Miles Cameron, 'The Red Knight' as his enemies know him, battled his way through the first round of the David Gemmell Morningstar Awards nominations. Last Sunday, he emerged from the longlist arena, spoiling for round two.
You see, the thing about Miles is that he knows a thing or two about putting up a good fight. A military veteran, having served in combat and support roles, he's bloodied noses and wiped them, too. This experience, combined with a passion for fantasy, gives Miles a killer edge in the writing-wrestlemania. Front line warfare? He's been there done that. Commanded troops and called the difficult decisions? No problem!
...well, he's been as close as it gets in reality, pitting his talents against the dark arts of electronic warfare.
(If you haven't already done so, be sure to visit the site and have your say in the nominations! Oh, and while you're there vote in the Legend and Ravenheart categories, too.)
Today, Miles Cameron is here to talk about his debut novel 'The Red Knight', and how real life shaped his fantasy world.
I just returned to Canada (I'm a Colonial) from three weeks spent in the UK. I've been many times, as an officer in the Navy pulling into Portsmouth, as a tourist flying into London, and for years I've been fishing for sea trout and salmon in Scotland. But this trip was spend being a tourist in the North of England--the Lakes and the Border. I've been before, but this time I really had the time to get to know the Dales.
Why should you care?
One of the most frequently asked set of questions about The Red Knight is about locations. In the UK, readers assume the book is set in an alternate England, and in North America readers seem to feel it is set in the Great North Woods of our own continent, so I thought I'd use David's pulpit here to mention some locations that I love, because, of course, the answer is--it's set in both. It is Fantasy, after all!
So, for example, while the Adnacrags--the mountains to the north fo the main action--are the Adirondack Mountains of my childhood, the dales and villages surrounding the Fortress of Lissen Carrack where the main action takes place are the villages of Hawkshead and Kentmere in the Lake district. The dragon lives on the high fells above the Lakes--those barren, beautiful, stark towers of grass and rock--and the Inn of Dorling might be recognized by Glaswegians as their own Drover's Inn at the head of Loch Lommond, with a strong hint of the inn at the top of Kirkstone pass, locally known as 'The Struggle' in Westmoreland. Harndon--the capital of Alba--is mostly Medieval London, although there's some Paris there and a little New York, and Master Pye, the armourer, works out of a shop that I saw (it belongs to a real life Armourer, Mark Vickers) in Boston, in the UK.
I am an inveterate camper and hunter and fisherman, and the outdoors always appeals to me, but the Lakes--like the Adirondacks--have a magical aura to them--a darkness under the canopies of the trees contrasting with the light of the open ground and lakes--the special colours of the sky when rain is immanent--that brings home to me the visceral meaning of the Wild. Too often, in fantasy (and all other forms of adventure fiction) the struggle of the protagonist is against monsters and evil (or good)--and yet, anyone with a passing familiarity with the outdoors must realize that to take a horse, a sword, and armour across any distance in the misty 'past' that is fantasy would have been a major effort. Even in goretex and wellies, the Fells offer real challenge. And so do the Adirondacks, once described by a veteran climber as 'the only Mountain Swamp in the world'. The Wild--as I see it--is more than Wyverns and Dragons and Irks and Boggles. It is rain and mud and cold and heat and midges and mountains and fells and tracks and rock and rivers and becks--and beauty.
It is no fantasy.
You can go there still.
-Miles Cameron, 2013.