IndieView with Jo Linsdell, author of Gunpowder (KOSMOS Book 2)

I wanted to try something different, and had recently read a serial fiction. I got sold on the idea, and started brainstorming possible series of my own. I decided to write the series for my nine-year-old son.

Jo Linsdell – 15 April 2017

The Back Flap

About the series:

KOSMOS is a serial fiction of 12 episodes. A new episode of this time travel adventure will be published on the 1st of each month.

About Gunpowder (KOSMOS Episode Two):

Matt finds himself in London. The year is 1605. As he struggles to understand how he got there, he gets caught up in a plot to assassinate King James. Can he find a way to stop the conspirators? Can he find a way back home?

About the book

What is the book about?

Gunpowder is the second episode in the KOSMOS serial fiction (release date 1st March 2017). The series is about a teenage boy called Matthew Smith who finds a pendant that sends him on an adventure through time. In this episode, Matt finds himself in London. The year is 1605. As he struggles to understand how he got there, he gets caught up in a plot to assassinate King James.

When did you start writing the book?

This was the second book I wrote this year. I’m taking part in the A Story A week challenge and have been writing the series as part of the challenge. I wrote Gunpowder in the second week of January.

How long did it take you to write it?

One week.

Where did you get the idea from?

I wanted to try something different, and had recently read a serial fiction. I got sold on the idea, and started brainstorming possible series of my own. I decided to write the series for my nine-year-old son. Time travel was one of the first ideas to come to mind.

In Gunpowder the protagonist travels to London in 1605. This came about because I was talking to my son about Guy Fawkes and why we celebrate with fireworks on 5th November.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

This was actually one of the easier episodes to write as I already knew a lot about that time in history. The hardest part was mixing the fictional story so it fitted in with the actual events of that time.

What came easily?

Having already written the first episode in the series I already had a very clear idea of the characters and what I wanted to happen. This was one of those cases where the words just seemed to come easily.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

All the characters are a mixture of “borrowed bits”. Some have little pieces of myself, others are based on my kids, family, and friends… and in some cases people that don’t fit into these categories.

Obviously, the real historical characters are based on research about them. In Gunpowder, Guy Fawkes makes an appearance. I made sure I researched to find out what I could about his physical appearance, but also about his character. Google is most definitely a writer’s best friend here. You can find out all sorts of little details at the click of a button.

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

I’m an avid reader, and read a wide variety of genres. Every book I read influences me to a certain extent. It might be how the author used dialogue, how they set the scene, or any number of aspects. They all leave a mark, and help me get a clearer idea of the sort of elements I want to include in my own books. A book I read that came frequently to mind when writing the KOSMOS series was Interworld by Neil Gaiman.

Do you have a target reader?

I wrote the KOSMOS series for my nine-year-old son, so my target reader is people like him. I think the series will appeal to pre-teen/teen age range, but also to those who want a bite-sized read and like the idea of time travel.

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

Brainstorm, research, outline, write, revise, edit. The last two may get repeated several times over.

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

I tend to be a planster. I don’t like to over plot, but I do like to have a rough idea of what will happen, and who the characters are. My writing process therefore starts with brainstorming and building a rough outline of the story arc and main characters. Once I have that I’m ready to start writing.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

I normally wait until I’ve finished the first draft before editing.

Did you hire a professional editor?

I always run my manuscript through several online editing apps. My favourites are The Hemingway App and Pro Writing Aid. Sometimes I also run it through Grammarly. I then proofread several times. As I know what I wanted to write, and therefore might not notice small errors, I always try to find someone else to read it through too. I’m lucky to have lots of writer friends who are very supportive.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

Normally no. I find it distracting. I like peace and quiet to write so I can concentrate on the story and characters.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

No. I knew from the start that I wanted to self publish the KOSMOS series.

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

I’ve been self publishing my books for years, and in the past have turned down publishers to do so. Obviously if I got a big enough offer from the right publisher I won’t say no, but I like the control that self publishing gives me. I do have other books in the works that will be submitted to publishers though. A lot depends on the type of book and the image I have for it.

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?

I’m actually a book cover designer as well as being an author and so did the cover myself.

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

Every book should always have a marketing plan. I’ll be doing a virtual book tour for the KOSMOS series all of this year. With a new book coming out each month, each book will be promoted individually, but also as part of the series.

I have lots of marketing ideas for it, and will be using a variety of strategies to help create a buzz. A big element of the marketing plan is collaborating with other authors in the genre. Each author has their own following and by pulling together we can help promote each other, and be sure to reach our target audience.

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

The only way to learn is to do. Set goals, read everything, and never quit. You always have more room to grow.

About You

Where did you grow up?

I’m originally from Kent in the UK, but moved around a lot growing up.

Where do you live now?

In Rome, Italy. I came here for three days and ended up staying. It’s the first place that’s ever really felt like home.

What would you like readers to know about you?

I’m an author, an illustrator, a book cover designer, blogger, and avid reader. I also organise an annual event for people in the publishing industry called Promo Day which will take place on Saturday 6th May at It’s completely free to attend and packed full of webinars, pitch sessions with publishers, giveaways, and loads of opportunities to promote and network. It’s a lot of fun too 🙂

You can find more about on my website, where you’ll also find all my social media links (I’m everywhere 😉 ).

What are you working on now?

At the moment, I’m editing a non-fiction book called From Idea To Published Book which will be releasing later this year. I’m also editing a YA novel called Do You LIKE Me? about social media and internet stalking.

End of Interview:

Get your copy of Gunpowder (KOSMOS Book 2) from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

6 responses to “IndieView with Jo Linsdell, author of Gunpowder (KOSMOS Book 2)

  1. Thank you for the awesome questions.

    The first episode of the KOSMOS series, The Pendant, is available for free today on Amazon.

  2. Hi Jo, I would surely like to read this book From idea to published book. It’s title kinda motivating for beginners writers like me.


    – Manusmriti

  3. What an interesting interview.

    To write an 8000 word story in a week, polished for publication, is a tremendous achievement. And to do one every month for a year (if I understand the project correctly) – wow!