Interview with Steven A. McKay

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love to play with my children who are 3 and 9. When I get some time on my own I love playing guitar and writing my own music (from acoustic folk stuff to death metal).
Most of my time recently has been spent researching my new book, The Druid.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first one I can remember was when I was about 13 and we were given the task of writing a short story in school. Mine was really silly and my friends loved it - it even had drawings to go with it. The teacher thought I should stop trying to be amusing all the time and take writing seriously. 20-odd years later I decided to follow his advice!
What is your writing process?
I spend a lot of time at work either walking around Glasgow or driving so I use that time to come up with ideas for plots and characters. When I sit down at the laptop I then have a good idea of what I plan on writing in that session so I never suffer from writer's block.
I mark anything I'm not sure about with a big X then, once I'm ready, I search the document for those Xs and research whatever it was I was stuck with.
How do you approach cover design?
I like to have strong image on the covers, be it a warrior with a longbow or sword or whatever but I think the fonts used for lettering are hugely important. You see so many indie books with good cover images but really crappy fonts that look like the stock ones in MS Paint and it makes the whole thing look cheap and amateurish.
I usually sketch out my ideas and email the terrible drawing to the guys at More Visual who have done all my covers apart from the ones Amazon Publishing did.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Lord of the Rings - epic, layered, rich and timeless.
Warlord Chronicles - Bernard Cornell. The series that made me want to be a writer.
The Magus - John Fowles. Wonderfully evocative and offers something new on re-reading.
Dune - Frank Herbert. The first book in the series is just incredible although the others get steadily worse.
Any HP Lovecraft collection (apart from the dream ones). I love his creepy writing with the suggestion of cosmic horror and slithering, crawling chaos and idiot piping gods!
What do you read for pleasure?
I subscribe to Fortean Times magazine and also enjoy historical fiction (Ben Kane, Douglas Jackson, Cornwell etc) along with Lovecraft and Judge Dredd.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I use the Kindle app on my tablet or phone.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Running a price-drop promotion in conjunction with an advert somewhere like Bookbub or Kindle Nation Daily works well usually. People often complain no-one bought their book when it was on special offer, but if no-one KNOWS about it, why would they buy it?! Advertise!
Describe your desk
My desk is small, to fit in my little study. I only have the laptop and a USB interface for recording my guitars. The study is really cool - there's a sword from the Lord of the Rings movies on the wall along with hand-drawn pictures of Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) and Brian & Angus (AC/DC). My bookcase has lots of cool volumes on druids, magick, history, Robin Hood and Judge Dredd!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
My teenage years were spent in Glasgow but I don't like busy cities. When I was younger I lived in a small village which had a stream and woods to play in and I think that's why I ended up writing books set in places like that in historical times.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It all stemmed from watching a re-run of the old UK TV show "Knightmare" which dates back to about the 80's. I saw it again recently and Merlin was in it. It made me think a druid would make a good main character for a book so I set about creating my own "dark age" druid, Bellicus. He hails from Dun Breatann in Scotland, is about 6-and-a-half-feet tall and as much a warrior as he is a druid.
It's been a lot of fun writing it and is nearly finished now (September 2017). Hopefully my agent finds a great publisher for it!
Published 2017-09-16.
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Books by This Author

The Rescue - a Forest Lord Tale
Price: Free! Words: 3,820. Language: English. Published: September 16, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Medieval, Fiction » Adventure » Action
When a faithful friend goes missing from an English village it's up to an unlikely hero to find out what's happened in this action packed short story. “The Rescue” is part of the 100,000+ selling Forest Lord series. "Once again Steven A. McKay delivers a story that, although short, hits like an arrow in the guts." - Stuart S. Laing, author of Jezebel's Chains