Will Ottley recently published Mountain Garden, a beautiful tale of bravery and strength. The story follows Buckan, a young stag who sets out on an adventure, a treacherous journey to find a mythical garden that could mean salvation for his fellow deer, who are being attacked increasingly by the wolves.
Beautifully written, Mountain Garden has a certain poetry about it. It explores the very core of Buckan’s being, his faith, his strength and his courage. Stunning illustrations accompany the pretty, eloquent descriptive prose that flows through the pages like a mountain stream.
We have been lucky enough to grab a few minutes with Will to find out more about him, his writing and inspiration!
When did you decide you were going to be an author?
I felt a compulsion to write a few years ago. I ignored it, and it grew until I could think of nothing else. I had a scene in my head that would not go away until I wrote it down. It suddenly felt very important to me. I was surprised to realise the scene was not about humans, but animals. The story grew as more animals appeared with each new chapter until a natural conclusion was reached.
Have you always written? If so what type of things, stories, poems etc?
I wrote poetry as a teenager. I started to write an unfinished book about property investment in my mid 20’s following a year of travelling. I realised then that I preferred to write fiction.
Do you have a favourite author and why that person?
I was inspired by Richard Bach’s ‘Jonathan Livingstone Seagull.’ I loved how a simple short story could deliver a strong meaningful message.
What process do you go through when preparing for a book?
I have a scene in my head and let it build. I don’t ignore it, and I don’t chase it. I write the scene and watch what happens next. I have no idea as to the direction of the book – like a spectator, I watch how the book will resolve.
Do you have a set routine when writing?
I like to be alone to write, preferably in the morning after some yoga or meditation. For editing I prefer to go to a café where I can sit in a corner, with people around me.
Do you have any advice for budding authors?
Write what you are passionate about.
What helps you focus?
Silence, meditation and yoga.
What inspires your work?
The need to say something meaningful.
Why were the illustrations so important to your story?
When writing Mountain Garden, I found myself listening to Wagner’s ‘The Ring’ over and over. It conjured up very vivid images for me and I was very lucky to find the fine artist, Chloe Holt, who seemed to have a similar vision to mine.
What was your motivation for writing such a different form of YA fiction?
I wanted to write an adult fable that could crossover to younger readers. I wrote a book that I had wanted to read myself.
Thank you to Will for taking the time to talk to us, Mountain Garden is available now.