Jo Blackwell

Writer & Photographer - Inspiration Station

A Journey through History on a Magic Horse

Author Interview: PJ Flynn

Working as a plasterer for most of his adult life, author PJ Flynn turned to writing in 2002 after hip replacement surgery, and hasn’t looked back since.

His children’s book series, The Magic Horse Mysteries, takes the reader on fantastical adventures through history. The books are now sold worldwide and he has a growing army of young admirers.

I caught up with Pete recently via Skype.

Where do your ideas come from, do you think?

Most of the stories have been about my life, and often what I have wished for, I love animals and they have been a massive part of my life. On going back to work I was plastering in a school in Rushden and got talking with a teacher about the story I was attempting. She smiled and said best of luck, not really believing a builder was capable of writing a book. I went back a year later book in hand and showed her my effort. We have been friends ever since.

Why children’s books?

I can relate to children and I think can pick up their like and dislikes. I go into schools and all my hard work is all paid back by the looks on their faces. I am so happy if I can make one child happy, you can guess how I feel when the whole class asks for my autograph, that day we all go home happy. That’s what writing children’s book is all about.

As well as the Magic Horse stories, Pete has written a children’s book called Tales of a Wild Cat, which has been beautifully illustrated by local artist, Peter Panayis.

Can you tell us a little about your cat book and your collaboration with the illustrator?

Cats have been my wife’s passion all her life, of course, this has rubbed off on me. My favourite cat was a blue Burmese called Jasper and from day one he was a nuisance but the most loveable cat you could imagine. So I set about writing a story I thought would be me in his shoes. In the sad parts there would be tears in my eyes while writing, I still miss him so much but I only have to look at the book and say hello to him.

I met my illustrator, Peter Panayis in 2009 while he was selling his work in a show and asked him if he would like to illustrate a book, and he was only too pleased to do so. We have been mates ever since and his undoubted talent has helped me immensely.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Shut in my room away from everybody living my extraordinary world of fantasy, and writing my thoughts of what I would like the world to be like, and of course the happiness it brings the children.

What, if anything, do you find most frustrating?

Selling the books to a generation who have forgotten how to read books. When we were kids it’s all we had.

You’ve recently written a story for adults – how did that come about?PJ Flynn

As most of my books are to do with fantasy, this book, Lady Catherine, was an idea I had in 2007, when in a piece of homework from a college I had joined, the piece was called The Visitor, so being different instead of me visiting somewhere, I had a ghost visiting me.  Seven years later I adapted the homework, just messing about as us authors do, and it turned into Lady Catherine

What are your hopes for your books in the future?

To get better known as I love writing my stories but times are changing, my last book has gone on Kindle and Smash words and with a touch of a button my efforts have gone, whereas in years gone by they would be in a book forever, which was one of the reasons I stated writing: to leave something behind.

Thank you for talking to me, Pete. Long may you continue to weave your magical tales for all ages!

You can buy Pete’s books on Amazon, Smashwords and on his own website:  www.animal-magic-tales.com

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