Interview with Graham Buckby

When did you first start writing?
I started writing at junior school, aged 10, my teacher allowing me to continue the weekly essay hour story till it filled two exercise books - very Enid Blyton - very Famous Five stuff... which is why I still call my dog 'Timmy'! (See my picky - that's Timmy IV.) At Grammar School I wrote some 'Bondery' for an extended writing exercise - mine was book length - but I didn't start seriously till the first home PCs became available in the early 1980s, when I produced an absolutely unsaleable epic that made LOTR look like a novella! My co-author Alan read it and sent back a 10,000 word short called 'The Thaumaturge' which I rewrote as 20,000+ words and sent back to him. It's the first story in 'Shades Of Gold'. Everything took off from there, but was delayed for 20 years by work and family commitments.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I'll call that 'Shades Of Magic' as the last s.f. book written that we've had published so far. Although there are two more ready for publishing, it actually post dates them. The story is that Alan and I rapidly discovered that the chances of a new author getting a book published conventionally nowadays - or even read - are just below zero. (Er, yes, that's a quote from 'Magic'.) 'So let's try a short,' quoth he. That weekend we plotted out four between us, and drafted two... and it grew. We then rapidly discovered that the market for shorts is minute, we found three possible mags, and although one showed interest in 'The Diary', we found we had written a full compendium of them by then, so here it is.
The story behind Regina - Ancilla Romana is rather different. As a history teacher I was required to do an empathy project with my classes: "A day in the life of a Roman Slave". I decided to have my own attempt at the essay - as an exemplar - and selected the (genuine historical) character of Regina from the school textbook, and to work out a fictional version of the day she was sold into slavery. By the time I stopped writing that night it was twelve A4 sides long... and she hadn't even been sold yet! (That's chapter 1 of the book!) It was obviously useless as an exemplar, but I simply couldn't put it down.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
We became electronic 'indie' authors at Alan's suggestion. He's the one with the Kindle, not me. After a hell of a lot of messing around trying to get publishers - or even literary agents - to read just a sample of our work, it seemed like a good option.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Creating a world that I would like to live in... or would have done 20 years ago. The world of Nuome which Alan and I invented, and in which all of our 'After The Fall' books are based, intrigues both of us. I once said to Alan. 'If you were in Castle Fork, standing at the East Gate... with three thousand killoms of Ryaduran Road stretching into the distance... would you?' 'If I was younger, then yes,' he replied. I think that sums it up. If you don't understand, read the last half of 'Shades Of Smoke' or three of the short stories from 'Shades Of Magic'. It's based on the old Spice Road... with a bit of the Great Plains thrown in. Travelling round Nuome at Tria and Cormell's shoulders has been a pure delight for me.
What are you working on next?
We already have two books following the further adventures of Tria, (Attria from 'Shades of Gold'), ready for publishing next year. Her next adventure after that is half written, and the final part of her saga is already sketched out with some chapters drafted. At the same time we have another adventure for Cormell (from 'Shades Of Smoke') which combines with the sequel obvious in the ending of 'Clissa's Lay'. At the same time Alan is working on a book length sequel to the short story 'New Beginnings' from 'Shades Of Gold'.
We really have got into both our characters and our world scene!
Who are your favorite authors?
A good question, I'll divide my answer into bits.
As a kid I loved Blyton's 'Famous Five', Crompton's 'Just William' stories and W. E. John's 'Biggles'.
My SciFi comes from the old greats: Azimov, Heinlein, Harrison, Eric Frank Russell and Niven.
My fantasy comes from Pratchett, Tolkein (of course), Mary Stewart, and also Niven's fantasy stories.
Then there is McCaffrey, who is borderline fantasy/s.f.
For historical fiction, (I am also an historian, remember), Cornwell, Forester, and Kent amongst others.
I've also always had a penchant for 'who-done-it's from Christie to Conan Dolye.
Er... then there are others, like Wheatley's adventures.
Please don't ask me to select a favorite!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
He's big, he's black and waggy at the back, and they call him Timmy dog. And he wants a walk.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Timmy and Alfie dogs take up a couple of hours (or so) a day walking, which allows me chance to think up (or through), the next scene... (You can meet Alfie dog on the cover of 'Shades Of Magic'!) My daughter Heather occupies more of my time. Then there's the mundane stuff.
What is your writing process?
This varies. Sometimes Alan sends me a story and I alter or simply polish it. After I finished re-writing 'The Thaumaturge' as 'The Scent Of Gold' I sat facing the keyboard, devoid of ideas, and typed in... 'We crossed the Great Central Desert, travelling north along the Trade Road from Singlehill towards Braglin.' and the whole of 'Shades Of Gold' simply flowed from there, with Alan sending me paper drafts of three more of the stories.
Having finished that book, I could not leave Attria where she was and began 'Shades Of Death' (to be published next year) instantly, (and I mean instantly - I never left the key board!) with the words: 'My first memories are very vague...' All I knew of the plot then was that I intended to do an Homage to Conan Doyle... and it simply flowed.
The following book, also to be published next year, 'Shades Of Freedom', came out of a conversation between Alan and I while dog walking at Sunderland. It started with 'What does Tria do in Ryadur?' And I had a vivid mental image of a sword fight from a famous historical pre-W.W.2 film. Then all I had to do was get there.
'Clissa's Lay' began with a casual comment by a Hollywood actor on a TV film programme: 'What about the spear-holders?' You know, the guy whose only purpose is to be run through by Robin Hood or suchlike. I turned the question into 'What about the Spear-holder's son?', thought about it, and made it 'the spear-holder's daughter'.
Having had an initial idea, the rest always simply flows out of that one concept... and frequently in ways I had never imagined. That adds to the joy of writing... not knowing what is going to happen next.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
No, because I was very young and that was a long time ago! But I do remember vividly the impact the first Enid Blyton 'Famous Five' story had on me when I was about eight.
'I want a dog.'
How do you approach cover design?
With great trepidation! Alan has done two, ('Shades Of Smoke' and 'Shades Of Gold', I've done two ('Shades Of Magic' and 'Clissa's Lay'). It has to be something to do with the story, and something which Alan or I can work up from photos. I spent many hours trying to do Singlehill... and gave up. 'Captain calling the pack' from Magic started as my daughter's dog begging for a treat on Cleethorpes sea front! Quite a lot of photo-shop work in there! Trying to work up cover designs is what is holding up our next two books.
Published 2015-05-14.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Regina - Ancilla Romani (Slave Girl Of The Romans)
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 263,600. Language: English. Published: November 2, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Classical Greece & Rome, Fiction » Erotica » Historical
Fifty shades of slavery? Britain, A.D.61. Boudica’s revolt is crushed. Along with thousands of others, a young captive British girl is condemned to slavery. As she is herded naked and chained into the market place, she trembles in terror at her fate. But in Roman times there were many sorts of slavery and hers was one she could never have imagined in her darkest nightmares or her wildest dreams.
After The Fall: Clissa's Lay
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 148,770. Language: British English. Published: October 31, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General
Do you ever dream of romantic, heroic adventures? Adolescent Clissa often does. Do you fancy having the power to conjure fire from wood, to crumble stone, and even to melt iron? Clissa has that power... and it’s the very last thing that she wants! For a start, she can’t control it. Even worse, people might call her ‘witch’. And wishing for adventure can prove very dangerous...
After The Fall: Shades Of Magic
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 109,950. Language: British English. Published: October 31, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
If you were a magician, living in a wild and dangerous world, what would you do with your magic? Use it to take a life? Or use it to save lives? Use it to stop cheats? Or perhaps to cheat others? Or maybe you wouldn’t want that power at all? It all rather depends on who you are... and whether it really is magic.
After The Fall: Shades Of Gold
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 172,050. Language: British English. Published: October 31, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Science fiction » General
Have you ever looked up from the tedium of your work, out of the same window, at the same view.... And dreamed of travelling the world and having adventures? Of visiting exotic and interesting new places, of meeting exotic and interesting new people? Er... and nicking stuff off them? Attria had. But beware of your dreams... They can turn into nightmares.
Shades Of Smoke
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 143,560. Language: British English. Published: October 30, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Science fiction » General
(4.00 from 1 review)
Ever fancied being a magician, in a wild and dangerous world? Your parents have been murdered, your childhood sweetheart stolen into slavery. You are embroiled with brigands, assassins, and a serial killer... But you are a magician, remember? You can conjure really good pictures in smoke... But nothing else!