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Tell Your Own Story

James Clyde and the Tomb of Salvation by Colm McElwain

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Article by Colm McElwain ©.
Posted in the Magazine (Tell Your Own Story: , ).
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James Clyde and the Tomb of Salvation is the second novel in the James Clyde book series. The first book in the series entitled James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra did quite well and got over a hundred reviews on Amazon. A lot of reviewers seemed to want a sequel, so I knuckled down and decided to write one. However, the good news is you don’t have to have read the first book. I tie the two stories together in chapter one and that’s the only reference to the first story in the new book. After that, it’s a brand new story with some new characters thrown in.

I’ve worked very hard on ‘Tomb of Salvation’ to get it right. I became obsessed with the story and I think many authors will relate to that. It consumed my everyday life for eighteen months. Furthermore, I didn’t want to disappoint any of the reviewers who enjoyed the first book. Although, having said that, some reviewers didn’t like the ending of the first book, so I felt I had to come back and rectify that.

It’s been seven years since the first book and I’d almost forgotten just how much work is involved in writing a book. It is a huge undertaking. Even now, I sometimes wonder how ideas came to me. They just do, though. Roald Dahl maintained that ideas only came to him whenever he sat down and started to work on his book. I also find this to be very true. It really is about persisting with the story, even when you don’t want to. As Thomas Edison said, ‘ninety-nine percent perspiration, one percent inspiration’. Hard work writes a book, nothing else.

I love discovering new words. After all, the author’s job is to become a wordsmith. It’s the essential component of our existence. I’d read books and newspapers and if I saw a word I didn’t understand I’d write it down and look it up. I’d read anything really, just to discover new words. I’m inspired by all creative writing from poems and screenplays to plays and books.

I also found myself looking up tips and advice online from all the greatest authors and storytellers. There are three rules to storytelling that a writer must get right. I’ve heard many storytellers talking about this. They call it the three ‘e’s. So three words beginning with ‘E’ that your book or any story must get right in order to be very good. The first ‘e’ is entertain. If you entertain the reader, then your book is on the right tracks. The second one is educate. So if you can entertain and educate, then that’s even better. However, if you can entertain, educate and elevate, then your story is really going somewhere. It’s your job, as the writer, to try and lift the spirits of the reader by the message of your story. It has to be uplifting in some small way. I tried to remind myself of these rules as I wrote.

I always wanted to self-publish ‘Tomb of Salvation’. I never looked for an agent or a publisher. Sometimes I feel it would be nice to have another voice to direct my writing, but I’d fear a publisher or an agent would want to do things their way and not mine. Maybe that is a harsh perception of the industry. I’ve published through Kindle Direct Publishing. This gives the author full creative control over everything, from content and font style to cover design and illustrations. It suits me. The finished book is my own vision through this platform.

I’ve spoken to a few traditionally published authors in the past who didn’t like their front cover and in some cases, had no input into any aspect of production. It’s a lot to give up. On the topic of front covers, I really wanted to get the cover for ‘Tomb of Salvation’ just right. I spent a lot of time and money on it! I really want ‘Tomb of Salvation’ to stand out on the bookshelf. I am, after all, going up against traditionally published books. I don’t like the use of stock images on covers. A lot of books have these now. In keeping with the spirit of my book, I wanted to find a really talented artist and showcase his/her talent.

Jessie Campbell-Brown drew the front and back cover and I included five illustrations by an artist called Christopher Crump, who has provided illustrations for many other books. That’s how I discovered Christopher’s work. A very talented local artist from where I live in Ireland provided the sixth illustration entitled, ‘The Lake of Serenity’. All these combined talents really do add to my book.

I get inspired by all the great books of the past and present. Anyone who writes really can’t go wrong by going back and reading the classic novels by some of the great authors. Their books have endured for a reason. Some of my favourite books were written before the age of the typewriter. How amazing is that? Charles Dickens wrote a Christmas Carol in six weeks with a quill and parchment. No saved Microsoft Word documents or spell check to assist him! I always tried to remind myself of this. In many ways, writing a book nowadays is a very achievable goal for any person. What are you waiting for?

(c) Colm McElwain

About James Clyde and the Tomb of Salvation:

Picking up shortly after the events of the first adventure, James Clyde returns with his best friends Ben and Mary Forester to his grandfather’s house in search of a map that will lead them to the Tomb of Salvation – an ancient shrine, where the three diamonds of Orchestra must be returned with the promise of immortality. James and his company of adventurers journey through treacherous lands fraught with danger and meet many obstacles along the way – dangerous assassins on board a train, the dastardly Gilbert, also known as the ‘man in black’, and even an unlikely encounter with a fabled lake monster. If they reach the Tomb of Salvation, James knows they will then face their greatest threat, for the tomb is said to be home to a terrifying demon – an entity that has shown no mercy to anyone who has ever entered its lair.The second novel in the James Clyde series will lead you on an action-packed adventure full of mystery, suspense, danger, hope – and, yes, salvation.

Order your copy online here.

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Colm was raised and educated in Monaghan, Ireland. He has a BA Hons in PE and likes reading books, watching films and playing sport. He has always loved storytelling, whether through literature or film.
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