The Storyworld is available for download for the iPhone on the App Store here: Bedtime Stories — read & tell App.
Hello, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about you.
Hi miso, thanks for having me! I’m Paul Ian Cross and I’m a children’s author and scientist from London, UK. I work in clinical research (developing new medicines). I very much enjoy my science career but I also have a real passion for writing stories!
What’s the name of your Storyworld and what is it about?
My Storyworld is called Cornelius Comet’s Astroadventures. The stories are about two unlikely astronauts, Cornelius Comet and his friend Anna Borealis, who go on some exciting missions around the Solar System.
How did you come up with the stories and characters?
I started a blog series in 2016 called #OurSuperSolarSystem. I wanted to write about a topic I find incredibly interesting and the Solar System is full of so many amazing wonders. I started off with a blog about the Sun, then moved to the planets and moons. So far, the series has only made it to Saturn so there is still a way to go yet! My imagination really started to soar after writing about Jupiter’s moon, Europa. Research suggests there’s a 100km ocean beneath a layer of thick ice, which could harbour life. I’m so excited to think about what could be down there… I started imagining a story where two children get to experience this incredible journey first hand, going into space and eventually arriving on Europa. A name popped into my head — and Cornelius Comet was born.
Tell us about the themes in your Storyworld. Why are they important?
Cornelius Comet’s Astroadventures are about the importance of teamwork. The main theme is that children can achieve whatever they set their mind to. They may not always get the result they expect, but they just have to try and work as hard as they can. The themes of ‘looking outwards’ and ‘acceptance of others who are different to us’ are also important.
Are there educational aspects to your work? If so, what are they?
The stories are full of interesting facts about the solar system and known universe. The plot and settings are based around real theories and the current understanding of our solar system, based on information published by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). I want children to be able to learn about scientific developments in astronomy and biology in an exciting and enjoyable way.
Also, there are a lot of reluctant readers out there, especially boys. I struggled to motivate myself to read as a child — I was definitely a reluctant reader. By writing about exciting topics I hope to get more children reading.
When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing about ten years ago, when I wrote my first manuscript, Praxx and the Polluted Planet. I came up with the story after watching a documentary about global warming. The manuscript is still sat in my drawer, waiting to be reviewed. It needs a good edit, but I like the story so maybe I’ll think about developing it in future.
How many books have you written to date? What inspired you to write your first book?
I have two picture books published, Praxx and the Ringing Robot and Planet Scrabbage and the Vegerons and I’m working on my third, Ayami’s Origami. I decided to move forward with my writing career when my nephew Hayden was born. I wrote my first picture book with him in mind. He loves Zobott, the ringing robot!
Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your genre that you find particularly challenging?
I write science fiction and fantasy stories. I guess I have a few styles as I write for different age groups. I particularly enjoy writing middle-grade or young adult stories. That’s when my writing flows at its best, so I think I’ll do more of this kind of work in future. I still find it challenging to write every single day, but I’m now making a conscious effort to do so; whether it’s a few hundred words of my novel, a few sentences of a new picture book idea, or a blog article.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’d probably say only last year! I started calling myself a writer once I published my first short story, Engella, in the summer of 2016. I started calling myself an author after I published my first picture book.
Where do you turn for inspiration?
I love travelling and this is where I get some of my best ideas. In fact, my partner Adrian and I went to the Isle of Skye, Scotland, a couple of years ago and the location has ended up in Engella. We walked to the top of the Old Man of Storr which was stunning. We were there in time for sunrise and it was beautiful.
What were your favourite books as a child and why?
Around my 3rd birthday my parents gave me a copy of Zeeb and the Martians by John Webster and Ian McCullough. I loved this book. It had such an effect on me and it’s only now I realise how strong an effect that was. Zeeb introduced me to science fiction, and robots and aliens in particular. I’ve had a love of sci-fi ever since and it was these characters that sparked my imagination all those years ago.
What book are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. It’s a wonderfully written fantasy and I’m really enjoying it.
What advice do you give to writers starting out on their career?
It sounds so cliché but it’s true… Read as much as possible. Read anything — newspapers, blogs, picture books, novels. And don’t only read in the genre you write in. Try something new. And of course, keep writing, and write every day. My writing continues to improve the more I’m able to do it.
What are you currently working on and what is your next project?
We’re now working on Ayami’s Origami. It’s a picture book which will be illustrated by Alison Rasmussen, who also illustrated Engella, and will be released in 2018. The story is about Ayami, who enjoys visiting her Grandpa’s house in Japan. She’s captivated by his wonderful origami. One day, Grandpa tells Ayami an important secret, something which will change her life forever. It’s is a circle-of-life story about dealing with the loss of a grandparent by continuing family tradition.
I’m also working on my first young adult novel, The Lights of Time. It’s the first novel of a brand-new series, The Chronicles of Engella RhysTM.
Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Yes I do, please feel free to get in contact! My books are listed on my website (www.pauliancross.com/books). I’m also on Facebook (Paul Ian Cross — Author), Twitter (@tyrannopaulus) and Instagram (@pauliancross.author).
Thank you for telling us about your Bedtime Stories Storyworld and your books! We can’t wait to read them!
Cornelius Comet’s Astroadventures are available for download now on the Bedtime Stories — read & tell App for iPhone.