Writers find inspiration in some of the most artistic ways. Some find it in nature, some in human emotions, some in spirituality, and some find it even in other art forms. James Goddard, the author of Ellie’s Magical Cat, found his inspiration for writing through dance.
During the promotion of his book ‘Ellie’s Magical Cat’, James Goddard had an honest conversation with us where he shared about his books, his dancing and writing journey, his life, and much more. Before we begin with his interesting answers, let us first know a little more about the author.
About the Author: James Goddard
James Goddard is an author and a Ballroom dance expert from Hertfordshire in the UK. He also has good experience in martial arts, Salsa, Argentine Tango, and Ceroc. His inspiration for writing books came from the patterns he noticed in the principles of movement in martial arts, yoga, and other dance styles.
That’s how James Goddard published his debut book ‘James Goddard Method of Ballroom and Latin Dancing’ in 2020 followed by more books on Dancing and Judo covering different methods and similarities between the two. His first fiction book was ‘Ellie’s Magical Cat’ which was released in 2022.
Further, author James Goddard shared about his childhood, his writing journey, inspirations, and more interesting things about himself. Let’s get straight to his interesting answers.
What were you like at school? Any childhood memory you would like to share.
I was quiet and studious.
What is your biggest achievement till today?
How do you judge the value of a man’s life? Perhaps I should let you choose…?
- Being part of a 3-man team who applied time-critical life-saving first aid in the middle of a late work meeting. We saved the casualty’s life.
- Being asked to be a teaching assistant to help my dance and judo instructors teach their classes.
- Being a mentor to work colleagues.
- Getting my black belt in judo after years of hard study.
- Becoming a self-published author, which took a lot of project work to publish each of my fiction and non-fiction books.
Which writers inspire you?
W E Johns. John Buchan.
Writing is stressful at times. How do you relax your mind?
Allocate ‘work time’, ‘relax time’ and ‘worry time’ periods. Then stick to them each day.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
“Always take action”
– Bulldog Drummond.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Keep doing what you are doing. It will take a lot of hard work, so invest the necessary time and effort.
What books do you like to read personally? What are you reading currently?
Old school action-adventure, crime and science fiction. I am currently reading ‘Blood in the Snow’ which is a British Crime Library classic.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
W E Johns, author of the Biggles book series. They are still good reading years after being published.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start writing?
I had written and published some guides on my website Someone suggested I put these dance guides together in a book so I compiled a series of stand-alone guides (on how to learn more efficiently) into a cohesive book.
Having written some non-fiction books about dancing and marital arts I then wrote a fiction one about a widow who had just lost her husband and so got a cat for company. The idea of the book is to raise questions in readers’ minds as to whether the husband comes back to visit her in her imagination or real life – if so how, magic???
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I write in the evenings and on weekends as a hobby around my day job.
What is the reason you write for; is it for the readers or your own self or some other thing?
My non-fiction books are designed to help people to learn ballroom and Latin dancing or judo more efficiently. My fiction book was written because I wanted to write a story.
About your Book: Ellie’s Magical Cat
Ellie’s Magical Cat is a fantasy fiction story that follows a lady named Ellie who is going through the passing away of the love of her life Hugo whom she met through their shared love for dancing and got married happily for years.
Left alone, Eliie gets a cat to accompany her and fill the vacuum created by his husband Hugo. She names the cat after her husband because according to her they both have similar grey hair.
The cat accompanies her everywhere, little did she know that many adventures are waiting for her with her cat or with Hugo. It is a passionate love tale that keeps you entertained till the end.
What genre is your book? What draws you to this genre?
It is a ‘feel good’ book for younger readers and ‘young at heart’ adults.
What was the inspiration behind the characters of Ellie and Hugo?
I like the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers romance-type films, and I wondered what would happen if one of the characters had died, would their romance continue, and if so, how? I thought they would continue to dance and revisit places they had been together when both alive in new ways eg dancing through the sky.
Adventures happen when the cat is present, it’s shadow touches a patch of light, and Ellie was thinking of Hugo, then magic seems to happen. Think of a combination of Moondial, The Snowman and the Snowdog plus Tom’s Midnight Garden.
What makes ‘Ellie’s Magical Cat’ stand out in this genre?
Aside from being a good story, the hard copy includes a dance guide. Being a visual person I try to draw pictures (in peoples’ imaginations) with words. I hope this makes reading the book more enjoyable.
What should a reader expect from ‘Ellie’s Magical Cat?
It’s a feel-good story designed to stir the imagination of readers. The first section is “Ellie’s Magical Cat”. A story to stir the imagination and emotions of young readers and young-at-heart adults.
If this inspires readers to try dancing or build on what they know, they may care to read the “Goddard Method of Latin Dancing” in the second section of the book. (Possibly of more interest to older children and adults, but suitable for any age.)
The story is very short yet brings out heartfelt emotions. What was the hardest & the easiest thing to write the story this way?
The easy part was roughing out the plot, the hardest part was making a cohesive story by compressing a lot of detail into a limited amount of space.
Any special experience about ‘Ellie’s Magical Cat’ that you would like to share.
Readers seem to like it… good news as the books that seem particularly popular on Amazon at the moment seems to be ‘How to dance with your dog’, so I hope I am giving them some competition.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
To continue writing.
Are you working on your new project? What will be your next book about?
I have ideas for ten books. I have roughed out some details to write up in detail in the future.
What does success mean to you as an Author?
From a quantitative perspective: Increased sales and orders (when my books are on free vend, which is 40 days out of 90 – see dates on ‘Goddard Method Books’ Instagram and Facebook platforms).
From a qualitative perspective, I hope people are inspired to take up or improve their dancing and martial art skills. Hopefully, my fiction book will bring people some joy.
What are your views on the publishing process and its nuances?
I found some platforms easier to use than others. The self-publishing process
allowed me to publish my books when going through a publishing company was too expensive to be practicable.
My experience had generally been positive and I have been able to publish globally. Advertising seems to cost more than it returns in revenue so you have to be able to promote your own work on your own platforms (ie have the time/energy/skills) and by talking to people (ie network).
One learning point that you’d like to pass on to young debut authors.
It helps to have a mentor to guide you through the process for the first time. I was lucky enough to find one.