Life Defined

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Giveaway: FREE, signed paperback copy of "Empyreal Fate"

Greetings, All!

As of tonight (May 27th, 2012), through Monday, June 11th, 2012, I will be hosting my first giveaway on Goodreads for a FREE, signed paperback copy of my new fantasy novel, Empyreal Fate. Anyone in the United States, Canada, or United Kingdom is eligible to participate. Simply click on the link below and select 'Enter to Win'. Good luck!

Goodreads Giveaway:


Filled to the brim with forbidden love, an ancient evil, and a nation in disrepair, Empyreal Fate is a tale of riveting bravery and mortal corruption.

The land of Llathala lingers on the brink of war between men and elves, a dark history surrounding each race. Stirred by tensions of the land, a shadow of the past reemerges, taking precedence in reality and consuming the very soul of mans’ mortal weakness. Darrion, the son of a poor laborer, is ensnared in a hostile world, forced to choose between loyalty to his king or the counsel of the elves. Yet Fate has other plans in store, tying his course to Amarya, an elven royalblood of mysterious quality and unsurpassable beauty. But this forbidden connection incites betrayal from members of their own kin, marking them as traitors to the crown. In a land torn asunder, only Fate’s decree can allow such love to coexist with an ancient enmity.

                                 Behold: A Llathalan Annal:
Empyreal Fate – Part One.

Guest Author: Anita Stewart - Woman of Many Talents

 Good Evening, Realm of Online Readership!

A glorious almost-summer-day it has been so far, don't you think? At least, in this part of the world. But regardless of Nature's mood, I've a talented figure to introduce to you today - a woman by name of Anita Stewart. Not only is she an author of several works, but she is also an artist and does some wonderful designs for covers and the like. And she has an imagination that spans entire worlds. Therefore, I simply had to sit Ms. Stewart down and ask her a few questions about herself and her talents. So hold off on the sun-screen (the outdoors can wait), and enjoy a few words and designs from a wonderful woman-of-the-arts:

Welcome, Ms. Stewart! Please – tell us about yourself. Who are you and what do you do?

Hi *waving* my name is Anita Stewart. I currently reside in Reading, England. I was born in Greensboro, N.C. and I write under AD Stewart. I create graphics under AnglisCreations. I’m a mother of three and wife to a very loving husband of 16 years.
I love to read, draw, write, build model cars, paint, collecting comic books and watching movies.

Reading, England, eh? What an appropriate name!

I understand you have written several series, including Ancient Breeds, Forgotten Shabtis, Guardians of Amirus, and Wishing. Can you tell us a bit about each of them – or your favorite one in particular?

To be perfectly honest, most of them are WIP. *laughing* I have a tendency to make the book covers before I actually finish the novel. Ancient Breeds is near and dear to my heart. I love everything about Egypt and enjoy creating stories based in the past and present. The series itself is about warriors from ancient civilizations waging war against the BloodSeekers, a vampire race that nearly ruled the ancient world. Each book continues the story and introduces more characters. You’ll meet Native American Indians, Mayans, Atlantians, Amazons, Egyptians and other breeds throughout.

The Shabtis series is Egyptian themed. The first book, Forgotten tells the story of Serik and Neenah. Serik was born with a God inside him. In order to protect him and his sister, their Mother had them placed within a small shabtis. Centuries later when the tomb is excavated, Serik is released in order to protect Neenah, the first daughter of Pharaoh. This series tells the course of Serik and his sister.

Guardians’ of Amirus is about men and women who become life-protectors to the rulers of the planets within the Amirus universe. Each planet has a Lord that rules under the High Planet Lord Kalor. The novels introduce us to their worlds and the changes that are about to take place within the Guardians’ way of life and all they’ve known.

Wishing is my interpretations of having my own Genie. In the first book, Dangerous, a work in progress, Jennifer Mannings finds a bottle within a shipwreck on the bottom of the Atlantic ocean. When she realizes what she’s found, she soon wishes Genie would find another master.

The rest of the series will follow suit with a man or woman finding a Genie and the dilemmas they get into with their wishes, which never seem to work out right.

Wow! You have quite the arsenal up your sleeve. Which series was easiest to write and why? Which was the hardest?

Ancient Breeds is easiest, those guys talk the loudest. LOL. And of course I know a lot about ancient Egypt and feel as if I belong there. Like coming home.
Short stories are the hardest for me. I need a large sandbox to play in and short stories seem to cause over spill. I kick sand out and make a mess. So I need more to work with. I hope that makes sense.

I agree; novels give so much  more room to expand upon worlds and concepts. The tightness of short stories oft times make writing them more difficult!

With so many stories you're working on, is it hard to remember which character belongs in which series?

No. I don’t have any problems with that. I have accidentally put the wrong name while I was trying to be clever and work on two stories at the same time. A reader pointed out to me one day and I was so embarrassed.

How many books does/will each series contain? Do you think there is such a thing as a ‘perfect length’?

Ancient Breeds is 17 books in total. The last book tells the ‘beginning’ of how it all started with the vampires’ (good and bad) creation so to speak. The Shabtis series is 5 books. Guardians’ of Amirus is set within My Worlds of Amirus series. It is an open/ending series. Wishing is 5 books. I also have another series, TideWars that I’m working on and I have no idea how many books will feature within that world.

Whew - seventeen books? That's enough to work up a sweat! But I like how the last book is sort of the prequel, in a way. Quite an interesting twist.

Do you tie history into any of your works? What sort of things do you research as you write?

Yes I do. I check dates and events to match up what happens within my worlds. I’m always on the net researching history. As for the Egyptian stories, I have tons and tons of reference books.

Do you use symbolism? What about an overall motif for an entire series?

I use hieroglyphics in my AncientBreeds series. Each one has a special marker to symbolize their ancestry. As for a motif, I use a pyramid with a cobra wrapped around it. I’m still working on that idea.

Ancient Egypt is so fascinating. I like how you've incorporated historical elements to your work.

Can you describe your writing style for us? What processes do you go through while writing? (i.e. outlines, character maps, index cards, etc…)

I’m rather boring. I sit by the computer with my hands poised over the keyboard. When the voices are ready to talk, then I type. I have been known to use two keyboards at once and my husband to this day says it’s the weirdest thing ever to see.
However, if I can’t get to my computer, I do have notebooks doted around the house so I can write down ideas. So yeah, I guess I do have something that keeps my notes so to speak.

Two keyboards would be quite a sight. I can honestly say I've never tried that one. *jots notes for later*

What would you say is one of your writing “quirks”?

All of my characters have favorite things. One character loves Krispy Kreme, another loves anything orange flavored (I can’t stand orange flavor so it’s not me). Another character will do just about anything for chocolate…we won’t go into what he’ll do.

I understand you are also an artist and have done designs for your own covers. Can you tell us a little bit about how you became interested in art?

When I was a kid I loved to trace coloring books, pictures from magazines and I’m sure that’s how it started. The coloring on the wall was ME warming up. LOL. It wasn’t until sixth grade that I got heavily into art. Comic books have always been a love for me and I really wanted to make my own.
The book covers I design for myself and others, is just a reflection of a scene in the book or an accumulation of characters and places.

Brilliant! Would you mind showing us any of your drawings, sketches, or designs?

No I don’t mind at all. Thank you for asking.


Thank you for sharing! 

So, which interest piqued first: writing or art?

I’m not sure drawing on the walls constitutes art and I’m sure my Mother didn’t look at it that way. LOL.  I think art was first, then the writing. I drew pictures and wanted to tell the story that went with it. The first story I wrote was first grade. I got a blue ribbon and I was so proud of myself. It was about crystal horses and castles.


What a wonderful memory! It always amazes me to look back and think how far one has come - how one's interests tend to blossom.

How important do you think cover art is to a novel overall? Are sales affected by it?

I think it is important. It’s the first thing the reader sees. I know the old saying, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ but we all do it. I love fantasy and I’m going to head straight to the section with big dragons with women sporting wands and fiery spells. If the cover appeals to me, then I flip it over and devour the pitch. So yeah, I’d say it’s very important.
I would also mention that in reflection, if the cover is done well and is eye appealing, then you’re bound to sell more copies. However, if your style or voice isn’t clicking for the buyer, they may not return to invest in more of your work. So it’s a little of both. Great cover, even better writing and you should do well.


I agree. Both elements are key.

Would you mind telling us about your road to publication? Is there anything you regret or would do differently?

Oh yes! I regret the day I heard of a company called: AuthorHouse. These guys are a bunch of money sucking vampires!! If you want to self publish, do not go with these cowboys. They offer no rewards, nothing what so ever for your hard work. In fact, you DO all the work! And…they still sold my work (up until a few months ago) even after cancelling my contract with them in 2010. 

Usually I hear that authors and editors share tense relations. Tell us about your experience with editing. Do you enjoy the process? How well do you work with an editor?

My experience with editing hasn’t been a barrel of laughs. I’m very hard on myself to the point of getting angry and crying. I demand improvement and I think my editor wasn’t sure how to take that at first. For me, my logic is that nobody wants to read a book chocked full of errors, but I’m also learning that nobody is perfect and to be nicer to ME.
I do enjoy the process of editing. It’s time consuming and I’m learning new techniques as I go.
I have a wonderful relationship with my editor. She knows my quirks and is willing to work with me. She never orders me to fix or alter material. Always polite and offering help when needed and I always take her opinions seriously as she doubles up as a writer too.

Indeed - the process of a editing should be a mutual relationship between author and editor. It sounds like you have the right idea to be critical of your work - but not hard on yourself in the process. And it seems you have the ideal editor-relationship. Bravo!

 Do any of your characters reflect real people in your life? Are you mirrored in any of them?

I’m not really sure. I don’t think so. All my characters talk to me, literally. It’s hard to concentrate sometimes with all the noise going on inside my head. Now I sound crazy.

No - it's completely understandable. Characters tend to whisper to their creators. It's the whisper of the Muse.

Hm. I'm interested. What sort of creatures can be found in your work? 

Dragons big and small, winged cat like creatures. Genies with high sex drives, but I won’t go into that here. *laughing* Statues that come alive. Mermen. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts and the list goes on.

I'm intrigued. Such a vast collection of creatures! And statues that come alive? I want to learn more. Explain, if you will, how you use the concept of magic in your novels.

Some are born with it; others siphon it from other people, objects and animals. Usually there are rules within my worlds. No one has infinite power. To me that’s cheating and I’m sure the good guys are happy about that.

I understand you’ve created entire planets for your work. How difficult is it to construct multiple worlds? 

Oh it’s not difficult at all. Honest. *chews on pencil* I’ve had a ball creating worlds in my universe called: Amirus. You do need an understanding of science and how it all works. Or at least do some research to make it sound plausible. Planets tend to gravitate toward an orbit. Some are elliptic orbits and others are circular orbits.
The great thing about fiction is that you can create literally any person, place or thing. Rules do apply like I mentioned earlier, but you can have so much fun!

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, which genre(s)?

I listen to 80’s music all the way up to the present day. I love rock, pop, heavy metal, dance, techno and some rap. My favorite band to listen to while I write fight scenes is, Nightwish!!

How do you inspire the Muse when you’re having a bad day? 

I don’t really have bad days. I could sit by the computer and type until my fingers fell off. I guess I’m lucky that way.

I'm sure many are jealous of that trait. So is writer’s block ever an issue for you?

No. So far I’ve never had any problems with that.

Interesting. What do you do in your spare time?

Read, watch my Stargate DVDs in chronological order. Demand cuddles from hubby…bug my kids, cause that’s what Moms do.

Do you have a new project in the works? Can you tell us about it?

TideWars is my new series. It’s about two underwater races. The Dolphinites and Dolphinese. They hate each other thanks to their parents. The God Poseidon and his consort, their mother Amphitrite. Poseidon and Amphitrite divided their children up and raised them apart. Poseidon’s twin sons, Nicholas and Aiden he raised as demi gods called: Dolphinese. Amphitrite took the others, giving them dolphin bodies with the ability to change into human form. They are called the Dolphinites. This series is about their struggles and waging war which spreads to the human lands.

It sounds intriguing - and very involved. Would you mind sharing a passage from one of your novels?

He directed the wind like a giant hand, wiping away all traces of his footsteps as he stalked his prey. Stretching his arms out wide, he chanted a spell, making his presence undetectable. He was a lone warrior in a world full of violence. The one lesson he’d learned early in life was never to trust a human, never allow them the knowledge of his existence.

Thank you for sharing that with us! 

Now for some random questions. *rolls up sleeves*

If you could meet any figure from history, who would you choose?

Leonardo Da Vinci
If you could be transported into any story, which would you most like to visit?

Anne McCaffrey’s Dragons of Pern series.

If you could change your eye color, what would you pick?

Sea green

What is your favorite ancient civilization?

Egypt! What gave it away? *grinning*

Do you visit museums often? Which exhibits do you like to see?

The British Museum is one of my favorites. The Ancient Egyptian exhibits are one I revisit from time to time with my husband in tow. Poor fellow.

Tell us of an instance in which the movie version was better than the book.

The DaVinci Code

Who is your favorite villain?

Lex Luthor (superman)

Plays or short stories?

Short stories.

Black ink or blue ink?

Blue ink

Plotting or pantsing?

Plotting *makes an evil face*


Singing or humming?

Omg…humming. I can’t sing at all! Well not good anyway.

Favorite drink on a warm day? A cold day?

Iced tea. Hot chocolate with marshmallows. And a handful to eat. :)

Favorite word?


Favorite sound?

Children laughing

Thank you again for stopping by, Ms. Stewart! It's been a pleasure getting to know more about you and your work. 

Discover more about Ms. Stewart, her artwork, and her novels (current and forthcoming) on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Guest Author: Simon Williams and the World of Aona

 Good Afternoon, Readers and fellow Wordsmiths:

Alas - the rain is pattering and the thunder is growling, but the tune is a merry one indeed. I've always been fond of a bit of a storm. There's something whimsical to it - despite the crackling thunder. It's almost as if it means to put on a show - as if its pounding temper were just a facade for its overall purpose: holding a beat for the music of Nature. Regardless, I've a pot of tea in hand (though I don't drink tea), a cozy blanket or three (I often get cold), and a warm spirit in my heart. But to make the afternoon even better, I've a wonderful author to introduce to you all today. Please give your greetings and utmost attention to Mister Simon Williams:

First off, would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself, Mr. Williams?

I’m a writer of what people have termed “dark fantasy” and speculative fiction, and I’m based in the UK. I don’t consciously write for any mass market as such- I write the kind of thing I feel I’m comfortable with. I started off writing much more traditional fantasy years ago, but although I still like to read those sort of works, I try to create original, thought-provoking fantasy and futuristic novels and stories. Sometimes it works, sometime it doesn’t. Thankfully it seems to be working a little more these days!

How exciting! Now, I understand you’ve recently released an ebook version of Oblivion’s Forge. Can you tell us a bit about it - and your series in general? Entice us!

Oblivion’s Forge is the first book in a series generally termed “The Aona books” (Aona being the name of the world where they’re set), of which I expect there will eventually be five. This first book concerns the travels and trials of a number of people through a world which appears to be descending into madness. Many thousands of people are succumbing to a strange fever coupled with insanity and dreams of either a “great light from the east”. At the same time, mysterious, immensely powerful beings known only as the marandaal prepare to break into this world- and in response to them, the ancient, malevolent guardians of the world- who once enslaved all the younger races- rise again.

In essence the Aona books are about these opposing evils, and the people of the Younger Races who are caught up in this struggle- some of them possess the same ancient, magical talents as their old masters, and others are their guardians, charged with protecting them from their many enemies- and even their own sorcery. I don’t think of these people as heroes in the traditional sense- much of the time they’re simply trying to survive and come to terms with reality as it has become.

 Oblivion's Forge

Do you have any other published works? Tell us about them.

I had a number of short stories published in various fairly small-circulation magazines during the 1990s. These were mainly speculative / experimental fiction rather than fantasy as such. I’m actually compiling an anthology of these, together with a number of new short stories, which I hope to bring out soon. What people will make them I have no idea!
More recently, Oblivion’s Forge was published in 2011 and its sequel, Secret Roads, was published in April 2012. Ever since completing Oblivion’s Forge I seem to have become a *lot* more productive, so I’m hoping the third book, provisionally titled The Endless Shore, will be out around the end of 2012.

What was the hardest part about writing Oblivion’s Forge?

When I originally started writing it, it was very different- much more traditional fantasy with a whole different set of plotlines. I struggled with it for a few years before finally realizing that it wasn’t right simply because the style wasn’t right. I pared it down, removed most of the more traditional elements and stereotypes and concentrated instead on the characters themselves. So in a sense it developed partly into a psychological horror as well as fantasy. Somehow I was far more comfortable with that- and suddenly the book that I’d struggled with for nigh on twelve years (yes, really!) was completed less than a year later.

I admire your dedication. It requires a certain amount of wisdom on the writer's part to admit when something isn't working out with his or her own story. And it sounds like you took the time to mold your work from what it was into what it should be: what was right for you. Bravo!

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

At its core, the Aona series is about ordinary people (albeit some with extraordinary talents) struggling to survive and make sense of a world which is rapidly spiraling out of control and into chaos. I guess the message is that even in a world as terrifying as Aona becomes, an ordinary man or woman can somehow, with a bit of courage and a lot of luck, do an extraordinary deed, make a difference, even change the course of wider events.
Another message is about the nature of power, particularly the inevitability of its corruption. The various men and women of the younger races who are the main characters in the books suffer doubts, experience great rage and the desire for revenge- they have difficult choices to make and they don’t always make what most readers would probably call the “right” choice.

I think this is something every reader can relate to and thus appreciate. It makes the characters seem like real people rather than cut-and-paste templates.

Would you mind telling us about your path to publication?

When I was younger and starting out, I would check out publishers and literary agents to make sure they dealt with the genre, carefully make sure I formatted the required document in the right way, double check all their other guidelines to make sure I didn’t fall foul of any of them, and then (after sending an initial letter if required) send the manuscript or the part of it they required.
Most of the time I would hear nothing back. In more recent times, when enquiring initially by email, I would occasionally get a response, although one or two of these were along the lines of “Why would we want to publish / publicize work of this kind?” Generally speaking, I haven’t found agents to be particularly pleasant or helpful, which I expect is partly to do with the vast numbers of manuscripts they get sent- most of which I’m sure they never even get around to reading.
So I eventually decided to do the publication myself- in part because I wanted to at least be the master of my own destiny- an agent or editor, even if they actually read my work, would have probably wanted a number of wholescale changes to it, which could eventually mean it’s no longer entirely my work but a collaborative effort. I may sell more books doing it my way, or I may not- but the important thing for me is for the work to be mine. 

Do you relate to any of the characters in your work? Tell us about him/her.

To an extent I relate to Vornen, who readers meet at the beginning of the book and who is quite central to the storyline- I’d like to think I’m mentally in a far better place than he is, but nevertheless I can relate to some of the things he goes through- self-doubt and self-loathing amongst them.
That said, the character I find most interesting of all (which I feel is a form of relating) is Nia, the assassin and spy who readers meet briefly towards the end of Oblivion’s Forge, but who is a major character in Secret Roads. She somehow developed into a very complex character with all sorts of things going on psychologically- and I love writing about people like that. It’s the thoughts, fears and inner struggles of such characters that make it a joy to write.

Can you describe your writing style for us? What processes do you go through while writing? (i.e. outlines, character maps, index cards, etc…)

I’d say I try to write atmospherically and emotionally but with an economy of description. I don’t believe in noting down every little detail and regurgitating it for the reader. A few lines here and there can swiftly build a powerful image of a character or a place or an event- any reader with a certain amount of imagination can then flesh out the rest of the details in a way their mind sees fit. In short, it’s about setting the scene and catalyzing the whole event.

When did your fascination with writing begin?

At a very young age. I was an early reader and I was reading the likes of CS Lewis, Alan Garner and Susan Cooper from around the age of eight or nine. It was around that time that I really started to get into the fantasy genre- if I had to pick one author who influenced me in that regard it would have been Alan Garner. His book The Weirdstone of Brisingamen opened up a whole new world for me- I was literally lost in it for a few days. If it hadn’t been for this genius I might well have been a different sort of writer (although do note- I *still* would have been a writer!)

Does your writing reflect past experiences or is it mostly drawn from imagination?

Thankfully I haven’t experienced anything quite on a par with the events in the Aona books, but I do draw on memories of things in my life or how I coped or dealt with something, and use that to empathize with the characters. The rest of it is imagination, or as I prefer to call it, visualization. I can close my eyes and have a very sharp image in my mind of a particular scene, down to tiny details- as if it was a film. I find this helps immensely.

How do your philosophies of life tie into your work?

I’m not sure that they do, especially. I guess there are parts of me in various characters, and some of the things they say and do are the same things that I would, but I try not to use my books as a political or moral platform- I wouldn’t want my beliefs or set of values to affect how a story turns out- instead I want it to run its own course.

A wise course indeed. One must always tread carefully. 

What would you say is one of your writing “quirks”?

I always have to have a title for anything I write, whether it’s a short story, a novel or an article / essay. It absolutely has to have a title, even if I discard that title at a later point and use something completely different!

I find I am much the same: everything must have a title!

How did you choose your specific genre?
It chose me, really. As I mentioned, there were a few authors who I really enjoyed reading when I was a kid, and they completely turned me on to fantasy- after that there was no going back.

Does the Muse come easily for you? How do you deal with writer’s block?

It comes and goes. I deal with writer’s block by simply gritting my teeth and writing the story, even if I know that what I’m writing is rubbish. Sooner or later, the very act of writing triggers the inspiration, and then I can move on with things again (and if necessary, get rid of the crappy bit!)

Would you call yourself a “plotter” or a “pantser”?

I create plotlines and I often plan quite far ahead- for example I know exactly what the eventual concept of the Aona books is and what I want to happen at the end- but I do so in quite a sketchy way, with random notes in a whole array of different notepads. I don’t know exactly what various characters will be doing or saying before I get around to writing the scene. I also like to leave the plot slightly open to sudden ideas or bursts of inspiration I might (hopefully!) have further down the road.

What sort of creatures can be found in your work?

I don’t have any of the traditional fantasy creatures, so you won’t find dragons, elves, dwarves, gnomes, trolls etc. in my works. In the third Aona book I do introduce a race called the orkar who you can think of as a *little* bit like orcs in appearance- I wanted to introduce a race who have been continually thought badly of in this world, who appear fearsome, even horrifying, but who are actually highly developed and, in their own way, quite civilized. I wanted to challenge people’s preconceptions of the race, which also happen to be the preconceptions of many people *in* the books.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, which genre(s)?

 I almost always listen to music when I write, and I have a pretty huge collection of music of almost every genre. I could literally be listening to anything from progressive trance to black metal to 80s/90s/00s pop to indie to grunge to post-rock to drum ‘n’ bass… you get the picture!

Do you have a new project in the works? Can you tell us about it?

One thing I never lack these days is a new project on the go. Apart from the next Aona book (The Endless Shore) I’m writing a new standalone experimental novel called The Spiral, and then there’s my anthology of short stories which I‘m compiling. And as if that wasn’t enough, last week I had an idea for another fantasy series- that doesn’t yet count as a project, but I suspect that it soon will.

Always so many projects; never enough time. *shakes head* But it's often a good thing, I find.

What is the toughest criticism you’ve received as an author? The best?

Back when I wrote much more traditional fantasy, I had a number of people mention that my work was derivative and didn’t really cover any ground that other writers had already covered- which is one of the reasons I began to move away from that (sub)genre.
As for the best, well I’ve received a lot of good comments about Oblivion’s Forge and Secret Roads recently, which is enough to confirm to me that I’m on the right track- in other words, the fact that I’m writing what I want and what I feel I was always meant to write is helping me craft works that I feel proud of.

Indeed - you should be very proud of your accomplishments! 

Formalities aside, let's delve into some rather 'random' questions, shall we?

Which would win a fight: minotaurs or dragons?

Dragons every time, unless of course the fight takes part in the minotaur’s maze in which case the dragon would get stuck, or lost, or both. ;)

If you could possess any superpower, which would it be?

The ability to absorb other super powers, of course! (Like a few of the characters in Heroes)

Favorite word?

Willpower, followed by serenity.

Favorite quote?

If the world is my oyster, who owns the rest of the beach?

Favorite ‘writerly’ snack?

Cadbury’s Whole Nut or Fruit & Nut milk chocolate

Paperback or hardback?

Paperback- I just like the feel of a tatty old paperback. Hardbacks annoy me if they have dust jackets that keep coming loose or sliding off.

Black or white?

To me, white represents sterile conformity or cold, clinical blankness- whereas black is something I can fill with anything from my imagination. I can’t seem to think of white as a blank canvas for some reason…

Oceans or mountains?

I love travelling on the sea, but very few things can compare to the view from the top of a mountain, especially if you climb higher than the cloud level…

Pen or pencil?

Pen- I hate the faint outlines that pencils make, and I love to scribble things out and make a mess rather than erase them tidily. ;)

Violin or piano?

I can actually play the piano, so that would be my instrument of choice. In fact I’ve written a few tracks as “theme music” for my books, but that’s another story altogether…

 Thank you again for speaking with me today, Mr. Williams! You've lent us a brilliant description of yourself and your work, and I am pleased to have you here today.

Simon always wanted to be a writer, and didn't ever feel like doing much else, a fact which in time became quite clear through his school reports. As soon as he picked up his first writing pen, his parents breathed a heartfelt sigh of relief (yes, I know. Two people but just one sigh. Go figure...). "At least he's given up scribbling on the wall with crayons" they declared. That wasn't strictly true, but moving on...
So he spent much of his childhood writing. Major influences during these years included such luminaries as C S Lewis, Susan Cooper, and the incomparable Alan Garner, whose masterpieces of Celtic fantasy had a profound effect.
Nevertheless, Simon was still obsessed with sci-fi at this point, and wrote his first novel at the age of thirteen. It was a cheesefest- an utter cheesefest. Within a couple of years he had embarked on a (very) traditional fantasy trilogy which still occasionally provides a degree of mirth.
During the 90s he wrote a number of experimental novels, and an entire scribblefest of short stories. Most of these defied genre definitions. Some also defied belief. A number of them were published in various small-circulation magazines.
Inspired by the fact that several thousand people were actually reading (even enjoying) his stories, the intrepid Mr Williams promptly stopped writing them. He turned again to writing fantasy.
A combination of steadily advancing age and rapidly advancing laziness meant that it took a long time to really get going with the Aona books. But at long last, creativity is flowing ("creative juices" sounds a tad biological somehow), the first book is published and he's positively jogging along with the second. It's a truffle shuffle with real intent. All of which proves it's better to be neither the hare nor the tortoise.

Learn more about the World of Aona.
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