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Interview with Mark Timmony

He was born and bred on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. He's wanted to write for as long as he can remember and has several notebooks filled with illegible scribblings from childhood to prove it. 

The desire to write led to work as a bookseller and he spent almost a decade working as a genre specialist in Sydney. The Blood of the Spear is his debut novel.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself not many people know?
Something about myself that not many people know… well, I wrote a contemporary romance novel in the vein of A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford in my final year of high school. Needless to say, it was bad - and that’s why not many people know about it!

Q.2 Are we going to read more from you in the near future? Any new project you’re working on?
I have a novella, Starbinder that is set in the same world as The Blood of the Spear. It’s due to be released in May. After that, I’ll be working on book 2 in the main series.

Q.3 What inspired you to write The Eye of Eternity series?
I’ve wanted to write since I discovered fantasy fiction in the school library. The more of it I read the more inspired I became to write and build my own fantasy world. But I didn’t have my own story until I came across a piece of art by Larry Elmore of two men fighting in a snow-covered forest. 

The image really grabbed my imagination and I wanted to know who these men were and why they were fighting. From that seed grew the story that became The Eye of Eternity.

Q.4 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I have several female readers I was able to walk through any questions I had, but to be honest I didn’t feel it was particularly difficult. I grew up with strong female figures in my life and I used my experiences with them as a template.

Q.5 How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
I don’t use a set formula when I am feeling out a story. I am conscious of the ebb and flow of action and exploration, of character building and interaction, so that is something I keep in mind as I write. 

I didn’t plot every detail, I had landmarks that I wanted to reach and how I got my characters there was a journey of discovery. That being said, heading into book two I am doing a bit more plotting than I for The Blood of the Spear!

Q.6 What three things a reader can expect from your book?
The Blood of the Spear is an epic fantasy adventure, so they can expect a character-driven story, rich in worldbuilding with lots of action!

Q.7 What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Starting. Starting is always a challenge for me. But once I get into the flow, and get some momentum behind me, things generally start falling into place.

Q.8 Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I can’t imagine not writing! Even if I didn’t publish, I would still write. Writing defines me. I suppose if I ever got to that stage where I was no longer writing it would be because I’d retired, and I will be doing a lot more reading instead!

Q.9 If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead role?
Hmm, I’d like to say Chris Hemsworth but he might be getting a bit old to play Kaiel now. Tbh, I don’t really picture actors playing my characters, but I guess a Chris Hemsworth type of actor would be best to play Kaiel Toranth, my lead.

Q.10 Is it vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?
I did a lot of targeting on Instagram to bookstagramers and I took part in a blog tour. I also entered the Self-Published Fantasy Blog off competition run by Mark Lawrence and was a semi-finalist which helped with exposure too.

Q.11 If you could be a member of any fantasy race, which would you choose and why?
Well in World of Warcraft I play a Void Elf, so I guess an elf in the vein of the High Elves of fantasy fiction. That would be fun.

Q.12 What is one stereotype about fantasy writers is absolutely wrong? What one stereotype is dead on?
That’s difficult because I tend not to think along those lines, but I’d say they get the helpless female wrong. I much prefer fantasy where women are strong and independent characters in their own right and don’t need a man to save them or protect them. What stereotype is spot on? I really don’t know.

Q.13 Do you ever research real events, legends, or myths to get ideas?
No, I don’t research real events, although I might look at stories like King Arthur and maybe some of the fables of the Greek and Roman gods, things like that. But I spend a lot of time making things up. I love world-building.

Q.14 Among all the supporting characters in your book, who is dear to you and why?
Probably the Lady Iana (who happens to be the lead in my forthcoming novella, Starbinder). Because she is bad-ass and has a very interesting backstory. She also plays the mentor-like character in The Blood of the Spear, and I am very excited about her story in the series.

Q.15 Who designed your book cover? How do you select him/her?
A. Felix Ortiz
is the artist, and the cover designer is Shawn T. King. They both do a lot of work in the self-published fantasy genre, and I’ve followed them on Facebook for quite some time. When it came to getting a cover for The Blood of the Spear, they were my first choice - luckily, they said ‘yes’!

Q.16 How do you select the name of your characters?
I generally make them up. Sometimes I use an online name generator to help get a feel for different combinations that I then riff off to come up with something that feels like the character to me and fits the language of the world I am creating without being ridiculous.

Q.17 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
I do read my reviews. The good ones make me smile and are often quite inspiring for me! The bad ones are very deflating and make me second guess myself - for a little while anyway, I have become quite good at accepting criticism and challenging myself on the things that reviewers might mention. I know common wisdom is not to read reviews, but I am not strong enough to avoid them yet.

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
I’d love to have met Robert Jordan. He’s my favorite author and I’d love to have had the chance to talk to him about all the writing plans and story ideas he might have had after he’d finished The Wheel of Time.

Q.19 What is your favorite book from other authors and why?
My favorite book would be The Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman, this book introduced me to fantasy when I was ten years old, and I have never looked back. It opened a whole new world for me.

Q.20 Share the experience of your writing journey so far?
My experience has been challenging and rewarding. There was a steep learning curve involved in both writing, and editing The Blood of the Spear, and then in the actual publication process. 

But getting the book out there, meeting reviewers and other authors, and especially chatting with readers about my writing has been a truly wonderful experience and keeps me motivated when I am staring at a blank page!

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