Interview with M. R. Fortis

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Even if I'm not writing, my mind wanders into Necropolis. As corny as it sounds I find inspiration everywhere I go. That's what I find makes writing about a mythological city so easy; everything from the architecture to the way the citizens behave is based on the real world.

Drawing is a firm favourite pass time of mine. It helped me focus my creative mind at school, as it still does today. Scribbling demons and cityscapes is something that occupies a lot of my time. Over the next few months I will be producing Nechronicles in a graphic format.

I work a 9 to 5 job. Nechronicles keeps me distracted.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Of course. I remember that it was an epic story about two warring neighbours. Each neighbour would try to outdo the next in a typical 'keeping up with the Jonses' dilemma. I remember it started with a goldfish and ended up in space. God only knows what happened in between.
I got as far as buying a notebook and filling it with pictures.
What is your writing process?
My imagination throws so many potential plot ideas at me. I always write down scenes that come to mind, often accompanied by a picture. The stories that I carry on with are the ones that flow. Characters develop fairly naturally, scenes take place as I write them. It's all very organic. Once the flow stops, I note down key moments and carry on. Only when the story is complete I read the whole thing and fill in the holes.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I used to read a lot as a child but the first story, I really can't remember. There's one that I remember reading in my last year of primary school. It involved a number of school teachers who turned out to be aliens. Their true identity was discovered by a wily group of friends. It was the first time I'd read insults in a school book. My teacher tried to correct me when I read the words 'Snot rag' out loud. That was liberating.
How do you approach cover design?
My ideas are often drawn before written. For a cover I will choose one of my personal favourites and edit it on my computer. I like consistency. All Nechronicles have the same background which is a massive cityscape I drew by hand on the back of a piece of wood I used in my A Level art exam.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
(1) The Fellowship of the Ring (Lord of the Rings. J.R.R. Tolkien) - I loved the detail in Tolkien's work. Middle Earth really comes to life. The Shire is a place that I've always felt like home, and the adventure that follows puts that environment at risk. I've always wanted to be a hobbit.

(2) American Gods (Neil Gaiman) - I read this at a time when I was growing bored with literature. I'd read all the Harry Potters and Dark Materials and craved something a bit more grown up. American Gods hit the spot. Dogma and criminals. Amazing.

(3) Cloud Atlas (David Mitchell) - I'm still amazed that one book can cram in so much and still read so well. It travels time and genres. I urge everyone to read this.

(4) Gormenghast (Mervin Peake) - The first two books in this trilogy really struck a chord inside me. The characters and castle are rich. So much so, the plot almost comes as a by-product. It is a shame that Mervin Peake could never quite complete his opus.

(5) Mort (Terry Pratchett) - This book changed my life. Who knew that Death would be such a nice guy? I hold Terry Pratchett as true hero and inspiration of mine
What do you read for pleasure?
I love comic books. Over recent months my life has become so busy. I read novels often, most recently the Hunger Games, but I find comic books are easy to flick through and get instant escapism. DC's Justice League are my instant 'go to' stories. There are some clever parallels with gods of Olympus.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Marketing is essentially talking, and the Internet today makes talking to hundreds of people so easy. I look at Twitter as a networking event. There are so many opportunities to be made using 140 characters. Instagram is the equivalent of handing out flyers, and Facebook is like a big pin board in the town hall. Social networking can be used effectively, and if done right can pay off.
Describe your desk
A shoulder bag with a laptop, a handful of paper and a number of pens - including my favourite gel ink. I've moved home quite a lot over the last few years. I've had to make do with the space I can find.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in South East London, raised as a Catholic. Our school outings would often be at The Museum of London or The British Museum. Here I learnt all about how London was formed and evolved. My Catholic upbringing always encouraged me to consider the afterlife. Necropolis has always been a part of who I am. I was fortunate to be brought up in one of the greatest cities on the planet, and exposed to the wealth of history there. The history of London, and my current home town, Brighton, features heavily in Nechronicles.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Being a Londoner I've always been fascinated by its portrayal in film - Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is different to 101 Dalmations, although they're in the same city. That was my springboard for Nechronicles.
The story I'm currently writing is a spin-off story from Exodus. There is one scene in the book where we briefly encounter a circus. 'Circus Extravagansicus' is the story of how that circus got to be in that particular square at that exact time, which consequently had a bearing on the narrative of Exodus.
Expect acrobats, necrozoology and twists.
'Laughter is good for the soul, so where are the clowns?'
Published 2013-12-30.
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Books by This Author

Nechronicles: Circus Extravagansicus
Price: $5.98 USD. Words: 76,890. Language: British English. Published: March 15, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
Laughter is good for the soul, so where are the clowns? The Circus is coming to Necropolis and it will be bigger and louder than ever before. Or so General Pip Rickett hopes.
Nechronicles: Exodus
Price: $5.98 USD. Words: 81,560. Language: British English. Published: December 11, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
Edwin Tinker's afterlife may be catching up with him. For centuries he has gone largely unnoticed in Necropolis, but now Dimonis has returned, and this new Chief wants Edwin out; Out of Necropolis, out of Hades and out of existence. Fortunately for Edwin, he has a few friends on his side. He just hasn't met them yet.