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Home » An Interview With The Author John Gwynne

An Interview With The Author John Gwynne

John Gwynne is the author of the epic fantasy series The Faithful and the Fallen The Faithful and the Fallen, which includes Malice, Valour, Ruin and Wrath. The series has earned numerous Gemmell Award nominations. John’s latest fantasy novel, Of Blood and Bone was released earlier in the year. The series began with A Time of Dread.

John was a lecturer and student for a while at Brighton University. He was part of a rock and roll band, playing double bass, traveled across the USA and resided for a time in Canada for a while. He’s married and has four children. He lives in Eastbourne with his family, running a small company that repurposes old furniture.

We appreciate your time with this morning, John. Let’s begin by telling us about a novel you’ve just finished reading!

The most recent one I’ve ever read was The Whale Road by Robert Low. It’s a fantastic Viking adventure, which follows an unnamed young man who is a part of an espionage group, the Oathsworn that are involved in the search for the tomb of Attila the Hun and the Spear of Destiny. It’s a thrilling read as well as a bloody and brutal page-turner that I would highly recommend.

Okay, it’s time to get things going Reality shifts and you are suddenly in charge of a D&D-inspired party through a dungeon that is populated by monsters. Which character type are you and what’s the preferred weapon?

It’s a shame that I’ve missed the entire D&D trend and I’m now looking up this topic.

There are some amazingly amazing options here.

I’m going with Barbarian as they look nice with a Dane-Axe and being an Viking Re-enactor, it is of course my preferred weapon.

Additionally, I grew up in the world of the Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian, so there’s more coolness. One of my favorite game on video was Severance and I was the Barbarian in Severance.

When you’re not searching for dark dungeons, would you rather writing with a pen or a pencil?

My first novel, Malice, by hand and then wrote it in my first edit. This was between 2002 to the year 2010. Since then, I’ve switched to typing everything, with the exception of my chapter notes and story.


Because, deadlines.

After I’d completed Malice my contract in conjunction with Pan Macmillan came along, and I simply didn’t have the time to handwrite the initial draft and edit the manuscript.

I decided it was about time I stopped being a stale fool and entered in the 21st Century.

How do you like to work in silence, listening to music, or being enthralled with the souls of million dead shrimps?

Music, always.

My house is a beautiful space, always filled with dogs, people and even noise. I prefer to imagine it as a beautiful chaos. However, that’s not a great place to write in, not for me anyway. So headphones and a playlist are my primary tool for getting into the flow to write. The majority of playlists or soundtracks come together are based on soundtracks such as Lord of the Rings, Braveheart, Gladiator, The Last of the Mohicans, Dracula, Conan the Barbarian, Macbeth, a load more – and some obscure ones such as Celtic or Norse folk songs. Listen to Wardrunna as well as Danaheim for an intense Norse music.

Do you consider yourself an architect, or an expert in gardening? Are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you write in your underwear or do you write in a deep-sea diver’s costume? We’d like to know something interesting about your method of writing!

I’m in the middle of a gardener and an architect. I like having an idea of where I’m going to start and the end of my novel and the key moments in between. And then I allow the POVs go out of their initial blocks to determine where they’ll get to. For certain characters and their stories I have a precise idea of the way it’s going to unfold, and while they adhere to the plan, but others stray from the plan in ways I’ve never thought of. Some even get themselves killed just when I thought they’d get past the finish line.

It could be like Bilbo’s famous quips – “It’s a risky business, Frodo my lad, walking out of your front door …’

The majority of times when I write, I’m spotted wearing an Viking Vambrace placed on my forearm. My sons and wife have walked up to me and saw me with a seax on my forearm that is, in essence, a huge Viking knife. What do I have to say.

What are the most significant non-book influences on your fantasy?

Films are a common genre, however, they’re rarely in the genre of fantasy, with the exception of The Lord of the Rings movies that reminisced of my childhood being recorded and displayed on the huge screen. It was an amazing experience when I heard the music and watching that Fellowship of the Ring title showing up on a movie screen.

Sorry, but I’m deviating from the subject.

Films that have non-book influences include Braveheart, Last of the Mohicans, Gladiator. More recently, The Revenant. I love the film. The opening battle scene of The Revenant will be the nearest representation I’ve seen of what I visualize myself fighting scenes inside my mind. I’m not certain if they appear as intense and visceral like the Revenant and the Revenant, but this is my aim.

What was the most recent that you saw on television and the reason you chose to be a part of it?

I watched the entire last season I binge-watched the last series of Peaky Blinders. It came after I’d had the most intense time completing the initial manuscript of A Time of Blood, the second installment in my brand new series, and I felt as if I’d earned some time on the couch.

My wife and me enjoy Peaky Blinders. We’re into all things vintage and historical, and how can you not love a bit of Godfather-Gangsterism. (Okay I’m aware it’s not really a word.)

The world changes and you’re left having a whole day of your hands. You’re not permitted to write or perform any type of work. What are you going to do? go about your day?

I’m not sure. I’m not able to recall when I last was overwhelmed with things to accomplish. Have I ever taken my family to an castle? I realized one day that I’ve not been to The Tower of London. That would be awesome.

If I wanted I could just sit down. Read. Enjoy some cool music. Enjoy ice cream. Game Rome Total War.

I’m in love with both choices.

If you had the option of choosing one punctuation symbol to be banned, what would it be and for what reason?

I’ll point my finger towards two. A semicolon as well as an ellipsis. It appears that I had a semi-colon as well as an the ellipsis habit in my initial manuscript of Malice. I had to get them all out and then I had to go through withdrawal each occasion I wanted to utilize the characters.

I use them regularly but only in moderation because I’ve learned to control my urges.

In less than three words In no more than three sentences, share information about your work that is in progress!

I’m getting ready to begin the third book of my trilogy, Of Blood and Bone. It’s the BIG ENDING and will probably contain a lot of things that make it epic: battles, shieldwalls and giant bears, angels’ armies and Revenants that suck blood, leg-splitting Ferals as well as demonic experiments the snake-woman, and warriors tied by friendship, love and swearing. Did I mention that they are insanely skilled archers who ride horses.

and shieldwalls.

If you had the chance to write or co-create a book series (like The Expanse, or the Malazan Book of the Fallen) Who would you prefer to collaborate with and what would be the reason?

Bernard Cornwell, because I’ve enjoyed everything he’s written. What better way to master the subject than working with a master. Also, it would be amazing when I could over the hurdle of not being able to speak.

Which is the best (and/or least) beneficial tip for writing that you’ve received?

It’s true that I’ve never received an entire barrage of writing tips. When I began working on Malice I wasn’t even on Facebook, Twitter didn’t exist and there wasn’t much to go by the thriving and supportive online community is available in the present. I didn’t have a formal course in writing or creative expression and wasn’t a part of writers’ groups or any other support group. Writing was at that time fairly isolated for me.

There was one piece advice I took to my board, however. It was not from someone who was talking especially about how to write a novel however, it was applicable.

In 2002, when I decided to take on an attempt at writing for an activity, I quickly realized that I did not know how to create a book. I was reliant on the only way I could know how to write – the way I had been trained at University. I had a wonderful tutor and teacher named Udo Merkel. He always told me that in order to complete my university degree, I needed to read first, read, and then read more. The topic was research and I took that very seriously. It was perhaps too serious, considering that I spent the greater part over the following four years studying an assortment of fascinating information including Celtic, Norse, Greco-Roman mythologies, ancient history Wolf-pack behavior and how they created swords a millennia ago, the moon cycles, Gaelic, all kinds of fascinating stuff. Every time something caught my interest or intrigued me, I recorded it in my notebook. All of it has gone in the pot which became The Faithful and the Fallen.

If you were able to travel to anywhere at any time in the past, where/when would you travel to and why?

Dark-Ages Briton, fifth/sixth century. Because…Arthur. Did he really exist? What exactly happened at the Battle of Badon? I’d love to find out.

I wouldn’t like to stay long, however – no central heating No antibiotics, no Haagen-Daz.

Every writer faces blockages, whether it’s an uneasy chapter, a challenging topic or even just beginning the next project. How do you keep yourself motivated in times when you’re not motivated to write?

I’m not really afflicted by difficulties and lack of enthusiasm. I am a writer who loves writing. My biggest difficulty is finding the space to sit down and write. Even when I’m working messages, emails and social media “stuff” can be a major time-waster for me. It is also possible for me to be susceptible to frequent bouts of procrastination. Turning the internet off can help to reduce this. When I’m at my desk with my listening to music, writing shouldn’t be an issue. I may be slower in the beginning of a novel and gain momentum through the book however, I rarely encounter stumbling blocks, or lose motivation.

We’d love to hear about a book you think is excellent yet isn’t widely known or appreciated.

The Edinburgh Dead by Brian Ruckley. I’ve been a admirer of Brian Ruckley’s work since his debut novel, Winterbirth. I wouldn’t say that he’s obscure but I do love his writing, and don’t believe his work has received the recognition is due him.

The Edinburgh Dead is a kind of Gothic/horror/fantasy mash-up. The story is situated at Edinburgh (surprise) during the period of 1820’s, and draws on The Burke and Hare body-snatching drama however, it also includes necromancers, reanimated and dead people as well as other elements. It’s an intense atmosphere piece with several truly frightening moments. It’s reminiscent of the very first and most memorable sequence of Penny Dreadful. Brian creates well-drawn characters I sympathized with. He is a master of details, tension and tension. I would recommend this book to any person who enjoys fantasy.

And lastly, would you consider to impress us with what we refer to as”shark elevator pitches”? (It’s exactly like elevator pitches, but featuring sharks.) (Well there’s one shark. It, in fact is currently sifting through its teeth in order to attempt to snare the remains of its last writer who was on the elevator.)

Ahem. Why should people visit your website? The elevator pitch for you own book(s) with no more than three paragraphs Go!

Okay, I’m terrible in this. I’m able to write a book however, don’t ask for me to create a blog about what I wrote. Let’s go.

My work is epic in nature which is to am referring to an expansive world filled with breathtaking scenery and imaginative, quite unsettling and often dangerous creatures. I aim to make characters the central focus of the stories I write, regardless of whether they are villains or heroes but they usually do not know which kind of camp they’re in at the start of my novels. The two John Gwynne books in my series are tales of friendship, love families, betrayal and family and shields. Intimate and epic is my writing ethos my goal, which is what I strive to achieve.

How did that happen? Sorry, it’s only four words however it’s my job to write epic fantasies,, so what were you expecting?