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Tell me about yourself.
I’ve been a bookworm since I was five years old. The first book I ever read was about a boy going shopping with his mum. I picked it up from my brother’s bedroom floor, and suddenly those strange shapes on the page made sense. I could read! Hallelujah! I was soon working my way steadily through the school library and it wasn’t long before I realized that stories about dragons, elves, and great big talking lions were by far the most interesting. And that was it; my obsession with fantasy fiction was born.
I wrote and published my first book when I was seven. This was a rip-roaring adventure tale called The Golden Pheasant, about, well, a golden pheasant. I wrote out three copies on bits of paper pulled from my school books, bound them in covers made from old cereal boxes, and gave them to my teachers. And that’s it. I was a writer! When I’m not writing I enjoy playing tennis (badly), playing the guitar (very badly), and watching cricket whenever I can. I’m also intent on cramming as much world travel as I can into one lifetime. Funny, but my list keeps getting longer. You can never see it all, can you?
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was seven, of course! That’s when I wrote my first book (see above). I once heard someone make the distinction between an author (someone who writes but doesn’t make a living out of it) and a writer (someone who gets paid for their writing.) I’m not sure about that distinction, but I suppose I’d fall into the “writer” bracket. Maybe we should just call ourselves “storytellers,” that’s got a nice ring to it.
What do you find the most rewarding about writing fantasy? The most challenging?
The most rewarding thing about fantasy is being able to write exactly what you want. In what other genre could you have talking lions, dragons, and castles in the sky? It’s fantastic! Definitely the most challenging thing is originality. Every idea in fantasy has been done to death. There aren’t any new stories in the world, just new ways of telling that story.
Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what do you listen to?
I don’t listen to music when I write – I get too distracted. I have to have total silence or I’ll just sit staring at a blank page. Having said that, when I do listen to music it tends to be rock/folky type stuff. I’m having an Amy MacDonald phase at the moment. I got her back catalog for Christmas and have been playing it to death.
What’s on your bookshelf?
Um. Fantasy. And more fantasy. In fact my books are starting to spill out of the spare room where they live and take over the house. One day I’ll have a library like the one in Beauty and the Beast (anyone know what I mean?), and I’ll be in heaven. At the moment I’m reading Inheritance, by Christopher Paolini, the last in the series that started with Eragon. The jury is out on it so far.
Is there anything that you’re currently working on?
I’m finalizing the release of the first book in my new fantasy series, The Last Priestess. This is an epic fantasy that follows the lives of my two main characters as they battle against a rebel mage who has thrown their country into civil war. It’s due for release on February 5th. Here’s the blurb:
They call him the Songmaker, and he is bringing civil war to the once-peaceful kingdom of Amaury. For Maegwin, a bitter priestess, the path forward lies in forgiving her temple’s enemies—but she dreams only of revenge. For Rovann, a king’s man, salvation might be found in the unthinkable: defying the very king he swore to protect. Unlikely alliances must be forged. Somehow these two must learn to trust not only themselves but each other if they are to stand against the terrible wrath of the Songmaker.
And so a magical epic of darkness and redemption begins.
Do you have any advice for fellow writers?
Keep writing. Keep improving. Never give up.
Where can we find you?