Hi James, tell us a little about yourself:
I’m a college lecturer from Manchester, England and in my free time enjoy writing speculative fiction, mostly science fiction, horror and a little sword and sorcery fantasy.
NOW FOR SOME QUESTIONS
What is your favorite book?
My favorite novel of all time is probably Dune (and the Dune series up to book 4, God Emperor of Dune) but I also have to mention William Hope Hodgson’s Adrift on the Haunted Seas, which is best short story collection I’ve ever read.
What is your favorite movie?
The City of Lost Children (La cité des enfants perdus), a dark, surreal fairy tale set in a steampunk SF world. It’s unique and the cinematography is hypnotic.
Who is your favorite historical figure?
Alfred the Great, a late ninth century king of Wessex who united and defended
his country against Viking invasions. He was never meant to be king, didn’t receive an education and his health was poor but through determination he overcame all these limitations, teaching himself to read and write in adulthood and becoming one of the most enlightened rulers of the time. To me, he is the perfect example of never giving up.
What is your greatest temptation:
In women: I’ve always really liked strong women (but not bossy, I hasten to add).
In food: Ice cream, especially chocolate mint.
In clothes: T-shirts, I have hundreds of them.
What is your greatest weakness (example: Mine is cars)?
DVD’s, I’m always buying them wherever I go.
If you could have any kind of car, what would it be?
I’d really like a Concorde Carver 742L, a type of minivan. For me it’s the perfect vehicle for driving holidays.
Your dream home – mountains or ocean? Mountains, definitely, but somewhere heavily forested.
ABOUT YOUR NEW NOVEL
What inspired you to become a writer? To write this book?
For me writing is pure escapism and the more I can create my own worlds, settings and characters the more I enjoy it. After the publication of my first SF novel, Dragon (which you were kind enough to feature in October 2014) I realized that I wanted to keep exploring this universe I’d created. So far I’ve written two more Dragon books, Dragon: Smuggler Tales and the most recent, Dragon: The Tower of Tamerlane. They’re not sequels exactly but rather fill in some of the missing periods in the first book.
Do you have a daily writing routine? Please share.
I tend to write for short periods throughout the day. I don’t stick to a regular time. I never think in terms of a daily word count either. What’s more important to me is keeping the ideas flowing and progressing the story I’m working on.
Tell us about your hero.
Sillow, the main protagonist in the Dragon stories, is a semi-comic character, a restless, neurotic and somewhat cowardly elf who constantly finds himself in dangerous situations. Originally I intended him to be a fantasy character but as my novel developed I decided it would work better as a science fiction with a fantasy flavor.
Is there a heroine in your novel? Tell us about her.
In the third book, Dragon: The Tower of Tamerlane, Sillow joins forces with Titania, a beautiful and fearless pirate queen, who is more than match for the cowardly elf.
What do you have out now?
To date I have six novels/ novellas out, all published by Class Act Books, which cover science fiction, horror and fantasy. I also have several short stories included in various anthologies. My most recent, longer work is Dragon: The Tower of Tamerlane, the third book in the Dragon series.
What else do you have planned, writing-wise?
I’ve almost finished a steampunk -horror- fantasy novella but there are so many ideas in it, it will take some reworking before I have a final draft ready.
I’ve also started writing another Dragon story but this time around I want to focus on Sillow’s character. There’s a lot of back story and some psychological issues I want to explore. My intention is to make it funnier but also much deeper than before.
Where can we find you? (Social media, web site, etc.)
Please give an excerpt from your novel. (cover, trailer, links, etc.)
After the death of the Tuolon Ambassador Lagua and the failure to bring the non-humanoid worlds into the Alliance, Sillow and Brok’s long partnership is finally at an end. Now a reluctant solo agent, Sillow is called upon to undertake his first mission, investigate the Tower, a high-tech prison complex along with the oligarch who runs it, a mysterious nobleman who calls himself Tamerlane.
Seeking evidence to prove Tamerlane is responsible for a series of terrorist attacks, Sillow quickly uncovers the sheer scale of his plans, a lethal military strike on all four humanoid home worlds.
Caught and imprisoned however, the Sylvan finds himself helpless to warn the Alliance of the coming danger.
All the while, something has been evolving, growing stronger inside the Tower, something intangible yet far more dangerous than Tamerlane ever could be, a being implacably opposed to all life in the galaxy.
And only Sillow has any chance of stopping it.
“Take a good look Drake,” the guard said as the craft closed on the gigantic, ornate structure resting between frozen mountains. “This is the end of the line for you. I hear Tamerlane wanted you personally.” The man grinned, splitting his ugly face in half. “Which ain’t good for your scrawny ass, believe me.”
The prisoner remained indifferent to the mocking tones or indeed the attempt to scare him, but then Darius Drake was a most unusual figure. Small and malformed, his owlish eyes nevertheless exuded an absolute, unshakable confidence, a haughty detachment that often unnerved those around him. The guard was one of them. It was partly for this reason he felt compelled to say something to the perfectly silent prisoner who’d got so deep under his skin.
Drake regarded the structure below. The closer they came, the more like some bizarre, oriental tower it appeared. After some moments he turned his watery gaze back to the guard. There was no aggression, no challenge, just a cool contempt.
The smirk crumbled from the other man’s lips. “You be taking those psycho eyes off me freak,” he warned, lifting his rifle.
Drake blinked impassively back, his wrinkled, wizened features unreadable.
Those damned eyes, the man thought. He couldn’t stand them anymore. He moved forward, stopping the rifle butt an inch or so in front of Drake’s face.
The little man didn’t flinch.
The guard’s knuckles whitened around the weapon and for a moment he looked as if he might use it. Then he sneered. “You ain’t worth it. Little cripple like you.” He shook his head, sitting back down. He made a point of avoiding the prisoner’s eyes.
A derisive snort made him whirl round, a large blue vein bulging in his neck. The guard stared at a powerfully built, buxom woman with long auburn curls that fell to her shoulders. She was a striking sight, and as he was aware, she’d caught him more than once ogling her during their half day’s journey to Tamerlane’s prison complex. One of her shoulders and arm was completely cybernetic yet the metal was so smooth, so perfectly formed it seemed almost like a bodily adornment rather than an artificial appendage. A thin silver line ran across one of her cheeks whilst above it the eye glowed with an artificial soft ruby light. That eye was mocking him.
“You got a problem?” he snarled.
The woman sneered. “Real tough guy, aren’t you Kerry? Bet all the ladies are real impressed by you.”
The guard’s nostrils flared. “Shut your bitch mouth.” Narrowed eyes swept over her. “Look at you, Titanya, the Pirate Queen. Least that’s what they call you, ain’t it?” He slid along his bench, moving towards her. “Well, you don’t look so noble to me. More like a slattern.” He placed a gloved hand to her throat. “Don’t look so damn tough, neither.”
Thank you James for being with us today and sharing some things about you and one of your books. I’ve sprinkled your covers randomly through the post.