In your own words, please describe your book.
Hopefully the blurb gives an idea of what to expect, but what I set out to do in this book was turn the Necromancer trope on its head. Instead of a doddering old wizard chanting spells from a dusty tome in order to summon the dead, our young hero Maldren is trying to protect the city from the undead. He fires spells “from the hip” making this more of an adventure romp. This is a tale of one man’s rebellion against the institution (of doddering old men) that he feels is lost in centuries of pomp and tradition. It’s also a story of betrayal, on many levels, and hopefully the reader, like Maldren, won’t know who to trust. Throw in some ikky creatures, both physical and ghostly, a mystery, a sinister legend returned from the grave and a secret society, and hopefully there’s plenty to enjoy in this book. Oh, and there’s romance too.
What genre/genres does your book fall under?
Fantasy. I’m labeling it dark fantasy and it borders into sword and sorcery too. Romantic fantasy? Only the reader can decide that.
Is this book part of a series?
Not directly. It’s designed to be standalone, but I have plenty of ideas for sequels. Some will feature Maldren and his female apprentice, others will follow different heroes from the same world. I love my dark, brooding and sinister city and definitely intend to return to it.
What was the inspiration behind your book?
The hero, Maldren, had been speaking to me for years and I just had to capture his cocky, sarcastic nature. He needed a strong, independent woman to act as his foil, and thus was Ayla born. Whole conversations and arguments between them rattled in my head, and the lively dynamic between them was definitely the root inspiration. Then I dreamed up an ancient, fog-enshrouded city for them to adventure in. One day, Caradan (read the book) barged onto the scene, killing people left and right, and I knew there was no turning back. This book had to be written.
What led you into writing? Was it a lifelong ambition, or the result of some type of turning point in your life?
I’ve been reading fantasy and sci-fi since the earliest age I can remember. Even in High School I was writing stories and sometimes screenplays. I had a vague idea that being an author would be a fun career but never really thought about it until my mid-forties. Then I got serious and wrote my first book: “Ocean of Dust”. Maybe it was a mid-life crisis that turned me back to writing? All I know is that I regard it as a total privilege to write and continue to hone my craft. I’d forgotten how satisfying it can be, and wish I’d kept writing straight out of school.
So far, what has been the greatest moment in your writing career?
Nailing a scene is a fantastic feeling, when events come out even better than I’d intended or hoped. By far, though, my greatest happiness comes from hearing from readers. After my first book, I got an email from a teen who told me that my heroine gave her strength and confidence, and that she grinned when reading all the happy bits and cried at all the sad bits. Wow. I dream of my writing evoking real emotions like that. If she was the only person on Earth to feel that way, it made the 7 years writing that book totally worthwhile, right there. It doesn’t get better than that.
Are you self-published or published through a small-press? Can you tell our readers what led up to that and your publishing experience?
I started off querying agents but this was a couple of years ago when ereaders and Indie publishing were becoming popular. I loved the idea of complete control over my work, my covers, my marketing, pricing and more important, having a more direct link to readers. So I self-published and haven’t looked back since. Formatting paperbacks and ebooks is easier than folks think, and I employ a fantastic editor and cover designer so that I can give the reader the best product I can. From final draft, I can be published on all formats in a week. How awesome is that?
What are you working on now?
I’m having a blast writing an Arabian Nights inspired fantasy romance novella. Look for it early 2015. I’m also working on a time travel thriller that might or might not involve dinosaurs.
In your own words, please tell us about yourself.
I’m a Brit who moved out to California almost 20 years ago and have been here ever since. My wife is American, but I strongly suspect that our 6 cats are aliens checking us out. We’re big world travelers and I’m an explorer at heart. I love tales of ocean navigators or polar explorers and I’m an armchair mountaineer too. By day I’m a software engineering manager, and I’m a total geek and nerd. I used to pilot aircraft, used to build wooden ships and find myself dabbling in this and that, but never straying far from writing.
What are some of your likes and dislikes?
That’s the toughest question yet! Love chocolate, scotch, Tolkien, Dragonriders of Pern, Star Trek, Firefly, EverQuest, (did I say I was a nerd?), cats and snow leopards. Dislikes: Very little. Wasps, meanness, (they sort of go together), herd mentality, corruption and lima beans. Definitely lima beans.
How can readers connect with you?
Tell us one thing about yourself that we wouldn’t know?
I can’t wear watches on my right wrist, or use TV remotes in my right hand. They just won’t work.
If there was one thing you could tell your readers, what would it be?
Thank you. Thank you for investing your money, and more importantly your precious time in reading my books. I appreciate the vote of confidence. Please write me if you enjoy my books. Please write me if you don’t – what could I have done better? OK, that’s several things. But thank you.