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Interview with David Green

David Green

He is a writer of the epic and the urban, the fantastical and the mysterious. With his character-driven dark fantasy series empire of ruin or urban fantasy noir nick Holleran, David takes readers on emotional, action-packed thrill rides.

Hailing from the northwest of England, David now lives in County Galway on the west coast of Ireland with his wife and train-obsessed son. When not writing, David can be found wondering why he chooses to live in places where it constantly rains.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself not many people know?
I’m a Judo black belt! I started practicing at aged 6, but haven’t done it now for many, many years!

Q.2 Are we going to read more from you in the near future? Any new project you’re working on?
I’m currently working on the sequel to In Solitude’s Shadow, and the next book in the Empire of Ruin series. It’s called Path of War and seems to be going well! It’s out in June 2022, but there may be something Empire of Ruin related out before that...

Q.3 What inspired you to write the Empire of Ruin series?
I’m a fantasy nut, and it’s something I just wanted to read myself. The idea came from a number of places and inspirations - other books, videogames, music even - but the main idea was probably inspired by a lot of what’s going on in the world today. I started writing it in May 2020, so we were in lockdown (hence Solitude!), Brexit in the country next to mine, and all that. Plus, I wanted to write it, so it felt like the right time!

Q.4 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Making them more than just men in dresses, as the saying goes, but not treating them like some alien, bewildering species, either. I just wanted them to feel and act real, and thankfully, I’ve heard nothing but good things about my characters of all sex, which is brilliant.

In regards to Calene and Zanna in particular, I made sure to recruit some female beta readers in case I erred in any way, and their input was invaluable.

Q.5 How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
Not really a formula so much, other than basic story structure and the act structure. I start with the characters - who are they, what do they do, what’s important to them, what are their worst fears and build from that and see where they fit in the overall idea I have for the story. Then I make them face their worst fears!

Q.6 How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?
I’ve written four now, with one not out yet. It’s with a publisher, but the momentum has slowed a bit for now! It’s a tough one to say, really. I’m very proud of In Solitude’s Shadow - fantasy is my favorite genre and I wanted to do it justice. I’m very fond of The Devil Walks In Blood Special Edition, though. It’s the first two books of my urban fantasy Hell in Haven series combined, and I think the second book (Devil Walks In Blood) works really well. The main character, Nick Holleran, is someone very close to my heart!

Q.7 What was the hardest part of writing this series?
Getting the emotional relationship between Calene and Zanna to work in a real and strong way, despite the fact they spend the majority of the book apart. Their personal relationship with each other had to work so the story had that emotional center, so if it didn’t, the book wouldn’t have! I’m a father, so the Kade/Arlo relationship I found easier, and I could pull on some experiences from that, but a mother/daughter relationship is different - especially one where they’re estranged.

Q.8 Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Cry, probably. I always kind of wanted to be a teacher. History or art, though possibly creative writing and I could write vicariously through people!

Q.9 If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead role?
For Calene I’d love Zoe Kravitz. She’s great, a wonderful actor and so expressive. She could do the action and personal stakes so well, though Madeleine Madden who’s playing Egwene in the new Wheel of Time TV show could do an excellent performance there, too.

Q.10 Is it vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?
This, and the Hell in Haven series, are my first foray into the different genres of fantasy writing after doing horror for a little while, but I’m new to writing in general. I only began submitting work to anthologies in March 2020.

So my marketing so far has all been about getting my work out there, building a newsletter and website, and some targeted ads on Amazon, podcast appearances, and so on. I’m very much at the beginning of my campaign.

Q.11 If you could be a member of any fantasy race, which would you choose and why?
A Hobbit. Although I’m quite a tall man, living in the countryside drinking beer, eating mushrooms and relaxing sounds great.

Q.12 What is one stereotype about fantasy writers is absolutely wrong? What one stereotype is dead on?
Ohhh, I’m not sure on this one! Maybe that we’re not social creatures? I was at a couple of fantasy conventions recently and that’s definitely not the case! What’s one that’s true? We LOVE to read!

Q.13 If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Start writing sooner. I spent too many years giving myself excuses not to get going and get started.

Q.14 Among all the supporting characters in your book, who is dear to you and why?
Diana from the Hell in Haven series. She’s just a young girl alone in the world, and I love her relationship with the main character Nick Holleran. From Empire of Ruin, it has to be Brina. She’s so mysterious, so gritty, but is just searching for that certain something. Aren’t we all?

Q.15 Who designed your book cover? How do you select him/her?
It was from Rainbow Danger Designs. I liked their previous work, and they had ideas for the full trilogy and I loved what they had in mind.

Q.16 How do you select the name of your characters?
Just things that sound right. For my more traditional fantasy, I do some trial and error. Do they look right? Do they sound right? Are they easy to say and read? Is this race a religious one and they name people based on their gods etc? Then, after I’ve created the main character of each race's name, I make sure the rest of that race's characters follow that form. In my urban fantasy series, it’s a little easier, as they’re real-world names. But I often like a short first-name, and a nice, bouncy surname like Nick Holleran.

Q.17 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
Yes, I read them. The good ones are a nice boost, and it’s fun to see aspects people really enjoyed, or if a pattern’s emerging where readers have responded to a certain aspect I may not have focused on. Same with the bad ones - if it’s legitimate, then I can use it to improve. 

Of course, it’s all opinion - good and bad - but I’m always looking to do better. However, some bad ones are just that - I got a one-star one recently where the review stated (under the name ‘Anonymous’ of course) that he hated women and books about women, so that can be discounted. I’m not sure why he bought a book with a woman on the cover!

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
The actor Christopher Lee. Such a legend and amazing life. His autobiography is brilliant.

Q.19 What is your favorite book from other authors and why?
My favorite series is The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. Read it so many times at this point. It’s just a living breathing world, and at this stage, a great comfort to read.

Q.20 Share the experience of your journey so far?
It’s been positive! I’ve learned a lot, and would probably do much behind and beyond the writing differently, but I feel I’ve improved, my books have been well received but there’s a clear path to keep moving on with it all. I’m really excited to get Path of War out into the world and into readers' hands!

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