John Gwynne is the author of the epic fantasy series The Faithful and the Fallen The Faithful and the Fallen, which includes Malice, Valour, Ruin and Wrath. The series has been awarded numerous Gemmell Award nominations. John’s latest fantasy novel, Of Blood and Bone was released earlier in the year. The series began with A Time of Dread.
John taught and studied for a while at Brighton University. He has been part of a rock and roll group, playing the double bass, traveled through the USA and resided within Canada for a period. He’s married to four children. He lives in Eastbourne operating a small family business that restores antique furniture.
Thank you for coming to join our show today John. Let’s begin by telling us about a fantastic novel you’ve just finished reading!
The most recent one I’ve ever read was The Whale Road by Robert Low. It’s an excellent Viking adventure, which follows the story of a young man joining an mercenary group called the Oathsworn and who are entangled in the search for the burial site of Attila the Hun and the Spear of Destiny. It’s a thrilling read and a bloody, violent page turner that I’d definitely recommend.
Okay, it’s time to get things going Reality shifts and you are suddenly running a D&D-style group through a dungeon swarming with monsters. What is your character’s class and what’s your preferred weapon?
Click here for John Gwynne books in order.
It’s a shame that I’ve missed the entire D&D trend So I’m looking into this article.
Okay, there are some amazingly amazing options here.
I’m going to pick Barbarian as they look nice with a Dane-Axe and being an Viking Re-enactor, that will be the weapon I would choose.
Also, I grew-up in the world of the Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian, so I’m sure that’s cool too. Another of my most-loved gaming consoles was Severance and I was the Barbarian in the game.
When you’re not searching for the dungeons, do prefer to write by hand or type?
I wrote my first novel, Malice, by hand and then did my first edit. This was between 2002 between 2002 and 2010. Since then, I’ve switched to typing everything else, except for my chapter notes and story.
After I’d completed Malice my publishing contract in conjunction with Pan Macmillan came along, and I simply didn’t have the time to handwrite the initial draft and edit the manuscript.
I thought it was high time I stopped being a stale fool and entered into the 21st Century.
How do you like to work in silence, listening to music, or being enthralled with the souls of million dead shrimps?
My home is a lovely space, always filled with animals, people and people. I would like to imagine it as a delightful chaos. However, that’s not a great place to write in – at least not for me anyway. So headphones and playlists are my preferred method of being in the right mindset to write. Most playlists or soundtracks are put together are based on soundtracks such as Lord of the Rings, Braveheart, Gladiator, The Last of the Mohicans, Dracula, Conan the Barbarian, Macbeth, a load more – and some obscure ones such as Celtic as well as Norse folk songs. Listen to Wardrunna and Danaheim for an intense Norse music.
Do you consider yourself an architect, or an expert in gardening? Are you a pantser or a plotter? Are you writing in your underwear or in a deep-sea diving costume? Do you have something unique about your writing style!
I’m somewhere between the two of a gardener and an architect. I like having an idea of the start and ending of my book along with an array of important events that occur in between, and I then let the POVs go out of their initial blocks to determine where they’ll arrive. For certain characters and their adventures I have a pretty certain idea of how the story is going to play out, and they adhere to the outline, while others alter it from the plan in ways I’ve never thought of. Many even end up getting themselves killed, when I initially believed they would reach the finish line.
It could be like Bilbo’s famous quips – “It’s a very risky venture, Frodo my lad, walking out of your front door …’
The majority of times while I’m writing, I’m seen wearing an Viking helmet placed on my forearm. My sons and wife have sometimes walked into me and found me with a seax on my forearm that is, in essence, a huge Viking knife. What do I have to say.
What are your biggest non-book influencers of fantasy?
Films are a common genre, however, they’re rarely in the genre of fantasy, with the exception of those Lord of the Rings movies which evoked memories of my childhood being recorded and projected onto the large screen. It was a memorable experience listening to the music and watching that Fellowship of the Ring title showing up on a movie screen.
Sorry, I’m off from the subject.
Films with non-book inspirations: Braveheart, Last of the Mohicans, Gladiator. More recently, The Revenant. I love the film. The opening battle sequence in The Revenant will be the nearest representation I’ve ever seen that resembles what I visualize the battles I imagine in my mind. I’m not certain if they are as chaotic and visceral like the Revenant and the Revenant, but it’s what I want to achieve.
What was the most recent that you saw on TV , and what made you decide to be a part of it?
I watched the final season I binge-watched the last series of Peaky Blinders. This was following a an intensely full-on time completing the initial version of A Time of Blood, the second installment in my brand new series, and I felt as if I’d earned some time on the couch.
My wife and I enjoy Peaky Blinders. We’re into all things vintage and historical, and how can you not love a bit of Godfather-Gangsterism. (Okay I’m aware this isn’t a true term.)
The world changes and you’re suddenly having an extra day on your hands, and you’re not permitted to write or do any type of work. What is the best way to use the day?
I’m not sure. I’m not able to recall the last time I was not overwhelmed with things to be doing. Take my family on a trip to an castle? I was reminded one day that I’ve never visited The Tower of London. That would be awesome.
Alternately I could simply sit in a quiet place. Read. Listen to some interesting music. Enjoy ice cream. Game Rome Total War.
I’m in love with both choices.
If you could pick one punctuation symbol to be banned, what would it be and for what reason?
I’ll point my fingers at the two. Semicolons and ellipsis. Evidently, I had a semicolon and ellipsis obsession in my first version of Malice. I had to get them all out and then I had to go through withdrawal every time I needed to utilize these characters.
I use them regularly however, in moderation because I’ve learned to control my indulgences.
In less than three words In no more than three sentences, share information about your work you are working on!
I’m getting ready to begin the third book of my new trilogy Of Blood and Bone. It’s the BIG ENDING and will probably contain a lot of things that make it epic: battles, shieldwalls and giant bears, angels’ armies and demons, blood-sucking Revenants leg-splitting Ferals as well as demonic experiments an arachnid-woman and warriors who are bound by love, friendship and swearing. Did I mention that they are insanely skilled archers riding horses.
If you were able to co-write or co-create a book series (like The Expanse, or the Malazan Book of the Fallen) whom would you like to work with and what would be the reason?
Bernard Cornwell, because I’ve been awed by everything he’s written. And what better way to master the subject than working with a master. Also, it would be awe-inspiring when I could overcome the fear of not being able to talk.
Which is the best (and/or least) beneficial tip for writing that you’ve received?
It’s true that I’ve never received any writing tips. When I started writing Malice I wasn’t even on Facebook, Twitter didn’t exist and there wasn’t much comparable to the large and supportive online community you have in the present. I had not taken a class in creative writing , and I wasn’t a part of an author’s group or any type of support group. At the time, writing was pretty isolated for me.
There was a piece of advice I took on the chin, but. It wasn’t from someone speaking especially about how to write a novel however, it was applicable.
In 2002, when I first decided to try having an attempt at writing for an activity, I quickly realized that I didn’t know how to create a book. I resorted to the only method I had of knowing how to write: the way I was instructed at University. I had a great tutor and teacher named Udo Merkel. He always advised me that to get my university degree, I needed to read first, read, and then read more. The topic was research and I took that to heart. Perhaps too seriously, since I spent the majority over the following four years studying an assortment of fascinating information that I discovered – Celtic, Norse, Greco-Roman mythologies, ancient histories, the wolf-pack’s behavior as well as how they constructed swords a millennia ago, the moon cycles, Gaelic, all kinds of amazing things, and each time something caught my interest or enthralled me, I took note of it. Then it all went in the pot which became The Faithful and the Fallen.
If you had the chance to visit every country in the world at any time in time, when and where would you travel and why?
Dark-Ages Briton, fifth/sixth century. Because…Arthur. Did he really exist? What exactly happened at the Battle of Badon? I’d love to find out.
I don’t think I’d want to stay long, however – no central heating and no antibiotics. No Haagen-Daz.
Every writer has to face blockages, whether it’s an uneasy chapter, a challenging topics or simply starting an entirely new endeavor. What can you do to motivate yourself even when you’re not motivated to write?
I’m not particularly afflicted with difficulties and lack of enthusiasm. I enjoy writing. In fact, my main difficulty is finding the space to sit down and write. Even when I’m working messages, emails and social media “stuff” can really eat up my time for me. It is also possible for me to be susceptible to frequent bouts of procrastination. Keeping the internet off can help in this. If I’m at my desk with my headphones in, writing shouldn’t be an issue. I may be slower in the beginning of the book and pick up speed in the process however, I rarely encounter stumbling blocks, or feel demotivated.
Let us know about a book you think is excellent yet isn’t widely known or appreciated.
The Edinburgh Dead by Brian Ruckley. I’ve been a huge fan of the work of Brian Ruckley since his debut novel, Winterbirth. I don’t think that he’s not popular but I do love his writing, and don’t believe that he’s received the respect is due him.
The Edinburgh Dead is a kind of Gothic/horror/fantasy mash-up. The story is located within Edinburgh (surprise) during the period of 1820’s, and draws on that Burke and Hare body-snatching drama and includes necromancers, reanimated and dead people in addition to other things. It’s a suspenseful atmosphere piece with several truly frightening moments. It’s like the first and greatest collection of Penny Dreadful. Brian draws well-drawn characters who I could identify with. He is a master of details, tension and tension. I’d recommend this to anyone who is a person who enjoys fantasy.
And lastly, would you consider to impress us with what we refer to as”shark elevator pitches”? (It’s exactly like an elevator pitch, only featuring sharks.) (Well there’s a shark. That, incidentally is currently moving between its teeth in order in an attempt to remove the remains of its last writer who was on the elevator.)
Ahem. What is the reason readers should visit your website? An elevator pitch for you own book(s) with no more than three words – – go!
Okay, I’m terrible in this. I’m able to write a book but don’t expect you to publish a piece about the books I’ve written. Here’s the deal.
My work is epic in nature which is to refer to an expansive world filled with breathtaking scenery and imaginative, quite scary and sometimes dangerous creatures. I aim to make characters the central focus in my tales, regardless of whether they’re villains or heroes but they usually aren’t sure of the kind of camp they’re in when they first start my stories. My two series are stories of friendship, love and family, as well as betrayal and shields. The epic and intimate is my writing ethos and the aim that I aim for.
What was the problem? Sorry for the four words however it’s my job to write epic fantasies,, so what was your expectation?