Thursday, 7 March 2013

Interview: Fantasy Author, John Gwynne

John Gwynne - like a BOSS!
If you're reading this, you're likely wondering: 'who's that hard-as-nails bloke with the two tanks/dogs and the big axe?'

Two words, ladies and gentlemen = John Gwynne. 

And he means business.

So, this is part 3 on my feature week with John Gwynne. If you've missed his guest post or the review of his fantasy debut 'Malice', check back over the recent posts and get yourself up to date! Today, as a fond farewell and a thank you for joining me on my blog, I'll be featuring an interview with John. I hope you've all enjoyed having him here as much as I have. He's a real gent, and if you haven't picked up a copy of 'Malice' yet then make sure you do! You certainly won't be disappointed.

For the benefit of those who might not know you prior to this interview, please introduce and tell us a little about yourself.

Hello. My name is John Gwynne and I am 44 years old. I was born in Singapore while my dad was stationed there in the RAF. Up until he retired that meant a lot of traveling around, generally a move every three years or so.

I live with my wife and four wonderful (and demanding) children in East Sussex. Also three dogs, two of which will chew anything that stands still. I have had many strange and wonderful jobs, including packing soap in a soap factory, waitering in a french restaurant in Canada, playing double bass in a rock n roll band, and teaching at Brighton University.

I stepped out of university work due to my daughter’s disability, so now I split my time caring for her and working from home - I work with my wife rejuvenating vintage furniture, which means fixing, lifting, carrying, painting and generally doing what my wife tells me to do...

I have also had my debut novel, ‘Malice,’ published recently, by Tor UK.

If you had to sum up 'Malice' in 50 or less words, what would you say?

To sum it up: Angels, demons, giant-clans, betrayal, wyrms, wolven, draigs, giant bears, wars, feuds, magic, coming of age, blood-sucking bats, flesh-eating ants, betrayal, an ambitious prince, a young warrior looking to make his mark, an outlaw with a conscience, politics, betrayal, shield-walls. And did I mention betrayal?

What inspired you to write 'Malice'? And how are your story ideas born?

‘Malice’ began as a hobby, a bit of ‘me’ time in a busy life. Once I started putting pen to paper, choosing what to write was easy - fantasy has been in my blood for as far back as I can remember. Much of my inspiration has come from world mythologies and those that have gone before - in other words I’ve pillaged from greater people - Milton, Blake, Machiavelli, Homer, Dante, many others. Also I think of ‘Malice’ as an homage to writers like Tolkien and Gemmell.

What was the hardest part of writing 'Malice'? And if you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in it?

One of the hardest parts was chopping characters and scenes during the edit. With your objective hat on you can see how the book works better without said scene or character, perhaps for pacing issues, but letting go was still difficult. Working with a great editor that I trust helped with that.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
The whole book was one long learning curve for me, and I’m still learning.

Can you tell us anything about your next book?

Book 2 is a continuation of the tale begun in ‘Malice.’ Hopefully it contains all the elements that readers have enjoyed from ‘Malice,’ - a character-driven tale told within an epic backdrop of battles, intrigue, betrayal (of course), love, loyalty and friendship.

Do you normally read other books in the same genre of your own?

Absolutely! Whenever possible, which usually means whenever I visit the toilet. Actually these days I rarely read anything outside of my favourite genres - fantasy and historical. I used to try and mix it up, but time is such a rare commodity, so nowadays I’d just rather read from the genres that I love.

Who is your favourite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

That’s almost impossible to answer, the closest I can get is favourites. J.R.R.Tolkien would be hovering around the top of that list, and David Gemmell. Also George R. R. Martin, Bernard Cornwell, J. V. Jones, Neil Gaiman; Miles Cameron has become a recent favourite. There really are so many.

Any advice for other writers/indie authors out there? And what’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing?

I don’t really feel qualified to be dishing out writing advice, I am still in shock that my book is actually sitting on shelves, in real bookshops! I suppose if I was pressed I’d have to say write what you want to read. What stirs some passion in you. Hopefully some of that passion will leak onto the page, and you never know, it may become contagious.

I'd just like to take a moment to thank John for being a fantastic sport and agreeing to participate in this week's feature.

John Gwynne will be attending the 'Fantasy In The Court' Event at Goldsboro Books, London, on the 28th March between 1800 and 2100. Free up the evening on your calendar and go along to meet a promising new fantasy author!

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