Q. Where can I get the books?
A. The first three griffin books, collectively called The Fallen Moon is currently published in Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada, and should be available in all well-stocked bookshops. There are also e-book versions available. The Land of Bad Fantasy is available in Australia and New Zealand, and has also been published in Romanian. If you go to the About the Books page here on the site, I’ve provided links to buy them online as well.
Q. Who are the publishers?
A. The Australian/New Zealand publisher is Voyager, and in America and Canada the books are published through Ace Fantasy. The rights for The Dark Griffin have also been sold to the Czech publisher Zoner Press, but the book itself has not been released yet.
Q. Where do you get your ideas?
A. Generally, they just pop into my head while I’m not doing anything in particular. Daydreaming is the best state to be in if you want an idea to come. Trying to make an idea come never works. At least, it’s never worked for me. Okay, it worked once. It’s still not a common occurance, though.
Q. Who are your favourite authors?
A. Rather unusually for a fantasy author, I don’t actually read much fantasy. My tastes are pretty eclectic – I’m a big fan of Clive Barker, China Mieville and William Horwood (the last of whom I read voraciously as a teenager, and who probably had a significant influence on my writing style). Other than that I read whatever looks interesting, which isn’t always fiction! I’m also one of those people who likes to re-read my favourites, so I have a few books on my shelf that are falling apart.
Q. Have you ever based a character on a real person?
A. Yes, but not always on purpose! Something you’ll come to realise if you write long enough is that your characters tend to be influenced by the people you know, even if you didn’t write them that way on purpose. For instance, in my case I eventually noticed that I tend to write female characters who are very strong willed and assertive, which is of course the kind of woman I grew up with.Â Occasionally, though, I’ve done it on purpose.Â With permission, of course.
Q. Do you have a Twitter/Facebook/Other social networking site account?
A. No, I am not on any of the social networking sites, and have no plans to ever change that. My daily life is far too boring for that, and I like my privacy too much.
Q. Will you read my manuscript for me?
A. For legal reasons, I probably shouldn’t. I suggest you contact a manuscript assessment agency; they can be very helpful.
Q. Were you inspired by Mercedes Lackey’s book The Black Gryphon?
A.It may seem very likely, but no, not at all!
In fact I had finished or almost finished writing The Dark Griffin before I even knew Ms Lackey’s book existed – and then I only found out by chance when I stumbled across it in a bookshop. In fact I hadn’t read a single one of her books at that time, and even today I haven’t read any of her griffin themed books (I don’t want to be influenced, even if it may look as if I already have been).
Unfortunately, my protestations of innocence sound less convincing when you know that The Dark Griffin was in fact originally titled The Black Griffin. I changed it when I found the Lackey book. Even more ludicously, her black griffin is called Skandrannon while mine is Skandar! But in reality, I had been using the name Skandar long before I started writing about griffins at all, and Skandar is actually named after the actor, Skandar Keynes. I guess the real moral of the story here is that life can have even more ludicrous plot twists than fiction.
Q. Do you allow fanfiction?
A. I sure do, but please don’t send it to me. Non-erotic fanart, on the other hand, is welcome and I’ll be happy to host the best of it here on my site.
Q. Why do the Northerners speak Welsh?
A. A couple of reasons. One is that I just plain like Welsh (I don’t speak it, mind you). But there is also a hidden reason: in medieval times, the Welsh were conquered by the English, who effectively made them second-class citizens in their own homeland, forced to ask permission to marry or even to have someone stay for the night. The Southerners did similar things to the Northerners for the same reason. Most of the Northerner’s names are ones I specifically looked up, but Arenadd, Saeddryn and Arddryn I made up.
Q. Why is the Night God the way she is? She’s so cruel and manipulative!
A. Despite appearances, both Gryphus and the Night God are essentially the same. I deliberately characterised the gods to be like how I imagine gods would be if they existed: selfish, power hungry and incapable of truly caring about any mortal. If you were thousands of years old and worshipped by millions, exactly how important would the life of one person be to you?
Q. Will [insert possible future event] ever happen?
A. Sorry, no spoilers!
Q. Why are your books so grim and depressing? Are you a depressed person?
A. I get depressed sometimes, just like everyone else, but I don’t have depression or consider “depressed” to be my default mental state. I suppose I write the kind of things I do because I just have a dark view of the world. I’ve had a fascination with death since childhood, and liked darker, grimmer stories more and more as I grew up. As a result, when I started writing my own things, that was what I wound up writing. Every writer writes the kind of thing they enjoy reading (try saying that three times fast).
Q. Do you ever do signings?
A. Yes I do! I’m also more than happy to do talks and workshops. Signings will be announced ahead of time on the site. If you would like me to make an appearance at your school, club, etc., I’m available through Invite-a-Writer.