Author Interview: Phil Tucker

Q: How did you get into fantasy? 

It’s been a lifelong passion, truth be told. Back when I was a kid there were these Fighting Fantasy books with bright green spines, and I bought as many of them as I could out of an insatiable desire to experience the wonder and magic contained within their covers. They were like Choose Your Own Adventure books, but replete with ruins, demons, haunted forests, bizarre dungeons, cruel magi, horrific monsters and so much more. Combine that with my love for the board game HeroQuest, and I was pretty much doomed at a young age to love the genre.

The first real books that swept me away however were David Gemmel’s Drenai Saga, and they made such an impact on me that I ended up writing my college application essay on their themes. Those early influences indelibly marked me, such that when I realized I wanted to be a writer, there was no question as to what I was going to write: my highest goal is to inculcate in other kids the same breathless joy I felt as I turned those pages so long ago.

Q: What is your latest fantasy release?

Book 4 of my Chronicles of the Black Gate! It’s called The Iron Circlet, and is the penultimate book in the series. I’ve been thrilled with how well it’s been received, and while discussing it might prove too spoilerific for those who haven’t yet checked out Book 1, suffice to say that everything’s moving deliciously into an endgame, with characters getting tested to their limits (and in some cases being broken) while world threatening menaces emerge to do battle. It’s called epic fantasy for a reason, right?



Q: What fantasy book are you reading now? Are there any new authors that have caught your attention?

I’m currently making my way through Josiah Bancroft’s ARM OF THE SPHINX, book 2 in his TOWER OF BABEL series. It’s brilliantly written, with a precise, poetic language that makes following the adventures of his headmaster-cum-pirate captain a true delight.

Q: What are your favorite fantasy tropes? Which ones do you wish would die?

Let’s see, how about one of each? One of my favorite fantasy tropes is the well-executed learning montage. Whether it’s our hero first learning how to wield a blade or being taught how to weave magic, those first lessons always give me a thrill.

As for a trope I wish would die? I’m pretty tired of the Big Bad Evil coming out of the frigid north.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

If you want to be commercially successful, don’t think of writing as an art but rather as a craft. You only get better through constant practice, and waiting for inspiration to strike will leave you waiting forever. Sit down, get your hands on the keyboards, and write. It’s fine if your first draft is awful – you can refine it. But if you don’t get that first draft down, if you never commit yourself to telling your tale, you’ll never be able to call yourself an actual writer.

Q: What were some challenges you faced when you published and how did you overcome them?

There have been plenty of challenges, but the toughest was figuring out how to get my books in front of readers. It’s not enough to simply upload your book to Amazon these days and hope for the best. I did that for years and got nothing out of it other than self-doubt.

I overcame this obstacle by stumbling upon the Writer’s Cafe at Kindle Boards. There was a wealth of advice and experience being shared there at the time, and I profited immensely by reading about what successful authors were doing. That’s where I learned the importance of paying for a professional cover, workshopping your blurb to death, how to use keywords to your greatest advantage, how to control the length of your Look Inside sample, and how best to use promotions to tickle the Amazon algorithm so that it would do your marketing for you.

Q: What is the next project you’re working on? When do you hope to have it available?

I’m almost done with Book 5 of the Chronicles, and I hope to have that out by the end of July. Then it’s on to finish the Godsblood Trilogy, which should be done by the end of summer, and then? I’ve got a bunch of ideas swirling around in my head, but I’m not sure yet which one I’ll be tackling. I can’t wait to find out, however.

Thank you Phil Tucker for participating in this author interview. You can find Phil’s books on Amazon.

Author Interview: Holly Evans

Q: How did you get into fantasy?
It didn’t really take any thought, it’s where I naturally started writing to be honest. It brings together my love of myths, magic, and mayhem! I write Urban Fantasy specifically because I love the idea of the supernatural being right there, in the shadows, and just around the next corner. It’s such a fun concept, that if you look in the right place at the right time you’ll fall into this whole hidden world.

Q: What is your latest fantasy release?  I’m not sure if Ink Bound counts as it’s up for pre-order rather than live, so either that or Blood & Ink – both books in my Ink Born series. That follows Dacian the gay tattoo magician. I can’t really say too much about either of them as they’re books two and three, and thus have spoilers. They’re set in what I call my Ink world, which is a huge fantasy kitchen sink. It has over twenty types of magic, and every magical creature and being I can think of. It’s such amazing fun to play in, and I love the Ink Born characters.



Q: What inspired you to write your first fantasy book? How long did it take?
My first fantasy book is a trunk novel that will never see the light of day, it was awful! It started with an image I had of the protagonist on the run from her past, and her past was catching up with her. Everything built up around that opening image. I wrote 120,000 words in 6 weeks.

My first published fantasy is Infernal Bonds, which is book 2 of the Infernal Hunt series, but it’s the first full novel in the series. That came from my desire to write about twins and the amazing bond between them. I wanted to write a book with strong platonic bonds, with an amazing female friendship, and family both blood and chosen. Oh and a sexy hellhound, I wanted one of those too! It took me about a month to write, I write reasonably quickly.

Q: What makes your book(s)/series stand out?

The Infernal Hunt series is set in Prague, there aren’t many Urban Fantasies set there. The Ink Born series has a gay protagonist who’s a tattoo magician. As far as I can tell, there’s one series with a tattoo magician out there. I dug around trying to find some for a couple of years before I just wrote my own! There are a few urban fantasies with LGBT+ protagonists, but combining that with the tattoo magic makes the Ink Born series stand out from the crowd.

Q: Which of your books do you believe resonated with readers the most? Why do you think it received that attention?

Stolen Ink (Ink Born 1). From what I can see, readers loved that Dacian’s a gay guy who’s fleshed out as a real person. He’s not sex obsessed, there’s far more to him that his sexuality. That and the world. People seem to really enjoy the big intricate ink world that I’ve built for Dacian to live in. There’s so much there to explore (I really love that world!). I don’t think everyone gelled with Dacian himself, at least not immediately, but they seemed to really enjoy everyone around him. He has some fantastic friendships that were fantastic fun to write, and I tried to make them feel real. Add in the tattoo magic, and Kyra the cat, and people seem happy.

Q: What do you think makes a good story?

To me, a good story is one that’s engaging and vivid enough that I want to squeeze between the lines and live there within the story. It’s something that completely pulls the reader out of the real world, and allows them to live another life, even if only temporarily. It’s something that takes them on an emotional rollercoaster and leaves them with a buzz, a feeling of satisfaction at the end. A good story, to me, is one that makes the world a little bit brighter and life a bit more interesting and enjoyable.

Q: Do you have a favorite character from your books and/or series?

I know I’m probably supposed to say one of my protagonists, but I absolutely adore Tyn, he’s my broken little kitten. He’s a Cait Sidhe (a fae cat) that shows up in Blood & Ink. He’ll probably get his own series at some point. He has a tragic backstory, but he’s strong, and sweet, and absolutely adorable. Vyx is a close second. She’s a snarky, strong, takes no bull asexual vixen feral. She has no problems staring down alpha shifters that are twice her size, despite not being what you’d call the combat model. She’s an artist, a dainty little artist, but that doesn’t stop her from doing whatever she feels needs to be done. They’re both amazing, I have so much love for them.

Thank you Holly Evans for participating in this author interview. You can find Holly’s books at Amazon, follow her on Goodreads, and chat with her on Twitter


Author Interview: BR Kingsolver

Q: How did you get into fantasy? 

I’ve been reading science fiction and fantasy since junior high school, but never thought I could write a book. I’ve always made up stories in my head, though. I started reading urban fantasy with Anita Blake and Harry Dresden, then got hooked on Richelle Meade’s succubus books and Kim Harrison’s Hollows series.

About six years ago I bought a Nook, and discovered indie published authors such as H.P. Mallory and read about Amanda Hocking’s amazing success. I mentioned to a friend that I had a story I thought would sell, and she encouraged me to try and write it. The result was The Telepathic Clans Saga.

Q: What is your latest fantasy release?

I’ve just released the third book in my Chameleon Assassin series, Chameleon’s Challenge. The series is sort of a cross between urban fantasy and dystopian science fiction set 200 years in the future, “after the oceans rose and the bombs fell.” In an exchange between the main character and her father, the question of “what is magic arises”:

“Rumors of chameleons have been around for a long time. And, of course, legends of shape changers are ancient.”

“But those are just fairy tales.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Are they?”

“Daaad. That’s not funny. All those old stories depend on magic.”

“And what’s the difference between magic and what you do?”

I stared at him.

“Magic is manipulation of the physical world using some sort of energy,” he said. “Using radio waves to transmit sound does the same thing. Clark’s Law. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

“But I’m not using any technology.”

“I think the same principle applies. We don’t have the science to explain it, so it might as well be magic.”

Q: What sub-genre of fantasy do your books/series fall under? Is there a different sub-genre of fantasy that you would like to experiment writing in and why? What is the next project you’re working on? When do you hope to have it available?

I’ve written eight books in the urban fantasy genre on the edge of contemporary science fiction. The book I’m currently working on is high fantasy, a Tolkienesque trilogy. I’m hoping to finish it this summer and publish it by the middle of September. I’m usually late, though. The trilogy is called (subject to change) Chronicles of the Soulless, and the first book is Winds of Prophecy.

Q: What makes your book(s)/series stand out?

I don’t do shifters and vampires and witches, at least in the conventional sense, which is what most of urban fantasy seems to be now days. I bend the tropes a little. The other thing is I write for an adult audience. So much of UF is written in a YA voice, and I don’t do that.

Q: Do you have a favorite character from your books and/or series?

I think my characters are what makes my books stand out. My current lead character, Libby Nelson, is one that I love. Rhiannon Kendrick from my Telepathic Clans Saga is another one. They’re similar in some ways. Both are kick-ass and don’t care much about what other people think.

Q: Do you have a favorite book cover? Why is it your favorite? Who designed it?

I have recently re-covered my Telepathic Clans series, and love a couple of those like they were my children. The cover for Succubus Ascendant is my favorite of all of them.


The covers are all done by the incredibly talented Heather Senter-Hamilton at She also writes UF novels.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Be careful who you listen to. Everyone has an opinion, everyone has advice. Listen to those who are successful. Quality is important. If you can tell a good story, the writing doesn’t have to be Pulitzer quality, but the presentation does. Good covers, good blurbs, and good editing are important. Yes, some people are successful selling books with crappy editing. The authors would be more successful it they did things the right way. You want to have pride in a book with your name on it.

Thank you BR Kingsolver for participating in this Author Interview. Discover BR Kingsolver’s latest books at the Amazon page.

You can also visit website, Amazon page, Facebook, and Twitter.

Author Interview: C. Greenwood

Q: How did you get into fantasy? 

I stumbled across the epic fantasy genre as a teenager. I was into medieval history at the time and I started picking up fantasy books because the covers showed people with swords and cool armor. Once I started reading, I discovered that I loved the magic and the worlds invented as well.

Q: What is your latest fantasy release?

My latest release is The Magic of Dimmingood trilogy, beginning with Book 1: Thief’s Blade. These books are prequels to my older Legends of Dimmingwood series and explore the pasts of some of the characters.


Q: What inspired you to write your first fantasy book? How long did it take?

I wanted to write in a familiar setting, someplace where my characters and their fairly simple plot wouldn’t get swallowed up by a sprawling world. So I based my setting on the forest surrounding the house where I grew up. That location was my inspiration and everything else just naturally grew out of it. I spent a year writing books 1-4 of what would later become the Legends of Dimmingwood series. But they wouldn’t see the light of day until many years (and a lot of revisions) later.

Q: Do you have a favorite character from your books and/or series?

I always enjoy the villains most. My favorite character is a thief named Rideon, who’s both the villain from my first fantasy series and the hero of a later series.

Q: Do you have a specific method for developing characters?

It sounds a bit weird but I start with choosing an interesting place. Then I ask myself what kind of person would live or work there and how their surroundings might shape them. The characters pop into my head then and I fill in any missing details.

Q: What was the most memorable moment in your publishing journey?

I’m not sure there was any one moment, so much as a gradual realization that I was doing this thing. That’s the most amazing part. When you realize people are reading what you’re writing–and they’re liking it. There are a lot of fun milestones before that, like finishing a novel and publishing for the first time. But when you sit back and think, “This is really happening. I’m finally doing what I’ve always wanted,” that’s the best.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Be persistent. If an obstacle gets in your way, don’t give up. Look for a way around it, even if that means trying a path you never expected to take. When I discovered agents and major publishers weren’t interested in my work, I found small digital publishers for my early stories. When I failed to reach many readers with those books, I switched over to self-publishing. When self-publishing sales were good but not great, I reinvented myself with a new pen name, genre, and branding. At a glance, it might look like my first fantasy books were successful right away. But there was a lot of unseen effort before that, years spent honing my craft, collecting rejections, learning about new ways to get my stories out into the world. Always keep pushing until you get where you want to be.

Thank you C. Greenwood for taking the time to tell us about your books and publishing journey. You can find C. Greenwood at Facebook and more fantasy books at her Amazon Page.

Author Interview: Alec Hutson

Q: How did you get into fantasy?

I was a dinosaur kid. Some of the first words I learned were ‘ankylosaurs’ and ‘diplodocus’. An interest in fantasy grew out of that, I think. My mother read stories set in Narnia and Prydain to me, and by grade 3 I was reading Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms books. I’ve always been attracted to stories (or paintings or movies) that can elicit a soaring sense of wonder – and by that I mean a feeling of ‘otherworldness’, that tingling that suggests another reality has touched our own. I’ve always wanted to create that same feeling in others. In Grade 2 I wrote my first fantasy book. I’ve always had the dream, but for much of my adult life I set it aside. Then three years ago I took it out and dusted it off and set to work.

Q: What is your latest fantasy release?

My latest is a sword-and-sorcery novelette called Twilight’s End. But the work I’m most well-known for is my debut, released last December, which was The Crimson Queen. It’s epic fantasy, and the start of a new series.

Q: What inspired you to write your first fantasy book? How long did it take?

I would say the literary inspiration for The Crimson Queen is mostly George RR Martin, although my book isn’t nearly as dark and sprawling as The Song of Ice and Fire. What I wanted to do was try and merge the nuanced characters and deep world building and quality writing of Game with the tone and feeling of the old TSR fantasies (Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance again) I grew up reading. Basically, a less dark and gritty Martin, or a more refined pulpy fantasy adventure.

Q: What sub-genre of fantasy do your books/series fall under? Is there a different sub-genre of fantasy that you would like to experiment writing in and why?

I like writing epic fantasy and sword and sorcery. I know it’s trite, but I enjoy adventuring in medieval-style worlds. Castles and swords and fortresses clinging to the sides of mountains. I know a lot of readers are tired of this millieu – but not me.

Q: Which of your books do you believe resonated with readers the most? Why do you think it received that attention?

The Crimson Queen shocked me with its success. I was hoping to sell a few hundred copies this first year, and after seven months I’m verging on 20,000 copies sold (ebook, full reads in KU, audiobooks, and print combined). I think there’s a hunger for non-YA medieval style epic fantasy that has a bit of depth to the characters and plot.

Q: What are some professional milestones that you’re proud you reached?

Today I just reached 1k ratings on Goodreads for The Crimson Queen. I think Goodreads ratings is a better measure that Amazon reviews (and harder to game) for reader satisfaction, so I’m quite pleased. I’m also quite happy that even though I’ve had a large number of reviews, the averages are still high, with 4.36 / 5 on Goodreads and 4.7 / 5 on Amazon.

Q: What is the next project you’re working on? When do you hope to have it available?

I’m writing two short stories that I hope to include in anthologies in the fall. Otherwise, I’m working hard on the sequel to Queen. I hope to have it out this winter.


Thank you Alec for participating in the Author Interview.

You can find Alec’s books on Amazon