TQ: Welcome to The Qwillery.
Adrian: Hey, thanks for inviting me!
TQ: When and why did you start writing?
Adrian: My family moved to a remote part of Kent when I was 7. The nearest house was about half a mile away and for 3 years I pretty much had to entertain myself until we moved back to Surrey. The school had 30 pupils aged from 5 – 12 so lessons weren’t as structured as they are today. I remember I’d just read The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe, and so for a creative writing exercise I wrote my first fantasy story. I remember very little of it other than the fact that there was an owl called Mr Gillofrey and that it was 18 pages long. My teacher was so impressed that he typed it up and put it into the school library.
I went on to write a sequel that was over 100 pages long, and from then on I was always working on some book idea or another.
TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Adrian: I wish I could say the process of writing was interesting. More often than not it’s a case of just sitting down and doing it, with all the interesting stuff happening on the page. But in terms of quirks, whilst I’m not alone in this, I do have to have music to write. I can’t listen to anything with singing or I just start subconsciously transcribing, but I have a wide range of orchestral soundtracks from films and games and I will select which one to listen to based on the mood of the piece I’m about to write.
TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Adrian: I think I’ve always been a plotter, just that I’ve resisted writing things down. The whole book, the sequels and all the twists and secrets they contain are all in my head. I think this is because whilst I have key scenes that are set in stone, I will tend to review the plan every few chapters and make changes for pace. The only document I created was a single one with what the big reveal for each book I have planned. I’m getting better at writing things down although if I’m honest I’ve yet to see any real benefit.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Adrian: At the moment, balancing the business side with the writing side. Obviously, with Four Realms just out I’ve been really busy trying to promote it but that’s annihilated my writing time.
TQ: Describe The Four Realms in 140 characters or less.
Adrian: I have enough problem describing it in 140 lines. Right, let’s try this:
Vampire genocide. Gateway with troll in cellar. Shape-shifting cephalopods. 82 year old kick-ass heroine. Centaurs with shotguns.#FourRealms
TQ: What inspired you to write The Four Realms?
Adrian: I think it started with seeing a nature programme on one of the most remote Amazonian tribe. I was surprised to see one of the kids wearing a Nike T-Shirt. It got me thinking that if our commercialism had managed to beat a film crew to the remotest reaches of the Amzon jungle then if gateways to other worlds existed they would be used by drugs smugglers, arms dealers and black market goods profiteers not by kids going for tea with fauns.
TQ: What sort of research did you do for The Four Realms?
Adrian: I did quite a bit on folklore from across the world. Whilst the world of Venefasia (and within it the city of New Salisbury) is filled with recognisable races such as trolls, elves and dwarves I wanted to get some more obscure races in there as well. So you have the Inuit Adlet (which sometimes gets bastardised into a werewolf but is actually a creature with dog legs and a man’s body) and the Tikbalang from The Philippines (a half man, half horse).
I wanted a solid magic system that was a little different and I found myself looking at how videogames do magic. Or maybe that was just an excuse to play loads of videogames? Hmm, we’ll call it research!
Also at the start of the book, Cassidy and Darwin are living on the streets, so there was a bit of research into homelessness.
TQ: Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?
Adrian: Maureen has been very easy to write this novel. There’s something fun in being able to see how far you can take the character. There were several times when I worried I’d taken it too far into pure comedy (especially given the amount of tentacle death the book is pretty dark) but she just lends herself to these situations and the scenes don’t feel out of place.
I think the hardest to write was Cassidy. She’s quite a fun character, but given all that’s going on around her, unlike Maureen, she has few chances in this book to show it. I worry Darwin drags her down, but then I do make him suffer!
TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in The Four Realms?
Adrian: Ooo, that’s a tough one!
I think Maureen in the florist. It’s my take on the ‘gearing up’ montage first made popular by the Schwarzenegger movie, Commando.
Or maybe the mugging scene. That was one of those scenes that when I was writing it I thought “I’ve taken it too far” but on reading it back felt perfect.
TQ: What's next?
Adrian: Well the plan is for a further three books in the series. I’m working on the second right now, The Thieving King, and hope to have the writing done in the first half of this year. This is a lot quicker than the time it took to write The Four Realms but I’m determined to be one of those writers who gets books out regularly.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Adrian: Thanks for having me. It’s been a lot of fun!
About The Four Realms
The Four Realms
Anarchy Books, December 26, 2012
Half-vampire Darwin stumbles across a corpse on the streets of London, and in a pocket discovers a notebook in a mysterious language. Divided between human ethics and vampire blood lust, Darwin finds himself both condemner and saviour of a race who’ve never considered him one of their own. Now, he must try and lead the survivors to sanctuary in New Salisbury before Mr West completes his genocide of the vampires in his quest to obtain the book...
Maureen Summerglass is eighty-two years old, a prisoner in her ramshackle home. She is afraid to let people enter in case they discover the oak door in her cellar. Threatened with homelessness and retirement from her job as a gatekeeper between worlds, Maureen breaks protocol when the death of a close friend is covered up... and enters the city of New Salisbury to search for his missing notebook. There, she discovers a world unlike the one of myth and fairy tale she imagined, and instead one of black market economies, brand names and tuk tuks. As she investigates, not only is she in extreme danger, but discovers she may be the first human female able to use magic...
You can read more about Adrian at: www.adrianfaulkner.com