Saturday, November 2, 2013

Interview with Gareth Crocker-Journey From Darkness- November Feature Read

I'm so pleased to welcome back Gareth Crocker whose previous novel Finding Jack we read and discussed on my B&N forum last year. He's back for the November read of his novel Journey From Darkness which has a very personal and special place in his heart. Find out why and join in the conversation.
Reading Schedule
Week One 11-4 Parts One and Two
Week Two 11-11 Part Three
Week Three 11-18 Part Four

Gareth it’s so good to have you back on this side of the ocean well virtually anyway and thank you for agreeing to be our author of the month for November.

This novel has a special meaning to you as your co-author was your father.
How was it co-writing this novel with your dad?
Quite simply, it was one of the best experiences of my life. My father and I are very close and, if anything, this just brought us together even more. As it happened, during the writing of the novel my father was diagnosed with late stage colon cancer and basically told to get his affairs in order. Against all the odds – quite literally – he survived and today is in full remission. We both like to think that bringing our novel to life played a role in his miraculous healing. The title of the book, Journey from Darkness, is partly a reference to my father’s journey out of cancer.

How was the co-writing handled?
In our case, it was very straightforward. My father and I were having a drink one afternoon when he told me that he had an idea for a novel – one that had been rattling around in his head for years – and he wondered if I might consider writing it. I was a bit nervous to hear the idea – after all, what if I hated it? But as it turned out, I was absolutely spellbound by the basic premise and the decision to write the book was an immediate one. So, to answer the question, the basic idea for Journey from Darkness came from my father. I was the guy who put down all the words. Obviously, whenever I had a chapter drafted, we would sit down and look at ways in which we could improve it.

Tell us where the premise for the novel came from.
My father is a huge fan of the African bush and has always felt a very strong connection to elephants. And, to be honest, once you’ve spent any meaningful length of time with them – and discover the many incredible things they’re capable of – it’s difficult not to be captivated by them. As for the story of Journey from Darkness, it’s just a brilliant tale from a very smart man’s imagination. The twists alone, took my breath away.

Gareth think back to when you first published Finding Jack.
How did you feel when you first learned your novel sold?
Was the sale of your latest novel as meaningful?
When the email arrived informing me that that Finding Jack had sold, I remember rushing to my car and speeding off down the road. I turned on the radio and, as if by fate, my favourite U2 song was playing. After years of writing and hundreds of rejections, it all proved too much for me and I don’t mind admitting that a few tears were shed. These days, while my eyes may remain dry, it’s always a very special thing. I don’t take any of it for granted, even though I’m now working on novel number 5.

I have heard that you have two novels being optioned for film. Which ones are they and will you have any involvement in the production?
The two novels are Finding Jack and Never Let Go. Journey from Darkness was also considered but, ultimately, it would be impossible to make a film out of the book considering the nature of the twists involved in the narrative. As for Finding Jack and Never Let Go I may well have a small role to play in production. But I guess that still remains to be agreed upon. 

You’ve published four novels so far, which one gave you the most trouble writing and why?
From a pure writing perspective, they have all largely been a pleasure to create. Never Let Go came very easily while Finding Jack required a decent sized edit to get the story just right. During the worst of my father’s cancer, I found it very difficult to write Journey from Darkness, never knowing if my father would survive to see his story in print. Ultimately, many of the chapters that were written during his chemotherapy and radiation treatment (and numerous operations), I later rewrote. King, my latest, seemed almost to write itself.

There are still two titles not available in the US.
Do you know if and when they will be?
I’m not terribly sure if and when Never Let Go will be available in physical book form in the US as it might be part of a film tie-in deal. It is available, however, as an ebook. King, my latest novel, should be available as an ebook in the next two weeks and the paperback will hit shelves in January. Or so I’m told.

Gareth, are you a reader? Of course!
Fiction or non-fiction? Both
Favorite book? The Stars’ Tennis Balls by Stephen Fry

What are you working on now?
I’ve just started work on novel number 5, entitled The Last Roadtrip (due out in October 2014). I’m afraid my publisher has asked me to keep the details quiet for now as there seems to be a reasonable amount of excitement around the story. No pressure!

What is the biggest compliment a reader could give you?
I know how awful this is going to sound, but when a reader tells me that one of my novels is the best novel they’ve ever read … well, that’s a pretty amazing feeling. I know that, in reality, it doesn’t mean all that much as people can be overly kind and biased. But, nonetheless, I’d be lying if I said those sorts of letters don’t humble and inspire me. How dreadfully shallow, I know…

Thanks Gareth for letting us know you a little better. I can’t wait to begin the November feature and revisit your novel and your characters.
My pleasure. Thanks for thinking of me.

Connect with Gareth - Website - Twitter

My Review of Journey From Darkess

Twin brothers Edward and Derek Hughes have been scarred by war and fighting for their country which now feels more prison than home. So in 1918 they leave battle ravaged England to realize a childhood dream, to follow in their father’s footsteps to the South African bush. When they arrive they make a remarkable discovery when they encounter a rare elephant tribe. But a darker discovery tells them that the bush is in a war of it’s own, that the innocent victims have no recourse, no defense, as they’re mercilessly slaughtered for their ivory which has threatened the entire elephant population. Incensed by the cruelty and butchery and intent on making a difference the brothers vow to protect the sole survivor of such an attack at all cost. They will witness unbelievable cruelty as they journey into the darkness in an attempt to stop the killings and maybe forever changed for what they saw and felt obligated to do.

Journey From Darkness is a haunting tale of beastly actions and unselfish bravery, a testament to the incredible storytelling ability of it’s authors. The content is sometimes difficult to read but important to learn the plight of these innocent victims of the butchery of poaching. The blow of words is softened by the authors expert use of prose in the narrative that gives the characters such definition and depth, that gives personality and voice to the story, that makes a laugh possible in the presence of violence. The brothers make great heroes especially as their anti-hero qualities make them more credible, the villains on the other hand have no redeeming qualities and are ghastly soul-less creatures. The most amazing feat of all was the individuality given Shawu, her emotions, her dramatic personality, her heart made her a truly exceptional player in the novel.
This is not my first journey with Gareth Crocker, our last trip took me to Vietnam where I met an incredible dog named Jack. This is however my first experience with the co-author and Gareth’s father Llewellyn and it’s been my immense pleasure.


  1. Aw that's so awesome yall worked on it together and wonderful he beat the odds and is doing well.

    1. Hi Anna, yes it was very emotional for me when I found out.

  2. I love how father and son worked together, and the tale sounds interesting. I am loving the setting!