NK Chats To… Paul Nicholls

Hello Paul. It’s lovely to be welcoming you to Novel Kicks today. Can you tell me a bit about your book, The Magical Secret of the Crystal Kingdom and what inspired the story?

It’s a children’s portal fantasy novel along the same lines as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe which was one of my favourite books growing up. It’s about a group of children who find a collection of crystals buried in a cave in the woods.

They take the crystals back to the house that they are staying in and that night they are transported into another world made of crystals and inhabited by magical talking animals. The female protagonist Rose is transformed into a pink horse and is separated from all of the other children who also think that they are alone there and are also transformed into magical animals.

One by one the children start realise that this world is at war and has been for a long time and that it is down to them to save it. It is a story of love and hope and believing in yourself.


What were the challenges you faced when writing?

Keeping track of the characters! I always knew from the start that I wanted to create a world into which both the characters and the readers can escape into. By creating another world it was inevitable that the children were going to meet lots of characters along the way.

Also, for the purposes of relating a deeper meaning to certain aspects of the story I knew that I needed to have seven friends who go into the crystal kingdom together.


What’s your writing process like from first idea to final draft, where do you like to write and do you have any writing rituals?

I did initially start with an outline or more accurately a headline for each chapter but as I started to write I realised that the characters and the story took on a life of its own and that so much just happened spontaneously that was never in my original plan.

I write at my desk at home and normally just write on a Friday morning to get me going. However once I’ve really got going I tend to write at all different times.


What’s your favourite word and why?

I think Enchanting is my favourite word it just sounds exciting and amazing and wonderful all at the same time.


Which book made the most impact on you as a child?

I was a big fan of Enid Blyton and so I read all of the secret seven and the famous five. However my absolute favourite book when I was very little was The Magic Faraway Tree. I was captivated.


Which fictional character would you like to meet?

I would have to say the Genie from Aladdin. Who wouldn’t want three wishes!


Are you able to tell me anything about what you’re currently working on?

I’m currently working on the sequel to The Magical Secret of the Crystal Kingdom it is called The Children of the Crystal Kingdom.

This time the children find themselves visiting ancient sites from around the world such as The Great Wall of China and the Pyramids in Egypt for example.

There are crystals hidden there from ancient times and it is a race against their enemy to find them in time. I’m really excited about it.


Which elements do you think are essential for writing a good story?

For me it has always been about fast pace and suspense. I want to be excited by a story and not be able to wait for what happens next and I’ve tried to incorporate that into my own writing.


What advice do you have for new writers?

I think the most important thing is to start. To start even with just one sentence and then another and another.

For me that’s how I did it. I just kept writing a bit at a time and eventually had a great story. I would just sit there and be lost in my imagination and the words and the story would just come out of nowhere.


About Paul:

Paul Nicholls is a father of two young children and lives in Southend on Sea, Essex in the UK. Having grown up himself on The Faraway Tree and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe he wanted to create a modern day fantasy series that can be enjoyed by everyone and put a smile on people’s faces. He writes under the name P.S. Nicholls.

Say hi to Paul on Twitter: https://twitter.com/thepaulnicholls


About The Magical Secret of the Crystal Kingdom:

My name is Rose Jones and I have a question for you. Have you ever been transformed into a unicorn? How about a dragon or an eagle or even a dolphin? Have you ever been on a magical adventure, not knowing how you will ever get home? Well let me tell you, it’s Fantastic!! I should know because it happened to me, my brother and some of our friends. We were transported through a portal into a world full of magical animals that we called The Crystal Kingdom.


I had always known that I was different. There were always clues, the biggest of all being the dreams, or visions, that I had for as long as I can remember. Dreams of a magical flying unicorn, talking lions, fire-breathing dragons, buried crystals you name it! Some people might say ‘everyone has dreams’, which of course is true. The thing is, my dreams actually came true. My dreams were not just dreams, they were visions.


One day I told my Mum and Dad about my dreams. Well, I thought they were my Mum and Dad, and they showed me an old photograph of a house I had described from my dreams that they had kept hidden away from me since I was a baby. That was when they told me I was adopted. Somehow I had always known. I still loved them of course, but if I was adopted who were my true parents? I knew that the house from my dreams would lead me to the answer.

Five years later we stayed in that very same house for a holiday. On the first day, while we were exploring in the woods we found a cave with some crystals buried inside it. Lots of crystals! The next thing I knew I was alone in a fantasy world full of magical animals and crystals. The fantasy crystal world from my dreams. It had been waiting there for me through a magical portal.

This is the story of what happened next and how I discovered The Magical Secret of the Crystal Kingdom.


Click to view The Magical Secret of the Crystal Kingdom on Amazon UK. 


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I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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