G R Forrest


Storytelling, for me, has always been about two things: exploration – of character, of interactions, of places and of cultures – and escapism, the opportunity to step away from the everyday. In that respect, writing seemed to evolve for me as a natural extension of reading. I knew how a really good story made me think and feel, and characters and settings which stayed with me long after I’d finished their book seemed to demand I extend their story. I can’t help suspecting that a lot of writers secretly start out as fan-fictionists! The shift towards creating my own characters and settings was nudged on its way at least partly by the fact that I’ve always been an inveterate daydreamer and, especially as a child and teenager, would spend the times when I couldn’t get away with reading, making up stories in my head instead!

As others have said before me, stories are an integral part of what makes us what – and who – we are, and these days writing has evolved to be a significant part of who I am; an extra lens to see the world through, if you will. I can be inspired by anything from everyday events through to bits of history, music, art, computer games and, of course, the works of other authors.The books I love best are the ones that I can’t put down, with cliff-hangers, unexpected twists and turns, races against time, elements of mystery and so on. The quickest way for an author to draw me in is to present well-realised characters – irascible or angelic; this is much less relevant than how vividly they leap off the page.

The challenge of creating personalities and landscapes as striking as those of the writers I admire remains as tantalising as ever – a quest unlikely to end any time soon.

Smashwords Interview

What is the story behind 'Tamzin and the Viper'?
This book went through quite a long evolutionary process. I started writing it when I was still doing my A-levels, and in a very real sense it has grown up with me because I finished it (or at least, a full draft of it) while I was at university. As you can probably imagine, writing time had to be fitted into whatever space was available around those educational commitments!
The main character, Tamzin, had been around in my imagination, in various different guises, for a few years before this particular story was even conceived. She eventually became part of what I remember as a ridiculously complex extended story that I had under construction in my late teens, to which the contents of ‘Tamzin and the Viper’ (only vaguely sketched out back then!) were supposed to be the backstory. One day, having got bored of trying to figure out the minutiae of the large-scale story I thought I should be writing, I sat down and penned a very early version of what became the prologue of ‘Tamzin and the Viper’. Before I knew it, I had become inspired by the characters and events, and realised that this was the tale I really wanted to tell.
What are you working on next?
My second book is going to be a sequel, set a few months after the events of ‘Tamzin and the Viper’. Tamzin has travelled south to the coastal town of Ashmin, right on the border of Kazanchutah. There she takes part in the Rain Festival marking the start of the monsoon season, answers a plea for help and uncovers a sinister plot which, if successful, would have catastrophic consequences for the town.
The development time for this one has been much shorter than for ‘Tamzin and the Viper’! When I wrote that first book, I spent a lot of time learning the process of constructing a story, and finding out what would and wouldn’t work in terms of plots and characters. A lot can be learned from books on writing and from other people’s knowledge, but in the end there’s no substitute for just sitting down and trying things out for yourself! Also, for a variety of reasons, my ideas and attitude to life were changing very rapidly at the time I started writing ‘Tamzin and the Viper’, so it took me a while to find a style I was happy with. Of course, the fact that the second time around I already know my main characters very well helps too!
Read more of this interview.

Where to find G R Forrest online


Tamzin and the Viper
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 80,210. Language: English. Published: July 20, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General
The unlikely hero always wins through in the end, so they say. Except, not always. As the Chaskandrah City Council fights to quell the unrest caused by the infamous Viper Shanathan gang, a conflict unfolds between two people who have both failed in their bids to defy tradition: one who is struggling to fit back into a normal life, and one who has spectacularly refused to let go of old resentments.

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