Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m a self-confessed geek from the rural Midlands of England, though I’m Cornish by descent and hope to move there one day. At the moment, however, I content myself with holidaying there as often as possible. I ride motorcycles, enjoy keeping fit and collect, of all things, tobacco pipes. When not writing I enjoy Netflix and Amazon marathons with my partner, and spend a good deal of time retrieving shoes from my Lurcher puppy’s ever-questing mouth.
So far I’ve written fourteen books, including three different series; The Graeme Stone Saga, a sprawling epic fantasy which is now morphing into more of a sci-fantasy set in the near future; The Cornish Guardians, a horror series set in Cornwall with some crossover to the Stone books; and now the Brian Helsing series, a foul-mouthed comedy about a socially awkward young man whose somehow chosen to take up the vampire-hunting mantle.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Brian Helsing: The World’s Unlikeliest Vampire Hunter, is the title of my latest work. I wanted to dip my toes into the world of comedy writing, because who doesn’t love a book that makes them laugh? It’s inspired by such shows as Supernatural and Lucifer, all of which combine modern life with things that go bump in the night. It follows the adventures of Brian Trelawney, a bumbling and socially awkward young man who, by some cruel twist of fate, ends up taking on the mantle of Helsing, last in the long line of glorious demon-hunters. I really – and I can’t stress this enough, REALLY – enjoyed writing this book and hope people find it half as funny as I did.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I do enjoy a tipple or five whilst writing, which often makes the editing process the next day interesting to say the least. I also have the habit of listening to Iron Maiden through my headphones at full blast, which I’m sure is going to lead to tinnitus one day. A good chunk of my writing time is also spent trying to retrieve my headphone or mouse cables from my puppy’s mouth as he tries to drag them across the floor.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
In all honesty, probably too many to count, but I’ll give it a go. Some of the grim-dark and gribbly demonic threats from my Stone books are certainly inspired by the Black Library books set in the Warhammer 40k universe. My horror books, with their slow creeping tension and dramatic confrontations are for sure inspired by all of the Graham Masterton and James Herbert I’ve read over the years, notably The Pariah, The Manitou and The Fog. The reason I’ve tried my hand at comedy in Brian Helsing is clearly Pratchett, though of course I would never assume to be able to emulate his genius style, therefore I made it a little more foul-mouthed and awkward, as befits the world we live in today.
What are you working on now?
At the moment? I’m resting between books, lest I get burnt out. Though no doubt my next book will be the second in the Brian Helsing series. And I can’t wait to crack on with it, but going to give myself a week to recover first.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’ve found Kindle Unlimited to be the way forwards when it comes to getting work out there in front of the masses. If you’ve a series (and thankfully I have more than one) it’s always a good idea to set the first book to free for a time and get some reputable promo sites (notably Awesomegang, Freebooksy and Bknights) to promote it for you. I always find this shifts many copies of the first book, which if they enjoy it (and thankfully people seem to) then they’ll go on to enjoy the rest of the series too.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Write, write, write. You will find your writing style naturally improves massively the more you write, Also, try not to take any really long breaks. I started off with quite a bit of success with my first few books, then took a break of a couple of years as real-life commitments got in the way and it took a while to get my visibility back, so try to keep your releases steady and often.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Never eat yellow snow. It’s served me well.
What are you reading now?
Bruce Dickinson’s autobiography: What Does This Button Do?
What’s next for you as a writer?
More in the Brian Helsing series, methinks, then possibly another Graeme Stone book. But first, some brunch.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Oooh now that’s a tough one. Probably two Discworld books, one featuring Rincewind, the other Vimes and his men, then my battered copy of The Encyclopedia of Things That Never Were, which I always find a fascinating read. Then probably Kingdom Come, if graphic novels count?