Under the Spotlight: Towards the Within Q&A
Updated: Apr 19
How long did it take to write Towards the Within? About four years. I'd written for various travel publications in the past, but writing a book was completely different. I had to take time to study the concept of storytelling to ensure I could give the reader the best possible experience. There was also a considerable amount of research and fact checking involved.
Is Towards the Within solely about travelling India? No. Although the book is set against the backdrop of India, it is mainly character driven. Sam's journey is one of self development, discovering true friendships and being alerted to his darkest foes. He finds himself in impossible situations which he has no option but to overcome and from this he draws strength and confidence as he moves through the story. He finds the ability to combat fear through positive thinking and when he is at his most vulnerable, an answer arrives in an unexpected form.
What inspired you to write the novel? India itself. It's one of my favourite countries. I've visited several times and it always beckons my return. There is something different to see and do each time I’m there and I've made some amazing lifelong friends along the way. When I come back I'm always asked about my journey with great enthusiasm and it felt a natural progression to write about my first trip, the one I hold dearest to my heart.
Is there any of you in Sam?
It’s a work of fiction, however there are elements. Some of Sam’s history is drawn from my past experiences and I like to think that the foundation of his overall character is a reflection of my own personality traits.
The book covers Sam's difficult past. Was this hard for you to write? Yes, very. Certain aspects of Sam's background are based on my own life as a child. I would often find myself travelling a path that I simply didn't want to take, encountering experiences that would bring me to some very dark places as I wrote. More often than not I would work until the early hours of the morning and after many sessions I'd be left feeling quite drained. On several occasions I would leave the house in the middle of the night and walk until the sun rose just to get my head straight again.
How did you physically write Towards the Within and why?
Originally the story was made up from journal entries from various trips around India. I wanted to keep the authenticity of travelling the country from day to day and the thoughts and feelings that hover in mind whilst doing so. I first wrote the entire book by hand and then copied it over to a PC and edited it from there. I went through about ten notebooks adding ideas throughout and in addition I used the notepad app on my phone when I couldn’t access a pen and paper. The final result was constructed after fifteen drafts.
Are there any plans for a follow up? At the moment, no. But never say never. I'm happy where I've left Sam but I often get excited at the thought of sending him off on another adventure.
Any clues to your next project?
My second book is complete and is due to be released in 2019. The majority is set in Thailand. It’s quite a different theme to Towards the Within, being a psychological thriller. I am now working on the early stages of my third book.