A writer of Fantasy who
spends most of his life
wide awake in
Australian author of the
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
What is your favourite book?
The first book I ever read and fell in love with was The Lord of The Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.
I also have a great respect for the Belgariad by David Eddings.
What books would you recommend fans of your books to read?
The Lord of The Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.
The Belgariad by David Eddings.
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson
The Dragon lance series by Margaret Weis
How many different languages and countries have your books been printed in?
Only in English. To list some of the countries off the top of my head: Australia, UK, US, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Spain, Canada, New Zealand.
Which country gets the best sales?
The US is my biggest market.
Did you find that your friends and family were supportive while you were writing?
Yes. I always write in an Acknowledgement page in my books. One supportive word will always overcome one hundred critical words.
2 cats. Tigg'r and Bella.
What single thing has been said to you that you'll never forget?
"If you are too scared to leave the valley, you will never climb the mountain."
What has been your biggest hurdle during your writing career?
Getting past the self doubt and making it happen.
How do you get your story ideas?
My head usually. I spend my life dreaming of adventures. An idea will come to me and then I just work it around in my head until it makes sense.
Would you ever consider writing a book with another author?
No. My stories grow as I write. I don't think I could handle someone else saying, 'we're off in that direction.'
Tesania - Trannyth's Keep
How was the idea for the story and the characters for Tesania born?
The desire to write a fantasy story has been with me since I first read J.R.R Tolkien's, The Hobbit, when I was at school. I often said to my wife that I wanted to write a book
over the next 20 years. Life always got in the way of that though until a few years ago when I sat down and wrote the opening sentence of Tesania.
At that stage I didn't have a story for her but as I wrote the first chapter it became apparent what Tesania had to do and where the story needed to go. I prefer to have the
story and characters fluid to meet the situations required rather than have them locked into a rigid personality or story arc that demands they go in a direction that may not
suit the scene.
From there I did a point form story outline. It was 18 chapters at the time. The book ended up 53 chapters, so as I mentioned previously, the story and characters decided
where they should go as I wrote. I prefer to discover my characters as they reveal themselves, so I didn't have any pre-writing done on them.
Did you have any favorites, characters I mean? Who found a special place in your heart?
Tesania, of course, would have to be my favorite character to write. She offers such a depth of emotion, from gentle and vulnerable through to determined and gritty. It was
truly enjoyable discovering her personality and the Kingdom of Eldanal through her eyes.
Kailyn was a revelation. Originally she was to play a bit part as a maid at Lady Ayana's house, but her bubbling personality and determination to go on the mission with
Tesania was something I, like Deavon, couldn't deny. I was truly glad she went along. She is a great friend to Tesania and a fun addition to the group.
Giddy could be a nightmare at times. Keeping her under control was a tough assignment. But underneath the wise cracks is a caring, intelligent warrior.
Kragh was also another favorite character. His stoic determination to fight the evil mage's tyranny, even in the face of death, should be a lesson to us all.
Did you have any real life inspiration for the characters; any character models living or otherwise?
Well, let me see. I can't say that I did for Tesania. I knew she was a young, determined girl, but her personality developed as the story grew.
Whilst Deavon isn't based on anyone in particular I did want him to play the role of guide and mentor as well as fill a love interest. For that reason he had to be fairly young,
but older and wiser as well. I guess if I had to say an image that I had of Deavon as the story developed I would have to say Viggo Mortensen; although the character certainly
wasn't based on him or his mannerisms.
Giddy, I believe, is an extension of myself. I see a lot of myself in her. I didn't purposefully set out to base any of the characters on anyone in particular. Their personalities
revealed themselves as the story moved on.
Were there any chapters or scenes that you are most proud of or touched by?
I think, to truly get your story across, there has to be some degree of emotional involvement from the writer. Tesania burying her parents was a particularly emotional thing for
me. (I added that scene after I had finished the book, so I was very attached to Tesania and her feelings.) Also the scene where they enter Rilmir and the little girl approaches
Tesania with the worn out doll. That touched me and I admit to shedding some tears. Also the scene where Tesania tells Kragh and Raug they will die when she smashes the
orb. I really could feel Tesania's emotions as I wrote.
I do like Kailyn's little ogre escapade. She is such a ninny.
What research did you do for your story?
There was quite a bit actually. I studied sword fighting for many days and read lists of sword fighting terminologies, etc..., to get the fight scenes to sound plausible. I also
studied ladies' period dresses for days on end to get Tesania's ball gown right.
I also studied things such as castles and staterooms, carriages, sword shapes and weights, etc. Could Tesania wield one? (Hence she struggled to even raise the beast's sword
off the ground in Aryd.)
I have built wooden model ships over the years so I did have some knowledge of sailing terminology, but I still studied many texts to get the captain's commands, etc, correct.
The terminology on a period sailing ship is mind boggling to say the least.
Did you find any problem areas while writing this particular novel? Any obstacles to overcome that might help others?
Getting the opening chapter right was a problem. It went through many re-writes. But I think you need to persist until it feels right.
I did put the novel down at about half way for a period of time as I doubted my ability at one stage. But a friend's love of the book and her nagging for more put me back to it,
from where I never looked back.
All writers have that singular moment when they decide they will write for a living. No matter what will happen, no matter what the outcome, success or failure,
they will write. Tell us about your moment of clarity; what brought you to it; and what you think or hope the outcome will be?
My desire to write a book started in my last year of school when I wrote a short story, (in class on the day it was due instead of at home in the weeks I had to write it,) and it
grabbed and impressed the teacher's enough for her to show it to the other teachers. I guess, really, that's when I knew I could write. But writing a novel is a daunting thing to
do. Over the years I dreamed up many scenarios and storylines. When I sat down and wrote the opening line, 'Tesania drew short, sharp breaths as she lay beneath the roots of
the giant trees outside her village," the desire was well and truly implanted.
I didn't write Tesania with dreams of making millions of dollars. (I'll take it though.) I wrote it as a challenge to myself and because it was something I wanted to do. At this
stage I would just like it to be read by people who enjoy a great story with interesting characters.
I do enjoy writing and hope that others will enjoy my books as they become available in the future.
What and who were your influences as a writer?
I have many influences. I am a lover of fantasy so I tend to lean that way with my reading habits. The first 'real' book I read was Tolkien's 'The Hobbit'. I love that book and
have read it many times. Authors such as David Eddings, Margaret Weis, Tracey Hickman, all contributed to my style; although I don't try to emulate anybody when I write.
What you see in Tesania is what comes naturally to me. I have read many authors as well whose styles I didn't like. They also had an influence on me as I then knew the way I
didn't want to write.
What did you learn (what touched your heart the most) during the journey of writing your first novel?
I think the burgeoning story taught me a lot of things. One thing I learned was to trust my voice. Originally I tried to write as others said to or as I thought you should. What I
discovered is that this makes for a poor story. A forced voice isn't a good voice. From the time I laid that aside and let my imagination and voice run free, my writing
Every writer has a process that gets them into 'work mode', ready to write. What is your process?
Opening the word processor. *Laughs* Seriously though. Writing is a personal thing and can be affected by your environment and mood. Some days you will get 15,000
quality words down, other days you will struggle to write 500 lousy words. I find that knowing what you want to write when you sit down is the best way. I mean, know that
Tesania has to fight the beasts in the hills when I write today and have it basically formulated in my mind. You don't need the whole scene, just a point form guide in your
head. If you know that, the words will tend to flow and come easily.
What advice would you like to pass onto other beginning authors?
-Find a story that is true to you and you can really enjoy writing. If you don't like it, you will never finish it and others will see that it isn't loved.
-Write a character you can like. Who wants to write about someone you can't stand.
-Believe in yourself. At times you may hit a wall with your writing. Dust yourself off and dive in again.
-Get people other than your mom, sister, best-friend, to read your work. Then you will get a true indication of where you are at. Don't get me wrong, praise is great, but really
you want to know where your writing is truly at.
-Take criticisms as a tool rather than an attack. Study what the critiquer has said and decide for yourself if they ring true or not.
-Don't take every criticism to heart and DO NOT change your story every time someone says something bad about it. Take what works for you and discard the rest. Be true
to the story and yourself.