I am so excited to introduce our interview with Thiago Abdalla, fantasy author of The Ashes of Avarin series. Book 2, A Shade of Madness is out now!
How do you get the ideas for your novels?
Ideas are a constant subconscious stream in our consciousness. They are already there, all we need to do is find a way to fish them out. I like to use techniques like freewriting or just jotting down ideas with a timer, with the objective to have as many ideas as possible. This removes the judgement part and helps your brain get working. I also am a firm believer in story structure. If you have milestones and know what certain kind of thing needs to happen in parts of the novel, you can get ideas more easily. And of course, ask “what if?”
What does a typical writing day look like for you?
Depends if I’m drafting or editing, but I’ll usually try to break it up into two sessions if I can. I try to do various sprints with pauses in between. It helps my brain go longer.
What makes a great character?
Theme. I know it’s a weird answer, but we love characters when we relate to what they’re going through. For their journey to have meaning, you need to root it in theme. That’s why we tell stories since the prehistoric age. Stories were a means of survival (you want to know what killed the neighboring tribe, and if that big, orange-striped kitty is dangerous or not) and that is ingrained into our brains.
What is your writing process?
I’m an outliner so I usually jot down the “path” for each character before I start writing. Once I’m happy with what they’ll go through, I start to write. I always leave myself space to wander off, though. The outline is a map, not a track.
What elements of fantasy make you like reading and writing in the genre?
Not sure it’s one element specifically. I’ve always loved fantasy. Always loved the magic, the sword fights, the tactical maneuvering of armies. Not sure I can really pinpoint a single one.
If you could be any fantasy character, who would it be and why?
Probably Bayaz from Abercombie’s series because [SPOILERS]
When did you start reading? And what books/series did you read over and over again?
The first book I really remember betting hooked by was probably the Hobbit. I went down the rabbit hole from there.
What are some of your favourite recent reads?
The Girl and the Moon by Mark Lawrence and I’m also really enjoying Deathless Beast by Andrew D Meredith.
What do you enjoy doing outside of writing and reading?
Spending time with my kids, NFL, MLB, playing guitar, playing Magic the Gathering. I have too many hobbies.
If you only had one piece of advice to give to an aspiring author, what would it be?
Learn what makes up a good story. You need to understand the tools to be able to craft something great.
Are you working on any new books or other projects at the moment?
I’m currently working on book 3 of The Ashes of Avarin: A Twist of Faith. It should be out this year!