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!
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!