I first started writing in Primary school. I guess I would have been about six or seven years old. I used to try and replicate little story books my Father would make for my older brother involving tanks in World War II. The first time I really 'got the bug' of creative writing would have been when I was about nine years old, when I entered story competitions under various obscure themes such as: 'If stones could speak'; and, 'The right to hope.' I would normally write about some medieval occasion, such as Vikings raiding monasteries in Ireland, or, character studies set during the troubles in Northern Ireland.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The necessity to write and be read. I have always dreamed of being a writer, and have been working to become a better writer for many years. Initially, I would always have felt that I could only feel validation by seeing my work published via traditional means, however, the market growth for Indies in recent years has been phenomenal and very exciting. I love the idea of having creative control, and although there is much more work to do in self-promotion, etc., it is still very rewarding to be published. I'm getting feedback from readers every day now, and it is a lovely feeling. Much of my understanding of the Indie publishing scene can be attributed to the excellent podcasts and books out at the moment! If anyone is thinking about it, check out The Creative Penn and Self Publishing Podcast!
What's the story behind your latest book?
The story behind my latest book, on a meta level, is about revenge and redemption.
The element of revenge is at a high level, between nations, and between Gods. The element of redemption deals largely with the principle POV character, Kalfinar, and his journey towards undoing all the wrongs of his recent life on a personal and spiritual level.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing must be the feeling when a plot problem is finally solved (normally when I'm in the shower, or driving). I also love the moments when I'm in the flow to such an extent that time just slips by and the word count grows and grows. Also, amongst the greatest joy for me is battle scenes, or other heavily emotional scenes. I tend to turn off (most of) the lights, put on some suitably themed music (Last of the Mohicans soundtrack for battles) and tap away at the keyboard!
Who are your favorite authors?
As a child I loved Rosemary Sutcliff, and as a young teenager I found my way toward Tolkien. Following the entire consumption of J.R.R.'s work, I moved on to David Eddings and Raymond E.Feist, all of which I loved, and still love. In more recent years I have read a lot of other fantastic novels, but for me the stand out work of late has to belong to Joe Abercrombie and Anthony Ryan.
What are you working on next?
I'm currently working on the second instalment of the Red Season Series. I intend to plot this out by the start of October, after which I will be targeting approximately 5,000 words a week until April. Following the achievement of the target word count (on time), there will be approximately 2 month of 'post-production' and then finally publishing in June 2017.
This is obviously my principle project, however I will also be working on a shorter piece, of a more literary nature. It's not one to hold the breath over!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not writing I am more than likely working in my 'day job' (in the Renewable Energy sector). Outside of writing and work, I enjoy spending time with my wife and dog, ideally in the remote West Coast of Scotland. I love sea kayaking and canoeing, hill walking and wood work. Keeping fit is a passion, but largely restricted by a) persistent and niggling injuries, and b) lacking the motivation to get up from the laptop to haul my creaking carcass out for a run.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
This is going to sound terrible, but a good cover helps! The saying 'never judge a book by its cover' is a nonsense! It helps to have a good set of reviews and of course, the chance to sample the first few chapters helps.
What is your writing process?
I try and write from 19:00-21:00 most nights, normally aiming for a minimum target of 1,000 words.
I find that I am much more productive if I have at least an outline scene structure to work from, and so it is important to do some work at this before starting a story. I have done plenty of 'pantsing' before, and it can be a slow, painful process. Sometimes it is incredible, but you always run the risk of killing a character you didn't mean to...
How do you approach cover design?
I think I've got a reasonable eye for design, however, I do not have the tools to realise the vision I may have. I tend to prepare and outline of what I'm looking for, generally showing covers I like to the designer I'm working with and discussing the mood and themes of the book.
Describe your desk
An absolute abomination.
A writer needs a tidy desk to work at. Currently, I'm writing at the kitchen table...
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Northern Ireland. I spent a lot of time around ancient monuments and areas in Ireland associated with Myths and Legends. I feel this childhood left me no option but to get into Mythology and Fantasy!
What do your fans mean to you?
I'm only really starting out as an author, with Red Season Rising being my first published work. At this point, I would think I don't have too many fans! The readers who have contacted me to date, however, have been so encouraging and full of excellent feedback. It is always nice to get feedback, and the single greatest fuel to keep on writing is the encouragement of those who have read and enjoyed what nonsense has tumbled from my mind onto the page.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The dog nudging me to take him for a walk is all the inspiration I need!
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