Monday, April 13, 2015

AD Starrling, Soul Meaning

AUTHOR: AD Starrling
BOOK TITLE: Soul Meaning (Seventeen Book 1), King’s Crusade (Seventeen Book 2), Greene’s Calling (Seventeen Book 3)
GENRE: Supernatural Thriller, Action-Adventure

Please tell us about yourself.

I was born and bred on the small tropical island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean and have been a writer since age 12. I came to the UK at age 20 to study medicine and after specializing in Pediatrics and working in that field for a number of years, my first love came calling once more and I started writing again. My first novel, Soul Meaning (Seventeen Book #1), was published in summer 2012.

Please tell us your latest news.

I am currently working on the fourth book in the Seventeen series and a series of short stories based in that world.

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?

I am a part-time writer and part-time doctor at present. I hope to be able to write full-time in the future. I currently write on pretty much all the days I’m not working at the hospital.

When and why did you begin writing?

I have been a storyteller for as long as I remember but did not officially put pen to paper until I was twelve. Following a scathing review of a fiction essay I wrote for school by my father, I decided to write a few short stories in an attempt to defy him. I enjoyed this process so much I started my very first novel later that year.

What inspired you to write your first book?

Soul Meaning was inspired by the number 17 written in dripping red paint on a black marker stone, on a sandbank in a lagoon off the shores of Mauritius. When I was trying to decide what to write for the British Fantasy Society Short Story Competition several years ago, I came across this number in my “story ideas” notebook. I decided to write about a man who could die seventeen times. That short story made the finals of that competition.

What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?

Likely working in my other day job or sleeping!

What are your thoughts about promotion?

It’s part and parcel of the writing career. You cannot write in a vacuum. With the advent of self-publishing, there are more books hitting the market today than at any other time in publishing history. Therefore, promotion and marketing are aspects of the business writers need to deal with. But what I would say from my own career to date and the advice of many experienced authors is that it’s probably best not to devote too much time, money, and effort to promotion until you have several books under your belt.

What was the toughest criticism given to you? What was the biggest compliment?

I think the toughest criticism I ever received was from a reviewer who said that all my positive reviews were from friends and relatives. It was evident from this review that the reviewer in question had not actually read the book. My first reaction was anger. Then I shrugged it off; I never responded to that reviewer’s accusation. Most authors I know are happy to tell their friends and family about their books. I always insist on impartial reviews if they wish to post one and tell them that they should be very honest about what they like and dislike about my writing so that I can learn and grow as an author. I think it’s very harsh to ban friends and family from posting reviews when they may have supported you through the writing and publishing process. It’s a bit like some review sites insisting that authors should not review other authors’ books. I was a reader well before I became a writer.

The biggest compliment I’ve ever received is when people tell me they could not put one of my books down. I can’t think of a bigger compliment that that! 

Do you ever have writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it?

I don’t believe in writer’s block. The reason is that by believing in it, you make it a reality. If I reach a point in my writing where I don’t know where to go next with the plot, it’s usually because I’ve taken the wrong path earlier in the book or something about it is bugging me unconsciously. By retracing my steps and correcting what felt wrong, the story usually flows again. This happened with Greene’s Calling (Seventeen Book #3).

Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it?

I learn something from each and every book I write. Usually it’s better plot flow, better dialogue, and overcoming little writing tics. I also learn a lot from reviews. For example, what I think is my favorite book in the series thus far, or even my favorite scenes within the books, are never my readers’ favorites! 

What genre do you write in and why?

The series I’m currently writing is in the supernatural thriller genre, although it crosses over heavily into the fast-paced, action-adventure genre. I fell into this genre accidentally would you believe it! I never in a million years thought I could write in this style; I started out in the humorous fantasy genre.  When the short story I wrote for an international competition made the shortlist, I knew it could become a book and I decided to embrace the challenge. That story became Soul Meaning (Seventeen Book #1).

Do you outline before you write?  If not, what’s your initial process?

I am what author James Scott Bell describes as a “tweener” in his book Write Your Novel from the Middle. This means I’m halfway between a serial planner and a fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants type of writer. I normally start with characters and plot, figure out how to start and end the story, think up a few pivotal and usually explosive action scenes, and then start writing. I started using Scrivener from Book 4 in the series and I love how I can keep all my character profiles, pictures, research articles and links, and even storyboard in one place. I also use a large dry-wipe board for mind mapping and find Evernote crucial for those moments when I get a great idea and I’m nowhere near my computers.

What comes first: the plot or characters?

Characters usually.

How did you decide how your characters should look?

I usually have an actor or actress in mind when I visualize my characters. If I don’t immediately know what face to put to that character but have a general idea of what I want, I look at pictures of actors and actresses until I find the one that “fits” best.

Did your book require a lot of research? If so, what kind?

All my books have necessitated days of research to date. The Seventeen series being very much globetrotting and action-packed adventures, I wanted to keep the non-fiction aspect of the plot as accurate as possible. This meant making sure I described the locations, the science, the organizations, and the weapons featured in the novels as accurately as possible. I am too fond of the research process and can spend hours reading up on the most fascinating of subjects. Some of this research may never actually feature in the books but I like that they add to my overall general knowledge nonetheless.

What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun?

Something that captivates me within the first page, usually a tense or suspense-filled scene, an action-packed one, or dialogue that makes me laugh. I love to lose myself in a book.

What seven words would you use to describe yourself?

Perfectionist. Obsessive. Leader. Kind. Generous. Humble. Cautious.

Book Summary:

‘My name is Lucas Soul. Today, I died again. This is my fifteenth death in the last four hundred and fifty years.’

The Crovirs and the Bastians. Two races of immortals who have lived side by side with humans for millennia and been engaged in a bloody war since the very dawn of their existence. With the capacity to survive up to sixteen deaths, it was not until the late fourteenth century that they reached an uneasy truce, following a deadly plague that wiped out more than half of their numbers and made the majority of survivors infertile.

Soul is an outcast of both immortal societies. Born of a Bastian mother and a Crovir father, a half breed whose very existence is abhorred by the two races, he spends the first three hundred and fifty years of his life being chased and killed by the Hunters. One fall night in Boston, the Hunt starts again, resulting in Soul’s fifteenth death and triggering a chain of events that sends him on the run with Reid Hasley, a former US Marine and his human business partner of ten years. When a lead takes them to Washington DC and a biotechnology company with affiliations to the Crovirs, they cross the Atlantic to Europe, on the trail of a French scientist whose research seems intrinsically linked to the reason why the Hunters are after Soul again.

From Paris to Prague, their search for answers will lead them deep into the immortal societies and bring them face to face with someone from Soul’s past. Shocking secrets are uncovered and fresh allies come to the fore as they attempt to put a stop to a new and terrifying threat to both immortals and humans. Time is running out for Soul. Can he get to the truth before his seventeenth death, protect the ones he loves and prevent another immortal war?  

Author Bio:

A.D. Starrling was born on the small island nation of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean and came to the UK at the age of twenty to study medicine. After five years of hard graft earning her MD and another five years working all of God’s hours as a Pediatrician, she decided it was time for a change and returned to her first love, writing. 

Released in July 2012, Soul Meaning is her debut novel and the first in the award-winning supernatural thriller series SEVENTEEN. The second novel in the series, King’s Crusade, was released in May 2013. The third novel, Greene’s Calling, was published June 2014.

She lives in Warwickshire in the West Midlands, where she is busy writing the next installment in the series. She still practices medicine. AD Starrling is her pen name. 

For a limited time, you can download Void by AD Starrling FREE:


  1. "You cannot write in a vacuum." So true!

    Nice interview!

  2. Belated thanks for featuring me Penny. I've been at the London Book Fair and IndieRecon 2015 this week and it's been crazy busy! :)