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Young author Callum Higgins excited to build on success

Gloucestershire South > Entertainment > Literature

Author: Thomas Hadfield, Posted: Thursday, 5th March 2020, 09:20

Callum’s first two novels – ‘First Crown: Malice of Snow’ and ‘First Crown: Tears of Fire’ Callum’s first two novels – ‘First Crown: Malice of Snow’ and ‘First Crown: Tears of Fire’

This time last year, Callum Higgins was putting the finishing touches to the second novel in his ‘First Crown’ fantasy series.

Two novels in two years is impressive by any author’s standards, but what makes Callum’s achievement even more notable is the fact that he is still only 15 years-old.

‘Tears of Fire’ was published in November 2019 and was the follow up to Callum’s debut novel ‘Malice of Snow’, which he released in March 2018.

Both books have had commercial success and have been featured on fantasy bestsellers lists, and Callum says he was blown away by the positive response.

He said: “I will always continue to be surprised by how well my first book did considering I wasn’t even sure it was ready to publish at that time.

“I am immensely grateful that it did do so well and its original prowess in the book and the fact that it was set up for a sequel was what encouraged me to continue writing.

“Tears of Fire’ did commercially better than my first book did originally in its first month, its success was unprecedented and reassured me that I must have been doing something well.”

The books were both released through Callum’s own publishing company Askaria Publishing, and a percentage of profits were donated to charities including the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Callum, who lives in Stroud, cites novels like ‘Game of Thrones’ and video game Skyrim as inspirations for his fantasy world, and says that the experience he gained from releasing his first book meant helped massively with the follow up.

“First Crown: Tears of Fire is in almost every way, better than the first book in my opinion,” he continued. “However, that’s probably due to how much I’ve learnt and creatively improved in the year and a bit that it took to write it.

“I can easily say that I’m proud of the second book and do feel much happier with the finished result than I did with the first book. It took me exactly a year and eight months to write and finish the second book.”

Callum goes on to say that writing, which has been his passion from an even younger age, is a pastime he still enjoys.

But he does admit that finding the time to sit down and write – especially with schoolwork and exams on the horizon – can be difficult.

“My world, like everyone else’s, can get very hectic and even messy at times so trying to find a space and time free of distractions and mental barriers was the hardest obstacle in writing the second book especially.

“My mind is always somewhere else, exploring strange concepts and weird possibilities so being able to write as an outlet for my sometimes unpredictable imagination, can be quite therapeutic.”

With that in mind, Callum says that ideas are in place for a third book in the ‘First Crown’ series, although nothing is set in stone as of yet.

He does emphasise however that he wants to continue using his writing to help good causes, with his role as an ambassador for OCD UK and the Talgrin Project - an organisation he set up through Askaria Publishing to help fund educational programmes for young people.

Callum added: “I also hope to continue promoting activism for better mental health in youth and government action in issues such as class inequality and climate change.”

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