1. Who is your favorite character?
My favorite would have to be Cardsharp’s hero, Vincent Ward.
2. Why is he/she your favorite?
I like him for two reasons, mainly, the first is I think he’d be a good person to know, he very loyal, determined and interested in everything around him, particularly art. The second is, he’s great fun to write; he reacts well in a crisis, which there seem to be a lot of in his life, and he really pushes me to think of ways out of the situations he finds himself in, like foiling art thieves or even jail breaks.
3. How did you come to create him/her?
I started looking for a good hero readers could get behind, but I also wanted someone with a background that made them human, so they felt like a real person in an extraordinary world coping that drove them to be resourceful at every turn. Indiana Jones was a big inspiration in this.
4. When did he/she first enter your mind?
I started researching art and art crimes long before I imagined Vincent. I also left him out until after I’d developed a crime for him to uncover. Keeping your villains and hero separate for a long time can make for good drama when they crash into each other.
5. Where was he/she given life in the creative process?
Before I started writing the story or the book of Cardsharp, I wrote about 10,000 words and just took my hero for a test drive. This allowed me to try out his tone of voice, to see how he phrases things, how he acts and reacts, is he slick or is he slow? Subtle things mostly, but Vincent grew out of that. It’s a great way to get a feel for your character and the book I was about to write.
6. What do like the most about him/her and what do you dislike the most about him/her?
I most like and even admire Vincent’s determination. Most other people would give up long before Vincent, and that’s why he succeeds. Vincent is as human and he has faults, but I save all the dislikeable character traits for my villains, like the Wasp. And the brutal pirates at the end.
Cardsharp: A Vincent Ward Adventure by Paul Oliver Westmoreland (aka POW)
Middle Grade adventure novel (UK author)
Cardsharp is an exciting adventure book for children set in the art world. Escaping house fires and fighting daring robbers is just the beginning for art researcher, Vincent Ward, and these battles do little to prepare him for the exciting adventure that unfolds. An old journal discovered at an auction in Rome puts Vincent on the trail of an undiscovered painting by one of art history’s most notorious masters, Caravaggio. But paintings this rare and valuable are sought after by more than just collectors and galleries. Vincent soon finds himself on the run from a brutal and lawless policeman, a gang of international criminals, and fighting vicious pirates.
There are stings, tricks and conspiracies around every corner, and bullets flying from the shadows. Only The National Gallery, London is safe for Vincent and the painting. But is there a way back? Get ready to be thrown into the world of Vincent Ward, where getting through each day alive just isn’t enough.