HW Cumming – The Amazing Author of The Adventures of Horace, George and Ingle: Rise of the Black Knight

adventures of George

 

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

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.

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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?

 Gladiator

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:

Tara C.
Amber I.
Congratulations

The Adventures of Horace, George, and Ingle – The Rise of the Black Knight is available for purchase in e-book, paperback and hardback at Amazon. com, Barnes & Noble and FriesenPress.com.

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Interview with Rosemary Tran Lauer and Scott Beller, Authors of Beggars or Angels: How a Single Mother Triumphed Over War, Welfare and Cancer to Become a Successful Philanthropist

 

18345667Please join me in welcoming authors Rosemary Tran Lauer and Scott Beller to bibliobetty reviews. I was fortunate enough to get a chance to interview them.  Read on and enter for a chance to win a copy of the inspiring book, Beggars or Angels: How a Single Mother Triumphed Over War, Welfare and Cancer to Become a Successful Philanthropist!

1 .Are you going to expand Devotion to Children to cover other states besides Virginia?

Yes, expansion nationwide is definitely a key part of my vision for the future of Devotion to Children. I want to see the plans we have for advancing our cause move well beyond the boundaries of the Washington, D.C./Virginia/Maryland metro area and into other communities in desperate need of affordable, quality child care. In 20 years, I’d love to see that Devotion to Children has continued to blossom into a positive force for improving the quality of care for and lives of children here and around the globe.

2. You mentioned briefly in your book that you would like to become a life coach, have you made any plans to pursue that?

Yes, in fact, I’ve already made it happen. I regularly consult with several life-coaching clients in the Washington, D.C. area. After working so hard to get by when I first arrived in the U.S., it’s interesting that I am, once again, working three jobs! But obviously, for very different reasons now, and for an even greater good.

3. What is your morning routine?

Rosemary: Besides being an author, I am also a commercial real estate agent, and founder of the non-profit Devotion To Children, so my normal workday is very busy.  I usually get up, do some exercise and meditate. Then I shower, get dressed, and start working. Since I am also a life coach, some days start with a coaching session.  Afterwards, I go to my real estate office. I don’t often have time for breakfast or lunch due to all my meetings, and the day usually ends with a Devotion Board Meeting, networking event, or other business function. Although my days are always over-booked, I will continue to do what I do as long as it creates a positive impact on society, especially the children.

Scott: Usually, getting up with (or at least awakened by) my girls, who are now 6 and 4. After I get one to the bus stop and the other to preschool, I get 3 hours to work in my own breakfast, any errands, writing work and any other chores/house maintenance. Then it’s back to preschool for pickup – usually in a mad rush and leaving a handful of things incomplete.

4. What was the last book you finished reading?

Rosemary: I am reading They Can Kill You But They Can’t Eat You by Dawn Steel.

Scott: I recently finished Death by Black Hole by Neil deGrasse Tyson and What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell – I’m usually reading a few books at once, which is why it often takes me longer to finish them. I’m still working on BJ Novak’s short story collection One More Thing.

5. What is your favorite movie?

Rosemary: My favorites are Gone with the Wind and Life of Pi.

Scott: Too hard to pick just one, but these will give an idea of my eclectic taste: It’s A Wonderful Life, The Great Escape, Pulp Fiction, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Shawn of the Dead, Monsters Inc., The Nightmare Before Christmas.

6. Do you have time for any hobbies and if so what are they?

Rosemary: I don’t really have time for hobbies since my work takes up most of my days. However, if I have any time to spare, I enjoy reading, dancing and cooking.

Scott: After hours and sometimes on weekends – when I’m not hanging out with my girls– I like biking, reading, movies and fantasy baseball/football. I recently volunteered to serve as a first-time film festival judge for Shriekfest 2014. Very excited about that!

7. Some “This or That” questions:

Rosemary:

  • Tea or Coffee? Tea
  • Call or text? Call
  • Sneakers or sandals? Sandals
  • Apples or Oranges? Apples
  • Cats or Dogs? None, since I raised 7 kids. I am happy to be free!
  • Spring or Summer? Spring

Scott:

  •  Tea or Coffee? Coffee
  •  Call or text? Text – I am a writer, after all
  •  Sneakers or sandals? Sneakers (but usually in the form of hiking or all-terrain athletic            shoes)
  •  Apples or Oranges? Apples
  •  Cats or Dogs? Cats when they’re mine, Dogs when they’re someone else’s
  •  Spring or Summer? Spring (baseball season!)

8. What is your favorite meal?

Rosemary: Since my husband and I have to go to a lot of business functions in the evening, a home-cooked meal would be my favorite. I don’t mind cooking because we usually eat very simple, but I just barely have the time to do so.

Scott: Anything with good seafood, preferably crab cakes… finished with a chocolate soufflé.

9. Are you planning on writing any more books?

Rosemary: I haven’t decided yet.

Scott: Yes, I’d like to develop a novel. Maybe historical fiction or some kind of caper set in an interesting place and time. Probably with a humorous edge. Maybe move forward with that later this fall… when both my girls will be in school, full-time. After that, I’d like to try my hand at a children’s book… or series. Possibly YA fiction. We’ll see 🙂

10. What was the time frame for writing Beggars or Angels?

Scott and I first met in early 2009. We began the interview process later that August. The first 12 months of the project was devoted to research, outlining and planning the story/chapters. Our interviews often ran 2-3 hours – and we had dozens of them over the course the three years it took to complete the book’s outline and full manuscript. The first draft of the manuscript was – appropriately – finished the day before Thanksgiving 2012. We let it rest for the holidays and engaged our publisher and professional editor in early 2013. We finally published in August 2013.

11. How did you come up with the title for your book?

My co-author Scott Beller and I came up with the title Beggars or Angels together. We wanted a title that could have multiple meanings and would get people to think about the bigger issues raised in the book: poverty, dignity, prejudice, fundraising, entrepreneurship, spirituality and compassion. Throughout the book and my daily life, I’ve referred to my “angels” – the many people who’ve helped me at key moments and in immeasurable ways. It’s been my experience that help often comes from people you’d least expect. In the book, I write about a particular encounter with a beggar boy on the streets of Plei Ku, Vietnam, who reappears unexpectedly and gives me reason to see him in a much different light. We thought this experience provided a thread that tied in many of the book’s themes in a unique and memorable way. At different points in our lives, we play the role of “beggar” (someone humbled into asking for help) and “angel” (the one in a position to offer support). We are both. So you never know when or if that person you helped (or didn’t) in the past will be in a position to help you when you need it most. So, Scott and I played with these ideas, symbols and words. First we tried Beggars AND Angels, but later changed it to Beggars OR Angels, with a question mark implied. We thought that little tweak turned an interesting title into a more engaging, thought-provoking one.

12. What was the hardest part about writing your book?

Rosemary: I think the most difficult thing was just finding time to read the drafts Scott provided. Reviewing business documents or the volume of email I get each day both with my real estate job and my other full-time job with Devotion to Children is challenging enough. But working through an entire chapter’s worth of text can be difficult for me, especially since I’m not a professional writer. I relied a lot on Scott to provide draft copy that was pretty polished to begin with. Working patiently and methodically, we got through it, chapter by chapter.

Scott: My youngest was born the week after we began the background interviews for the book. So I was squeezing a lot of my work-at-home consulting business and book development activity around taking care of my 2-year-old and infant daughters. While it was challenging taking on all that at once, the experience gave me an even greater appreciation for Rosemary’s accomplishments under such extreme circumstances when emigrating to the U.S. In the end, I think that empathy was invaluable to the project. I don’t know that I would have been as effective in telling Rosemary’s story had I not had that small insight into her early parenting world.

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Like to win a copy of Beggars or Angels: How a Single Mother Triumphed Over War, Welfare and Cancer to Become a Successful Philanthropist?
Enter by leaving a comment on this post.
This giveaway closes at 11:59 pm Wednesday, April 30, 2014. Winner will be selected at random. Thanks, and good luck!