I am pleased to introduce the talented writer, Jakob Campbell, author of the science fiction novel, The Serenity Revolution. Jakob has opted to take the self-published route with his first novel and has offered some cogent advice for anyone planning to undertake a similar journey.
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Jakob Campbell, I’m twenty-five years old and I am a first-time author. I’m passionate about understanding reality and our limitless potential as conscious beings in this amazing universe of ours.
I was home-schooled after the age of thirteen, as I had a strong desire to learn multiple languages and this did not fit in with the school timetable. Studying outside the constraints of formal education allowed my inquisitive nature to really develop. When I was fifteen, we set off around Europe to explore and experience different cultures and countries, mostly ending up living between France and Austria for almost three years.
In Europe, whilst my home-schooling continued, I set about becoming a competitive tennis player with a view to eventually becoming a coach. When we returned to Scotland I carried on with tennis, but it soon became clear to me that in order to play at the top level, you had to have taken up the sport pre-birth! That was when I started going to the gym seriously and began a career in the fitness industry.
Working flexible hours gave me time to write – and this was when things got interesting. I have been meditating since my early teens, but my sessions took a much more mysterious turn as my mind began to question the fabric of the world around me and, day by day, I started to understand reality in a way which was at odds with the teachings of mainstream science. Concepts would materialise in my mind, allowing me to peer inside the mechanisms of the universe, and I began to get a feel for how things worked. This fascinated me. And these glimpses of how the universe interacts with our consciousness often form the basis of my writing.
2. What do you do when you are not writing?
I love working out. Physical well-being and fitness is very important to me. But aside from that, I enjoy listening to music – especially many Scandinavian artists. I like walking, cooking, and reading anything to do with archaeological or historical mysteries. My teenage years gave me the travel bug, and experiencing new cultures, landscapes and languages is something I can’t get enough of.
3. Do you have a day job as well?
Yes. I am a personal trainer and fitness instructor. I work in the gym by day and I write by night – I’m a very happy man!
4. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I started writing about five years ago, working on an early prototype of what ended up as my first published novel, The Serenity Revolution, which was released December 1st 2017. The story went through many changes from the initial concept to the finished article, and I can honestly say I am really happy with how it turned out. This story, these characters, are all finally down on paper to share with the world.
5. How did you choose the genre you write in and where do you get your ideas?
Figuring out reality has always intrigued me. I’ve never gone in for the idea that science and religion have to be constantly at odds – indeed, I think one can help the other. I wanted to write a book that bridged these two, seemingly incompatible, understandings of reality, and show that there is logic to the divine. I shaped my story around this concept.
I would often be listening to music when a scene would just come to me, almost as if watching a film. I am very thankful for these moments of inspiration.
6. Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Not really. I’ve heard a lot about this, but I can’t say I’ve ever experienced it. To say my imagination is overactive would be an understatement! As I explained, more often than not, a scene will come to me out of the blue and I will write it down as an idea. Then later, another scene will come. And another. Suddenly, when I look down, I’ve got the basis of an entire novel before me. It’s almost like the story is being channelled to me. When I write, I just get the essence of it down and then worry about re-writing and editing later.
7. Do you work with an outline, or just write?
When I start writing a book, I usually have a rough outline with about seventy percent of the details filled in. I know the overall concepts and the important scenes that need to take place. However, beyond that, I am open to any spur-of-the-moment inspiration.
8. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Growing up, I enjoyed reading books by J.K. Rowling and Anthony Horowitz. As an adult, I admire the work of Paulo Coelho and Andy McDermott. These are four very different authors, but I have learned and drawn inspiration from all of them.
If I had to pick one story, however, as my favourite, it would have to be Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. For me, the story has an almost biblical quality to it, and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone, regardless of individual beliefs, as the concept can be understood and appreciated universally.
9. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
How long have you got?
I joke, but there was certainly a steep learning curve. I think, to be honest, the biggest difficulty in self-publishing is just understanding how everything works. Formatting the text correctly for both e-book and paperback was a major issue for me. I got there in the end!
10. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
No. As I said, the learning curve was steep, but ultimately it was hugely beneficial. I learned a lot and will be wiser moving forward, and therefore I wouldn’t change it.
11. How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I mostly use a mixture of Instagram and Twitter. I set these up with the intention of sharing my philosophical insights with the world and communicating with other free-thinkers, as well as informing readers of current and upcoming projects. I contacted quite a large number of people on social media in the hope that they would read and spread word of my work. In addition to this, I have also recently started a blog – it’s a work in progress, but I plan to discuss not only my writing, but also the elements of the stories such as philosophy and spirituality. I really want to try and engage my readers and hear their views.
12. Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
No. Part of the beauty of self-publishing is that if you have a message or story to tell, you’re not reliant on outside forces saying yes or no. You can bypass the middleman and go straight to your readers.
13. Can you tell us about your upcoming or recently published book?
The Serenity Revolution, first book in The Kingdom of Creation trilogy, is currently available worldwide on Amazon as both an e-book and in paperback. It is an adventure novel exploring who controls the world and mankind’s impending spiritual awakening. Book Two, The Promise of Euphoria, will be coming out next year and picks up exactly where The Serenity Revolution left off.
I have written this trilogy very much with film sequences in mind, so the reader should see scenes play out in their mind as if watching a movie. The stories are heavy on dialogue, and are a very quick-paced read. I take great inspiration from the work of Aaron Sorkin in the television world. I love his snappy, straight-to-the-point, witty style.
The tale follows Robin Rylander, our newly “awoken” protagonist. He has discovered that the world is not as it seems, and that he has tremendous creative power at his disposal. What he sees in his mind, he can bring into reality.
But there are some who wish to suppress his abilities – and prevent the rest of humanity from realising they all possess this power. None more so than The Commander, a man who has single-handedly controlled and manipulated the entire world for thousands of years.
Finding himself at the forefront of an effort to overthrow The Commander, Robin is guided by Eva Forest, the shapeshifting First Lady of the United States. She is thousands of years old, and her past is a mystery, but it seems inextricably linked to Robin’s.
Joining them in their quest to free the world from the spiritual shackles of The Commander, are Sanna Larsson, a Swede with a nature that is sometimes too inquisitive for her own good, and Jake Schneider, a German bodybuilder whose brute physical strength makes him a force of nature. The two don’t always see eye-to-eye, especially when it comes to Jake’s fondness for untimely public nudity, but they are an invaluable asset in the fight to free humanity.
14. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
There are always going to be elements of you in your work, even if it’s just the manner in which people speak. Although the story itself is fiction, yes, many of the locations, characters and events have all been inspired by something in real life.
I think the concept of a mass worldwide awakening – a major component of my book – is something many of us can relate to. We see it happening all around us right now: people are no longer taking what they hear on the news as gospel, and we are increasingly questioning the official stance on history, science and politics. In the past we were encouraged – by both religion and science – to think and reason within rigidly defined frameworks, but those frameworks are starting to look very shaky.
I’m not saying that everything that happens in my book is true. But I am saying ‘What if…?’
15. What project are you working on now?
I am currently in the process of editing Book Two, The Promise of Euphoria. I am also just now completing the third part of the trilogy – which shall remain nameless until a later date – and I’m incredibly happy with how things are shaping up. I can’t wait for it to get out there!
I can reveal that much of Book Two revolves around discovering what really went on two thousand years ago that led to the final events of The Serenity Revolution. The same thing couldn’t possibly happen twice, could it?
16. Will you have a new book coming out soon?
I will indeed. The Promise of Euphoria will be out next year. Uniting the world can only be a good thing. But there again… it depends on who’s at the helm. This planet will never be the same. Euphoria is coming.
17. Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
There are. At present I have two spin-off novels planned and a few other ideas in the pipeline. The two spin-offs will centre around the supporting characters of the initial trilogy as they come into their own and find themselves engrossed in their own adventures.
Jake and Sanna will get their own story, and this will take place after the events of the initial trilogy. And, knowing these two, whilst an adventure will be at the heart of the story, there will doubtless be a few laughs along the way.
Eva will also get her own title, but her story will be set just over two thousand years ago and will focus on how she came to be the survivor that she is today. It’s essentially her “origin” story.
18. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been your greatest compliment?
The toughest criticism: Thankfully it wasn’t to do with the story. It was my computer skills. My editor informed me that the formatting of the entire novel was off by a mile. I remember the word “unreadable” being tossed around. Before you ask, yes, it was corrected!
The best compliment: When someone said they couldn’t put The Serenity Revolution down and they were eager for part two. Saying it read like a movie really made my day because that’s exactly how I envisaged it.
19. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Don’t. The last thing I need is MORE competition.
Seriously though, the main piece of advice I would give to anyone thinking about writing is to have faith in yourself. Don’t underestimate your own story or your ability to tell it. Immerse yourself in the world and the characters you are creating. If you have fun writing then that will come across to your future readers.
20. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you so much for your support. I really hope you enjoy the story and the characters as much as I enjoyed creating them.
You can follow me on both Instagram and Twitter where I update regularly on any and all news regarding my writing, as well as my own philosophical musings and the occasional fitness challenge. Of course, my family dog, Alfie, makes the odd appearance too.
Please feel free to get in contact and direct message me any time, as I love discussing my work and I am always open to hearing other people’s thoughts on spirituality and the world around us.
I’d also like to thank you, Mark, for this opportunity to talk about both myself and my work.
No problem at all and thank you for taking part. Please join me in thanking Jakob Campbell for his candid and insightful responses regarding the publishing industry and for sharing his journey as a writer. If you would like to ask any further questions, please either use the facilities available below or contact Jakob direct via the below social media links. Merry Christmas to all.
Please show your appreciation by checking out Jacob’s work on Amazon.