Derek Prior (author of the SHADER trilogy)
1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
I’m a single parent of an eight year-old so I tend to get my best work done early in the morning. I’m usually up by 5.30am and write solidly until 7.30-8 when my son wakes up. There are absolutely no distractions at this time of day so it’s particularly good for writing first drafts.
2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
I write straight to the computer but I do carry notebooks around with me pretty much everywhere. The odd thing is that I seldom consult my notes – if at all – in spite of filling 2-3 notebooks per project. It seems that as soon as I write something down it’s committed to memory. Generally the stuff I forget is not worth remembering anyway.
3: What do you draw inspiration from?
I get most of my ideas when out walking with my son. We chat about all manner of things and then something strikes me, I stop, write it down and it starts to snowball. I also get inspired by non-fiction (philosophy, theology and history), other works of fantasy (often old pulp titles), odd encounters out in the real world, and relationships. Last year I got a lot of inspiration from watching Battlestar Galactica.
4: Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write such as word count?
I don’t set specific goals each time I sit down. I usually work on a scene and take a break if I finish it. If I’m editing I tend to take a chapter at a time, unless there’s major re-writing to do. I used to plan things a lot more and work in a structured way but I’ve found I prefer the results when I don’t take quite so much control.
5: Are you a published or a self published author and how do you come up with your cover art?
I’m an independent author so I have to finance everything myself. I commissioned my cover art from artists whose work I find matches the feel I’m trying to create with the writing. I tend to focus on a particular scene that captures the essence of the book for me. Mike Nash did the cover for The Resurrection of Deacon Shader and was very keen to elicit my feedback at every stage. The cover is creates the first impression for the reader and needed as much of my attention as the text.
6: What drives you to choose the career of being a writer?
I can’t relax unless I am in the process of creating. I used to write and perform songs, act, direct and write for the theatre. Writing stories has been an obsession since childhood but it took a few decades to commit to getting a novel finished. Now I can’t stop – I tend to write for 3-4 hours a day on average. Whilst it’s nice to get feedback and royalties, I’d continue writing even if no one wanted to read my work.
7: Do you own an eBook reading device?
I have Kindle on my PC but rarely use it as I love books. I’m considering buying a Kindle though so that I can acquire more independent books without the huge expenditure. The text-to-speech function could also prove quite helpful when editing.
8: Who are some of your favorite authors and What are you reading now?
I love G.K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, H.G. Wells and Arthur Conan-Doyle. In the fantasy field I’ve been influenced by: David Gemmell, Michael Moorcock, Fritz Leiber, Lin Carter, R.E. Howard, Stephen Donaldson and (recently) Joe Abercrombie. Tolkien was also a big early inspiration.
I’m currently reading a collection of R.E. Howard’s Solomon Kane stories – great use of imagery to create atmosphere and horror; his characters are iconic and his imagination peerless. The writing style is quite verbose and laden with adjectives (compared to modern trends). I rather like that!
9: What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any?
I’ve only seen C.S. Marks’ trailer for Elfhunter and I really enjoyed it. I’m working on a new website and have plans for a trailer featuring artwork from the books and landscape photography of some of the locations that influenced the setting. I’ll be reading excerpts to the accompaniment of one of my own musical compositions.
10: What are you working on now that you can talk about?
I’ve just completed a short-story, The Ant-Man of Malfen, which is set in the SHADER universe. It’s the first of a series of shorts about the Nameless Dwarf’s quest for redemption in the aftermath of his fall in The Archon’s Assassin. The series is written in sequential episodes which will eventually form a single book. It’s a refreshing change from the long novels with much more focus on Sword & Sorcery style action. The Ant-Man of Malfen is doing the rounds of the fantasy magazines at the moment but I plan to release it on Kindle and as a paperback later this year.
I’m half-way through the first book of the SHADER trilogy, Gods in the Dreaming. It’s a complete re-working of The Resurrection of Deacon Shader with a fully-fleshed out world and much more emphasis on characterization and relationships.
I’ve also written over 200 pages of The Archon’s Assassin and plan to release both books at the end of the year. Artwork for Gods in the Dreaming has just been commissioned and I’m still looking for an artist for Archon’s.