Author Interview: S.E Anderson

In today’s author interview I chat with fantasy author S.E Anderson about her writing journey and her future projects. Join us around the campfire.


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

I’ve been telling stories since I was a kid. I think it runs in the family: my dad could invent a whole novel with subplots on the spot and would distract my sister and I while hiking with these incredibly complex tales. I was telling stories before I could even read, making my parents do all the writing for me. My brain just thinks in stories.

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

The worldbuilding. I love trying to imagine the big “what if?” questions that arise when people are subjected to different norms and challenges than what we face every day. It’s fun to push the limits of reality and see what can be!

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

I recently had the fortune of being involved creating an anthology of YA stories. While we were open to many genres, many of them were fantasy, including my own contribution (though it’s more Urban Fantasy). We did this to keep the pandemic from getting to us, and it worked! It kept all of us focused and goal oriented. The book truly is a labour of love and I’m so thrilled to be putting it out into the world. It came out February 15th.

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

I like characters who don’t have life figured out – because let’s face it, who does? Characters who are sure of themselves only to have their foundation shaken, or ones who haven’t yet realized the potential that’s within them. Big change leads to big growth, and I love following them on their journey. As to how much of myself I put in them. It depends on the character. But I feel like each one represents a facet of me, whether I’d like to admit that or not. Who are you, my therapist?

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

To just keep writing. I’m sure they hear this all the time, but it’s so true. An object in motion stays in motion. And how do you learn to write well if you don’t write at all? Take the plunge, and just keep swimming.

Wow, my metaphors are mixed. You see? This is what happens if you step away from writing for too long.

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

Word count goals, mostly. I don’t have any magic life hacks here. Just nose to the grindstone some days, even if it might feel tedious.

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

My first drafts are always a pantsed up mess. But as soon as I put the last period in my draft, I’m off to the drafting board to make the plot actually make sense!

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

I have a new duology I’ve been cooking up for the fast four years, but I’d also like to try more contemporary YA with fantasy elements. I have a lot of stuff I want to explore. The only hard part if knowing I’ll never write everything I want to write!

  • 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 switch it up. I like more exploratory stories, to get me out of my apartment. A lot of wide arching fantasy and scifi, plus a bit of nonfiction here and there. 

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

Star Wars OG trilogy for pure watchability, LoTR for a long binge read.

Author Page: ‪https://www.facebook.com/seandersonauthor/

Website: ‪seandersonauthor.com

Twitter: ‪https://twitter.com/sea_author

Book: ‪http://bit.ly/KSTAR


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Announcing Heroes of the Sundered Crown Book 5 in the Sundered Crown

Hi all I’m delighted to announce book 5 in the Sundered Crown Saga- Heroes of the Sundered Crown. I’m working away on the book and am hoping for a release sometime in the Autumn of this year.
The fleet of Yundol longships powered through the water towards the shore. On the clifftop, beacons burst into life as the approaching invasion force was sighted by the enemy. Standing proud at the bow of the lead Yundol ship was Ricard of Champia. His greying hair and beard blew in the wind, and his green cape fluttered wildly behind him. His eyes were fixed on the beach. 
For too long he’d been exiled from the Kingdom that was rightfully his. After his defeat and escape from Bison, he’d spent six months overseas seeking aid to strike back at Danon. He had travelled across the continent of Yundol, the home of Delfinnia’s once most feared foes to find support for his war. Most of the Yundol chieftains had scoffed at him; some had even threatened to kill him. Many of the Yundol warlords bitterly remembered the defeats Ricard had inflicted during their failed invasion decades earlier. Despite that, the promise of gold had proven too appealing for some, and before long, he’d mustered a formidable force of mercenaries. 
The cost made him wince; his treasury was now empty; he’d gambled everything on taking the Sundered Crown for himself. Yundol horns blared across the choppy black waters, and the warriors that had once spilt blood across Delfinnia prepared to do so again. The warriors roared, their savage voices carrying in the wind. A thousand men to take the Marble Shore, a thousand of the most dangerous men alive. He adjusted his sword belt and took the helmet offered to him by his squire. He looked back down the row of burly oarsmen and nodded to his trusted lieutenant the elderly Vizar. The fighting men of Champia were packed onto the ship’s deck and bristled as they sighted the stunning white beaches ahead Marble cliffs shining in the early spring sunshine. It was the first time many of them had seen the mainland in months and signalled that they were returning home. Vizar caught his eye and gave Ricard a reassuring smile. The older warrior walked over to him.
 “The men are eager for battle my lord. Let us hope these Yundols are just as good at killing as I remember.”
Ricard nodded before putting on his helmet.
 “Today we take the Marble shore, tomorrow the Kingdom.”
 The horns sounded again signalling for the fleet to increase speed. The warriors hastily strapped on their armour and prepared their weapons. With every oar stroke, the Yundol warriors shouted their battle cry.
 “Death! Death! Death!”
The longship surged forward, and Ricard drew his sword from its scabbard. Behind him, his warriors prepared themselves. Ricard frowned as he spotted figures appear on the clifftops. There were thousands of them!
Arrows suddenly lashed down like hail onto the vulnerable ships. Ricard swore. As they drew closer, the figures became more apparent. All wore black armour, and each was armed with the lethal Sarpi composite bow and barbed arrows. The deadly projectiles struck the ship eliciting screams from warriors and oarsmen unlucky enough to be struck. Just as quickly as it had begun the arrow storm stopped. Then, with a sudden jolt, the ship struck the beach using the furiously rowing oarsmen’s momentum to skid high up the sand. It was the favourite tactic of the Yundols and one that often took a foe by surprise. Ricard leapt over the side of the ship, raised his shield, and roared for his men to follow. The sand was deep and challenging to traverse. Warriors disgorged from the beaching ships, and the Sarpi unleashed another arrow storm.  Dozens of warriors fell to the Sarpi arrows. Ricard’s eyes widened. On the cliff tops, he could see catapults being rolled into place. He watched in horror as the Sarpi quickly loaded the weapons and launched pots of burning pitch down onto the beaching ships. One Yundol longship took a direct hit, erupting in flames that engulfed the warriors on board. Burning men fell screaming over the sides only for their heavy armour to drag them down into the churning sea. 
Ricard rallied his men, and they rushed to him to form a shield wall. He crouched under his shield as another volley of arrows struck. His arm shook under the impact. All around the air was filled with the screams of the wounded and dying, but the Yundol warriors pressed on up the beach. They continued their war chant using their shields as cover from the maelstrom raining down on them. A horn blared from the cliffs causing Ricard to lower his shield. His eyes widened and a knot of dread wormed in his guts. Massing at the top of the steep incline at the top of the beach were hundreds of heavily armoured horses. Their thick black armour covered the animals from head to hoof and sat astride them were Sarpi warriors clad in thick plate armour the colour of darkest night. 
“Spears!” Ricard bellowed.
The Yundols sheathed their swords and axes and hastily formed a phalanx of spear points. With expert skill drilled into them by Ricard, the warriors grouped together until they were three lines deep. Each wielded a long spear and lapped their shields over their neighbours. The Sarpi cavalry surged forward like a black tide to sweep down the dunes. Sand sprayed in all directions, and the ground shook. 
 “Brace!”
The first of the horsemen thundered closer, lowering their long lances, and picking targets to slay. 
With devastating impact, they hit, the Yundol spears having little effect on the charging enemy’s thick armour. Men were skewered on lance points by the dozen, Vizar among them. Ricard was battered to the ground, but he quickly rolled to escape the stamping iron shod hooves of a Sarpi horse. He came up from the roll, threw his shattered spear aside and drew his sword. Despair filled him. All along the beach, the cavalry swept aside the army he’d spent months and the last of his fortune gathering. The dead lay in the now blood soaked sand and bodies floated on the grisly tide. Several of the longships were ablaze to send smoke drifting high into the sky. The lucky ones had managed to force their way back into the sea and were now desperately turning tail to flee back into open water.
 “Niveren no,” Ricard despaired. More horns sounded, this time from across the water. Ricard spun to see a small fleet of Sarpi warships round the headland and move to cut off his forces. The Yundols were trapped. He watched in horror as fire arrows launched into the dull sky and fell like rain on the beleaguered Yundol vessels. The ships caught alight, the screams of the doom sailors drifting on the breeze. All around him, his men were being butchered the cavalry charge having smashed any semblance of disciplined resistance. All of his hopes and dreams of liberating Delfinnia and taking the crown had been extinguished within moments. 
In his heart, he had always known it had been a fool’s dream but seeing his men cut down the realisation of all he had done dawned on him. The thunder of hooves came from behind him, he closed his eyes. A broken man. 

Buy the Sundered Crown Saga

The Nightblade (Prequel)

Heir to the Sundered Crown

War for the Sundered Crown

Quest for the Sundered Crown

Voyage for the Sundered Crown


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The power of Bookbub

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post about the writing process so I thought I’d share with you all the results of my recent Bookbub promotion and how it took Heir to the Sundered Crown to bestseller status in the Sword and Sorcery Category in four countries on Amazon.

What is Bookbub?

So what is Bookbub exactly? Well, it’s a promotion site, the promotion site for books. Landing a US featured deal is like winning the lottery and it took me 4 years of persistent trying to get my book chosen for one.

The official description is: BookBub is a book discovery service that was created to help readers find new books and authors. The company features free and discounted ebooks selected by its editorial team, as well as book recommendations, updates from authors, and articles about books.

An author needs to sign up and create an account before listing their books to their Bookbub profile. (Follow me by clicking HERE) Once that’s done you then need to add the links to the various store fronts (if wide) that your book is sold on. If you’re a Kindle Unlimited author then you will only need to add the Amazon link.

Bookbub sends out emails everyday listed books that it chose for a featured deal and depending on what type of deal your book will be put in front of millions of subscribers. I’ve written about other services before such as Fussy Librarian etc, but Bookbub beats all of those by a wide margin in terms of guaranteed return on investment.

What also makes Bookbub standout is there use of expert editorial teams to choose what books would make the best fit for that days promotion. By using data they assess what type of books are in demand and which ones have the best chance at success.

BookBub notifies its subscribers about free and deeply discounted ebook recommendations selected by its expert editorial team, from bestsellers to hidden gems.

How to get chosen

Now this is a much sought after secret and Bookbub knows this. They have several guides on their site about what gives your book the best chance of being picked but with so many authors clamouring to get a deal the chance you’ll get picked is low. As I said, it took me 4 years of trying to get one!

Heir to the Sundered Crown was first released way back in 2014 but finally achieved over 60 reviews only recently. (If you’ve read it please review it!!!) Reviews help massively in the selection process as does making your book page on the relevant book stores look professional.

During the application process I also mentioned that the book was part of a planned promotion, something that I also think helped it be chosen. My promotion was for the book to be on sale for 0.99p/c.

Cost and Results

For the promotion I got it cost me just shy of £450 or $700, very pricey and a cost that I have to admit made my palms sweat a bit, but as they say you have to spend money to make money. The promotion went out on February 19th and at the time of writing this I have covered my costs and made a nice bit of profit.

Sales wise here are the totals so far –

Amazon (All nations) – 1,258

Wide (Apple, Nook, Kobo, Google) – 406

Total – 1664

Not a bad number and sales are continuing with every passing hour. On the initial promo date the book shot to the top of several genre lists and bagged a best seller badge on Amazon in multiple countries. What was of even greater interest is that my other books began to shift units as well, even the full priced ones. Audiobooks too began to sell with the number of them being sold doubling!

Get Heir to the Sundered Crown on Audio

It won’t be for another month or two until I get the sales data for those but it’s looking good. Another benefit I’m hoping for is that sale through for the Sundered Crown Saga will continue and that readers enjoy Heir enough to buy the rest of the series and maybe try some of my other books.

I won’t know the full impact of the Bookbub deal for another week at least as some of the stores data recording is a little slow, but overall I am very happy with the results of the deal.

Have you had a Bookbub featured deal? What was your experience of it? Let me know in the comments below.

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Author Interview – Sarah Astwood

Joining me around the campfire today is romantic fantasy author Sarah Astwood. We dive into what she loves about the genre and hear about her latest projects.


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

Hi, I’m a wife and a mom of four kiddos, who I homeschool. I live in Oklahoma, USA, and I’ve been writing since I was 18. I love to write because it allows me to tell the stories and explore the worlds inside my head.

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

The endless possibilities! I always say in fantasy you can make pretty much anything work.

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

My latest project is rapid releasing a four book urban fantasy series. I’ve never rapid released before, and the challenges of prepping manuscripts and getting them ready for publication when you’re raising and homeschooling four children are probably pretty self-explanatory. Especially this year, 2020, when everything seems to have gone haywire! However, Book 1, Ashes on the Earth, released September 2020. Book 2, Down into the Pit, followed November 6th. Fire from the Midst will be available January 2021, and the last book  of the series will probably debut in March or April 2021.

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

I like characters with genuine problems to solve and hard issues to figure out. I would say the part of me that shows up the most in my characters tends to be their sense of humor.

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

Always get plenty of eyes on your manuscript! We’re talking several beta readers, to start with. They will catch many things you never noticed.

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

For me, I work best with a daily word count, be it 500 words a day or 1,000. That sort of routine and daily discipline keeps me on track.

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

Ha, I try to plot, but through the years I’ve learned I’m very much a pantser. I’m pretty much a pantser at life, as well.

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

For the future…after I finish releasing my Stones of Fire series, I plan to return to an epic/portal fantasy series I started a couple years ago called Beyond the Sunset Lands and finish 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 like a hefty dose of darkness and realism, but with good triumphing over evil in the end. I know a HEA may not be totally accurate, but at the end of the day it’s what I prefer.

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

Lord of the Rings! Half the reason I’m on Facebook anymore is because of this awesome group called Funny Middle Earth. Seriously, if you like LOTR and you’re on Facebook, join this group. It’ll make you laugh, and I think we all need laughs right about now.

For a complete list of all Sarah’s works and the links to find them, visit her website at www.sarahashwoodauthor.com. To keep up to date with Sarah’s new releases, sign up for her newsletter. You can also follow her on Bookbub, or find her on Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

Let me know if you have a new release, launch date or promo dates to be added to my monthly newsletter. Spots are limited to 1 per month and will be chosen at my discretion.

Newest future release is Fire from the Midst, coming January 2021.


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Author Interview – A.A Warne

Joining me around the campfire today and coming all the way from Australia is indie fantasy author Amanda Warne.


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

Hello Matthew. Thank you so much for having me. I’m an Australian writer living in the western part of Sydney. I’ve been writing just on ten years now and publishing for two. When I’m not writing, I’m wrestling three kids, two naughty dogs and exploring the Blue Mountains in search of inspiration. I started writing after the birth of my first daughter when I could no longer practice the messy art of pottery and any creator will tell you, an artist must be creative. So I turned to books and literature and by the time I finished reading the first book, I had a pen in my hand drafting a story. Ten years later and my head is full of stories demanding to get out.

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

Fantasy has no boundaries. Anything is possible and even though an idea or concept might not be present in our real life, it gives us the possibility of being real somewhere in the universe and I love that.

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

The Reluctant Wizard was released early September and was a challenge for me because not only was I writing something now accessible for children, but I also placed an expectation on myself to write shorter stories. Ironically, it’s my largest book to date. So I’ve thrown out that belief that I can write shorter books and just allowed the story to do what it needs to.

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

I don’t think of them as characters but rather real life people. I learn something about them but I know that isn’t a limitation or even a snapshot of who they really are. Instead, we cannot know a person fully, even ourselves. That’s why we surprise ourselves, shock even and I love exploring the depths of personality, what makes someone tick or react a certain way. It’s fascinating watching that in real life, when someone tries to mask their feelings or even the truth, but for a character, we can explore exactly why they do that.

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

There is SO much knowledge out there. Everyone is an expert in something – opinions mostly. For me, I wanted to be a jack of all trades, master of writing. But all the writing advice went over my head. So I focused on researching topics that fascinated me while I practiced the writing as a craft or even art practice. Direct feedback from editors you respect is a must and that’s when your writing will evolve. Until then, enjoy it. Love it! Stories are magical and without the magic then the reader would love it.

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

Pay the children to do cleaning – it’s cheaper than hiring a cleaner. Turn the phone off – you don’t have to answer every call. Social media isn’t real – deadlines are. We don’t have to be the perfect person and that’s totally unreal expectation of today’s society. Find your happiness, throw out the noise and then you’ll notice that deadlines are fun and exciting because it gives you a date that the story will head out of your hands and into the world.

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

I’m both. I let the stories and characters determine everything. That is, the writing, tone, even how it’s structured. Once I have enough swarming in my head that it must go down onto paper, I write it out. In that mindset, I believe I’m writing the book cover to cover but in actual fact, it’s a summary. After a month or two, I come back and write it out properly. So that summary is full of telling and about 50 pages all up, but the re-write is all showing and can turn into 500 pages.

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

I have been researching my mega-series for the last five years. It’s a life-long series that I will publish either 2022 or 2023. I don’t want to put it out into the world until I’m 100% ready to do so. My head is full of stories but this one is beyond epic. It’s so large that I will be writing it until I’m in my 90s. Until then, that’s all I can say. However, there will be more of The Reluctant Wizard and my editor messages me so often I think she forgets her other clients. She’s super excited to see the next part and I’m writing away nicely, preparing for all those twists to keep her on the edge of her seat.

  • 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 love all stories so it’s hard to chose, but if I had to, I love a faulted hero, and heroic failure, I’m not a fan of labelling anyone good or evil because there isn’t such a thing, and I love dark stories that has light, light stories that doesn’t shy away from the dark. While the world is going through this stage, I want to be reminded how important humanity as a whole is. We are all on this ride together and our local community is who we hold hands with and walk beside however, we’ve been given this gift of global insight, so we can communicate, connect and understand each other as a whole. I want to see  more of that. Community rather than individuality. Whole instead of single. Love instead hate.

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

Star wars! I love Lord of the Rings and I’ve only see the first Harry Potter movie (I know, shock horror!) but there is something truly amazing with Star Wars. It’s a story that covers the universe and beyond. One scene that truly captured me was when Queen Amidala is sitting in a room discussing politics. The seating backs onto windows where we can see just enough of that planet’s life – flying transport, wild colourful outfits, etc. and they’re all there sitting and talking about politics. That doesn’t interest me. I want to know what food they’re eating, what types of work the people do, what does a day look like to them? There are only so many political stories that can be told, but the story of a regular person, a peasant, a person who falls between the gaps – that’s an interesting story because they can get to any part of society. I don’t want to know what a queen does or doesn’t do – she only has one role to play, but a person who has no label or position and yet has a strong drive to achieve something, is amazing to follow in a story. Those are the characters that I want to explore in my stories.

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Website: www.aawarne.com


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Author Interview – Poppy Kuroki

Joining me around the campfire today is indie fantasy author Poppy Kuroki who has travelled all the way from the land of the rising sun, Japan!


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

I’m a ghostwriter and editor living in Japan. I’ve been writing since I was a kid, and a lot of my inspirations have come from music and video games, as well as real-life feelings and tragedies.

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

It’s limitless! I’m always amazed with the fantastic original worlds people can build from the genre. I write quite low fantasy, but I read a lot of high fantasy with magic systems and worlds so vastly different from ours.

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

My latest fantasy is Oath: A Black Diamond novel. I wrote it a year or two ago and sat on it for ages, wondering if it was good enough. It’s coming out on November 1st and has had some great reviews so far! I was going through a rough time when I wrote it and a lot of that is reflected in Colette’s story.

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

I love characters who go through some kind of life-altering experience and grow with the bad things that have happened to them. I mostly write female characters as I can identify with them more.

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

About writing, I’d say that there’s always room for improvement. Read a lot, especially in your genre, and be open to criticism. Study what makes good writing and identify and weed out your bad habits. For publishing, take up free courses and ebooks (there are tons of them out there) and watch out for scams; unfortunately there are many of those out there, too.

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

I set a word count goal for myself when writing the first draft. 1,000 words today, and it’s OK if they aren’t good, just get 1,000 words down! If I don’t feel motivated, I start with a goal of 200, then 500, and that’s usually enough to get me into it.

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

Definitely a plotter. If I start writing without any idea of where it’s going, I won’t finish it. I had a lot of partly finished projects when I was younger before I learned that lesson. I respect pantsers though, if you can end up with a finished project without knowing where it was going to go, more power to you.

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

I’m currently writing a series of origin stories for the characters in Oath and how they became assassins. I’m also working on a steampunk novel. It’s my first time writing in this genre so it’s exciting!

  • 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 loved dark or sad stories. If a book can make me cry, it’s an instant winner. I can enjoy happy tales too – I love Disney films just as much as anyone – but sad stories with deep, dark themes resonate the most.

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

Lord of the Rings! Where would we be without it?

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Poppy’s new book A Bard’s Lament is out now!


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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

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