Last week I was tagged by Lorna Suzuki for this blog hop – and according to my recently checked junk mail, also Will Hahn a few weeks ago.

What am I working on?

I am in the first round of revisions on Stalking the Demon, the second book in the Seven Circles of Hell Series, and sequel to Confronting the Demon.

I’m also almost 70% of the way through an epic fantasy novel In the Company of the Dead.

You can check out excerpts from both of them in my Monday Morsels.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’m not sure anything is ever completely unique, but things that differentiate my work (I believe) from large parts of the epic fantasy genre are:
  • Protagonists don’t necessarily have fantastic magical powers (although some do) even though magic is a prevalent theme of the books;
  • The use of equal numbers of male and female supporting characters (to buck a general trend of token females in many genres);
  • Detailed and original world-building, rather than creating a Tolkien-esque world;
  • Blending mystery and paranormal themes.
Why do I write what I do?

Write what you know, and write what you love. I know fantasy because I love it, although pinning down why is harder. It has to do with the way fantasy (and the speculative fiction genre in general) deals with real world issues in a safe setting. It is also, in part, because of its aspirational nature.

I don’t write ‘gritty’ fantasy because it runs counter to what I love most about fantasy. It is said gritty fantasy is more reflective of the real world, but I think classic epic fantasy is reflective of humanity’s soul – a deep desire to rise above, for good to triumph, for right to win. When reality depresses me, the yearning of fantasy’s audience for some of the values embodied in the genre reminds me that humanity isn’t totally a lost cause.

How does your writing process work?

How long do you have?

A story usually starts with a core idea. A female assassin with an abiding distrust of men. A wizard whose addiction to satisfying his curiosity gets him into trouble. What happens when a man falls in love with a woman dedicated to a goddess of death?

Usually I develop the main characters at this point, including character profiles and doing extensive goal, motivation and conflict charts. This helps me to then do a full plot outline and chapter breakdown.

If this is a new world, I would then usually pause to draw a map and world build, including establishing for each country a political structure, racial appearance, language, currency, clothing, main trade items, architecture and religion.

Then, I begin to write. I may have new ideas along the way which need to be blended in with the original outline.

When I’ve finished, I revise. If revisions are extensive, I’ll do another read-through and tidy up before sending to betas to assess things like plot consistency, continuity and characterisation. Feedback prompts another revision, and what edits I can do myself.

The story then goes to my content editor, after which I do more revisions, then my line editor, and finally proofreaders.

I’m tagging Safireblade and M. E. Franco – although I admit I’m massively sleep-deprived and have not given either of them advance notice of this fact. By all means check out their blogs, but I can’t guarantee either of them will participate!