Nano Spotlight: Josh O’Brien and The Houdini Institute


Good morning. Stay tuned for a very special Nano spotlight tomorrow! Not that Josh isn’t special too. 😉

Josh’ s history with Nanowrimo:
My experience with Nano is limited to last year, I came across NaNoWriMo through a friend who wasn’t participating but who though I might be interested, and since I have always wanted to be a writer so I felt like it was worth trying. It was tough managing to write such a demanding piece at the time because I was going through GCSE exams as well as NaNo. In the end, I feel like I may have sacrificed a grade or two in order to get my 50,000 done in time, but it was most definitely worth it because not only did I finish and self publish later that year, I’ve been selling copies at a slow but not nonexistent rate since. My best memory has to be the facebook posts I made. Every day, I posted ” [x] amount of words out of 50,000 done of my wordcount” and I would without fail get someone asking me what I was on about, or telling me to shut up, but I also got lots of support, and honestly that support is why I returned to NaNoWriMo this year.

What are you writing about this year?
“The Houdini Institute of Higher Magical Education and Supernatural Studies”. A magical college, for students of the arcane aged from 11 – 20, which focuses heavily on both the 10 major magics as outlined by the founder, Houdini, and on real world magic that is useful to everyone. My story features 2 students, Mark and Lorna, as they go through a difficult few weeks, following Lorna’s expulsion. She must win her way back into the college by participating in a series of challenges outlined in a very old rulebook, and Mark risks everything to help her. But as a mysterious stranger comes between them to help Lorna, Mark is pushed further and further away.

NaNo2013 icon

Who’s the best character in your Nano novel?
Without a doubt, Dr Young. He’s the Combat Magic teacher and Mark’s favourite. He’s based off of my favourite teacher in secondary school, a happy IT teacher who was perpetually eating a biscuit or sweets and gave out kinder eggs to his favourite students, but never gained any weight. Always happy to let you show off if you were skilled, never bothered about appearing to be unbiased, and never an angry person, my IT teacher made my last two years of secondary school a breeze, and I wanted a teacher who reflected that in my novel because it was such a relief in what were demanding times.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
WRITE! Seriously, it may seem like obvious advice but I CANNOT stress enough the importance of just writing. Forget editing, forget publishing, forget advertising and sales and marketing and reviews and everything like that and just focus on getting words on paper (or screen). DO NOT EDIT AS YOU GO! If you edit as you go, you will end up spending weeks just writing one chapter for gods sake and you will never ever get a finished novel done. Get the whole book written, then go back and edit. If you have a few friends/teachers (my PE teacher was incredibly helpful with editing) or family who will help, then get them to proofread it, and note down any sort of spelling errors, plot inconsistencies, bits that aren’t obvious and general flaws. Then go back to the start of your novel and read it over. Change any faults, add and remove at your leisure and finally sit back and smile to yourself.

Sneaky Ninja question! What is your favorite genre to write in?
AHH! Your ninja reflexes scared me! Have you been there the whole time, behind that curtain?

My favourite genre is probably Sci-Fi or Fantasy. As a general term I like to write about people with special abilities in a world where they aren’t the only ones. My first novel, Supercenaries, was about people with “superpower” style abilities, who were part of a large group, and this is about an entire community of mages. But I am 17, and I haven’t done a great deal of writing, so maybe I’ll find my niche later.

My 200 word plug:
My first NaNo, and first novel, Supercenaries, is out on both kindle and physical, worldwide on amazon, and the pages have a sample chapter for you to read. So even if you don’t buy and review (but yeah, you should buy and review 😉 ) it, I’d love for you to at least read the sample of it and maybe drop me a NaNoMail (fruitbatob) to tell me what you thought. I’d really appreciate it.
Amazon.co.uk link, and a US/Global link

Josh’s YouTube channel.

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