The Fey Man by James T. Kelly

cover

 

We want to welcome James T. Kelly to our blog, a good twitter friend and fellow published author, we wanted to share his new book with you! So we asked him a few questions and he was kind enough to answer them!

So James congratulations on getting The Fey Man published!!

Thank you! I still can’t believe it’s out there. It’s literally a dream come true. And thank you for inviting me to your blog!

1. What’s been the best part of the whole publishing process for you?

I think my favourite moment was holding that first paperback. I’ve been writing with a view to publication for almost fifteen years. So it’s been a very long road to The Fey Man, full of novels that will never see the light of day and abortive starts on other projects. But when it all culminated in seeing that paperback for the first time, that’s when it felt real. This was an actual book with my name on it. After all the years of work, that was really quite something.

2. Please tell us all about The Fey Man. (Ridley loves that it has dragons!)

The short version is that it’s about a man’s journey to return to Faerie and the war of dragons that gets in his way.

The longer version is that Thomas Rymour is a prophet who cannot lie, obsessed with returning to Faerie and reuniting with the queen of the fay. The elfs in the West are using magic to enslave dragons and invade the rest of Tir; the elfs in the East seek a fabled sword to break that magic. Tom thinks he can use that quest to get back to Faerie. But, of course, it’s not that easy.

I’ve tried to write the fantasy novel I always wanted to read, so it’s got fantasy staples like elfs, dragons, swords and quests. But it’s also got the fay of Faerie, a (very) reluctant hero, and a twist or a rethink for all of those staples. I hope the world I’ve created feels familiar enough that people want to enter but novel enough that they want to stay.

3. Do you see any of yourself in your main character Tom?

Oh sure. I’m a clueless, lovelorn liar too.

Joking aside, Tom’s the viewpoint character so I spend more time in his head than anyone else’s. Consequently he’s probably inherited more from me than the other characters. Tom, as he appears in The Fey Man at least, certainly reminds me a little of my younger self. He has a sort of teenage romanticism that I was prone to, a little victimhood, and a certain selfish and dogged drive to see his own desires fulfilled.

That said I think most characters start, if not with the writer asking “what would I do?”, than “what would make me do that?”. Even if characters are very dissimilar to their creators, they all begin with the writer and do ultimately reflect them in some way.

4. The Fey Man is an epic fantasy novel, why were you drawn to write in this genre in particular?

Well in truth I want to write in all the genres. The Fey Man was just the first story to be ready!

Fantasy is great because it’s so entangled with myths and legends. It’s filled with these evocative motifs that move and inspire us in fundamental ways. There’s a reason dragons and elfs and magic make so many appearances in fiction and, like I said before, I wanted to write them all as I wanted to see them!

5. We’ve said before we love the cover, did you work closely with the artist on it or did you give her free artistic reign?

I took the view that Annah’s the professional artist so her instincts are going to be better than mine. That viewpoint paid dividends! I gave her a detailed synopsis as well as a description of what I had in mind, but the rest was really all her. Her pencil sketch was just incredible. We discussed details and I made requests for amendments and tweaks, but that cover is far more Annah’s work than mine. I’m looking forward to working with her on the sequel.

6. Have you always wanted to be a writer, and was there any one thing, event or person that inspired you to become one?

I don’t think I can point to one thing that inspired me to be a writer. After all, I’d been writing stories since I was old enough to string words together. But a big part in moving me from hobbyist to aspirant was Orson Scott Card’s introduction to Ender’s Game, which chronicled the creation of the novel. It was one of the first times I realised that the writer was just a person making things up, and if they could do it, why couldn’t I?

Sadly my opinion of Orson Scott Card has diminished in light of some of the things he’s said about homosexuality, but I still have to credit that introduction to putting me on this path.

7. Tell us about your writing process, is there any time of the day or night you prefer to put pen to paper?

Any time is good writing time. I get up early to get an hour in before work (which is much harder in winter, let me tell you). I also write on my lunchbreak and, if I’m really on the ball, whenever I’ve got thirty seconds. That’s the great thing about the cloud; you can use whatever device you have to hand. For long stretches I use an iPad with a Bluetooth keyboard and my phone for shorter bursts. I much prefer writing with a physical keyboard and a decent-sized screen, though; a phone just isn’t good enough to write on for too long!

8. What is your favourite thing about being a writer?

That’s a really tough one. There are so many things! I like that I can daydream and call it work. I like that I can tell the stories I want to read. And I especially love it when people read and enjoy my work.

If I had to pick, though, I think it’s the creation itself. It’s quite exciting to sees story rush into the page from your fingertips. And then to go over it, cutting, amending, honing the raw, ugly prose into something you can be proud of. I’m probably gushing, but creating something where previously there was nothing? Yes, that’s my favourite thing!

9. So what’s next for James T Kelly?

The sequel! I’m beavering away on the second volume which moves the story into the belly of the beast: the Western Kingdom. I’ve got a few other projects I’m working on as well so there’s plenty to be getting on with.

Thanks for asking me, I hope I haven’t waffled on too much!

James

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Thanks so much for stopping by and answering our questions James! There definitely wasn’t too much waffle, in fact we’d love to hear more!

We wish James all the best with his new book! Make sure you check out The Fey Man on Amazon US, Amazon UK and Smashwords.

Twitter: @realkjtk
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Old School Fantasy: aka ‘Epic Fantasy’

Latimer: Good evening; I am the ever absent, but ever present Latimer (that’s an oxymoron I think).

My life recently has been a bit chaotic. But Ridley has bravely held the fort (actually, she built the fort; or re-built? Renovated? She’s lost in here somewhere now, the foundations of our creaky, cyber-space battle-ship of dreams!).

Fear not Ridley, like White Gandalf, I return to you now at the turn of the tide!

Basically, I have finally re-emerged from work; slightly the worse for wear, but triumphant (also like White Gandalf, I see a pattern emerging; Ridley is Frodo and I am Gandalf! It’s so obvious, ha).

Now, it’s time for tea and a blog; my first in what feels like years. Forgive my creaky style; don’t worry it’ll all gel together somewhere in the middle/end!

I wish I could be industrious like Ridley and blog a book review, but honestly I haven’t read anything (unless you want to hear about Frank Ryan’s Virolution- well once I fight my way through the rest of it-! Slowly but surely, I’ll get there; you won’t win against me Frank Ryan!).

So because of that, I’ve decided I’m going to start with a TV show that is also a book (see, it’s almost a book review! ALMOST!)—

My ‘renovation blog post’ is *drum roll* on Game of Thrones (GoTs) (one of the hottest shows on TV at the moment I reckon).

I saw this one coming over a year ago; it was a teaser for HBO way before it was due to come out in like May last year. We were being teased big time, for ages.

 It’s obvious from the get-go that HBO knows how to make a show. GoTs is shiny; it’s vast, it’s epic… and it’s peppered with a great cast (mostly England, Scotland and, Ireland as it happens; Joffrey goes to Trinity College (so Wikipedia tells me). I want to hang around Trinity and shout at him ‘you’re mad, Joffrey! Mad!’; wonder does he get that often? Hmm, I want to know!).

In the past, I used to read epic fantasy- mostly because A) my brother had an epic collection of epics and B) I was a kid and I couldn’t afford to buy my own books. I didn’t know Ridley back then so I had to make do with e.g. The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind and The Belgariad by David Eddings. Later in life, I read my own epics: The Guardian Cycle by Julia Gray and The View from the Mirror by Ian Irvine. There are common themes in epics:

– Author: usually a man (almost ALWAYS a man let’s be honest)

– Boy, farm boy, well, average Joe Soap. He’s just a kid; He’s a He (bar The View from the Mirror; a rare exception with a female lead)

– He might look it; but he’s not normal, he’s special (we are all writing that character, though, I will put my hands up on that score, the common in all fantasy, epic or urban)

– A terrible event, *scourging of the shire style*

– Boy leaves on a journey

– A shadow stirs in the East, a Dark Lord

– Annoying female characters, jaded knights, sex, war, blood, death, depravity, politics so confusing you no longer know where you are; names that make NO sense; place names that look like the author had a fit while typing; a million and one characters, with a million and one points of view that alter change and grow with each book in the series that seems to last an eternity to the point you no longer know if you even A) like the story anymore or B) know what happened in the beginning (so the re-reading cycle begins!)

– Mystic forces move in the dark, the characters enviably ignore them *just stories, Joe Soap of the Shire, just stories*

– And of course they aren’t

– Epic battle…

– PROPHECY! So important- ‘Joe Soap, you are the chosen one’

In the end, all the epic series you read blend together, so that you no longer know what events happened in what stories.

So, bar the lack of concrete Joe Soap (though, actually John Snow would probably suffice), Game of Thrones is a quintessential epic. Honestly, I have no particular love for epic books. They weave and twist and weave and twist; and at first you enjoy the weaving but then you realise you have gotten lost in a maze and it’s no longer fun and actually it’s just a chore to follow.

There’s a lot to be said for over-complicating stories. The reader wants to float, not struggle through your story. I want to be taken on a journey, not forced into a battle, with the plot.

I know the Game of Thrones story; I know he has a million and one characters and points of view. And for me, that’s why I can’t handle epics anymore (Lord of the Rings is the great outlier though!).

BUT wow, Game of Thrones is fun to watch!

HBO are going to work me through the confusing parts; the actors are going to show me the plot. So the stress is taken out of the epic (mostly!).

It’s not brilliant; but it’s good it’s really good. And it’s something different to watch. It’s got so much going for it. The opening theme is epic; beautiful.

The design is slick and realistic; it’s a grubby, deprived world, with nasty people, and only a few who you actually like. There is a LOT of ‘whoring’ though; sometimes very gratuitous- I’m no prude, but there’s an element of porn without plot in Game of Thrones, more often than not.

 Peter Dinklage is excellent as ‘The Imp’, Tyrion Lannister. You can’t talk about GoTs without mentioning Peter Dinklage. Although his faux-English accent is a little grating after a point, I forgive him this because Tyrion is smart, witty and he knows what’s going on (unlike much of the other characters) and I want him to outwit the people who think he’s pitiable; I enjoy the way he uses his head to fight his battles, it makes him an unlikely force to be reckoned with. He’s a political player; and you can tell he’s only going to get more and more involved in the power struggle as the story goes on. I lift my hat to George R.R Martin; the Imp is a very bold and intriguing character.

There’s also some nice eye-candy (Jaime Lannister and Rob Stark, par example). Even though my imagination can handle making a handsome man, it’s nice to have HBO doing the work for me!

I’m not in love with Game of Thrones; but I’m ‘in like’, very much so. It’s a good watch, there’s no getting around it. Once you get into it; it’s like eating a cake- ‘more! Give me MORE!’; it’s not the tastiest cake, but the sugar rush is so good! I would recommend it, if you haven’t watched it. Try a few episodes, get into it. The opening of the first episode is very atmospheric (I want to know more about the White Walkers; they seem to have been seriously neglected in series 1; I really hope they come back with a vengance in series 2).

Ah, yes, I’m blissfully ‘in like’ with Game of Thrones.

Series 2 is starting this week- so it has occupied my thoughts throughout the last week of struggling. Looking forward to something really takes the edge off the stressful things.

YES- Winter is finally here!