C. E. Cumming, Paisley-based scriptwriter and author had his first book published last year, The Admiralty Adventures – Treasure of the High Seas.

Cinematic in it’s imagery, the swashbuckling adventure has been appealing to both adults and children, with a strong sense of it enticing the non-avid readers. A rollicking read, set on the classic desert island backdrop, his book is worth picking up. With room for development, as we will no doubt see with more in the series, as let’s not forget, it is his first book.

The Fountain spoke with C. E. Cumming about his film career, his inspirations and influences as well as his transition from scripts to novels.

TF: You had the Admiralty Adventures published last year – can you inform us what it’s about?

The Admiralty Adventures – Treasure of the High Seas; is about a small group of admirals and pirates, who unwittingly join forces after being shipwrecked on a desert island. On the island, they uncover a mysterious treasure chest, which propels them into another realm, and an adventure of a lifetime. Along the way, they’re flung into various situations which require them to work as a team – some playing ball more than others. But, ultimately it’s about relationships between the characters and how they come together on their adventure.

TF: Your book is a swashbuckling adventure set on the high seas – would you say this is a book for children only?

Actually the majority of people who have read the book are adults. I purposely didn’t aim the book at just children, as I wanted ‘older’ people to enjoy it too. Young and old, male and female, from various continents have all read and enjoyed the book. Due to there being strong male and female characters in the book, as well as the dim-witted characters who provide some humour, children and adults alike have all enjoyed it.

TF: What influenced or inspired your decision to set in the pirate world?

I was inspired whilst upon a holiday in Hong Kong. Whilst walking the ‘Avenue of the Stars’ (equivalent to the Hollywood walk of fame), I noticed many bronze statues. Some faced out into Hong Kong harbour, as though watching the boats. I thought to myself; wouldn’t it be cool, if those statues came alive at night, after having being struck by lightning! That set me off on the idea, then I changed the statues to admirals – who would be in charge of the boats. Then morphed that idea into more or less what became the finished book. The fact I combined pirates and admirals against each other initially, then brought them together to become allies was fun. Would it work? Would it be plausible etc? So, I worked on the idea and fleshed it out.

TF: How long did it take from idea to fruition to get this book in the hands of the public?

It took me a few months to come up with the idea – and script, as I initially wrote it as a serial, say 6 part – in the vain of the 1980’s TV shows, like The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe or Dungeons & Dragons. So I condensed many of the plots, characters into the book and gave them more of a backstory, which would have been told throughout various episodes – had it gone that way. I’d say three months to write out the main script, then another two months to write it as a book – having never written a book before. Then I sent it to an editor and a formatter, to make sure I had everything covered in terms of it being ready for readers, as well as being ready as an online book and eBook.

TF: How much research and time did this book require?

Not long. I researched online very quickly on how to write a book. I transferred my word script document onto a free online template and pieced it all together. (On top of that, it didn’t take me long to double check clothing/costumes/Naval ships etc from the period in which the book is initially set) I then worked closely with the book’s cover designer, the fantastic Mark Reid, and he put me in touch with an editor and formatter. So, all in, a few months in total. It was slightly daunting, as I’d never written a book before, nor had I ever envisaged doing most things myself.

TF: And what kind of reaction has it received?

The book has been, and still is highly praised. I’ve had adults telling me it’s getting them back into reading, as well as their children, and I’ve been told it’s helping children in terms of attainment and concentration, as larger books weren’t holding their attention, nor where they interested beforehand. Some high schools have spoken to me about perhaps getting the book into their libraries, and perhaps maybe even getting the children to read the book as part of a curriculum piece. Given the subject matter, young and old alike have all been enjoying it. With its combination of action, adventure, history and humour many people have enjoyed reading the book and await a follow up.

TF: Now you have somewhat of an interesting career in film, don’t you? Can you divulge about stories on sets, and how this may have influenced your book?

Haha. I have indeed. I suppose the initial idea of the Adventures came to me whilst being on film sets. Having read quite a few scripts – some good, some bad, it spurred me onto write scripts. Having being self-taught, I was always writing down ideas, stories. So, I think that subconsciously played a part in my initial writing the book as a proposed 6 part serial. These might not have influenced my book, however I worked on The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy set, and whilst helping to film the stop-motion animation sequence, the studio lights were too hot for the set and it started to melt – so we had to re-shoot. Whilst on the Bond film Die Another Day, I literally bumped into Pierce Brosnan (the incumbent Bond at the time) and spilt my coffee over the ‘Ice Palace’ set! He was kind and held his hands up…much to my relief. A BBC TV film I worked on, had the children actors accidentally drinking energy drinks on their lunch break, and they were high as kites for the whole day, whizzing back and forth as the caffeine rush hit them! But I suppose, some scripts I’ve read, which haven’t been that good, did give me the idea that I could perhaps write better.

TF: Anymore plans for any further books set on the high seas?

I have a few ideas floating about (no pun intended…), that I might make into a sequel. However, I also have some ideas that I’d like to do out with the Adventures realm, so we’ll see. I’m in two minds as to what to do. Watch this space! 

For more updates on C. E. Cummings follow him on Twitter: @ce_cumming