An interview with David Graham

deathbane cover
Today I’m interviewing, once again, fellow fantasy author, David Graham, or Davie as he’s known to family and friends. Davie writes highly entertaining and charismatic books, which any fantasy fan would be proud to have on their shelves. His current works, The Silent Blade Chronicles, are on sale on Amazon.
Q. Let me begin by asking you, Davie, now that you have three books published, via Ecanus publishing, what’s your next step?
A. Hi Katrina, and thank you for the chance to speak with you once again. The Silent Blade Chronicles are indeed becoming a true epic, and still have a way to go yet, with two more books in the pipe-line. The fourth book, sub-titled “Dawn of the Gods” is now well under way and will hopefully be out in the next few months. This particular episode is a bit of a departure from the first three books as it deals with events that occurred  between 1000 and 800 years in the past. This is also a slightly new venture for me as most of it is written in the first-person, with events seen through the eyes of Endovaar’s first Grand Master Wizard, Trellan. Following directly on from this the fifth book, sub-titled “The Demon Queen” will see our heroes being transported into a strange and terrifying land to deal with the ultimate evil, as a hitherto “minor” character rises up in a last-ditch attempt to destroy mankind… and I think that should be enough to give our readers something to ponder…
As for the future? Well I have already drawn up plans for yet another fantasy series called “The Bloodhoof Saga”, however this time I am pulling out all the stops! This new series will, of course, retain some of my trademark gentle humour, but there the similarity to the age-friendly Silent Blade Chronicles will stop…! This new series will be aimed at a more adult audience, with extremely graphic descriptions, leaving nothing to the imagination!
Q. When you first embarked on getting into print, what kind of support did you get from friends and family? For instance, where they encouraging or sceptical?
A. It is strange how peoples’ views are affected on this before and after the event. Family, of course, would always be encouraging (although there would always be guarded glances of scepticism when they thought I wasn’t looking), and friends and acquaintances would “almost” always say things like “Oh yeah… you, write a book…? Don’t make me laugh!”. Yet, after the first book came out with Ecanus Publishing everything changed. Even my most ardent sceptics suddenly changed their minds, saying things like “Hey, I always knew you could do it, well done!”. This just goes to prove that people should have faith in the abilities of others, and that those who do not try, will never succeed.
Q. Once the books were up on Amazon, what kind of feedback, or reviews did you get?
A. Feedback and reviews are always mixed, and I am sure this goes for any artist. I am lucky enough to have gained a good fan base, both on-line, and in the real world. I’m glad to say that the majority of people I speak with, both on-line and in person, all have good things to say about my work. It also amazes me that my work reaches out to so many “different” people. An example of this are two “elderly” ladies, whom I see in person regularly during the hours of my day job. These lovely old ladies have become fans of the Silent Blade Chronicles, and whenever they see me they are full of questions about up-coming books… And even my own sister (much older than me), who has never read any fantasy in her life, has been converted, simply through reading “A Sword for Hire”. So as far as feedback is concerned… yes, it is surprisingly good.
Q. What are your writing ambitions, in other words, what do you hope to achieve, writing wise?
A. Well, what does any author hope to achieve…? To see my work spread out across the world, with many happy people reading the words I penned: enjoying the antics of my characters; immersing themselves in a truly magical world. This is the joy of writing fantasy… it allows people to escape into worlds beyond their dreams, filled with people and creatures they will love, or hate, and basically experiencing the adventure. If I can make someone laugh at a sprite, smile with an old wizard, cry when a shape-changer is mortally wounded, or experience the adrenalin rush of a mercenary in battle, then I have done my job well.
Q. I’m sure any fledgling writers out there would be interested in what your creative processes are. For instance, once an idea for a story has formed, how do you set about building on that idea?
A. I mainly start with character building. In the beginning the original members of Silent Blade consisted of six characters, but I cut that down to four, and converted the two left over to the “evil” side of things. However this was only a very small beginning… What was I to do with these characters? For a long time they existed only on a notepad, with a few basic descriptive notes for each one. I had no idea what I was going to do with them for a long time, till one night I had a weird and very vivid dream. That dream showed me the emergent birth of a powerful dragon god, and was to become the core element for my books. After that it was relatively easy. With some help from a very clever friend of mine we constructed “rules” for the different magics I would use in the books, and all I needed then was a plot. Little did I know at the time that this plot was going to stretch into five books, containing over 750,000 words! 
Q. How do you feel about writing groups? Do you consider them useful, or full of hobbyists and egomaniacs?
A. I do belong to several writing groups on such platforms as Facebook etc, but I seldom use them. As with all of these things there are some really good authors on them, along with the inevitable egomaniacs ( as you call them ). But I baulk at these things, mainly because I feel that a true author would have no need for them. To explain this, I believe that if you are any good at writing, no matter what genre you work in, then your work will speak for itself, and there should be no need to keep showing up on a forum trying to explain your work to other authors… after all those other authors are only interested in “their” work. This might seem a bit harsh, but from what I have seen to date, most of these writing groups are simply platforms for authors to shout about their work to other authors.
Q. Do you write in any other genre, apart from fantasy?
A. To be honest, yes, I have tried… and failed miserably. I had an idea once for a detective series, however never having read any detective novels, I had no idea where to go with it, so it eventually got binned. Fantasy has been my life since I was a small boy, and I feel at home with the magic, the dragons, and the strange worlds. Some people say that high fantasy is the hardest genre to work in, yet I find it easy. I can relate to the mythical creatures I create, simply because they can be, and do, anything I wish.
Q. Name one or two of your favourite authors, and why you like their work.
A. There are so many, but of course I have to start with the great Father of fantasy JRR Tolkien. Without him the fantasy genre would be a poor place to work in. He is a man I have looked up to ever since I can remember, and has given this mortal world something very special indeed. One of my other favourite fantasy authors is the late Anne McCafrey. Her Dragons of Pern series is a masterpiece, and I would highly recommend them to any fantasy buff.
Q. Are any of your characters based on real life people?
A. Of course they are. I am a bit of a people-watcher, and often jot down  notes after seeing the antics of a “real” person. I believe that this is an important skill for any author… to be observant, and watch what is going on in the world around you. It is amazing what you will see, if you really pay attention!
Q. How important do you think it is for a writer to have a website, and/or a blog?
A. Very important. In this age of technology ( ebooks especially ) a website or blog is a valuable tool. Not only does this help to spread the word about your work, but it allows the author to interact with his audience personally. I have found that people like this interaction, and it helps them to relate to their favourite author.
Q. How long did it take for you to find a publisher for your work?
A. Quite a long time, actually. My first book was written over ten years ago, and to begin with I was going down the traditional path of sending printed manuscripts off to various publishers. Of course I received the usual rejection slips, but I never gave up! Then, back in 2011 my partner pestered me to sign up to Facebook ( something I said I would never do ), and low and behold within a few months I spotted an advert from a new publishing company, looking for new talent. I emailed them, and the ball started rolling from there. Up till that point I had never heard of ebooks, and had no idea what a kindle was ( showing my utter lack of tech knowledge ). But to my delight, on the 20th of December, 2011, my first book was published on Amazon, and I can tell you that was the proudest day in my life. So it was a hard slog, but as I said, I did not give up on my dream… and now people all over the world can share in that dream, and I have my wonderful partner to thank for that.
Q. Finally, what one piece of advice would you give fledgling writers?
A. There is so much advice I could give to any fledgling author, but mainly I would say: work hard on your manuscript, pay attention to detail, be sure to keep your plots strong and try not to wander off the story-line ( which is easy to do ), make your characterisation powerful because your readers will need to know who they reading about, make sure you enjoy what you write about… and above all, never give up!

Thank you for the interview Katrina, and before I head back to my writing I would like to add a few links for your readers, if that is okay with you.
Firstly my blog:  
And the Silent Blade Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TheSilentBladeChronicles
And now the links to the first three books
davie
Thanks for sharing your work with us, Davie, and all the best for the future.
 
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