Who or what influenced your writing over the years? Reading books and watching tv gave me all the ideas in the world. I grew up watching cartoons, anime, scifi shows, then also horror, and I read a lot of fantasy books and history ones too. All of these things continually fed my imagination as to what stories I could tell. It strongly led me to want to write about the weird and wonderful, never the mundane. Aliens and monsters and mutations and the undead became the things I wanted to delve into.
As for the actual writing process, David Gemmell’s way of creating and developing characters taught me a lot. I always remember how he once introduced the reader to someone trying to kill the main character, explained why he was, the sort of man he was, then killed him. Not to mention Druss – a rare example of an old man in battle who still feels like an old man, he gets worn down and aches all over. Very human, very real.
Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams taught me humour can be written and read, even if I’ll never be able to imitate their skill for it. To time a written joke is something I never thought possible until I read their books.
How long have you been writing? Since I was a kid at school. At one point the only thing I was doing well there was writing stories and my teacher liked them. I never stopped writing even after the school work became more functional, focusing on maths and English.
How did you develop your plot and characters? Characters are often inspired from fictional ones or historical figures. There are so many brilliant individuals who have been lost to the passage of time, using them to inspire me feels like part homage, part theft. Sometimes I will create a character simply on the basis of seeing another character in someone else’s work behave in a way that annoys me. Then I create someone who would handle it better, and thus another being is born in my head.
I love creating characters and then throwing things at them to see how they react. That’s how my stories develop mainly. I usually have a goal or challenge that is the main focus for them, but how they get there is the story and so many times it changes organically.
Essentially, I’m a very character based writer and my plots revolve heavily around them. If I ever get stuck, I just think what would this character do now, and I know what to write next.
Who designed the cover? CGI artist John Picot did my cover. I was allowed to pick it out myself in a meeting with the artist and my publisher. I loved it because of the brutality of the machine’s defeat of the humans in the picture. While this doesn’t reflect a specific moment in the book, it does reflect the ongoing struggle humanity is facing, and one of the main opponents is the machines they created.
Who is your publisher? Daverana Enterprises. It is the empire of Janrae Frank, who has been luring writers, artists and editors to her banner for some years now. I’m proud to be in such company.
Will you write others in this same genre? Absolutely. This is just the first in an ongoing series so will be a lot more to come. I love post-apocalypse stuff as well as fantasy, scifi and horror, so having a world where all that exists means I will rarely leave it.
How important do you think villains are in a story? A villain can often define your hero. If the villain is a moron or coward, then the hero is achieving little by defeating him/her. I grew up watching He-Man and the Transformers, and while I loved those shows, it always bugged me how bad the villains were and how easy the good guys had it.
A villain is usually a rival to the main character, so the better the villain, the better the main character is. They can often be defined by the struggle itself – Batman and Joker, Holmes and Moriarty, Kirk and Khan, et al.
So I think they are vital. However, the main character should never be defined by the enemy alone. I prefer a bit more to them than that. Who are they and what they stand for should be self evident, but the struggle with a villain will help define them.
Sojourners in Shadow is a collection of tales set on a post-apocalyptic Earth where monsters, mutants and machines are now battling with each other and the fragmented remnants of humanity. Science and magic are now free to wield as any see fit, if they have the ability and will to master them. This leads to conflict across the globe and we follow the paths of individuals and groups as they try to survive, or better yet, to master their surroundings.
Lone warriors, seekers of power, defenders of the weak and predators of the helpless cross paths repeatedly, while leaders guide their people with wisdom or ruthless intent, or sometimes both. No single power dominates, all is chaotic and the past is a haze few know anything about. Death is common, trust is rare, loyalty is priceless. But a brutal world produces beings of rare abilities and strong spirit, of honed skills and sharp minds, whether they be champions or tyrants, humans or mutants or monsters or machines. Their adventures are only just beginning.
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Genre – Post- Apocalypse Sci-Fi
Rating – PG13
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