A warm welcome to my special guest, Stephen Holland, Fantasy author.
I had always written songs, though had never considered writing a novel. It happened almost by accident. I just opened my laptop one day and started writing, I had no idea where the story was going to go, who the characters were going to be, or even what genre it was likely to fit in. It really took on a life of its own.
Do you usually write in the same genre you tend to prefer to read?
I write in the Fantasy genre I suppose, though my stories have no fictitious beings like Elves, Trolls and Orcs or any kind of magical element. It is fantasy only insofar as it exists in an imaginary world. My preferred genre to read has always been Sci Fi though I do enjoy Fantasy and Thrillers.
When reading, do you prefer traditional printed books or ebooks?
Printed for me, there is nothing like having a paperback in your hand (that’s probably an age thing)!
Have you been influenced and/or inspired by another writer, or writers?
I would love to say Tolkien, but in no way would I compare myself to that master.
Do past or current events in your life have an influence on your writing?
I don’t think you can avoid this; incidents within your life are bound to influence how you think whether consciously or subconsciously.
Have you got a favourite author, who stands well ahead of all others?
In that order, Tolkien in my opinion ‘invented’ the fantasy genre, there have been many attempts to write in his style, but in my humble opinion none can compare.
Have you got both printed and digital books published?
I have both.
Do you try to write to satisfy what is fashionable, or do you write pieces that you would want to read?
I would be the last person on earth who would ever be fashion conscious so I write what I think I would like to read personally.
How do you fit writing into your life? Do you have set times for writing?
I cannot write to set times; I have to do it when I ‘want’ to do it. I can go weeks without writing anything then write 10,000 words in a day. It’s not ideal and I wish I was far better organised.
Do you keep every jotting of ideas, just in case they might be developed at some later date?
I tend to have a document at the end of my book in word format, so if I think of a good idea I put it in there and use it if it lends itself to the story.
Do you write freeform or do you faithfully plan every piece meticulously before you start on a piece?
I plan very little, certainly my first book Solace and Distress almost seemed to write itself, though I have tried to be a bit more organised with the sequel. I am finding the more I write about a particular story the more I need to keep a track of place names, rivers, mountain ranges and of course characters.
When writing, most authors now use a computer of some description. Which do you find more satisfying: writing using any means available, using a computer, using a typewriter or using a pen/pencil?
Always a laptop. My handwriting is almost undecipherable even for me!
Have you ever been somewhere and discovered a copy of a book that’s extremely difficult to find, and drooled over the discovery?
I once found hardback versions of some lesser known pieces of work by Tolkien in an antique bookshop in York. They have since been re-issued so probably more popular, but were certainly hard to obtain when I was collecting his work.
If you’ve had books published in print form, have you ever come across a copy of one of your own books by accident?
No, that hasn’t happened to me (yet)!
What is your greatest ambition in writing?
I am under no illusions, I am not about to become an international best seller. So long as there is somebody somewhere who appreciates my work then it is worth doing.
Where can readers find out more about your works?