Friday, 13 August 2021

Stuart Aken – A prolific writer who won’t be pigeonholed


Prolific writer Stuart Aken says that being raised in a household without a TV was probably a factor in his becoming an avid reader, to the extent that he had read all the books in his local children’s library by the time he was 11. At this point, a formidable but far-sighted librarian named Hilda allowed him to pick an adult book on the understanding that she must approve it before allowing him to take it away.

He picked All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque. Maybe it was a book Hilda had never read, or maybe she saw even at that early stage that Stuart was destined to become a writer for whom no topics were out of bounds. Whatever the reason, the 11-year-old Stuart was allowed to take the book away. It taught him that there was nothing he couldn’t read.

It wasn’t just reading that was an integral part of Stuart’s early life. He was in demand as a storyteller for friends and family, concocting tales that would later be acted out in games.

At 14 years old, for a school assignment, Stuart took a real event, fictionalised it and turned it into a tense mystery. It won a cup for the year’s best story. He looks back on this as his first real step on the road to becoming an author. Though blessed with a magical childhood, family tragedy dogged Stuart’s adolescence leading to a roller-coaster of upheavals for several years, the highs and lows of which have helped shape him as a writer.

As well as being a successful novelist, Stuart is also a talented photographer. His first publications were illustrated articles in the British photographic press. His first fiction publication was a radio play, Hitch Hiker, broadcast on Radio 4 in 1978. He had entered Hitch Hiker in the Radio Times Drama contest, and came third, the year the contest was won by Willie Russell of Blood Brothers and Educating Rita fame. Stuart was interviewed about the play by Tom Stoppard, and as a result was contracted by a prestigious literary agency. Sadly, Stuart’s work was considered too radical for the TV channels of the time (perhaps Hilda should have withheld consent for All Quiet on the Western Front until he was older). Stuart has since gone on to further competition success with his short fiction.

Building on his early achievements, Stuart has written numerous novels, novellas and short stories, notable amongst which are his fantasy and science-fiction trilogies and his novella, The Methuselah Strain.

 

 

In addition, he wrote a memoir about his tenyears with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, his recovery from which he celebrated by running in the GreatNorth Run.

 

Amongst Stuart’s works are two major trilogies; A Seared Sky and Generation Mars.

A Seared Sky is a fantasy adventure to rival The Lord of theRings.

Like Tolkien’s epic, A Seared Sky was several decades in the making, but has yet to be made into a series of blockbusting films; his fans live in hope.


When the Skyfire arrives early, Dagla Kaz sets out for the ancient homeland to harvest a new Godwood and exchange Virgin Gifts. He must lead his pilgrims hundreds of leagues over pirate-infested seas, across hostile lands, and return triumphant before the seared sky dies back to normality.

 


 

 


GenerationMars is a science fiction trilogy.


The story of Generation Mars begins in the near future, when climate change has made the Earth all but uninhabitable. The story unfolds to reveal the long-term fate of humankind.

 


 


 

You can check Stuart’s publications HERE

Stuart's latest novel, An Excess of... is an eco-romance / political / environmental thriller due to be released in October 2021.

Read more about Stuart, his life and his writing, on his website.






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