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  • Writer's pictureBen Westwood

An interview with Sebastian Baker - Where Prayers Can Lead.

Updated: Apr 13


An interview with Sebastian Baker.

 

With Sebastian Baker and Ben Westwood

 

 

Every once in a while, either online or offline I get approached by someone asking me how I published my first book, Poems From a Runaway, and for advice on how they can get it into print.

Whilst in dialog with debut author Sebastian Baker (Yorkshire, UK) I had the fortune of reading a sample of ‘Where Prayers Can Lead’ before getting involved with the book project and had immediately resonated with its lead character – a beatboxer from near Bristol called Sam Daniels.

 

Whilst having previous undertaken the mammoth task of trying to get Poems From a Runaway off the ground and into the hands of readers, I understood Sebastian’s concerns of wanting to tell his message in exactly the way that he wanted to without content being edited out, and the potential delays in getting his book out there if following the traditional book-publishing route.


 

Those following any of my recent social media posts may have notice me promoting Sebastian’s book, and that’s because I truly believe in the core message of it. With there only being so much myself that I’m able to do, hopefully a literary agent or traditional publisher may choose to take on his book down the line, but for now this remains an almost zero-budget grassroots project that I’m personally glad to be involved with.

Anyhow, I’ll let the author tell you for himself about the book in this recent interview we did.

 

 

(BW) Hi Sebastian, thanks for agreeing to do this interview with me. I’m so pleased to be able to tell the followers of my work about your upcoming book release titled ‘Where Prayers Can Lead’ which I believe comes out on the 1st of May this year (2024)

 

(SB) Hi Ben, thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell more people about the book. Yeah, it comes out as an eBook on Amazon KDP on 1st May, but as you know already I want to raise funds to get the book published and printed professionally which I hope will happen by 2025. It’s a big ask, but ideally I’d like to get the book printed before the end of summer, and deep down I think a summer release is crucial for the success of the books core mission.

 

(BW) Sorry, why specifically a summer release? Aren’t people out partying and walking more than reading? Wouldn’t a Christmas release be better or something when people are indoors and have nothing to do?

 

(SB) I get your logic Ben I really do, and you’re right to a degree. But the reason I want a spring or summer release is because I believe that is when real change could come from this sort of book.

What I mean by that is, is that I believe that some of the experiences faced by the lead character Sam Daniels are so close-to-the-bone that they could help people have their eyes open to some of the grooming processes happening right in front of their very eyes. If by some form of a miracle I could get this book printed by summer then who knows who this could help because that’s when most people get to see and connect with the world around them most.

 

(BW) Aaah, I see. That does seem to make sense to be fair. I think it might be useful to get a little deeper into the nitty gritty of the book. Without giving away the whole story plot and unnecessary spoilers, what can you tell us about it?

 

(SB) Well, it’s a crime fiction novel that is based on experiences provided to me by people that have expressed concerns about issues relating to child abuse and child grooming. The book aims to shed a light on some of the experiences faced by those that have attempted to take action or challenge it, but I wanted to tell the story in a way that I believe is not commonly told in todays hyped up social media climate.

 

(BW) Thanks. Yes, yes, yes. I couldn’t agree more. Too many people are completely rinsing the topic these days, yet many are barely scratching the surface and just jumping onto hot-topic trends. Anyhow, what can you tell us about the books lead character, and what inspired you to choose them as the main protagonist?

 

(SB) The main character in the book is a man in his twenties called Sam Daniels, who came from a troubled home and was moved to the other end of the country after being taken into foster care along with his two elder sisters when both of his abusive parents were sent to prison.

I won’t say too much at this point in order not to spoil it for readers, but Sam had a lot going for him growing up as a young adult. Sadly, the environment he’d grown up in had contributed to hampering some of his biggest dreams, but life had soon taken him on a path of using his musical talent to beatbox on the streets of Manchester and Liverpool to help him get by.

 

As for what inspired me to create the character of Sam Daniels, after unintentionally finding myself on a journey where stories about child grooming and whistleblowing had kept revealing to me, it soon became obvious that many of the people often aware and hyper-sensitive to these issues were those that in one form or another had experienced a life of soaking in many different people and personalities around them. My original plans for Sam Daniels were to have him growing up in a boarding school because of the amount of systemic abuse that has been happening historically, but the further I got into my research the more I began to realise that other whistleblowers had either grown up in care or had vivid experiences of domestic violence. In the end I decided that Sam Daniels should be a person that had grown up being moved around the care system, which gave me the ideal opportunity at one point in the book to highlight the issues of children in care being estranged from their siblings.

 

 

(BW) Nice one, I certainly know a few people that would appreciate that.

So, please don’t take this the wrong way because I’m just trying to get the best of answers out of you here, but there are other books out there detailing peoples experiences of abuse or whistleblowing, why should people consider reading yours?

 

(SB) Well firstly, I need to point out that there are many valuable books out there that people should read detailing personal stories of abuse and societal failings. But my book is coming from an entirely different angle, that of a person that goes on to see it through a series of events, which would be the case for a lot of people.

It is something that has been happening for so long in society that predatory behaviour is often not protected by ignorance or fear, but often people’s self-doubts, sense of loyalty and feelings of shame or embarrassment for those which are exploited.

I wanted to highlight the more overlooked elements of what can often stop people taking action, or at the very least challenge paedophilia, and the reality of what happens when some people try to. Perhaps it would help some to be more wise in their approach to tackling such issues, and not make the same mistakes that the lead character Sam Daniels does.

 

 

(BW) Cool. I like the sound of that, I think a lot of people would find it useful. Are there any parts of the book which are entirely fictional?

 

(SB) Yes, there are some parts of the book that are entirely fictional, especially the latter chapters, but I know people out there love dramatic effect and I wanted to take Sam Daniels on a journey that would leave his position in life open to do a second book, which I’d love to write more about things that I hear people are going through. I quite enjoyed writing the entirely fictional parts to be honest, but that’s only a very small portion of the book. The rest is weaved around peoples real life experiences.

 

(BW) I can imagine. With your book ‘Where Prayers Can Lead’ soon to be made available to the public, if there was one last core message that you’d leave to those reading this interview, what would it be?

 

(SB) I think the book portrays clearly that sometimes the answers, or the truth, may not always be immediately obvious. We often want to see the best in people, but sometimes that can make us blind to spotting the signs and red flags that in many cases are constantly flashing in front of people’s eyes. Some of the signs can be very very subtle, and I think that this book does a good job of explaining about that. I guess my last message would be to people, is that often they are deceived by those that they least expected, and too often they deny the calls and warnings from those they least respected!

 

(BW) Good one. It almost puts my own poetry to shame that does. Well, I think now is a good time to wrap this up, but thanks for doing this interview and I hope it helps get ‘Where Prayers Can Lead’ to be discovered by a few more people that might be interested in it.

 

(SB) Thank you, I’m glad to be doing it. Let’s see where this goes!

 

(End of interview)

 

Check out Sebastian’s blog at https://whereprayerscanlead.wordpress.com/

 

‘Where Prayers Can Lead’ is currently available on Kindle at https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0CWLSWQKP

 


 

 

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