I try to not think about that!
Where are you from
A little about your self `ie your education Family life ect
Not much to tell about education, I’ve tried my hand at a number of things but have never been anything more than passable at them, writing is the one thing that I really feel I can do
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’m working on three different projects- (1) the fourth in my Aona fantasy series- provisionally titled “The Spiral Heart”, it looks like being the longest yet (2) my book for kids, a supernatural (for want of a better description) novel “Summer’s Dark Waters”, and (3) an anthology of my short stories, some old and some new- which I still don’t have a title for. That really bugs me- I have to have titles for things.
Actually there’s a fourth project, another fantasy series, but I’m not planning it too much right now because I’m concentrating on getting the Aona series finished.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I must have been about five. I just liked making stuff up and diving into my own little world, and I’ve utterly failed to grow up since then.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably as young as eleven or twelve, because I’d started writing novella-length works. I was a particularly conceited child, I have to say.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I can’t remember what inspired me to write my first ever book, which was a terrible sci-fi action novella. But the first book in the Aona series, “Oblivion’s Forge” was inspired in part by my desire to write about a fantasy world / environment but make the narrative very character-driven and concise. Oddly, there were no particular books that really inspired the series, but in a strange sort of way my favourite film (Blade Runner) did. That’s not to say the story or backdrop is anything like that. It’s perhaps more of an emotional similarity, which becomes more apparent later in the series. Those who have read as far as the third book, “The Endless Shore”, may have an inkling of what I’m on about.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I try to be consistent, fairly concise and deliver a sense of atmosphere without being long-winded or too florid in my descriptions. But I don’t think too much about the style- I tend to just go with the flow and it tends to take shape that way.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The book is really about “oblivion” and where it comes from… the “forge” I guess- hence the title. It’s a summary of what happens or is about to happen, and this unfolds further through the series.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I try not to use my written words as a political or moral vehicle, but I guess really it’s about ordinary people fighting against terrifying odds, so in a sense it’s about the nature of hope itself- which is a universal theme that all readers can hopefully identify with.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
I would hope it’s all realistic!- within its own universe of course.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I sincerely hope not!
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Alan Garner’s “The Weirdstone of Brisingamen” and “The Moon Of Gomrath” were the books I read when I was a kid, that made me absolutely certain that this was what I wanted to do. They were simply astonishing. Later in life, authors such as Clive Barker, Tad Williams and Cecilia Dart-Thornton have really affected me.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Those above- particularly Clive Barker (an amazing imagination) and Cecilia Dart-Thornton (the ability to write such achingly beautiful but gritty prose)
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
George R R Martin’s “A Dance With Dragons”
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I’m getting to be quite a fan of Joe Abercrombie, although he’s probably only new to me!
Fiona: What are your current projects?
(answered at beginning under latest news)
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I can’t think of one in particular but the ratings and reviews from those people who have read my works really do spur me on and stir up my enthusiasm further. These are people who don’t know me, didn’t know my work before they picked up one of the books, and (mostly!) liked what they read and felt moved to rate and review- I appreciate every effort that readers make in that respect. It lightens the load and makes the slog worthwhile.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Really I just think of it as something I’ve always done and always will do- I’ve never really had a “career” in the way that most people seem to have, but then again it’s certainly more than a hobby.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Maybe one or two things but not the overall structure and plot
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
It was far too long ago to recall. I guess I always had an imagination and that, coupled with being a constant daydreamer, led me in that direction.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Here’s one of the more reflective passages from the most recent Aona book, “The Endless Shore”:
Ilumor marveled at this place, the minute detail of which still shocked him. He could count individual grains of sand, had he the time; he could touch or even drink the water and it would feel and taste like the water of an ocean. He could cast a pebble into the inky depths and it would make ripples that resonated outwards exactly as they ought.
Thinking on that exact action, he wondered for a moment what then happened to that pebble. Did it continue to fall towards the sea bed, coming to rest as it should? Did it wink out of existence entirely? Was the observation of what he expected to happen simply that and nothing more?
He felt suddenly uneasy. Not afraid, but perhaps diminished in a small way; certainly his blood felt colder here, his pulse more laboured and less even- although in part that could have been a reflection of his physical form laid out like a partly-hidden corpse of stone within the vastness of Mirkwall. The Endless Shore, as both he and others of the higher kin who could reach this place had named it, represented a poorly-known and far-flung corner of Aona’s secret inner world, and perhaps it was natural for him to feel that way about it.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Getting through the tough, “sludgy” times- by which I mean those days when you try to keep going but all the words come out wrong, you can’t think how to proceed, the characters are just standing there in your mind waiting for something to do… the only way to cope with complete lack of inspiration is just force yourself to keep going. The simple action of writing (no matter how crappy it might be) eventually causes the inspiration to click again. It can take time. But it does happen.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
No one favourite but those I’ve already mentioned are all favourites of mine.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I like travelling but I rarely have the money for it so it’s probably for the best that I don’t have to travel because of my writing. The worldwide connectedness that the Internet has created mainly negates the need for this anyway.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I made up the symbols and my girlfriend put them into Photoshop. I wanted to get away from the traditional way of creating fantasy covers where it all seems to be about steroid-addicted warrior types posing menacingly, beautiful (and busty) maidens posing rather less menacingly (apparently most fantasy worlds don’t have ugly heroines) or elves and dragons and the dreary array of usual suspects.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Sticking to it when the inspiration isn’t there. As I mentioned, the embers catch again with enough effort.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned (eventually) to stop going over words again and again and again, and to finally let go- or else nothing would ever have got published
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yes- self-publish. Be the master of your own destiny. Don’t expect miracles but do expect that hard work and endless promotion will eventually pay off. Don’t be afraid to market and keep marketing. If people have objectively said they like your work and see potential in it, then do what you can to realise that potential.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for the support, the ratings and reviews, the comments and keeping me going. It is truly appreciated.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies
I have to work during the day (need to eat!) and spend my evenings mostly writing, so don’t really have time for much else. But that doesn’t bother me unduly- I spent far too much time going out carousing in my younger days and it was really an utter waste of time and money- I don’t miss it at all.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching
I like a load of films, but generally watch very little TV. I catch up on the news and I watch some sports, and that’s about it. I’d rather immerse myself in written words.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I like most food (everything apart from offal and overcooked veg)… black, white and grey (prefer shades to colours)… and all sorts of different musical genres.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done ?
I dread to think. I wasn’t much good at anything else, but like everyone I had my dreams- astronaut, rock star, sports hero, you name it.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? if so what is it?