I was originally going to do a Top Five blog of this - but I had a lot of good questions, I decided to answer them all.
Also, looking over the reviews of my books, I noticed that there were a few other questions from reviewers that probably deserved an answer. So I've decided to answer them here as well!
Hopefully I answered all your questions. If I missed any out then I'm sorry. Thanks to everyone that sent your questions in! You guys rocked!
Without further ado - here are your questions answered!
Would you describe your work as light or dark?
I actually would say both. I try and mix it up a little bit with my writing – I think a lot of Fantasy tends to take itself too seriously and tries to be dramatic all the time. I feel it’s nice to have some humour in there once and a while, as it makes the dramatic moment that much more powerful. And there are some really dark moments I have in my stories at times (some shock even me!) but that’s not to say everything is depressing. The story are as dark and light as I need them to be at the time.
Do you try to write something every day?
Lately I’ve been really lazy with my writing – for a number of reasons. Mostly work related. When I have a long day at work, my brain isn’t functioning as it should and so writing doesn’t come naturally to me then. However, I do try to write when I have days off. In fact I’ll be doing some writing today when I post this blog!
As there are a few books you have done have you considered taking the idea of Draconica to a games developer?
That’s a very good question. And yes, I have considered it. In fact, I always had plans to turn Draconica into a fighting game. Fighting games are one of my favourite types of games (and have been the first time I played Streetfighter 2), but they seem to have petered out a little bit – aside from some new Streetfighter and Mortal Kombat games – although Blazblue and Guilty Gear are still just about going strong.
The obvious choice would be to make Draconica into an RPG, but I think a fighting game would be awesome. Having Daniar fight Zarracka or Kalak fighting Gothon would be awesome. I even have a movelist for the characters and a story arc! I think I’d prefer it to be 2D as opposed to 3D as I always preferred 2D fighters.
Problem is I wouldn’t even know where to begin getting something like that ready. However, on the off chance that any games developers are reading this and they might be interested – please contact me! Well worth a try.
How would Draconica work best - movie, Netflix series or Saturday morning cartoon and why?
Mmmmmm. I actually quite like the idea of it being a Netflix original series – preferably an anime. The story is sort of envisioned as an anime type series, so if we can get that done it would be great. A movie would be good too – but they’d probably have to do some heavy editing to the story to make it fit, so I think a series would be better so that they can flesh out the characters. I think it’s probably a bit too adult to make into a Saturday Morning Cartoon (for a number of reasons), but Amanda Moonstone would work like this.
If you can be any of your characters in Draconica, who would you be and why?
Tricky. The problem I think is that my female characters are better than my male ones – so if I were one of the character from Draconica, I’d have to get a sex change!
However, if I had to pick one – I’d probably choose Finn Taurok. He’s one of the noblest characters in the entire series and by far my strongest male.
Plus he has all the fangirls, so that’s something!
Has your work every been compared (unfairly or otherwise) to any other Fantasy series?
I did this one convention where a few people that had a look through my book thought I was “ripping off” Skyrim – mostly because they thought my Dragonkin were too similar to Dragonborn. And when Frozen came out, some people at another convention thought that Zarracka was ripping off Elsa. However, Trapped on Draconica came out a good few years before Frozen – so I like to think Disney were ripping off me!
Although, this did inspire me to make a fan commission just for laughs. This picture was done by Dennis Kamera Saptura – and I think he did a great job. Here you are, one for your Disney fans!
The artist is Kirsten Moody, or Snow The Wanderer as she is known on DA. The original designs though were done by Alexis M Centeno. Kirsten has done the artwork for Trapped on Draconica, Legacy of the Dragonkin and also Amanda Moonstone: The Missing Prince.
Your locations in your worlds are so detailed. How do you come up with the ideas and traits for all your towns and settings?
Thanks for that. A lot of it is a mix between the Fantasy stories I’ve read and real life locations. Most of my real life inspiration I take from Medieval and Ancient Roman, Ancient Greece and Ancient Egypt – Brittana for instance is based on Medieval England and Baalaria was kinda based on the Roman Empire. Shadoria is based on Feudal Japan and the Republic of Garmany is loosely based on countries in Europe.
However, I do try and mix a bit of fiction with reality. Novels like Lord of the Rings and A Song of Ice and Fire have been a huge help for this, as they had worlds that – whilst fantastical – do feel real in their own way. I also was inspired by the world of Skyrim and, to some extent, the Final Fantasy games. The idea with these worlds isn’t to make them too amazing – more grounded and realistic. That way, when something mystical does appear, it makes it all that more special.
Recently though, I spoke to a friend that is writing his own Dungeons and Dragons campaign and his level of detail was astounding! He thinks through every single piece of information for his towns – right down to a population count! He’s a great world builder and I may have to get some tips from him somewhere down the line!
Ok, so these next few questions are related to my novels. These are questions from people who have reviewed my books and brought up a point that I think deserves mentioning. Please be advised that there are spoilers ahead for the books.
Trapped on Draconica Related
How come Ben is a side character in his own story?
Ah yes! This is the biggest criticism I’ve had from Trapped on Draconica (aside from the terrible editing! Oh I’ll get to that). Basically, a lot of reviewers have mentioned that, even though Ben is the main character in Trapped on Draconica, he mostly takes a back seat to Daniar and Kalak – who have the meatier stories. I parodied this in a special Omake I released with one of my previous copies.
At the same time though, he wasn’t the only one with a story to tell. I tried to make sure that every character had a tale to tell in some way, so that didn’t feel like it was just Ben’s story. Maybe there were some stories that were more interesting than his, but that’s down the individual reader.
And, to be fair – as far as leaving most of the fighting to Daniar and Kalak – he’s in a strange world he doesn’t understand. He has no real idea how things work and he’s not a fighter. So it’s only natural that he would let the experts take control.
But I do acknowledge that I could have made Ben a bit more pro-active. That’s why I tried to make Benji (the hero in Legacy of the Dragonkin) have a more active role in the story and had a few fights.
Why did you remove the artwork that was originally inside the book?
Now I believe that the internet is not the place to air your dirty laundry – so all I’ll say is that me and my original artist had a… disagreement about certain things.
Aside from that, Draconica was in desperate need of an edit. And this wasn’t necessarily told to me by one person – although I got a few comments about this – I myself knew that Draconica needed to be rebooted in some way. The story itself was fine, but it was full of typos, clunky passages, and a number of plot holes. I think the problem was that I kept adding stuff to the story and in the end it became kinda a mess.
Now I could make the argument that it was my first book and I was still finding my feet as a writer – but at the end of the day, I knew it could be better. So I decided to take my books off sale and start again. I re-edited Trapped on Draconica, fixing all the errors and such and made one or two changes to the story to make it flow better. I did end up adding a few more things to the story to spice it up; and from what I’ve been told the story is now better than before so that’s good.
Because of this, certain pictures from the original draft were no longer valid, so keeping them in this version wouldn’t have made any sense. Plus, I didn’t want people to think that people only liked it because of the art. All the above being taken in, I decided it was best to start afresh without any interior art. It was a tough call, but one that I think was right.
As it turns out, since releasing this book again, sales have been stronger than before. So I like to feel I did the right thing. It was just a shame about the way it came about. But that’s a story for another time.
What was the point in Ritchie meeting his mother – and then her getting killed off seconds later?
Whilst I appreciate this seemed like a rushed scene, there was actually a plot based reason for it. The idea was to juxtapose Kalak being unable to mourn for his own mother. Ritchie broke down crying (as anyone would) and grieved for his mother, but Kalak has been unable to grieve. Don’t forget how Kalak comes from a warrior race where it is a crime to show weakness – but at the same time he feels responsible for his mother dying. Notice how he becomes really spiteful to Ritchie (more so than usual) after this happens and Ritchie confronts him. It’s because Ritchie opening feeling emotion is making him feel inadequate, so he has to put on a stronger show. That was the reason for the scene.
I guess I could have had a longer scene with Ritchie and his mother – but it would have just extended the story and not really added much to it. Ultimately though, this was supposed to be the turning point for both Ritchie and Kalak – as after this, Ritchie starts to stand up to Kalak and Kalak starts to show a more vulnerable side.
What happened to Yusef at the end of the battle?
Originally, Yusef was going to have a scene where he committed suicide after the battle, just after Daniar and Rana join forces. But I felt that was too overly depressing, given the moment of hope in that scene. But don’t worry, Yusef’s fate WILL be revealed in a later story.
What does the Man in Shadow mean when he says “Flames?”
Ah now that will be telling!
Amanda Moonstone Related
What is the significance of The Author character?
Some people have been confused with The Author's appearance in this novel. But don’t worry, his role will be revealed soon enough.
You use the word “roar” too many times!
Duly noted! I’ll look out for this in future stories!
How come no one has tried to “off” Kimera, given how unpopular he is?
There is actually a short story that explains this. You can read it here.
How come Luthar turned his back on Kimera, knowing how treacherous he is? It feels like a petty plot twist to allow Luthar to get to his digs in at Kimera while also allowing a bigger climax with Amanda.
Fair point. And Luthar probably should have killed Kimera there and then. But Luthar is and always was a man of honour that doesn’t kill unless he has to. Plus, he was inspired by Amanda’s “no one is beyond redemption” line so maybe he felt Kimera could be saved. Ultimately though, Kimera was too selfish for something like that. And to be fair, Amanda IS the main character of her story. Denying her the final battle would have been pretty lame.
The characterization of Daryl is uneven. Daryl was portrayed as a 6 year old by having him act like human tornado who never stops speaking and repeats questions. Later in the story, Daryl has no trouble holding his tongue and behaving.
I guess a lot of it has to do with his respect of Amanda. Don’t forget she’s a pretty badass wizard (and she did save him from a ghul), so after that he saw her as a mother figure. Plus, learning that he was the true King of Celtland made him realise he had to grow up a bit. So yeah, I’ll put this down to Daryl having to grow up a bit faster.
And that's all the questions! Hope that answered a few things. If you guys ever have any more questions relating my works or otherwise, please feel free to hit me up on any of the social medias! Always happy to chat about things.
Thanks to all who took part. Have a great week! And I'll see you guys soon.