In terms of writing, everything. If my books are enjoyed, then all the time spent trying to make them as entertaining as possible will have been worthwhile.
What are you working on next?
The next novel in the Forests of Exile series of fantasy novels set in Acadia.
Who are your favorite authors?
I have eclectic tastes. Tolkien of course, and then a whole gamut of writers across the spectrum from cheery sword-and-sorcery to the grimmest of grim, from Philip Pullman to Mark Lawrence and everyone in between.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My wife, Sophie.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
See the previous answer.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I try to read everything.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, a science-fiction novel, scribbled onto scraps of paper on the school bus when I was a kid. I remember being surprised how difficult it was.
What is your writing process?
I have a basic idea of where the story is going, but from then on it is all character. What would the protagonist think/do/say in the situation in which she/he finds him/herself? How would the peripheral characters react?
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember sipping mead (no idea where I got that from) while I tried to read Lord of the Rings at age 7 or 8. Getting through it took me literally months, and a lot of the words went right over my head, but I knew I was on to something completely new and fascinating.
How do you approach cover design?
I start with a basic idea and then try to find photographs to fit it. I end up with digital images with dozens of layers. Often I ditch what I've created and start again, or branch off at a tangent.
What's the story behind the Forests of Exile series?
All my fantasy books are set in the land of Acadia. This is a settlement, a dwindling population, surrounded on three sides by deep forests and to the south by an uncharted sea. There is no contact with any other civilization. Acadia is ruled by a theocracy, eight Living Prophets or necromancers, depending on one's point of view, who jealously guard all knowledge and learning for themselves and ruthlessly persecute unbelievers. Only those who exile themselves to the forests can know any kind of freedom of thought or religion. But this dictatorial edifice is teetering, not least because there is growing dissent among the populace, and a powerful race of creatures, the wights, who believe that the time is right to drive mankind back into the sea from whence it came.
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