And so the wheel of interview turns, and in another age, called about tea time by some people, A J Dalton answered me thusly:
1. Adam, your books (Empire of the Saviours, Gateway of the Saviours, etc) are pretty hefty. How much does size matter in fantasy, do you think?
Well, when I started reading fantasy (a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away) the 'big fat' 1000-page epic fantasy was the norm. I loved it - cos I find such books so 'immersive'. You never want them to end. However, tastes are changing - life is too short, time is money, blah, blah. The 'big fat fantasy' isn't selling like it used to. My publisher is asking me to go shorter. So, my most recent release (Tithe of the Saviours, April 2014) is a mere 145K words, the shortest book I've written in my 'career' (if I may use such a grandiose term for it!) so far.
2. Of all your books, do you have a favorite, or do you love all your children equally?
For some weird reason, I always enjoy writing the third/last book in a series, cos I know it's only the true fans who will be reading as far as that book. I find I have more permission to 'go for it' with that book. And my publishing editor is far less fussy/nit-picky about that book too. So, I've enjoyed Necromancer's Fall and Tithe of the Saviours most. I'm (probably) getting better with practice, so my most recent is probably the best - Tithe of the Saviours.
3. Readers always ask authors where they get their ideas or inspiration. Do you have a muse? What's your secret?
The problem is too many ideas really - and deciding which should be left out. I read a lot of fantasy and will sometimes read something and think, 'Hmm. I wouldn't have written it like that. I'd have written it like this. Oo. That's a good idea. Maybe I will write it like that!' It's like writing a photonegative really. So, that's my muse and secret in one - reading other fantasy authors. One of the UK's leading fantasy author (in terms of sales anyway) often says he doesn't read fantasy very much. I just don't get that. Doesn't he enjoy the genre he writes in?
4. Who is your favorite fantasy author now deceased? Why them?
David Gemmell. I grew up reading a lot of his stuff - you don't get better fight scenes - and they've helped me with my own stuff.
5. Who is your favorite living fantasy author and why (apart from Tom Lloyd or A J Dalton)?
Oh. Easy. Michael Moorcock. '
6. What's the best thing about being an author?
The best thing about the writing is... the writing. I enjoy the process, creativity and discipline of it. You've got to. Otherwise, you just couldn't stay motivated and inspired for the year or so it takes to write a book.
7. And the worst?
Worst thing – never having enough time for the writing. The writing doesn’t pay enough to cover your bills, you see, so you have to go out and get a day-job. Finding time to write is tricky, and the stress of that (especially when you have a deadline) really reduces the pleasure of the writing.
8. What are you currently working on that you can tell us about without then having to kill us?
A standalone ‘science fantasy’ called Lifer. Just 90,000 words, so a snip for the likes of you and me! It’s going well, and I’m enjoying it – cos there’s no deadline or anything (I haven’t looked into getting a publishing contract for it yet). In fact, it’s probably the best thing I’ve written to date (getting better with practice maybe). It’ll be the book I’m remembered for when I’m long gone, I suspect.
9. If people want to find out more about you, what sites do you maintain and what's your handle on Twitter?
My site is www.ajdalton.eu. I'm on facebook. Twitter: @AJDalton1. Beyond that, I tend to haunt the Fantasy Faction fan forum.
10. What question have I not asked you that I should have done? And what's the answer?
Maybe 'What's the trick to life as a writer and reader of fantasy?' Well, write what you enjoy reading, and don't be upset if it isn't published immediately. You're probably born ahead of your time. You have to wait till the world catches up. Or your stuff isn't currently 'in fashion' with publishers. Rejection should never be the same as dejection. Books get rejected for loads of reasons - and 'quality of prose' is really one of the rarer reasons. If you want to get published, focus on what the more common reasons are and address them.
For those as might be interested, my good friend A J Dalton suggested we do a double interview with each other, if that makes sense. He used better words of course... Anyways... here it is - I'll be posting his side in a bit, always interesting how people respond differently!
Well, almost. Though it's an ebook edition so it'll never sell out no matter how many we sell... ahem. I'll come back in.
SALE! The Stormcaller is on 85% discount on Amazon UK - that's just £1.49! It's almost like it's free*
So if you fancy giving my first novel a try, go download it today! it's the start of the Twilight Reign - more than a million words of epicy goodness and if you don't like it, you don't get your money back but it was only £1.49 so not too punishing a price to take a punt on something right?
Here's what some folk said about it:
...fantasy with the same magnificence of conception, the same sense of looming presences whose purposes are not ours to apprehend. -- Time Out - Ros Kaveney
...good ideas and a suitably flawed hero. The world is beautifully realised, the battles suitably grim... -- The Guardian - John Courtney Grimwood
It gallops along with scarcely a dull moment. -- The Times
The Stormcaller shows how high the bar has been raised with its sheer vision and inventiveness -- SFX - Sandy Auden
The world that Lloyd has created seems much more real than that of most fantasy books. -- Emerald City - Cheryl Morgan
Isak is a white-eye, feared and despised in equal measure. Trapped in a life of poverty, hated and abused by his father, Isak dreams of escape, but when his chance comes, it isn't to a place in the army as he'd expected. Instead, the Gods have marked him out as heir-elect to the brooding Lord Bahl, the Lord of the Fahlan. Now is the time for revenge, and the forging of empires. With mounting envy and malice the men who would themselves be kings watch Isak, chosen by Gods as flawed as the humans who serve them, as he is shaped and moulded to fulfil the prophecies that are encircling him like scavenger birds. The various factions jostle for the upper hand, and that means violence, but the Gods have been silent too long and that violence is about to spill over and paint the world the colour of spilled blood and guts and pain and anguish . . .
*almost free not the same as actually free. In many ways it's not free at all. All the ways that are important.
So hey, first online review that I can post, and it's a good 'un from Starburst!
The summary is "Moon’s Artifice is a book that demands the full attention of the reader, which isn’t a bad thing. It’s sometimes frustrating, can be a challenging read, but is ultimately rewarding, working well as a standalone story, while leaving anyone who has invested their time looking forward eagerly to the next volume of what promises to be a fascinating series."
and pleasingly for me if not anyone else, they liked Kesh best.
Yup, it's finally here - so rush, trample or fight your way out of the door to make it to your nearest bookshop and buy a copy!
Alternatively, you could go online I guess. If you're really lazy, here's a link even: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Moons-Artifice-T
I'm told these have turned up, so in case anyone still reads things I post here rather than going straight to Facebook/Twitter - who wants a copy?! Preference has to go to UK readers unless my publishers fancy joining in, but otherwise...
Ok then, Give-away time! Miles ahead of publication too, since the book's out the 21st November in the UK, but I have a spare proof to hand so what the hell, right?
Just tell me why you deserve a proof of Moon's Artifice and it could be yours! Best answer wins & there's no right answer, only wrong ones. Probably very wrong ones... I'll choose a winner over the w/e and DM or whatever for an address.
Sorry though, I think it'll have to be UK only, given postage costs these days!
This post has been a little while in coming. Truth be told I hadn’t much expected it to ever happen – after all, ask anyone and they’ll tell you short story collections don’t sell in the UK. And yet here I am, with another lovely Larry Rostant cover to admire and my name on another book. Now they’re all special – you publish a book that isn’t special to you and it either will be your last or should be. Even for a professional author, each one remains a constant for a period of your life and should trigger an emotion as strong as the smell of freshly cut grass. Where you wrote the book, who you lived with or drank with – they’re all bound up with each one but God Tattoo encompassed most of my adult life as it turned out.
I can remember writing Beast in Velvet and Afraid of the Dark in my student house, Dark of the Moor after work in the shabby (former) offices of A M Heath with that funny smell halfway up the stairs, Shadows in the Library in the little house we rented when we moved to Oxford. Memories for each – almost a different author for some given the intervening years. But they were all for my own entertainment – side-tales to the Twilight Reign mostly written off the back of my discovery of writers like M R James and Lovecraft. Older versions were released on the net and a couple of people even read them; Beast got me my first print publication (despite being a second draft which the editor cut the very last line of) and I still have the never-paid in cheque of $10 as a reminder.
As a collection however, while they belonged together I never really believe they’d appear as a grown-up book. And yet here they are at long last I’m delighted to say – some isolated little tales, others that hinted at the wider conflict and ended up charting the course of the novels themselves. Among there are my own small takes on a serial killer tale, a locked room mystery, several ghost stories, a damsel in distress and Lovecraft’s accounts of horror. But they’re all part of the Twilight Reign world. If you remember the nameless captain from the Di Senego club in Narkang, he appeared there because two of these tales and I didn’t want the Twilight Reign to happen without him. That’s the thing with stories, your emotions get tangled up in them, but I’d not have it any other way.
So here you go, my little stories, all grown up. I hope you enjoy them.
Copies of the God Tattoo are on their way to me I'm told, so how's about a couple of them up for grabs? One simple question, best answer/s wins. As usual, points are awarded as much for absurdity, childishness, tangential ramblings and anything else that amuses me at the time.... Answers here, on Facebook, via email, DM, any way you like so long as I read it! But of course, if you post it by hand the dog will probably eat!
So - how does Daken acquire his God Tattoo?
One small NB, it's not on sale in the US until later in the year so I'm afraid this doesn't include you guys. you US-ites will have to have your own comp closer to the time!
Quite a lot actually!
Another little guest post for your amusement/derision/informed comments... Having been asked to do a paragraph about Pratchett to add to an article, I clearly couldn't keep to such modest constraints and got a blog post all to myself instead!