Recently I reviewed the winsome children’s book, The Adventures of Horace, George and Ingle: The Rise of the Black Knight. Now we get the opportunity to meet the amazing author, HW Cumming.
About the Author
HW Cumming is a 21st century Renaissance man – in addition to being an author, he is a classical and jazz pianist, a college graduate with a degree in engineering from the University of Toronto, an avid outdoorsman…having skied and trekked all over the world – including Annapurna and Mt. Kilimanjaro, and a successful business executive with more than 20 years in the information technology industry. Horace, George, and Ingle were originally conceived by Cumming as bedtime stories to entertain and guide his growing children…The Adventures of Horace, George and Ingle – The Rise of the Black Knight is Cumming’s debut novel.
Questions and Answers:
I’m so very happy to have as our guest HW Cumming, author of The Adventures of Horace, George, and Ingle: Rise of the Black Knight. Thank you for allowing the time from your very busy schedule to answer some questions.
1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I love to be creative and apply that to everything I do – whether that’s designing new technology, writing apps, music or stories – the creative process inspires me. I actually never set out to be a writer it just sort of found me. When I was younger I focused a lot more on music, songwriting and playing in bands and even wrote computer games for fun. Having a creative outlet has been something that has been very important to me – especially given the demands of my professional life. Finishing this book has been great for me, and I already have the next one underway.
2. What inspired you to write The Adventures of Horace, George and Ingle?
The book initially started as a bedtime story and then grew into a book. The backdrop for the story comes from my fascination with all things medieval and from imaging a mythical world without the bounds of earth with my brother while we played together as boys. The roots of the story are inspired by the journey kids take from being completely dependent on their parents to becoming increasingly more and more independent and is told from a single dad’s vantage point. The most important thing for me was and still is to teach the kids to be good leaders and also to be good people- King Reynold is a reflection of the pride I have in my own kids.
3. Who are your three (or four or five) favorite authors? Is your own writing influenced by who you read?
I’d have to say that my writing has been influenced by many, but these 4 standout for me.
JRR Tolkien – because he imagined a world with magic and unseen forces bounded by a different set of laws and he did it so vividly and precisely that it was believable
Dan Brown – for taking complex historical events, facts and theories and surrounding them with a story that makes them interesting to so many
Jeffrey Archer – great mystery and intrigue, plot twists and surprising heroes
Kurt Vonnegut – for starting about 15 stories at the start of each book and somehow bringing them all back together in the end
4. What is your morning routine?
Very Simple – shave/shower, a bagel with cheese and tomato and a coffee on my way to work
5. What was the last book you finished reading?
Jeffrey Archer – A Prisoner of Birth
6. What is your favorite movie?
7. Do you have time for any hobbies and if so what are they?
Writing, playing the piano (not as much as I’d like) and lots of active pursuits – Hockey, Hiking, Skiing – we go on a few trips per year to ski
8. As a busy professional/one-time single parent, how do you find a balance between working, parenting, your personal endeavors while trying to write a book?
Everyone asks this question when they find out that I wrote a book. For me it was never really an issue as I’ve always been good at compartmentalizing my life between work, friends, family & personal interests and trying to stay in balance (it doesn’t always work out that way, but I do try hard to stay balanced) – it also really helped that I didn’t have a timeline in mind and that kept it from interfering with my professional life – so I just kind of let it happen naturally and never forced it (which is probably why it took several years to finish). Some of my best writing came while I was sitting on a plane taking an evening flight where I could really disconnect. For the kids, they were very encouraging throughout the whole process-often waiting for the next part of the story to be written so that they could hear it – so it never felt like a conflict and was very useful in getting them to bed at a younger age!
It wasn’t until I wrote the last page – probably back in September of last year that it hit me that I actually had a book.
9. Just for fun, some this or that questions:
Tea or Coffee? Coffee in the morning Tea in the afternoon
Call or text? text
Sneakers or sandals? sandals
Apples or Oranges? oranges
Cats or Dogs? Dogs
Spring or Summer? Winter
10. What is your favorite meal?
This is a tough one – I like spicy food – Indian, Thai, or Moroccan
11. Are you planning on writing any more books?
I do have the second book nearly 1/3 complete
12. Do you have any plans to include female characters in your next novels?
It is definitely something that I think will add to the book – so yes
13. What was the time frame for writing The Adventures of Horace, George and Ingle?
I started the story in about 2006 , but really didn’t write anything down until 2008. This first 3 or 4 chapters are dated March 2011 – so it took me a while to get started. In 2012, I started writing more regularly and the rest of the book took about a year and a half to finish.
14. How did you come up with the title for your book?
The names of the twins, Horace and George just sort of came to me while I was making up a story about 2 brothers that were knights for my young son. I think both names are reflective of the time-period and sound somewhat knightly to fit the part. Ingle came a bit later and started off as the cookie baking king to reflect my daughter who at a young age liked to bake. “The Rise of the Black knight” actually came after I initially submitted the manuscript with the title “Adventures of Horace and George – the long journey home”. The editor felt it didn’t tell the story – so I changed the title to add Ingle and the rise of the black knight which is the core theme of the book.
15. You originally conceived the idea for The Adventures of Horace, George and Ingle as bedtime stories for your children. How much of your children’s personalities are in the characters?
Horace and George in many ways are reflections on my son, Ethan, who has always really had two personalities – one is this crazy, reckless kid that breaks his arm longboarding down a hill and is always on the go with friends the other is the sweet kid that still wants to hang out with his dad and wrestle in the basement or head up to the ski hills for a day of snowboarding. My daughter, on the other hand who provided the inspiration for Ingle, is naturally gifted at the arts – pottery, music, painting, video making – she does all of these with a skill beyond her years. While not always wanting to pursue all things athletic like her brother, she is still very capable. Zoe is someone that always wants to do things as a family, which hopefully that lasts forever. She is a true animal lover and nature activist.
16. You have trekked all over the world. Will Horace, George and Ingle venture into other territories?
I tried to reflect some of this in the stories – there was one section that was inspired by my trip to Nepal last year. We were trekking through some areas where the paths were stairs made of thousands of carefully laid stones that had been carried by monks. Travel is a big inspiration, and I will definitely look to expand the territory that they cover in upcoming adventures.
<< The route ahead in the valley was well worn; the meticulously placed stones were cracked from age, but didn’t slow the steady pace of the horses. They occasionally came across a section of the path that was untouched, revealing the shallow impressions left by leather sandals from the pilgrimages that had taken place before the time of dragons.>> (Excerpt)
17. What was the hardest part about writing your book?
The neat part about writing is that it never finishes the way it starts and the writing kind of finds its own path through the story and adds lots of new aspects to the initial outline. Although, I always have a short outline written for each chapter, which gives me a reference, the hard part for me is time. I will often have months between solid writing sessions because of the demands of work or family, and that means I have to re-read what I have written making edits along the way with an extra eye for details and consistency with my original idea – only then can I add new chapters. I’m not entirely sure if I could finish in a couple months if it were something I did full-time, but who knows – in then end it’s still a creative process and it can’t be forced.
The Adventures of Horace, George and Ingle Give Away
During the end of July, HW Cumming and his publisher offered two free copies of his book to be given away. Rafflecopter administered the process. Thanks to everyone who participated.
I’m happy to announce the winners: