How do you get the ideas for your novels?
It honestly always varies, book to book, and I’m sure author to author. But almost always there is an initial “spark.” I might be playing something like Dark Souls or Hollow Knight that sparks an idea. Sometimes, I might be watching a documentary about insects and think that a certain ability that such an insect has would be so cool for a fantasy race and then pocket it for the future. I’d say to just be aware of any thought that crosses your mind because you never know when inspiration strikes.
What does a typical writing day look like for you?
I wake up early at around 6 a.m, get dressed, brush teeth, and sit in front of the computer. And yes, I do skip breakfast. My writing is best very early morning. I then just start writing and trust my mind to know what it is doing. I am done before noon and then go to the gym since consistent exercise seems to keep my mind sharp.
What makes a great character?
Great question, but also so hard to answer. There are different types of great characters in my opinion, the most important thing is to fully understand what the purpose of the character is. Most of the time, my characters are imperfect. My most recent book has a character that is misguidedly bigoted towards another race, but it is the purity of their suffering and their personality that has made her likeable for so many of my readers.
What is your writing process?
I am a big pantser. I do sometimes jot down facts about a world’s lore, but other than that, I have ideas of what a book will be about. Certain scenes take shape before I start the book and as I write, it becomes my job to find ways to fill in the gaps between those scenes. And I love the process. Seeing the true picture of a normal reveal itself over time to me is such a satisfying experience.
What elements of fantasy make you like reading and writing in the genre?
There is this very unfortunate idea going around that books about fantasy are simply for escaping reality. Some people say that Fantasy books, for that reason, are not realistic and are targeted primarily for an audience that doesn’t want to do deal with the real world. There was even a Tiktok or instagram trend with a voiceover for why one should read fantasy. The very first reason listed was: “Because it is an escape from reality.)
Good fantasy, in my opinion, uses concepts like its magic system and its world to reflect back a truth about our own society. It is the slightly skewed perspective which so clearly reflects our world which makes it that much more apparent. Let’s take Anthony Ryan’s Waking Fire series. The first book has a magic system which uses dragon blood as a resource to cast magic and it thus runs the industry. It is undeniably an analogy for how we bleed our own nature and world dry.
That is why I love fantasy. It is an aesthetic, it is a feeling, and it is such an amazing genre for reflecting the state of our zeitgeist.
If you could be any fantasy character, who would it be and why?
Not sure I have an answer for this. I like being me! And I wouldn’t ever want to be anyone else, no matter the world I am in.
When did you start reading? And what books/series did you read over and over again?
I have, truthfully, never read books more than once. I am already a prolifically slow reader and want to commit as much time as I can reading new works.
I suppose I did listen to the audiobook of Red Sister years after reading the paperback, but that was it.
As for when I started reading, I honest to god can’t remember. Which would suggest I was rather young. I had started my fantasy journey with Darren Shan when I was still in school!
What are some of your favourite recent reads?
A Touch of Light by Thiago Abdalla.
The Children of Gods and Fighting Men by Shauna Lawless.
Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree.
An Altar on The Village Green by Nathan Hall.
What do you enjoy doing outside of writing and reading?
DnD! Be it to watch, or to play as a dungeon master. But I also enjoy playing video games when I have the time.
If you only had one piece of advice to give to an aspiring author, what would it be?
Too often, it is “just write,” but I will say my best advice is social networking! Get yourself a group of writers, reach out to writers, and make as many connections as possible. Not only will it help get all the important advice you possibly need, but it will be a very good network to have once you are ready to publish your novel!
Are you working on any new books or other projects at the moment?
Yes! Book 2 of Mistland is underway, but I had to put it on hold for the marketing. And I am doing a lot of work with Actors Everywhere. The next book that will be released by them will be a sci-fi novel with robotic angels and devils in a post apocalyptic future!