As part of the Shadowland tour, I was given the opportunity to do an interview with the author. (If you haven’t read my review of Shadowland, take a few minutes to hop over and read it!)
I loved the flow of the story, using the main character as the storyteller in the future. The story within a story seemed to draw me into the novel rather quickly and had me imagining I was sitting in a room listening to someone relay the story. What inspired you to use that particular format for this novel?
I really just started out to write a book for my own amusement and liked the idea of a storyteller sitting by the fire one stormy midwinter’s eve, weaving a story for his listeners. At the time of writing that first few sentences I had no idea where the book was going and any idea of the dark ages or Arthurian legend were not on my mind. I was worried several times that the idea wasn’t working, that I shouldn’t be coming back to the storyteller at the end of every chapter. I knew I was weaving two stories, but my reader wouldn’t… at least not for a while. The feedback I have got back is that it does work and most people enjoy it, even spotting the few clues I leave…
Arthurian legend has such a drawing power for both authors and readers alike. Were the dark ages and King Arthur an interest of yours as a youth or later in life? Also, where did you seek out historical background to help in writing Shadowlands?
I’ve always loved history and the dark ages have always held a special interest because so little is actually known from those times, this is the times that legends were born because very few written records exist. As a writer it meant I could take a few of the known historical facts and weave my story between. I read a lot of books about the dark ages and druids in particular. Researched how people lived, farmed, hunted and traded and tried to build a picture of those times as we go through the Romans leaving and the Saxons invading.
Do you look back and see a definitive moment where you experienced a call to writing or was it something that just built over time?
I’ve always been a big reader, and listened to the little voice repeating that ‘we all have a book or two in us.’ One day I got really disgusted with myself for watching television and not remembering what the programme actually was when the commercials came on! I was wasting my life! So I sat at my laptop and searched for a great first line. Little did I realise at the time what a blast writing really is. For me, its like watching a great film, reading a wonderful book and playing a fantastic computer game all at the same time!
Looking at your biography, I noticed that you have lived and/or visited so many different places over your life, How did your experience of different cultures help you as a writer and does one location really stand out for you?
When I was growing up, people would ask what I wanted to do. I would always reply I wanted to travel and see the world, well I have done a lot of traveling since those days. I’ve lived all over the world in places like Amsterdam, Hong Kong, The Philippines and India. It definitely helps me when I’m writing and trying to set a scene to hark back to the times I spent in those often strange and crazy places. I try to be as descriptive as I can and traveling has helped immensely.
Since I began reviewing books on my blog, I have found myself reading quite an array of titles and more often than I might have otherwise. Some are great, some are good and some are ones I’d rather have skipped altogether. I love to hear what others are reading and enjoying. Could you please share the last three or four books you’ve read and would you recommend them to others?
I just finished the first in M.C.Scotts Rome series. I enjoyed her Boudicca books and this was just as good, I can really recommend it. Before that I was reading a book called The orphan Stone by another British Indie author named Rod Tyson, which I loved… it was scary as hel,l but a great story! The one before that wasn’t so good… so I wont mention it! Before those I was reading The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne which are fantastic reads about a druid that has lived several thousand years, yet looks like he is in his early twenties and runs a bookshop! Try them, they’re great.
Looking at your blog, I see that you have another book out, The Flight of the Griffin, which is the start of a series. Can you share a bit about that title and series?
The Flight of the Griffin is YA, yet adults love it too, it’s pure fantasy, no history involved at all. It follows the antics of four young orphans as they go on a quest to find and unite three crystal skulls. If they can unite them then the world will not tip into chaos. Demons are chasing them as well as a evil hunter called Matheus Hawk. Its a good verses evil quest I suppose you could say and a real roller coaster ride and is already getting some great reviews on Amazon and Smashwords.
I’m currently working on the sequel which has the working title of Chaos Storm. The Flight of the Griffin is a stand alone story, but i liked the characters so much I just had to see what they would do next!
I hope you will give The Flight of the Griffin a read too:)
Many thanks to C.M. Gray for taking the time to answer my questions to share with the readers here at Day by Day in Our World.