Fellow fantasy writer, Joanne Hall, tagged me in a meme thing, the next big thing, that has been going around, so here are my answers to the questions put to me.

1) What is the working title of your next book/short story/project?

Children of the Shadow.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

It just popped into my head. I was on the train, can’t remember where I was going, probably home to see parents, and I realised that I needed some sort of wacky cult, and the Children of the Shadow were born. It’s only when writing the book that they have taken real shape and purpose. It certainly wasn’t something that I planned when I wrote the first book the series, the Shadow Seer, but, back then, I had no idea I would have reason to write the entire series. I never really saw beyond that first book.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

My dad thinks Johnny Depp for the lead, Candale, but i think that’s all wrong. I’m not sure there is an actor tall and thin enough to play him, though there are certainly many pretty enough . . . I rather like Xavier Samuel, who i saw in the Loved Ones (fab film) He’s pretty, thin, and looks good with curly hair. Not tall enough though. Though, to be honest, I would probably forgo how much they look like characters and just fill the film with actors i like, Tim Roth, Alexander Skarsgard, that sort of thing. Well, it’s my film, why not!

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Candale finds himself stuck in the mountains with a bunch of nuts and has to get away.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My publisher will print it, I’m hoping! Small print.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Sadly, I’m still doing i. I started it 18 months ago, perhaps. I spent 6 months trying to write a standalone book, but then realised i really had to get this done and out the way first. And here I am, still trying to get it right. The first book was done in a year, and was a big fat monster of a thing. It’s been harder since then, trying to battle plot lines and a few personal brain issues.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I would most like to compare this to Carol Berg’s Lighthouse Duology and Song of the Beast, as they are my favourite books. But I’m not sure I’m anywhere near her league. I think that, other than my character, Dale, being caught up in stuff that is beyond him, like Valen and Adain, and it being in first person point of view, it’s probably not that similar. But her standard is my aim.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

No one and nothing.  I’m always writing, and I had the first two done so I had to get on with the last one in the series. The beginning of the Shadow Seer was inspired by Hush by Paula Cole, the idea of a boy slowly dying, created images in me that I used. Other parts of the book have been inspired by Asian horror films, their love of creepy girls with long dark hair, and things that I have seen, places I have been. Also, Assassin’s Apprentice, which i was reading at the time of writing, and the idea of having a character who was a prophet, as the fool in that book was. I think they’re under used as characters, though prophecies often exist in fantasy books.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

I hope people will want to read it because they’ve read the first two. I hope they want to read the first two because it is different from other fantasies, it’s not driven by lots of violent action, but by the characters, it features a prophet, a dark prophet, as the main character and it also has some spooky, dark things in it.

Depression, writing and whatnot.

I have depression. I’ve had it on and off in varying degrees for as long as i can remember. I’m 35 now. It’s rather crippling. I’ved been told, before, that being depressed doesn’t stop you cleaning. I’ve heard it doesn’t stop you working. I’m going to tell you, real depression, not just feeling a bit sad, does. it stops you doing anything. it takes all the fun out of life, dwestroys what you enjoyed, leaves you hollow and indifferent. And that’s what stops you cleaning and working and doing anything. You don’t care. The house is full of crap, you don’t care. You don’t have any clean dishes, there are flies and maggots around, you haven’t bathed in weeks, you really don’t care. Sometimes you cry, but that rarely happens for me. It’s mostly that i am SO tired, all the time, that i can’t get out of bed, and when i do, i just sit on the sofa and eat, cos eating in the only way that the day will end. The only way to get through it, back to bed. I’ve had it for years. I had it while writing the Shadow Seer, but i had uni too, and some how that helped get me through it. Now i am alone with it, and so I’m struggling to write. But i am trying, though i fear that I am letting Candale and his friends, and the people who loved the first book, down.

I’m saying this because i think you can see it in my writing, or may be i’m just paranoid. Book 2 was hard for me to write, because of the depression. To me, it lacks something, something of the flow, the warmth, the detail because of that. Book 3 is hard, for the same reason. I wonder if my struggles can be seen by others, in the words, in the pages. But I’m trying, I’m doing my best, even though the thrill, the love, the passion has been eaten by the depression monster.

I am rather tired of him.


Signings: a sad state of affairs

So, I have a signing arranged at Swansea Library for the end of the month with fellow fantasy writer Joanne Hall. The library warned me that even though they put up posters, not many people come to these things. But I was prepared to do some promotion myself, made some posters, got some flyers and went to put them out in Oxfam bookshop. They are more than happy to put them out and to let me do a signing there, perhaps. Certainly nicer than the indie bookshop on Uplands who said no, outright. But, like the library, they warned me not many people come, even if they promote. And i find that so sad. As a kid I used to love to go to book signings, to meet authors, and i would read any book on the fantasy shelf. I loved to try new things. But readers today seem to be fussier. Is that because bookshops only stock the main authors, so it’s actually harder to get to know new authors. There are more books available online, of course, but it’s hard to browse. You cant just look for titles and at pretty covers and take it from there, the way you can in a shop. You need to know what you want or have a recomendation. Is this why people don’t come to book signings? Because if they haven’t heard of the book, or had it recomended, they won’t take the chance? But getting someone to hear of your book, to get them to want to read it, that’s a difficult thing too. You can’t just bug people, because that pisses them off. You can’t fake reviews, because that pisses them off AND opens you up to ridicule and a bad reputation. So, what to do? Social networks are all well and good, but you can’t spam them, you need to get to know people, network, talk in groups, give advice, sell yourself, without selling yourself. But that isn’t easy for everyone. I’m not very good at it. I hate twitter and don’t have the patience to give the same general advice over and over on writing forums. It seems that, though technology, social networks, have brought us together with new people and given us more choice, more access to things we wouldn’t have had otherwise, it also creates more of a crowd, which is harder to stand out from. So, im trying real world promotion, discount flyers, posters, as well as online. I’ll find out end of the month if my promotion has paid off.

I really hope it does :)