Author Interview: C.T Phipps

Welcome back to the campfire. Pull up a seat and warm yourself against the cold, dark winter. Today I’m joined by prolific American author C.T Phipps.


  • Hi, C.T. Phipps, tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?

Hi, back! I am 39 years old and from Ashland, Ky. I’ve been writing since I was a child but eventually I got decent around college. I’ve always wanted to tell stories and whether it was table top gaming or fanfic, I was always honing my craft. I eventually decided to write two separate series: The United States of Monsters and The Supervillainy Saga.

The United States of Monsters is now composed of multiple trilogies (Bright Falls Mysteries, Morgan Detective Agency, Red Room Saga, Straight Outta Fangton, and Psycho Killers in Love). It’s set in an urban fantasy universe where the supernatural came out in 2008 and deals with various heroes trying to make the adjustment.

The Supervillainy Saga is a six book (so far) series about a self-styled supervillain named Gary Karkofsky a.k.a Merciless: The Supervillain without MercyTM. It’s a comedic series with a serious core about a guy who wants to be the bad guy but isn’t quite evil enough to pull it off. It’s an homage to all the wonderful comic book media I’ve consumed over my life and utterly zany.

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

I believe what I like most about the fantasy genre is the fact that it is limited only by your imagination. I just don’t feel the same connection to historical or “realistic” settings and I feel like fiction allows you to test the limits of reality far better than something that must stay within the boundaries of the plausible. Despite this, I admit I am fonder of urban fantasy than I am high fantasy or grimdark (low fantasy). Heck, even science fiction, though I have dabbled in that genre too.

One of the reasons I decided to do a superhero universe was because almost anything can happen in them. The Supervillainy Saga was based on the idea of setting it in a world with magic, super-science, gods, demons, wizards, aliens, and more. It’s the ultimate genre mash-up and I feel like you only get to really enjoy a superhero universe if you completely go gonzo with it.

  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together?

My most recently released work is PSYCHO-KILLERS IN LOVE for the United States of Monsters universe. It’s set in 2000 before the 2008 reveal and is a story that homages 80s slasher movies as well as the 90s reinterpretations of them like Scream and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

William and his sister Carrie are the children of an infamous holiday-themed slasher, Billy the Undying. After a Final Girl took Billy down, they were imprisoned for years in an asylum for their father’s crimes. Escaping, they’ve tried to stay one step ahead of the authorities while dealing with their father’s ghost as well as rising supernatural urge to kill. Arriving in a haunted small town with a mysterious cult, they discover a slasher hunter named Nancy that has her eyes set on wiping their kind out. However, William has eyes for her and hopes they can cross all lines of good sense to be together. Can the family that slays together, stay together?

I’m currently working on The Horror of Supervillainy, which is the 7th book in the Supervillainy Saga. I’ve had a real blast writing these and I’m very glad that my fans have continued to follow me through these. This volume has Gary struggling with his recent attempt to go straight and getting lured into a haunted swamp to rescue the President’s daughter from Dracula. It turns out to be a trap and he’s soon confronted with an entire host of past sins coming back to bite him.

  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?

I confess, I absolutely love snarky and sarcastic pop-culture spewing protagonists. A lot of my characters follow the Buffy, Harry Dresden, Iron Man, Mercy Thompson, and Spider-Man mold. Gary is certainly in that vein and I absolutely love how he reacts as a bundle of weird comic energy through your typical superhero universe. Mostly because if the reader is entertained every second of reading a page then they’ve more than gotten their money’s worth. As for how much of myself I put into books? Well, every one of my characters has a part of me in them. I hope I’m not a budding supervillain or serial killer (of killers), though.

  • For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?

Patience. A lot of authors think that they’re going to be an immediate success if they release their book as quickly as possible. They don’t realize they’re going to be part of an ocean of millions. As such, they need to adjust their expectations and build a strong social media presence as well as a following. Completing a book is already an enormous task and that also will require massive amounts of editing, beta-reading, and revising. Basically, this is a marathon not a sprint.

  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?

I like to immerse myself in the genre of the work I’m writing. If I’m going to be writing the Supervillainy Saga, for instance, I want to immerse myself in comic books and superhero movies in order to make sure that’s where my mind is presently at. Stephen King said that writing was like milk in the fridge, “It tastes like whatever it is left against.” Aside from questioning what exactly is in King’s fridge, it inspired me to keep that in mind.

  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?

I go for a hybrid. I love to plot out a basic idea of where I want things to go. However, I love letting the characters decide how to get there. Plenty of times I’ve decided to handle things going one way, only for my characters to completely change where I was going to go next.

  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?

I’m currently planning on continuing to finish off my existing trilogies and works before moving onto new projects. I got a little big for my britches by starting a half-dozen series at the start of my career before focusing on one at the start. Still, this worked out for me as the Supervillainy Saga proved to be the most successful one by far. I have plans for twelve books in that story and that should keep me occupied for some time.

  • 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’m a definite fan of antiheroes. People who have their own selfish motivations that may triumph over their better natures but who still have limits they won’t cross.

  1. What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?

Star Wars remains my universe from beginning to end. I grew up on the movies, loved the Expanded Universe in high school to college, and still manage to pick up the occasional canon work.

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Author Page: https://ctphipps.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13434447.C_T_Phipps


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Voyage for the Sundered Crown is out NOW!

Brace the Mainsail and prepare for adventure – Voyage for the Sundered Crown is out now!

I’m delighted to announce that Book 4 in the Sundered Crown Saga is out now! It’s been a few years since I last dived into this world and continued Luxon, Ferran and Sophia’s story. I hope you enjoy it and please post a review!

Get it for just 0.99p/c for a limited time only. As well as that Book 1 Heir to the Sundered Crown is also on sale for 0.99p/c so now is the perfect time to dive into the saga.

—The Kingdom of Delfinnia has fallen, but hope remains.
Sent on a daring voyage to seek out allies from across the sea the wizard, Luxon Edioz and his companions rediscover the continent of Tulin. A land that is full of dangers, magic, and adventure.

There, they will find new allies, new wonders, and new enemies. 

As Danon’s conquest draws closer to completion, Luxon must use all of his wits and powers to unite the peoples of Tulin and convince them to help him save his homeland.
It will be a voyage that will test him to his limits and one that will decide the fate of all.

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Author Interview – C.F Welburn

Joining me around the campfire today is fantasy author C.F Welburn creator of the Ashen Levels series.


  • Hi CF Welburn, tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?

As far back as I can remember I’ve had a passion for writing. Certainly, since primary school when I fell in love with Fighting Fantasy books, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and subsequently, The Hobbit. I was lucky that I had parents that read to me, and some great teachers that encouraged me to use my imagination! I also grew up in the countryside, so playing in the woods and making dens always gave me a sense of adventure!

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

I suppose it’s just the sense of magic, danger, adventure. Something that used to set my young mind to daydreaming and these days as pure escapism.

  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together?

I’m currently being torn between two projects. One being a standalone grimmer-darker tale of revenge (TBA 2021); the other being a four book series which will have multiple POVs and be more of an end-of-the-world affair… I’m also working on the narrative for a videogame with my brother-in-law, called The Prison.

  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?

This would depend on the story. For example, in The Linguist the main character is pretty flawed, and his decisions have led him to a very dark place, which was interesting to write and get inside his headspace. But the most fun character to write by far has to be Balagir from The Ashen Levels. Despite myriad challenges he never loses his dark sense of humour, and ability to outwit most of his adversaries.

  • For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?

I’m afraid my advice will likely be the same old spiel… Write what you want to read, enjoy what you do, never be afraid to push your ideas much further than the initial spark. If you’re in a slump go for a walk, travel, listen to music, read, play! Try to write little and often… Basically, have fun! This is your creation, make it shine!

  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?

[insert manic laughter] Fortunately, I never tell anyone about my constantly shifting deadlines, to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on myself. It’s ready when it’s ready and if that takes twice as long as intended, or the book doesn’t resemble in any way its original concept, then so be it. The creative process is exactly that; a process. Like making a cake when the kitchen is covered in flour and smells slightly of burning. In the end it’s the final product that you put out that matters. If I’m not 100% happy with it, I’d rather sit on it and write something else. With the Ashen Levels I had some loose plot points, but lots of room to manoeuvre, so the story never was on track, because there was no track… Well, perhaps a dirt track, choked with nettles and riddled with ditches. That made it more enjoyable to write, and gave me more freedom to chase surprising ideas.

  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?

I tend to be a little bit of both. I have general ideas, milestones, situations in mind, and then I begin to see how they might all fit together. Of course, this depends on the project. The Ashen Levels’ first draft was 75% pantsing, whilst the series I’m working on at the moment is requiring significantly more plotting to make sure the magic system makes sense…

  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?

I want to write a mixture of standalones and series. These days I’m tending to prefer standalones in the way that they feel self-contained and stay in my mind, like the old classics used to. However, Epic fantasy as a genre works really well in series format and it’s nice at times to get lost in something you know is going to last you a while! I have working titles for my next 3 books, but I’m keeping them close to my chest until nearer the time.

  • 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?

In spite of the current situation I haven’t found that my reading (or gaming/music) tastes have changed. I like stories that have a fun element and quirky sense of humour, but I’ve always been drawn to the darker, tragic side of literature, too. If it’s too happy I don’t feel as much impact from the story. Then again, too much doom and gloom can be a bit tiresome. Think about a dark, dramatic, stormy day with the occasional shaft of sunlight and invigorating breeze.

  • What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?

Despite being born in 1977 and my early years being spent with the (original) Star Wars trilogy, I’m going to have to go with LOTR. The book formed a cornerstone of my childhood, and I thought what Peter Jackson did with the films was spectacular! (The Hobbit films, not so much). If Harry Potter is on at Christmas I’ll watch and enjoy it, but I kind of missed the Hogwart’s Express on all of that.

Thanks for the interview, Matthew! My website has just had a facelift which you can check out for a bit more about me and my books. Oh, and Part 1 of The Ashen Levels (Fledgling) is currently 99c. If you want to take a stab at something for the price of a Mcdonalds’ cheeseburger, then you’ve not much to lose. It’s not quite as fattening, but may leave a greasy residue. I also occasionally lurk on Facebook and Instagram.

www.cfwelburn.com


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The Sundered Crown Boxset is now available wide

My move away from relying solely on Amazon for books sales continues as now the Sundered Crown Boxset is now available at other retailers.

The boxset can now be bought on Kobo, Nook and Apple book stores as well as others. Click the link to see –

Annoyingly Apple is always a bit fussier than other retailers which is why the wide book cover for the boxset is different to the one currently on Amazon.

The boxset contains the first three books of the Sundered Crown Saga and also includes the prequel book The Nightblade and a section dedicated to the saga’s lore.

Get your copy from – https://books2read.com/u/4jLg7Z

Amazon link – mybook.to/SCboxset

Author Interview – Cameron Johnson

In today’s author interview I chat with Cameron Johnson the author of the excellent Traitor God and other fantasy novels.


  • Hi Cameron Johnston tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?

Hello, and thanks for having me. I’m a totally not-middle-aged (expecting 100+ years achieved via a combination of whisky and cybernetics) guy from Scotland who writes darker fantasy, loves archaeology, history and mythology and exploring ancient sites. I was a library kid and I guess I caught the storytelling bug from that, and it evolved from reading a whole lot to wanting to tell my own stories.

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

Part of it is revelling in the sheer imagination of it all, from floating castles to terrifying monsters, otherworldly places and fascinating characters landed in situations that suck you in. In a way, reading fantasy is like being an explorer of strange new worlds and as that sense of discovery is a wonderful thing.

  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together?

The Maleficent Seven will (probably) be out in August 2021, and let me tell you, writing seven (and a bit) villainous points of view is a pretty daunting prospect after writing two books with only a single point of view protagonist. In the end, I really enjoyed writing those characters and seeing them develop their own unique voices.

  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?

I like to vary characters so I don’t have a set type, other than perhaps one with a sharp tongue. One thing I do try to do write are characters that are never 100% good or 100% evil – a bad guy might be a good father or love and care for dogs for example. People are bewilderingly complex creatures. As for how much of myself I put in, probably very little – I’m thankfully much nicer than most of my characters.

  • For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?

Know that most authors are incredibly self-critical, and what you read has gone through several rounds of editing and rewrites. When you start out, the first draft of your first novel or short story will probably not be good, and that’s OK – many published novels started life on shaky feet. To write well you need to learn to write, and then you have to learn to edit your work so it makes sense and reads smoothly. Don’t despair at your first attempts and give up – you will learn from writing it, and then learn to edit it.

  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?

Panic? Hot cups of tea? Perhaps the odd whisky? There are no tricks sadly, just sitting down, avoiding the internet and distractions and getting the words down. It’s easy to procrastinate with a million other things you could be doing, but you just need to resist and get to work.

  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?

-Almost entirely a pantser. I like to know the start and the end of a story, and perhaps a few important points along the road to give it shape, but other than that the characters make their own decisions and write their own story.

  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?

Oh, lots of plans. Too many, really. The only problem I have is what one I want to explore next. I have a few standalone fantasy novels I want to write so I will probably toss the dice to decide what one I start writing first.

  • 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 noticed a slight preference for less grimdark fiction at the moment, turning to more popcorny adventuresome stories instead. I expect that’s trying to find an emotional balance with the relentless craptitude of 2020.

  • What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?

-I’ll go with Lord of the Rings for this one. What a world! That said, I do love The Mandalorian.

Website: http://www.cameronjohnston.net

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CamJohnston

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cameronjohnston13


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Author Interview – PD Alleva

Joining me today is science fiction and horror author PD Alleva.


  • Hi PD Alleva tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?

I write primarily in the science fiction and horror genres, always mixing in a bit of fantasy, supernatural, metaphysical, thrills and chills into something I like to call alternative fiction. Honestly, the word multi-genre sounds like you’ve got marbles in your mouth so, being a child of the 90’s I prefer the term alternative fiction. I’m also a semi-retired hypnotist and behavioural therapist with a specialty treating trauma and addiction.

I’ve always been a writer. I wrote my first full-length novel in sixth grade and used to write fan fiction as far back as the memory will allow. Just the simple thought of creating a book is inspiration enough to put pen to paper and write a novel. I believe literature marks the time and I’m happy to contribute a voice to the literary community.

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

The ability to stretch the limits of the imagination. We can go anywhere we choose, do whatever we want. Build cathedrals in one chapter and burn them down in the next. Spiral across time or duel with a dragon or spiral across time while duelling with a dragon. I could go on and on.

  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together?

The Rose Vol. 1 has been a two-year long project that started as a short story, a prelude to a trilogy I was writing at the time titled The Indigo Trials. I was writing the short story with the purpose to introduce the superpower in the series, a superpower called ‘the rose,’ which is based on an alchemy meditation practice, although I amped up the superpower to include the ability to transform chemical structures, suspend gravity, and move objects with a thought. However, as I was writing (and having a great deal of fun doing so) it became apparent the story and the characters wanted more and refused to be put in a box as a simple short story.

The story begins after a World War 3 treaty has been signed and follows an unsuspecting American citizen, Sandy Cox, who has been living in a WW3 safety camp for the past few years. At this point in the story human beings are still unaware that aliens exist here on earth, and they are definitely unaware that their own government has conspired with these alien’s in an effort to turn the human population into easily controlled zombies in a diabolical plot to achieve planetary and interstellar domination. Sandy is one of the naïve until she is taken to an underground medical complex and discovers the existence of grey aliens and, even more sinister, a sophisticated species of what I refer to as Dracs, or, the alien vampires.

I had some very specific challenges when writing the book. First, I am a vampire fan, always have been, and introducing a new take on vampires was highly challenging. Not only did I need to satisfy fellow vampire lovers, I had to break open and pen an entirely different although familiar lore behind the Dracs. In addition to this challenge was the alien lore, theories, and conspiracies that I wanted to include in the story, most specifically the lore and mythology behind the Dracs and greys. Any ancient alien theorist will be able to pick up on the multiple theories presented in the story including concepts such as the 12th planet, hollow earth, and Robert Morningstar papers. So, the challenge was two fold, satisfy the vampire and alien lovers while remaining loyal to genre, mythology, and lore, and I tackled this challenge by presenting the dystopian science fiction story through the eyes of the casual observer discovering all the chaos and mayhem that exists behind the scenes. So, just as the unsuspecting heroine Sandy Cox is discovering all these alien vampires the reader is discovering them with her. I hope the end product is not only satisfactory on the intellectual and creative level, but also on the ‘just plain old fun,’ level.

The Rose Vol. 1 was published on October 7th and is currently available worldwide at all major retail stores.

  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?

I enjoy writing villains. There’s just something extraordinary about piecing together an iconic villain, delving into the dark mind and hearts of the truly depraved, insane, and chaotic. Yeah, I like my villains.

  • For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?

Write a good book. Great editing is a must and don’t forget that great stories are a collaboration so find an editor that challenges your writing style and remember its nothing personal, its just business. Write to market, and find what works best for you for marketing.

  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?

I rarely work under a deadline, as I don’t agree with pushing the creative process, usually things get lost in the shuffle and when you’re writing stories that require so much detail, lore, and backstory across multiple point of view I just need it to flow the right way and not concern myself with deadlines. Case in point is the horror thriller I’m currently writing, Jigglyspot and the Zero Intellect, which I’ve been writing for the past seven months and it’s close to 140,000 words that was originally going to be a novella (guess Jigglyspot refused to be a short blip on my radar). When I’m knee deep in a project it takes up my full attention, thankfully I’m not on any deadlines. I enjoy going with the flow and putting out a stellar product over meeting deadlines.

  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?

Pantser mostly, although I do send myself little emails with thoughts on plot changes and character development.

  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?

I also write horror novels. I have a horror and dark fiction series titled Beyond the Chamber Door. The first two books are already published (Twisted Tales of Deceit, and Presenting the Marriage of Kelli Anne & Gerri Denemer), with two more in the pipeline (Golem and Jigglyspot and the Zero Intellect). I’m also about to start writing Vol. 2 for The Rose followed by completing the next part of The Rose series (The Indigo Trials trilogy). From there, two more horror novels followed by the third connected series in The Rose, an apocalyptic time travel series titled Winter.

  • 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?

A darker approach as always. Every novel I’ve written has dark elements to it, kind of the yin and yang of the universe all wrapped into a neat little package. Plus there’s the whole reality that more often than not bad people win more often, I like to reflect this reality because its not always rainbows and sunshine that life has to throw at us.

  • What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?

The original Star Wars, anything after that is up for debate.

Author Links:

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Website:  www.pdalleva.com

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Author Interview – Cassie Crow

Joining me around the campfire today is YA fantasy author Cassie Crow. Settle in and enjoy!


  • Hi Cas tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?

    Hi. I am the author of The Wayward Haunt, the first novel in The Wayward Series, a YA dark fantasy which was released in June 2020. Since I was very young, I’ve been drawn to stories involving the supernatural. I would spend my lunch times at school creating scary stories for my friends to listen to. Barbie and my dolls would often end up some terrible, haunted, fantasy setting of some kind. I think what inspired me to write was that for a very long time, I couldn’t. I really struggled as a kid to read and write. I hated it. Eventually I was privately tutored by a teacher named Mrs Swann who recognised my love for storytelling. She taught me to see that reading and writing weren’t any different. With her guidance, I caught up to my peers in class. I think I chose to become a writer because I needed to prove that I could do it. Now I write because I love to be creative.
  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

    I love to read and write fantasy because it takes me into another world where anything can be possible. Fantasy is always growing and evolving. Every author brings something new to the genre, which keeps the stories entertaining and interesting. You never know exactly what you are going to get when you read fantasy, because rules are unbound by reality. The author’s imagination can be limitless. I write dark fantasy because I’ve always enjoyed chilling, ominous stories. The Wayward Series is set in a war-torn, dystopian world where magic is prevalent and ghosts exist, but the themes and events are very similar to what has occurred throughout our own history. I think fantasy allows authors to write about what is happening in our own world, by exploring it through fantasy.
  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together? (include release date etc here)

    My current project is the second instalment in The Wayward Series and is the sequel to The Wayward Haunt, titled The Four Revenants. It picks up directly where The Wayward Haunt finishes. I am halfway through the first draft, which I hope to have completed by April 2021, with the novel released early 2022 (fingers crossed). Just like the first book, it has come with its challenges. Time being the biggest. I feel like there are never enough hours in the day to complete everything I wish I could do with my writing. I work part time, have to organise marketing for the first book, and write a second novel. Sometimes it’s exhausting and I have to remind myself that I’m human and need to take a break. Sometimes it’s great fun and I enjoy every moment. Funny enough, that happens after I’ve taken a break.

    The second biggest obstacle is the fantasy-world building in my story. There is so much history and detail in the world that I’ve created, that it could easily become overly complicated. My biggest fear is that the reader won’t be able to follow it. How do I overcome that? Honestly, I ignore it as I write, even though its nagging away at me. I focus on getting the story completed. After a few weeks, I’ll return to the story and read it. If the world doesn’t make sense to me, I know there’s a huge problem. I’ll need to edit and rewrite. Once it makes sense to me and I think it’s ready, I wait to see what the beta readers say. Again, if it’s too complicated, it goes through another rewrite.

    I think the best thing about writing the second novel is that I learnt so much from the first book, that the challenges are less daunting. They’re still there, but now their easier to manage.
  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?


I enjoy writing all sorts of character types. The easiest characters to create are the ones that are similar to me, or have traits I wish I had. I like to explore both the positive and negative qualities in a character. My main character in The Wayward Series, Zaya Wayward, is strong, confident, and assertive, but she’s also impulsive, judgemental, and has trust issues. I have worked hard to make sure Zaya is always driving the story. Sometimes she makes the right decision. Sometimes she makes bad ones. Just like in real life, her mood dictates what she does. I also enjoy creating villains because… well, what writer doesn’t love creating a superbad guy… or girl. You can be entirely evil and get away with it. It’s great fun. But I do try to make sure my villains aren’t two dimensional. They have a backstory. They have a motive they believe is right, no matter what the cost or sacrifice. Even in a fantasy world, the emotions and thoughts of a character need to be real and relatable. That’s the part I love developing.

  • For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?

    As a writer, I think the most useful thing I’ve learned is to manage time and be realistic with what I can accomplish. Writing is hard. It took me years to learn, and I’m still learning. I am a perfectionist (something I’m teaching myself not to be), and often I’d get frustrated at how little time I had to write. When I finally did have time to write my stories at the end of the day, I was too exhausted. My writing just didn’t flow. I had to learn time management and be realistic with what I could write in that allocated time. Everyone has commitments—family, work, relationships, sport, etc. For wannabe writers out there, I suggest finding a realistic schedule that works for you. Don’t tell yourself you are going to write for five hours a day if you know that in reality it’s impossible. If you can only write an hour a day, do it. If you can spare two hours on a Saturday afternoon, do it. Writing should be fun and enjoyable, not a chore. You will learn and accomplish far more when you are in the right frame of mind.
  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?

    I set daily, weekly and monthly goals with my writing. I write and write and don’t care about editing. I just get the story into the computer. The editing comes later. I take a break when I need to, because if I don’t, I will drain myself and achieve nothing. I exercise. Ideas often drift into my head when I’m out on a jog. I take a notebook with me wherever I go. Inspiration can strike at the unlikeliest of places. Some of the dialogue in The Wayward Haunt is directly from conversations I have heard among friends and colleagues. I am realistic with what I can achieve in a day, or an hour.
  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?

I am definitely a plotter. Everything in my stories, beginning, middle, end, scenes, chapters, are plotted out and written down. I find that this helps me to keep focus and to meet deadlines. I know exactly where I’m going with the story. Sometimes, unexpected ideas jump in my head as I write. Strangely enough, they work for the scene or chapter that I’m writing. They are always nice surprises when they occur. So yes, I am a plotter, but I do not object to new ideas coming along halfway through my stories. It keeps things interesting.

  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?

    The Wayward Series will be a set of four books, so book three and four are in the pipeline to be written and published. I have many ideas in my head for other novels that I haven’t given attention to at this stage, because my focus is on The Wayward Series, but eventually I will delve into those other stories. I want to write a cozy murder mystery, something along the lines of Agatha Christie. Knowing me, it will have an element of horror in it.
  • 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 enjoy both. Sometimes I’m in the mood for something a little darker, scarier, and tragic. Other times I want a happy feel good story, or a story where the hero faces dangerous obstacles, but ultimately triumphs. Life throws unexpected situations at us all the time. I like stories to do the same.
  • What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?


To watch, precisely in that order—Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars. To read, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings. I read Lord of the Rings when I was fourteen. It’s a wonderful story. Tolkien is amazing. But honestly, I don’t have the time or the strong mental energy it would require to read it again.

Author Website: www.casecrowe.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/casecroweauthor/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/casecroweauthor/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20457182.Cas_E_Crowe


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Author Interview – Paul Lavender

Today’s author interview is with my good mate and fellow fantasy author Paul Lavender the creator of Grimlark.


  • Hi Paul tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?

I live in Worcestershire in the UK, have a wife and son and I’m the wrong side of 50! My son is disabled so I don’t work (house husband instead), as I needed something to do I started writing. My books are based on characters from some old RPG games that I used to play (AD&D, Warhammer,etc).

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

You can just make stuff up!

  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together?

I have 3 projects on the go! I currently have the follow up books to my original releases being written, and a new series which is basically Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe but with monsters added. It’s set in an alternate version of earth, so the biggest challenge has been world building for it (1 and a half years and counting). I’m hoping to release one book early next year and another near the end of 2021, then the next the start of 2022 (then cycle the books from there).

  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?

I write books that I like to term ‘GrimLark’ which is basically a gore and sweary filled version of Terry Pratchett. I have a couple of human gods called Pock and Cock who I am particularly fond of (they work as bouncers at an inn). There’s a little bit of me in all of them!

  • For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?

If you’ve got it…spend it! Decent covers, editing etc can make a big difference.

  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?

I don’t…which probably explains a lot! I’m very late with my next release, but id rather write when I feel like it rather than churning out crap.

  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?

Usually I’m a pantser, but on my new series I’m a plotter.

  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?

As mentioned above…it’s both! A new series that’s historical fantasy rather than all out fantasy.

  • 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 haven’t read a lot of books recently (unless it was about the Napoleonic Wars), but I will read almost anything (except romance).

I am currently reading Harry Potter to my son at bedtime though.

  • What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?

Lord of the Rings.

Follow Paul via –

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/p.s.lavender

Twitter    : @paullavender6

Website: https://pslavender.wixsite.com/the-orcslayers



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Author Interview – Cully Mack

Today’s author interview is with Cully Mack, author of epic fantasy and has a new book out now!

  • Hi Cully tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?

Hi, I’m Cully.  I write epic fantasy.  Think epic battles with immortals and beasts of all kinds, throw in some elemental magic, huge plot twists, portals and unique worlds, and an ever-growing cast of characters trying to save their world. If you like character-driven epic fantasy, you’ll love my books.  I warn you now; I don’t go easy on them…

I’ve always loved reading fantasy, and I have a keen interest in myth texts from the Ancient Near East.  Mesopotamia was the birthplace of civilisation (think pre Egyptian, Greek and Roman etc). Yes, those titans, gods and mythical beings were known to older civilizations

I decided to merge fantasy and myth and created a series, which is filled with ancient myth, the kind that is buried in soul waiting to be reawakened. 

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

The possibilities!   They are endless.  I love the ability to imagine and see the world through a different lens.  I prefer alternate worlds, new experiences, so I lean towards epic/high fantasy, but more importantly, I’m drawn to iconic character-driven fiction. 

As much as I love thrilling plots, amazing magic systems, and well-developed worlds, they mean nothing without real human emotion.  Fantasy has the ability to present humanity in extreme circumstances, to test the bonds of love, sacrifice, and endurance, etc.  It sees us at our worst or against terrible odds and shows us we can rise above and conquer.  It gives us hope.  That’s the beauty of the fantasy genre.   

  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together? (include release date etc here)

My latest project is due for release on October 30th 2020.  It is the fourth book in the Voice that Thunders series and is called A Vow That Clashes.  This book has been the most challenging to write due to the complexity of its structure.  It has three plot arcs focussing on a destined one, a fire wielder and an apprentice Acquisitioner. 

Each of them has made a vow.  Their challenge is to either keep or break it,  but they soon realise the hardest battles often come from within.

A Vow That Clashes

When a vow demands sacrifice, who will pay the price?

Far behind Gabe is his innocence, destroyed when a Watcher slaughtered his clan.  Now considered a chosen one, Gabe strives to understand his magic and his calling.  He desires nothing more than to find his sister but is besieged by hybrid abominations intent on extinguishing mortal life, his most of all. 

His allies: a cunning thief, an Immortal, and a Fire Wielder stand fast with those seeking sanctuary underground.  It’s a trap.  The god of deep mines and solver of secrets is coming… A perilous maze of tunnels, their sole hope of escape.

As vows and destiny collide, Gabe faces a devastating choice: abandon the people and his allies or forsake his beloved sister.  

The fate of the world rests on his decision, for the Watchers know a greater adversary approaches, a possessor of flesh.  The clash between darkness and light has never been more dreadful.

You can find out more here: viewbook.at/AVowThatClashes

  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?

Conflicted ones.  I love adding layers.  I write characters who are passionate, living each day as though it may be their last.  They’re either running straight for or away from something.

I enjoy writing cocky, confident males, which is why I have a few of them.  Ammo is skilled at pretty much everything and a complete risk taker.  He often makes me laugh with his cocky attitude and flirty banter.   Tur is complex, comes across as aloof at first, but he is one hell of a man as his story develops.  Nothing and no one will move him from what he believes in and my god, I really test him. 

I enjoy writing strong female leads.  And what I mean by this is women who have something more than just kick-ass feistiness.  For me, it’s more about attitude.  In fantasy, I often find female characters’ femininity has been stripped away.  I like to write this back in, so even though my characters are capable of tearing you to shreds with their magic or lethal fighting skills, they’re just as capable of destroying you with their determination, wit and grace.

How much of myself do I put into my characters?  That’s tricky.  Sometimes, I write the total opposite of myself, other times not.  Do I know what it’s like to be naïve, think I understand love when I have no idea, or be betrayed?  Yes, I do, but did I respond the same way my characters do?  They each respond in different ways, so I guess not. 

I tend to write from the experience of others.  For many years, I’ve worked with a wide range of people, and learned what makes people tick.  So there is a psychological aspect underpinning my work. 

Although, saying this, in A Vow That Clashes, the arc with the twins is written from personal experience.  I tend to break writing rules, and this arc is a definite no, no, rule breaker (can’t say more – spoilers!).  I felt it was something I could write because I’ve kind of lived it.

  • For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?

Don’t quit!  It’s really hard sometimes.  Writing can be isolating, and sometimes you wonder if anyone even reads/enjoys your work.  Reviews help a lot.  A well-timed review has saved my sanity more than once when I’ve been second guessing myself.  

Hold on to your dreams!  Believe in yourself and stay true to your vision.  So much will come your way and try to shake you, hold on.  Quitters never make it.

If I was to start over, I’d start with a shorter book, a stand-a-lone or a prequel, and get myself known a little before plunging right into everything.  

  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?

I can’t say I use writing tricks.  I write every day.  I’ve never had issues with motivation.  As far as writer’s block goes, I write through it.  

I often find a block is caused by not understanding my character’s goal or personality to the full extent.  I’ve written pure drivel trying to suss out what makes them tick.  If I’m trying to make them behave a certain way to move the plot forward, they sometimes refuse, and when they do, nothing works.  I’ve learned to go with it and write what the character wants. In the end, it comes, something clicks.  Without fail, I’ve gone with character and dismissed my original plan. 

  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?

Total Panster! I’m a discovery writer.  I tend to know certain plot points, for example, I knew Mirah needed to reach Hermonial because I wanted to write a character who was close to my antagonist. 

My start point was her on the ship.  As I wrote her journey, I added conflict along the way.  I love how characters grow and overcome the challenges they face.  Being a discovery writer, my characters often surprise me and lead me into territory I wasn’t expecting to go.

I love plot twists!

Most of my twists come from writing myself into a hole and then figuring out how to fix it.  There are quite a few big twists in my books, which my mind would never have imagined if I’d sat down and tried to think it up.  Some people might think this tactic is insane, but for me, it keeps my writing fresh. 

I remember my English Professor saying; I love how your writing is so unpredictable.  How do you do it?  I answered, it’s because I have no clue what’s going to happen until I write the words on the page.  

  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?

I’m actually about to start writing a new series.  I’ve had my head in Mirah and Gabe’s world for four years now, and I want to explore some new characters and new worlds.  So my plan is to draft the first book in a new series before returning to book five in the Voice that Thunders series. 

I will be staying in the epic/high fantasy genre.  It’s where my heart is.  However, I’m keen to write about more familiar races such as Fae, dragon shifters, maybe even vamps with a twist. 

I have found that writing about a mythology which most people haven’t heard of is difficult to market.  If I mentioned Greek myth, people would conjure thoughts of Olympus, Zeus, Titans, etc.  Mention Mesopotamian myth and I get blank stares.  It’s a shame because Mesopotamian myth is an under used resource.  So my plan is to write something which is easier to market.

  • 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?

Ultimately, I prefer good triumphing over evil, but this doesn’t mean the journey can’t be dark.  There are tropes I enjoy reading, e.g. dark, conflicted or misunderstood characters revealing underlying qualities which are good.  I tend to root for the underdog.

As for writing, it depends on the individual character and the context.  I’m always testing my characters and putting them in conflicting situations.  Tur could cope with anything I threw at him (and I do).  Will he triumph over evil?  Who knows, but he’ll give it his best shot.  Other characters would break, experiencing only a little of what he goes through.  So with this in mind, it shapes how I write my arcs. 

Does an antagonist even consider himself evil?  Maybe, but not always.  Regardless, they commit dark acts to achieve their goals.  Opposing worldviews makes for great conflict. 

My characters have experienced terrible evil, but they’ve also experienced the opposite, love, friendship, loyalty, etc.    

I always try to keep things balanced and realistic.  Does evil win?  Yes!  Does Good Triumph?  Yes!  Who wins in then end?  Not sure yet, I’m a Panster.  As my latest book blurb says, ‘The clash between darkness and light has never been more dreadful.’

  1. What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?

I’ve never read Harry Potter or Star Wars (don’t shoot me), so it would unfair to compare the books.  As far as movies go, I prefer Lord of the Rings. 

I really enjoyed the magical and portal aspects of Harry Potter, but Harry and the gang are a tad too young, and middle grade is not something that keeps my interest.  I just can’t get on board with Star Wars, not sure why.  I think Darth is a great antagonist, and him being Luke’s father was a great twist.  I also liked Han and the droids, but the rest of the characters felt bland to me (sorry Star Wars fans). 

I love Lord of the rings.  The scale of Middle Earth is awesome.  The internal struggles and battles are epic.  The characters and races are diverse to the extreme.  The mythos behind LotR is vivid and somehow feels alive.

If I had to choose which world to live in, I’d pick Middle Earth without a doubt.

A Vow That Clashes (Voice that Thunders #4) is releasing this Friday! 30th October. viewbook.at/AVowThatClashes

Link to first book: http://viewbook.at/AVoiceThatThunders

Here are my social media links:

www.facebook.com/CullyMack https://www.instagram.com/cullymackauthor/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19033629.Cully_Mack

https://www.instagram.com/cullymackauthor/

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