At school - and I think most writers do. Teachers sometimes set essay titles that inspire the creative juices and the words just flow. Sadly, I kept nothing from school, so I suppose those ideas are lost to me forever.
I began writing the Ilvenworld fantasy novels in 1989. My first book published here - Markan Throne - is the fifth full length novel I wrote and completed. I began that one in 1999. You'll probably be pleased to hear that my output has increased in tempo since then!
What is your writing process?
Convoluted! I write the end before the beginning, and then join the dots to complete the first draft. An edit follows, I write the second draft and edit again. From "Gifted Avenger" onwards, the manuscript is sent to my editor, who makes her recommendations before final proofreading.
What do you get up to when not writing?
Other than reading and writing, I have a wide range of interests.
I enjoy photography, cinema and history. A day spent walking in the hills (I live near Snowdonia), followed by a couple of pints of real ale (imbibed before an open fire in winter) is a day of pure bliss.
Sea water mixes with the blood in my veins. Though I do not sail these days, I also love everything to do with ships and the sea.
What inspires your writing?
Everything! History, news items, mythology, philosophy, politics and the human condition in general.
The biggest single influence is being out walking, when I am free to think, plan and plot without distraction.
Describe your desk.
I am a very messy writer. My desk is buried under heaps of notes scribbled on paper, folders containing character lists and maps, and the books holding relevant research which are kept close to hand.
Now and then a bit of paper becomes vital, and that's the one that always hides. It's always found where I know I definitely did *not* put it, so perhaps a gremlin lives among the papers too.
Two shelves sag under the weight of my dictionaries and research books, except for those lurking on my desk. Though the shelves are just above my computer, I must stand to retrieve a book I might need. Result: piles of books where they really should not be left.
There's an alarm clock to remind me to return to Earth, else I'd spend all day and all night banging the words out.
Oh, and there's a dust-eating lizard who comes to life when I go out. You can see him in my profile picture, on top of the 'puter. Though to judge from the dust left over when I return, I might need to acquire a second one!
After spending twenty years acquiring a pile of rejection letters, I finally came to understand that self-publishing really is the only way forward for new writers. I've certainly got a lot further in the first twenty months of indie-pubbing than I did in the first twenty years trying the mainstream route.
Do you prefer print or e-books? Why?
I like both. Honest.
For research and non-fiction, I prefer print books, but keep all my fiction books on e-readers. Believe me, it's freed up a lot of space in my home! The only novels kept on dead trees are those unavailable as e-books.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Life's short and I don't want to waste it.
What's coming next? And after that?
Now the "Gifted" trilogy is complete (or is it - if other plots present themselves, we might see more Sallis ti Ath novellas), I've begun work on a new trilogy: "The Flying Cloud Trilogy".
This trilogy concentrates on a sylph character known as Cloudy, and the ship "Flying Cloud". They appear in "Markan Throne" and "Markan Empire". As with Sallis ti Ath, these books will be prequels to the main "Markan" series.
Working titles are:
"The Ship And Her Sylph" "The Ship And Her Dolphin" "The Ship And Her Haven"
And beyond that? Well, another trilogy will follow on where "Markan Sword" left off. Tentatively entitled the "Empire Builders Trilogy", the individual books will have Markan titles.
Are you joining me on the journey?
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.