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Showing posts from November, 2016

Thaddeus White - interview

I’m joined today by Thaddeus White, one of my favourite comic-fantasy writers (check out his Sir Edric series). As well as comedy, Thaddeus also writes epic fantasy and he has a new fantasy, Kingdom Asunder, with a pretty divine cover, which released on 24 November.

I took the chance to ask a few questions about the world Kingdom is set in. Firstly, I wanted to know about writing the project.
You have written other books in this world (Bane of Souls, and Journey to Altmortis) – how did it feel to work in a parallel story, rather than in the more conventional series format?
A: I like the approach of having independent books (or, in this case, trilogy) set in the same world. It means you can keep the advantages of past world-building and, when desired, pick up old characters without needing to worry about constantly keeping a very long story thread running (which can also cause delays, as we’ve seen with some mega-fantasy series).
You have a number of female characters in the book – ho…

Stephen Palmer - My year of almost total relaxation

When Stephen Palmer announced he was taking a year off writing, it intrigued me. As someone who finds it hard to switch off, I wondered if it had helped his creative process and, if so, how. Since he has his rather gorgeous (check out that cover!) Factory Girl trilogy coming out, it would seem it certainly did no harm. 

 In January 2016 I vowed not to write anything for a year. And I nearly managed it. Jo recently asked me to elaborate on why and how, so…
Why did I do it? Well, between September 2013 and January 2016 I had one main creative project on my mind: the Factory Girl trilogy (The Girl With Two Souls / The Girl With One Friend / The Girl With No Soul) and its accompanying novel The Conscientious Objector. Although I had written a large scale work before – Urbis Morpheos and Astra Gaia together were a couple of hundred thousand words at least – and Memory Seed / Glass / Flo…


This blog is by request. Imagine. I had a request! Anyhow, a very good writer friend of mine (who can out themselves if they want to, or not) has been invited onto their first panel next year, and wondered what it was like to be on a panel.

Now, hands in the air in admission time. I'm not a hugely experienced sff panellist. I've been on a panel at 4 conventions (around 10 panels in total, I reckon.) But when I'm working to eat I've moderated panels, sat on panels and had my fair share of experiences.

So, what to expect and what to do:

1. Conventions are busy, run mostly by volunteers, and rely on a certain degree of self-sufficiency. You will get looked after - normally there are people allocated to the guests and to answer any questions - but you will not be in the position of asking for blue smarties in the dressing room. If you can, get to the convention early enough to work out where things are, what the room is like, and whether you need to set anything up.

2. Res…


On days when I put my earning-money-to-eat hat on, I train people on management skills (I do other stuff, too, but I digress). And one of the big themes of the last 5-10 years has been the concept of stickability, and how employers often find it lacking in employees, and how they'd like to see it being developed more in our schools and colleges.

I like to think I have reasonable stickability. I especially have it when people advise me that I'm not able to succeed at something (perhaps that's bloodymindedness - or perhaps they're really the same thing), and that something is a thing that I'd like to have. (Let's be clear. I will never stick at climbing Everest. I've never had any desire, whatsoever, to climb a mountain. Or do a marathon.)

What it turned out I really, really wanted to do with my life is write books. Who knew? I didn't, right up until I started in earnest. The gap I never knew I had in my life was suddenly filled.

The thing is to write boo…

Mixing my stories

Here I am, one chapter into something new. It's a literary-feeling paranormal set in Donegal, with all the bleak loveliness that brings.

Which makes my genre-mixing very weird. By the time I get this out, my career will look like this:

A space opera trilogy
A science fiction thriller
A literary dark fantasy
A science fiction thriller novella
Either a literary paranormal, or a YA science fiction, depending what happens to which
Then a fantasy duology with a little touch of steampunk. And somewhere in there, if I get the time and inclination, a sequel to Inish Carraig and maybe something new in the Abendau world.

Once, I'd have tied myself in knots worrying about this. Am I mad, mixing genres? Would I lose the readers I already had.

I really don't worry so much anymore. I write for me, and tell the stories that cry out for me to tell them. That people seem to like them is a huge bonus and means a lot. But I can't write to a formula. My passion for writing is the characte…

Collaborative working - Weaving This Twisted Earth

This week I'm joined by Dion Winton-Polak, editor of This Twisted Earth, a shared-world anthology I recently enjoyed very much. I asked him along to talk about creating - and managing - such a project.

Weaving This Twisted Earth.

‘A mountain of brightness piled behind her now; a myriad threads of all that might be. The Moirai took up their work once more and, satisfied, resumed their collaboration.’
-from The Fates, Disarrayed (Anon.)

I must have been mad.

What other explanation could there be? I’d already learned that I wouldn’t make any money putting out a small press book, courtesy of last year’s royalty cheque. (It didn’t cover the cost of the brain cakes. Don’t ask.) It’s one thing to get back on the horse – gaining experience, building a c.v. – but who in their right mind decides that their second ever book should be an open-subs shared-world anthology where All Of Time has become tangled up? I mean, all the wading, the brain-freezing breadth of concept; the sheer logistics o…