Joining me around the campfire today is new fantasy author Sean Valiente. I’ve been writing fantasy since 2014 and know how daunting launching yourself into the genre can be. We learn more about Sean and what makes him take.
- Hi Sean tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?
Hello! I’m Sean and I am a fantasy author. It feels good to say that. I’ve recently self-published my first book, The Lighting Knight. I’ve always had stories in my head that I thought might be fun to put to paper, and after explaining the ideas to my friends for the millionth time, my best friend finally forced me to sit down and start typing. A few years later I have a real book and it’s amazing!
- What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?
I like the escapism and the allegory of it all. I think there’s something fantastical about being in a different world but still relating it to our world. Plus you get to break some of the rules of physics and readers are like, “cool”, and that makes things much more interesting!
- Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together?
My latest book, The Lightning Knight, was the first in my planned series. It was a tough cookie to bake, but after a lot of late nights and driving myself crazy, it finally came out! It’s available wherever you get your books online. The biggest challenge with this book was not redrafting it for the fourth time! Every time I went to tinker with it, things would change, which seemed like a never ending cycle of will this book ever see the light of day.
- What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?
I like a diverse set of characters, not just in ethnicity or type but personality. However, my first book is from the perspective of one character, so the other characters are really a reflection of how he sees them. They have a lot more depth and intricacies beneath the surface, but to Oliver, they just are who they are. I’d say the main character has a lot of shades of myself, but ultimately he’s his own person.
- For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?
Write! It’s the hardest part, especially for “wannabe writers” which is what I was for about 10 years. It’s so hard to finally start, but once you do, it’s like the Ents have broken the damn and flooded Isengard.
- What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?
I’m a big fan of google docs and google sheets. I’m a finance and accounting professional so everything in my life is a spreadsheet haha. But really, you find something that your comfortable with, whether it’s Scrivner, Gdocs, Word, a pen and a napkin, and you go with it. Just remember to save your files (or napkins) to a cloud drive (one reason I love gdocs). Dropbox, box, gdocs, OneDrive, whatever. External USB or harddrives are cool, but even they have failure rates (or you can physically lose them.) Autosave and save often. The netherworld of lost manuscripts is littered with amazing stories that are gone forever!
- Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?
I’m a bit of both. I have points I want to get to, but I don’t know how to get there. That’s when I let the characters drive the plot, and it’s pretty great as a writer, because I get to watch it for the first time!
- What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?
I have two things going on: one is continuing my series with book two (I’ve already written five chapters). The second is I have an idea for a middle-grade fantasy book series that I might start in a few months.
- With the world the way it is at the moment what sort of tales do you prefer? Ones with heroes where good triumphs over evil or ones that take a darker approach?
I’ve always been a heroes triumph kind of guy, but I love a good bittersweet ending as well. I’m not a grimdark kind of person or writer, but I do like to have some darker emotional strings from time to time.
- What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?
They’re actually all very different and important for their respective reasons. Star Wars showed what sci-fi and fantasy could be on screen, and developed an amazing multi-media empire of content. Lord of the Rings is basically the Godfather of fantasy and showed that books could be turned into movies and other content if handled with care (we won’t talk about the beloved animated movies). And Harry Potter brought a love of reading to many people who fell away, and opened up fantasy to the masses on a popular scale. I love Star Wars with all my heart, Lord of the Rings is my fantasy bible, and Harry Potter is my treat-yo-self dessert. They’re all great.
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Currently the kindle edition of Sean’s book is $.99 and will be that way probably through feb or march.