Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m a Canadian prairie kid. At some point I escaped the cold and went about as far as one can go from here – Australia. I went to university there (woo UQ!) in Queensland, travelling and working until eventually returning to my roots. It’s the sort of place that gets in your bones.
I’ve finished one full length ‘epic’ fantasy – which is my ‘debut’, I guess you’d call it. It’s over 200,000 words, or around 600 pages, and the first of a trilogy. I’ve also written a 20,000 flintlock fantasy ‘novella’. It will be for sale soon.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My debut book is called ‘Kings of Paradise’. I’d say a lot of things inspired it. For good or ill I’m one of those ‘always knew I wanted to be a writer’ types. I guess I feel like a bit of a cultural sponge, soaking up the news and history and lives of people all around me until eventually I just have to get it out onto paper to stay sane. So that’s what Kings of Paradise is – my love of the fantasy genre mixed with history and politics, and my fascination with incredible things, people and events.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I suppose that depends on what counts as ‘unusual’. I try to meet a very forgiving quota of 1000 ‘good’ words a day. This generally involves me sitting at my desk for several hours, typically from whenever I wake up (I abandoned an alarm clock some time ago), to around 5pm like a regular person. Once I’ve met that quota though (whatever time that happens to be), all bets are off. I’m a raving lunatic rock star the rest of the day. I’ve achieved world peace. Nothing could ever be wrong with the world, and I’ll drink whiskey at 9am if I want, thank you very much. The depression sets in again tomorrow.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Oh dear. My first love (that I can remember – my dad narrated before I could read), was Samuel Coleridge, and the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. I still think poems that don’t rhyme are terrible. The novelist that has endured as my favorite though is James Clavell, and I think Shogun is a masterpiece. In terms of fantasy, I have to mention Robert E Howard and George Martin for sure. I’m also a big fan of Mark Lawrence and Brent Weeks.
What are you working on now?
Two things – the second book in the Kings of Paradise series, and also shorter flintlock fantasy stories. The first flintlock story is called ‘Rebellion of the Black Militia’, and involves guns, demons, and knights. It’s much faster pace and action-y, and should appeal to any fantasy fans.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Good question. I wish I knew. At the moment I’m taking the shotgun approach and trying a little of everything. Places like Awesomegang are rare and very valuable to the little indie guys like me. So thanks very much!
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Write more. Finish what you’re writing. Leave it alone and read it in a month.
Almost anyone can learn how to market and advertise with enough time, money, and patience. Your ‘competitive advantage’ is being a good writer, so master it.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Allow yourself to write badly. Get the words down and move on, you’ll improve, you can decide later what’s good enough to keep. Extend to life in general.
What are you reading now?
I read a lot. At any given moment you might find a dozen open books scattered like rotting food around the places I sit or lie down. Having said that, I just finished Juliet Barker’s Agincourt – a history book about that famous battle and king, Henry V, later immortalized by Shakespeare.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Writing more books! I want to finish the Kings of Paradise trilogy, several more flintlock ‘novellas’, and then I’ll likely write another fantasy trilogy based on the flintlock ‘world’ I’ve created. After that, who knows…
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?
Obviously my first choice would be: ‘How to Survive on a Deserted Island’, by Tim O’Shei.
I mentioned it earlier but I think #2 might be James Clavell’s ‘Shogun’. It’s one of the few books I ever re-read. After that – the Kama Sutra.