Interview with J Edward Neill

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm a father of a wild-child little boy, so...

Whenever he gives me permission, I read, cook, sip wine, play football (flackle!), make chain-mail (yes, really), kickbox, pop Aleve to drive back the pains from kickboxing, run, hike, add to my collection of medieval weaponry, play too much xbox, chase down local dining hot spots, etc etc etc.

I'll sleep when I'm dead.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. Back when I used to LARP (yeah, guilty as charged) I wrote an extensive history book/bible thing for the fake religion we invented to better enjoy the game. Something to do with ancient wars, pyramids, angry gods, and such. The name of my favorite villain from the Tyrants of the Dead series came out of this weird little story. Archmyr Degiliac, the Pale Knight of Thillira.
What is your writing process?
I dream everything I write. Literally. After any particularly colorful dream, I write everything down in the morning. And then, whenever I can, I flesh it out. I typically only write one story at a time, though I have been known to take breaks from my epic fantasy stuff in order to fire off a short story.
What's the story behind your latest book?
A young sorceress, a resurrected mass-murderer, and an embittered warrior are pulled into a madman's end-game as he wages war to bring the ancient civilization of the Ur back into existence.
What are you working on next?
Nether Kingdom - The third and final part of the Tyrants of the Dead series

Let the Bodies - A sequel to Old Man of Tessera

Hollow Empire - A serial, post-apocalypic, medieval opera

Darkness Between the Stars - The story of a young man caught on the losing side of a 2,000 year-long war
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Wow. That's digging deep. Way back when I was five or six, my grandmother gave me an illustrated copy of The Hound of the Baskervilles. Right away I fell in love with the paranormal (seeming) hound and the terror he inspired across the English moors. Whenever I write horror pieces, I remember The Hound...
How do you approach cover design?
In the past, I've typically let my artists go nuts. I let them read the first draft (ugly as it might be) and approach the cover however they like. Going forward, I'll probably exert a bit more control. Especially for Nether Kingdom, I plan to push my cover artist(s) into realms darker than they're used to.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I prefer the feel of paper between my fingers. Dry, flammable, turned-too-often pages excite my weary mind. So while it's true I market books on Smashwords, I typically don't shop here.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Lord of the Rings - I mean...because...you know...

Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss does descriptive imagery like no one's business

Count of Monte Cristo - Haven't we all dreamed of taking revenge this far?

The Hound of the Baskervilles - Glowing, murderous, massive hounds are fun!

The Silmarillion - Tolkien...the best world-builder around
What do you read for pleasure?
I read less then ever these days. Too busy writing, blogging, editing...and raising a three year-old.

But still, if only to calm my nerves at night, I'll pluck up some epic fantasy and read a chapter or three. Right now I'm b***s deep in Patrick Rothfuss's latest, A Wise Man's Fear.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
If I had to e-read, I'd do it on my iPad.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Facebook, Twitter, my two websites, and simply passing out biz cards and accosting strangers have all proven effective.
Describe your desk
I never write at a desk. Never. Ever. I pour a glass of wine, light up a few candles, and kick back on my couch, bed, or at night outside on some ancient patio furniture. I recommend this approach for everyone.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Chicago. Cold winters. Bitter winds. Unpleasant people.

Wouldn't trade that experience for the world...
When did you first start writing?
I remember tracing letters in first grade.

But no seriously...I've written little stories, grim vignettes, and deep, dark fantasy tales for as long as I can remember.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
There are no indie authors. Only authors and not-authors.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
So far, a little. My in-print books do far better than my e-books. Talk about bucking the trend, right?
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I have so many stories in my head. I've found that my life's greatest satisfaction comes from putting them to rest on paper (or on a Kindle). Even if no one in the world had read a single copy of a single one of my stories, I'd still write. Always and forever.
What do your fans mean to you?
I cherish every compliment, retweet, and Facebook like I get. Better still is when someone who has read one of my works wants to talk about what ______ meant or why I killed off _______. Those are the best moments for me. To have reached out and snared someone's attention. To have made someone think, "Hmmmmm..."
Who are your favorite authors?
Tolkien

Simmons

Rothfuss

Bear

Scott Card

Myself...?
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The promise of donuts!
Published 2014-07-09.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Hollow Empire: Episode 5 (Night of Knives)
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 16,940. Language: English. Published: October 22, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
Episode 5 of a 6 part Season! Once, the empire of Vhur was the world's most powerful. But that was before the Lichy plague. Now, twenty years and millions of dead later, only a few cities remain. The survivors walk a fine line between staying alive and crumbling into the grave. Come the Night of Knives, even these last few might perish.
Hollow Empire: Episode 3 (Night of Knives)
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 17,470. Language: English. Published: October 22, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
Episode 3 of a 6 part Season! Once, the empire of Vhur was the world's most powerful. But that was before the Lichy plague. Now, twenty years and millions of dead later, only a few cities remain. The survivors walk a fine line between staying alive and crumbling into the grave. Come the Night of Knives, even these last few might perish.
Hollow Empire - Night of Knives - Episode 6
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 21,900. Language: English. Published: October 17, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
In the final Episode of Season One, learn the fates of Vadim, Cassidy, Murgul, and Nadya. Each is confronted with a different horror and a choice leading them to life...or death. Includes bonus chapters for Isidora and Little Lys.
Hollow Empire - Night of Knives - Episode 4
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 15,370. Language: English. Published: October 3, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
Episode Four of J Edward Neill and John R McGuire's six-part medieval dark fantasy opera. Join Vadim of the Long Ride, Nadya of the Bashir, Murgul the Maggot, and Cassidy as they fight to survive in a world that wants them ALL dead.
Hollow Empire: Episode 1 (Night of Knives)
Price: Free! Words: 15,440. Language: English. Published: September 20, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
Once, the empire of Vhur was the world's most powerful. But that was before the Lichy plague. Now, twenty years and millions of dead later, only a few cities remain. The survivors walk a fine line between staying alive and crumbling into the grave. Come the Night of Knives, even these last few might perish.