formats. Good
Q: Which of your characters do you have the strongest bond
A: I think the character would have to be my main character
Kyan. With him being the main one, it’s him that I have had to be with most of
all. He finds himself thrown into a world due to things happening to him, not
by choice and in a world where he has to learn quickly and he’s unsure with
worries and fears. He shows self-doubt and needs reassurance and support. I
think that sounds like me!
Q: Do you have any advice for budding writers?
A: I think if you’re creating a world then that world has
got to work. A society needs to function and so there has to be a logic that
needs to be thought through and that will need a look at all aspects of that
society to remove inconsistencies or things that wouldn’t work for whatever
reason. I like my magical world to be believable even though it’s just fantasy.
So the key is to plan and plan again. Then again. With magic there has to be a
way the magic works, it can’t just work any old how, in my world of Heliodor
the magic comes from the mind linking with the crystals. People in my world
can’t just summon up magic, there needs to be a crystal. So I think the most
important thing about writing is the story, the plot, the world and the magic
all needs to work with no flaws or contradictions. You can have the most
bizarre world imaginable but if it functions logically then it will work!
Q: If you could travel anywhere in any time period, where
would you go and why?
A: I’ve always liked the Victorian era of the 1800’s. It was
a time where science started to take off and a lot of inventors are from this
period. A lot of things were getting started, and they were the first to
realise that life needn’t be hard work and so they invented leisure! They were
the first to go on holidays! Some of the great writers and works of fiction
came from this period. Science fiction, fantasy and horror all came from this
period. Plus my great great great grandfather was a chemist and apothecary, his
father before him was a chemist and I like to believe an alchemist. I’d love to
have a look around their laboratories, shops and back rooms.
Q: What is one thing the world should know?
A: I discovered that instead of suffering from something,
whatever it is can be used. It’s a tool for your toolbox of life. I wrote a
blog post called ‘A Lightbulb Moment’ which explains it well. I use my mental
illness to be non-judgemental and understanding of others, I don’t ‘suffer’ it.
I still have depression from time to time but depression doesn’t have me! I use
it now, therefore I have ownership of it and it has made life easier thinking
of it like that.