Interview with Clive Gilson

Why are your ebooks free?
There’s a couple of reasons. Firstly, I want to build an audience, and using platforms like Smashwords is a great way to get work out, both directly and through channels. Making ebooks free is double-edged, of course. Some readers might think the lack of a fee indicates poor quality, but that’s something I’m happy to deal with. Reviews over the years have been pretty positive.

Secondly, I’ve worked with a couple of small publishers and with Amazon, and my experience with these publishing channels has been poor. Its tough to put stuff out for free on Amazon, and in setting a fee to cover production you fall foul of their approach to licensing and copyright. Catch 22. We fell out and I decided that a free model using Creative Commons licensing was more important to me.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Not quite the first story. I remember finishing my first full length book but sadly not what it was about.

The first stories that really stuck were Shardik by Richard Adams, and Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. By then the door was fully open.

Interestingly I've just re-read Shardik after forty odd years... and fallen in love with the story and the storytelling all over again.
When did you first start writing?
Telling stories has just been one of those things that I do. I can still remember clearly a number of those primary school essays that we had to write on a Monday in English classes - 'What I did on the weekend...' - mine were usually full of submarines and Vikings and tigers - pure Walter Mitty escapades. Fiction was just always there. I sort of lost the plot a bit during my teenage years, apart from a bit of dodgy poetry writing, but the habitual fantasising turned into something more concrete once I found my adult feet.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first proper piece of fiction that I wrote was around 1997 and was called 'Bears'. The story was based on the premise that childhood teddies are brought to life by the unconditional love of their human playmates. There was a but, of course... those same teddies, given the experience they shared at the hands of their human playmates, dare not show the world that they are alive - A mash up of themes picked up in Toy Story and Ted, perhaps.

The story was set when a now grown up child announces to her partner that she is pregnant and is overheard by one of her fondly kept bedroom bears. Those bears still in one piece decide that they have to leave and the story follows their adventures as they try to make their way to a fabled teddy bear museum, which they believe must be a sort of stuffed animal heaven.

As a first attempt at a long piece of fiction goes... it was awful, but I learned a lot.
What are you working on next?
There is a sequel to A Solitude of Stars. The Apparat / Dirigiste stories are largely done, and I intend to expand on the Arkland themes, but I'm not likely to finish for a while.

Fireside Tales are progressing and I do expect to see a few more editions coming to light there.

And then there's a fantasy piece that's been bubbling for quite a while, and... and... and...

Oh, there's the day job too...
Published 2019-02-23.
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Books by This Author

Tales From Gallia
Series: Tales from the World's Firesides, Book 18. Price: Free! Words: 104,290. Language: English. Published: June 2, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Fairy tales, Fiction » Literary collections » European / French
In Tales from Gallia we have a collection of tales from the French & Gallic folk tradition. As ever it’s been a delight working with these tales, because French fairy tales are particularly known by their literary quality. Charles Perrault derived almost all his tales from folk sources, but rewrote them for an upper-class audience, removing some of the more rustic elements, for example.
Tales Told By The Wind Mother
Series: Tales from the World's Firesides, Book 17. Price: Free! Words: 95,620. Language: English. Published: May 13, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Fairy tales, Fiction » Literature » Literary
Folklore & Fairy Tales from the Magyars (Hungary) - Here we have the next collection in the series Tales from the World's Firesides. This collection mines the rich seams of folk and fairy tales from the Magyar tradition.
Tales from the Land of the Strigoi
Series: Tales from the World's Firesides, Book 16. Price: Free! Words: 115,050. Language: English. Published: April 5, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Fairy tales, Fiction » Literary collections » European / Eastern Russian & Former Soviet Union
Folklore & Traditional Tales from Romania These are some of the most engaging stories that I’ve collected together for a long time. The Romanian folklore tradition has a vitality that really shines through in these traditional tales, and I’m sure, like me, you will fall just a little bit in love with some of these wonderful characters.
Tales from the Samodivi
Series: Tales from the World's Firesides, Book 15. Price: Free! Words: 59,890. Language: English. Published: March 8, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Fairy tales, Fiction » Literary collections » European / Eastern Russian & Former Soviet Union
Tales from the Balkans. The Balkan Peninsula is a region in South-Eastern Europe, and has a full and rich history and tradition where cultures have been mixing for at least 2,000 years and Slavic civilisation has had an especially strong influence. The result is diverse and fascinating folklore with its own set of mythical beings and legendary heroes.
Tales of Fire & Bronze
Series: Tales from the World's Firesides, Book 14. Price: Free! Words: 90,690. Language: English. Published: February 23, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Fairy tales, Fiction » Literary collections » European / General
Myths and tales from Greece. The Greek myths were initially an oral-poetic tradition of epic proportion. As ever, it’s been a delight and an education to read and work with these stunning texts. I hope you enjoy them too, for as the final line of The Golden Crab says, “And then they lived happily, and we who hear the story are happier still.”
Tales Told by Bulls and Wolves
Series: Tales from the World's Firesides, Book 13. Price: Free! Words: 109,410. Language: English. Published: January 18, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Fairy tales, Fiction » Literary collections » European / Italian
Folklore, fantasy and fairy tales from Italy & Sicily. As ever it’s been a delightful journey wandering through Italy’s famous cities and grand histories as I put this small collection together. I hope that you enjoy these stories too.
Tales from the Land of Rabbits
Series: Tales from the World's Firesides, Book 12. Price: Free! Words: 86,440. Language: English. Published: January 3, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Fairy tales, Fiction » Literary collections » European / Spanish & Portuguese
Now we reach the first volume in this next small collection of tales from the lands surrounding the Mediterranean. These first tales herald from Spain and Portugal, from a broad set of sources and translations. There is a real flavour of the peninsular in these stories, reflecting as they do Spain and Portugal’s long history of thought, religion and conflict. I hope you enjoy these stories.
More Tales of Snow and Ice
Series: Tales from the World's Firesides, Book 8. Price: Free! Words: 100,570. Language: English. Published: December 10, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fairy tales, Fiction » Literary collections » European / Scandinavian
More tales and legends from Scandinavia This is the second in a two volume collection of tales from Scandinavia. There is a clear and rich tradition of storytelling in the north, perhaps dictated by long winter nights and roaring fires. Whenever you read these sagas and tales you tap into a centuries old heritage wrapped in wonder and magic and outlandish heroism.
More Tales of Hope and Glory
Series: Tales from the World's Firesides, Book 6. Price: Free! Words: 117,750. Language: English. Published: December 10, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fairy tales, Fiction » Literary collections » European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
More tales & legends from England This is the second book in the Fireside series covering the English story-telling tradition. Listening to a story is like going on a journey. Only you can see the pictures in your mind. Only you can conjure the demons and the dragons and the heroes with such vivacity. As we travel through our story landscapes we are marked with wisdom and imagination.
More Tales of Saints and Scholars
Series: Tales from the World's Firesides, Book 4. Price: Free! Words: 181,110. Language: English. Published: December 9, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fairy tales, Fiction » Literary collections » European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
More tales & legends from Ireland This is a second volume of Irish tales, so rich are the story-mining seams taken from just the few Irish collections I have in my possession at the moment. Across the two volumes we have around one hundred and forty tales taken from pretty well every tradition, including classic tales of Irish legend, fairy and folk beliefs.
The Insomniac Booth
Price: Free! Words: 83,140. Language: English. Published: December 9, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Fairy tales
The Insomniac Booth continues many of the themes that first emerged in Clive Gilson's earlier collection of short stories, The Mechanic's Curse. This second collection continues with the investigation of magical realism and the glories of traditional folk and faery tales, and, as ever, these are intimate tales, focusing on broad but subtle themes and personal recollections.
The Mechanic's Curse
Price: Free! Words: 86,040. Language: English. Published: December 9, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Fairy tales
These are intimate tales, focusing on broad but subtle themes and personal recollections. Clive's stories continue to link recurring themes of urban and future decay – splintered glass, dust motes and cracked plaster; the loss of loved ones, of the ability to remember; black and white movies of the mind.
A Solitude of Stars
Price: Free! Words: 84,100. Language: English. Published: December 8, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
With deft turns of phrase and an imagination that would make Philip K. Dick jealous, this is a tale of dystopian futures. A Solitude of Stars provides us with a chilling glimpse of what may come to pass, warmed by a thread of love that raises the narrative beyond despair. A riveting read.
Songs of Bliss
Price: Free! Words: 123,710. Language: English. Published: December 8, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
Just how far will a father go to protect his daughter, especially when his 'protection' is so fundamentally flawed? A crime thriller set amid the tranquil beauty of North Devon's rolling hills and seaside towns.
Tales from the Old Norse
Series: Tales from the World's Firesides, Book 11. Price: Free! Words: 101,490. Language: English. Published: December 8, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fairy tales, Fiction » Literary collections » European / Scandinavian
Tales & Legends from Sweden, Norway & Denmark And so we reach the final volume in this small collection of tales from the north. Originally I intended to complete the series with the Finnish volume, but as ever, there were just too many fabulous stories in my archive to call such an immediate halt.
Tales from the Forest Lands
Series: Tales from the World's Firesides, Book 10. Price: Free! Words: 79,360. Language: English. Published: December 8, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fairy tales, Fiction » Literary collections » European / Scandinavian
Tales & Legends from Finland This volume of tales from the north concentrates on Finland. Much of Finnish mythology survived within an oral tradition of mythical poem-singing and folklore well into the 19th century. One of my favourite aspects of Finnish mythology is the wonderful sense of darkness at its heart. As ever, my voyage of discovery through these stories has been a delight.
Tales from the Viking Isles
Series: Tales from the World's Firesides, Book 9. Price: Free! Words: 77,080. Language: English. Published: December 8, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fairy tales, Fiction » Literary collections » European / Scandinavian
Continuing the theme of stories from northern lands, this volume concentrates on the Sagas from Viking isles, such as Iceland and The Faroe Isles. These forms are also known as family sagas, and were often told by the “skald” bards. For the most part these sagas take the form of prose narratives and are mostly based on historical events that took place in the 9th, 10th, & early 11th centuries.
Tales from Lands of Snow and Ice
Series: Tales from the World's Firesides, Book 7. Price: Free! Words: 93,050. Language: English. Published: December 8, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fairy tales, Fiction » Literary collections » European / Scandinavian
Tales & Legends from Scandinavia In this volume we have some of my favourite stories as told by Andersen, Asbjørnsen et al. The stories are drawn from Lang’s Coloured Fairy Books, Andersen’s Fairy Tales, from The Birch and the Star, and from Asbjørnsen collaboration on Tales from the Fjeld.
Tales from the Land of Hope and Glory
Series: Tales from the World's Firesides, Book 5. Price: Free! Words: 135,490. Language: English. Published: December 6, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fairy tales, Fiction » Literary collections » European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Tales & Legends from England This book covers the English tradition in folk and fairy tale, in fable and saga. In compiling this collection from just a few of our forebears, I have been very warmly surprised at the breadth of subject matter. I’ve also come across stories that I had never read before, so the journey has been a delight.
Tales from the Land of Saints and Scholars
Series: Tales from the World's Firesides, Book 3. Price: Free! Words: 222,940. Language: English. Published: December 6, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fairy tales, Fiction » Literary collections » European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Tales & Legends from Ireland This is first in what may become two volumes, so rich are the story-mining seams taken from just the few Irish collections I have in my possession at the moment. These first stories have been taken from around one hundred and forty Irish tales, themselves taken from pretty well every tradition, including classic tales of legend, fairy and folk beliefs.
Tales from the Land of the Brave
Series: Tales from the World's Firesides, Book 2. Price: Free! Words: 147,630. Language: English. Published: December 6, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fairy tales, Fiction » Literary collections » European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Tales & Legends from Scotland Book number two in the Fireside series of traditional folk and fairy tales from around the world. These tales are drawn from some of the great tradition of Scottish storytelling, and as ever, these stories illustrate the beauty and the darkness inherent in our ancestral memories and in our “modern” interpretations of this confusing world.
Tales from the Land of Dragons
Series: Tales from the World's Firesides, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 68,300. Language: English. Published: December 5, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fairy tales, Fiction » Literary collections » European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Tales & Legends from Wales I’ve always drawn heavily on traditional folk and fairy tales, and have amassed a collection of thousands of tales from around the world. Now that I’ve got a digitised archive up and running, I’m ready start on the great project… and this volume, Tales from the Land of Dragons, is the first in a set of collections of folk and fairy tales covering the British Isles