This is the beginning of a new feature on Archer’s Aim – Fantasy Authors Unplugged. I hope to frequently share an interview with a fantasy author. If you have authors to suggest and/or questions you’d like to see answered then leave a comment or send me an email. If you are a fantasy author and would like an interview please let me know and we’ll plan one that fits your schedule.
Today’s feature fantasy author is Ed Ireland, author of several books including his latest, The Stormrider. Welcome Ed!
1. Tell us about your latest book.
The Stormrider is the second book in my Free People trilogy. It continues the story of Hellion and Fire, their children and their clan. It picks up right after the lead book, Fire At Dawn. Stormrider sets its focus on the strengths of the women in this savage world and their ability to bring what is needed to overcome the odds they must face. Their world is on the brink of war, a war they have been forbidden to enter. There are however, things they cannot overlook. There are issues of what is right and wrong, and when everything you have been taught must take precedence over what you have been told. While Hellion has been tasked to find and bring a lost clan back to their homelands, everything falls to Fire. Her strength and convictions must be enough to help the clans continue their futures.
2. Is there a specific event or idea upon which the book/series is based?
There is no one event to either the Free People Chronicles or the Huntress series. I look at what is happening on personal fronts as well as worldly events and then import them into my fantasy worlds. Issues in our past that have been resolved could very well be integrated into imagined worlds as new. For instance, slavery is an issue tackled in the Free People’s world whereas alcohol abuse rears its head in the Huntress’ world. Both stories also rely on what is happening in our own world…the current zombie trend, Ebola, terrorist cells and almost any other trending item in the media. Given a fantasy twist, they fall neatly in line with tales of the bizarre.
3. How do you develop your books?
That’s a good question. There are so many things that I see or hear that send me on a path. The worlds I create are the worlds I have seen. I’ve lived in a good many places and carry particular images of them that translate to my worlds. Next up are characters, and once more, it is the multitude of people I’ve met that make them up. Hellion is a combination of a few people I know, while Fire is pretty much how I see one particular person. Once I have those two factors nailed down, the storytelling just seems to flow on its own.
Sometimes, it’s a simple thought that pops in. Like the one I had at 3 AM a few days ago. I saw the ending of the third book of the trilogy and after 4 hours I knew exactly where the story was going. In the meantime, I just assure myself that sleep is for the weak.
4. How long does it take you to complete a book on average?
I’m one of those writers that have absolutely no organization at all. I don’t make any plans or layouts of how the story should go, so my finish times vary wildly. I might sit and knock out six or eight chapters over a day or two and then spend another two weeks tweaking them. There’s always something I’ll see that doesn’t sit right and needs to be changed, or a scene that seems incomplete. I also tend to visualize things that will happen later, so my book file is filled with notes about what happens in the end or who says what about this or that…just imagine the home on Sanford & Son and you’ll get an image of what’s inside my head.
Back to the question…Fire At Dawn was my first book. It took me almost three years to write, edit, rewrite, reedit and so on and so forth. Stormrider took about eight months since I knew the direction. The same thing with the Huntress books. The Last Ranger of Sarn took almost two years whereas Blood Moon Sacrifice took only a few months.
5. Do you use an editor? If so, who is it?
I am the Indy writer that every non-writer visualizes. I have every hat for my stories from writing them, to editing them, to marketing them and every other aspect. The only job I don’t handle is proofreading. My wife does that for me, since it would figure that if I made the mistakes in the first place, chances are I wouldn’t see them as mistakes the second time around. I’m waiting for my daughter to get a few more years under her belt and I’ll find a job for her too. After all, I plan to become very famous after I die and that means she’ll be well set. It’s only fair that she contributes now.
6. How did you choose/discover your cover artist?
I had a few ideas for my Free People series. I had several people give it a shot and none of them caught my fancy. At the same time, I got a copy of Photoshop and started trying a few things. Eventually I learned how to manipulate photos enough to get what I wanted. In both series, I try to keep a specific theme to the picture while changing another part. I was inspired by a set of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings set when I was young. When they lined up in their correct order, the spines made a picture of the Shire.
7. Did you have specific ideas about your cover?
Yes. For the Free People, I always wanted to portray Fire as the person that watched over everything, kind of like a shepherd. Her eyes make the background of each picture for the trilogy and will continue to be there in the event of a series spin-off. For the Huntress, I wanted a feel of the older serial novels where there was always a familiar look to the cover. I found a great photo taken by Khriess Photography, got the OK and made that image my starting point. The archer will always be the foreground while the background will incorporate the essence of the story.
8. How long have you been writing and how did you get started?
I started writing rather late in life, probably sometime in my thirties. I’d like to say I was a precocious two year old writing tales about my teddy bear, but just wasn’t so. I started playing an online game that was like a half-assed Dungeons & Dragons, and began writing these little scenarios for it. A few people urged me to write a short story, and from that Fire At Dawn popped up. It incorporated a lot of the people I played with.
Filled with a brazen idea that I should be immediately published and paid huge amounts of royalties, I sent FAD off to dozens of publishers. As the rejections rolled in, the idea of writing fell by the wayside. Then one day I got a letter from a popular game developer. They wanted my story, not for my superior ability to spin a yarn, but because of my characters. The plan was to throw the story away and bring the characters to their game. Of course, I had to sell all rights to them and could never do anything with them again.
Some kind of artistic integrity told me to refuse, but their offer gave me hope. As my wife said, I was able to create personable characters and that was the hard part. She convinced me to go back and after a major overhaul of the story and a few dozen edits, a much more polished piece came out.
9. What are you working on now?
Book three of the Free People series is on the table. The title is A New Dawning and it picks up some twenty years since the end of Stormrider. I wanted to end this one massive story, but at the same time I wanted to allow some way of bringing characters back. I left such a gap as a means of finding “lost tales” in the event my readers demanded more.
There is also the third book of the Huntress series that keeps popping up. That title is The Broken King and has lots of notes sitting in the folder for that. There is another crime drama lurking in my head somewhere and as if all of that wasn’t enough, I have a cookbook idea that I’m working on too.
I saw a question recently that asked what writers do in-between books. If I ever find an “in-between books” time, I’ll be sure to let them know.
Ed Ireland a product of the streets of Philadelphia, specifically, South Philly. He draws on his memories of people, places and events from his life there as well as the rest of the world, collected in what he calls his “junk drawer of writer mats”.
He has lived in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Texas, California, Colorado, New Jersey, New York and currently, North Carolina. He has visited Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Arizona and Connecticut. Every one of these locations has provided him with people and places that inspire his work. Countless memories from them – some good and some bad – live within him constantly. Confucius once said. “Wherever you go, go with all your heart”. It’s become his mantra now since his wandering isn’t done yet. His thoughts are pushing him to Florida now. Maybe the spirit of Hemmingway is calling…
Perhaps the people are drawing him. He has always been a people-person, saying that they provide a wealth of opportunity and that “a good variety of people in one’s life is like a rich tapestry of inspiration to a writer. People come equipped with personalities, quirks and tales that keep writers in material for a lifetime.”
On the more personal side of the scale, he was born in 1954. He is on his second marriage with a wonderful child from each. He is fiercely loyal to the Philadelphia Eagles, The Beatles and classic horror films. He enjoys time in the kitchen as of late, spending a lot of it trying to figure out his grandmother’s recipes. He says that cooking is fun for him now that he understands that it too, is an art. He enjoys photography and playing in Photoshop. He’s addicted to World of Warcraft and plays it far too much. His passion is animal rights and he campaigns to end the persecution of wolves. His religious and political views are private, nevertheless, they make themselves known throughout his work.
His books are available at Amazon, Barns & Noble, Apple and several other outlets in eBook form only.
My website – http://bit.ly/edireland
My Facebook Page – http://bit.ly/popularsocilasite
My Smashwords Page
For my books – http://bit.ly/SmashwordsLook
For your readers that would like a free copy of Fire At Dawn, just go to my website and join the member’s area. Drop me a line and I’ll send a free copy via Smashwords that can be downloaded in any eReader configuration as well as PDF.
Thanks to Ed for the interview in this feature. Everyone make sure to take advantage of the free book offer.
If you’re a fantasy author and would like to be interviewed for “Fantasy Authors Unplugged” just contact me via email or one of my social media channels and we’ll set one up.
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