Here I post about all things fantasy and give tips on writing a book based on my experience. My three main books form a trilogy called the Prophecy of the Kings, a Gold Award Winning book, and I've also written Drachar's Demons. Happy to chat so please feel free to comment on any of my blogs. Good reading - David
"What it had is one heck of a good story. What it had was demons and dragons, sword and sorcery, danger and strife. What it gave me was the type of story I did not want to put down and when I did, I looked forward to returning because I wanted to know what could possibly happen next."
This is a list of my favourite fantasy authors and characters. I would have liked to have hit 20 at least, to be a nice round number. Sadly, I failed. If you can help me out - let me know who I have missed. Anyway - here goes and let me know what you think;
1. J R R Tolkien. I especially liked the Silmarillion and the tale of Turin Turambar. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings stand head and shoulders above all other fantasy. I loved the world and the background history he created in such magnificent detail. The films are outstanding and do Tolkien's work such credit. I would love to see the Silmarillion on the big screen.
2.Ian Irvine- Nish, a cracking character who first appears in The Geomancer, The Well of Echoes Novels. Ian creates several really good characters. A master of creation! Quite strange tales and very strange opposition. A little Science Fiction like rather than truly fantasy, but well worth a read. Very easy reading and highly skilled descriptions and characterisation.
3. George Martin's Games of Thrones. Brilliant series but where is it going and who will be left in it? Lots of good characters and Tyrion Lanister is definitely a favourite. What a great character, so cool and flippant under pressure. The TV series (i'm up to the second series) is excellent, but already taking short cuts!
4. Brent Weeks - Beyond the Shadows, my favourite character has to be Kylar. Very long books. Really good characterisation. Lightbringer is also an excellent series, although I've only read books 1 and 2 so far. Not as good as the first series in my opinion. Longer books again and lots of description. Very readable though and once again brilliant characterisation.
5. Terry Goodkind. The Sword of Truth series are cracking reads. No one character leaps out though. I liked the first few books but struggled with Soul of the Fire. It's worth reading up to that point and/or omitting that book.
6. Weiss and Hickmann - Raistlin is my favourite character and the Twins novels my favourite series. Very entertaining books and well worth a read. That characters are excellent.
7. J K Rowling - Harry Potter books. Many really good characters! Luna Lovegrove has to be high on the list! Great stories and very good films. I do think the books are better than the films though.
8. Edgar Rice Burroughs - Mars series. Nostalgic value for me as this was my first read. I loved the tales of John Carter searching for Dejah Thoris, but he lost her far too often! Was he just careless. Tarzan was his other offerings and if you haven't read them then I recommend them. Really good reads.
9. David Gemmell - Druss is my favourite character in the Legend of Druss. Well worth a read. Other books by this author are good but some less so. The Greek series, however, was poor.
10. Joe Abercrombe - The Blade Itself and in particular Glokta. One of the best characters for a while. Really evil character but surprisingly you feel sympathy for him. He was tortured and left crippled.
11. Michael Moorcock - He has written many good books, my favourite character were Elric, Hawkmoon and Corum. I really liked the eternal Champion concept, bring several heroes together for one epic battle. Jerry Cornelious series based at the end of time is a good read as well. Overall, excellent books.
12. Robin Hobband the Farseer and Tawny Man Trilogies were excellent. I found the Mad Ship series was very difficult to get into.
13. Stan Nicholls, Orcs. Quite a brutal tale.
14. Raymon Feist and Magician and Talon of the Silver Hawk. Magician was very good and deals with parallel worlds.
15. James Clemens - The Wit'ch Fire series. I need to re-read these as I can't remember much. They were quite brutal from memory.
16.Robert Jordan- Wheel of Time series. Book 9 was a stinker. Nothing really happened and it was so bad I gave up on the series. I have since read book 11, having been persuaded to continue and again found much of the story to be too slow. Book 12 (by another author) is starting to look promising. this was a cracking series to start with and books 1-3 were really good. such a shame.
17. Christopher Paolini, Eragon, but I didn't enjoy later books as much
Three short of 20 - so annoying!! What's your favourites?
1) Who is your favorite comedian or cartoon character and why?
Oddly – the question that leapt out at me most was this one. It has to be Bugs Bunny. I love cartoons and greatly admire the humour and characterization behind these. Bugs is so cool and his encounters with Daffy, Elmore J Fudd (what a tremendous name!!) and Yosemite Sam are brilliant. I love the way the latter mutters and curses as he falls down an impossible cliff and then there’s the thud and small cloud of dust upon landing. I think it’s the fact he keeps going back for more and there’s always an inventive downfall waiting for him.
Then there’s the Opera one with to Ride of the Valkyries with the immortal lines, Spear and Magic Helmet. Amazing stuff. Hunt the wabbit...
2) How would you describe your sense of humor?
Troublesome. I have been particularly mean to a work colleague who shares an office. Recently I spent a while labeling anything on his desk with labels stating “This is Mine” and “Mine.” I felt a little like the cat in Red Dwarf, if folk remember that episode. My colleague was finding labelled items weeks after I did this.
My humour is spontaneous and sometimes I need to keep quiet.
I do Saxon/Viking re-enactment and I am a Saxon. At one show we were asked to introduce ourselves to the Public and so I announced that I was “Baldric, the magnificent.” A friend shouted dung-shoveller, and so from that moment on I was christened Baldric the magnificent with a chorus of dung-shoveller each time I said this.
3) What did you want to be when you grew up?
I still haven’t decided. Ask me again next week. I have never really had any great ambitions to be anything in particular and to be honest I still feel that I am yet to find my niche. Hmmm. Not sure that I’ve got this exactly right, given my age? I enjoy my work and I enjoy having hobbies.
I have been an officer in the Territorial Army in Scotland, a re-enactor, a diver, mountaineer, ice-climber and a writer. I have lots of life’s experiences and my humour keeps me going.
One day, I’d like to take on politics perhaps, mainly because politicians are so damned useless and I couldn’t possibly do any worse! Prime Minister would be good, failing that – an astronaut, but only if the transport is something like the Tardis in Dr Who or a spaceship like the Enterprise from Star Trek. Only the best for me!
4) Which magical power would you like to have and why?
Being able to stop time would be so cool. You could get out of all sorts of scrapes and into some very interesting ones. Robbing banks would be dead easy as well, so there would be a financial incentive and a clear pension plan. I can’t think of anything wrong with that ability so that’s what I would want.
Good moments could last forever. I remember sitting in a cafe in California once, on a gorgeous day with blue skies and an absolutely perfect temperature.
It would also be funny for example changing things around in the street. Turning someone around for instance and watching their reaction could be quite humorous.
5) If aliens landed in your backyard, what is the first thing you would ask them?
I’d tell them to get off the lawn for one thing. We Brits are very proud gardeners and no damn alien is going to wreck my lawn.
I might also consider whether I could charge them for parking as I live in an area where parking is a nightmare. That may explain why they picked my backyard, of course.
On a more serious note, I’d want to know about their home world. That’s an absolute must. I would hope that it matched one of the worlds in novels that I have read, such as Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. It would have to be a place of great adventure.
6) What would you do if you had a time machine?
That would be a great dream, and where to start? I’d go back in time and win the lottery to secure my future. I’d also tell my younger self to write earlier on. I would have to see dinosaurs, Rome in antiquity, the building of the Pyramids, Stonehenge, my ancestors in those periods, Moses at the crossing of the Red Sea... There’s far too much to contemplate.
I’d also go forward in time to see the technology of the future, steal it and bring back here to further amass my fortune. (I’m not shallow.) I’d probably live part time in the past and the future. Seeing the world unspoilt by man would also be amazing.
7) If you had a chance to spend some time with one mythical being, what would it be and why?
Meeting a fairy would be good. At least that would be small and inconspicuous. I think talking to a mythical being may get you arrested otherwise.
A genie would be high on the list. I’d ask for as many wishes as I wanted, although that might be a bit dangerous if I talked in my sleep.
Father Christmas would be jolly, but I may be on his naughty list, so again that may be disappointing. Back to the fairy, I think. Just so I could prove mythical creatures existed, even if it was just for my edification. I’d call her Tinkerbelle of course.
8) If you could be reincarnated as an animal, what would you be and why?
I considered being a dolphin as I like swimming, but I don’t like eating fish.
Being a bird and able to fly would be fantastic. Flying looks like so much fun.
I keep coming back to being a dolphin though as I also like swimming. A flying dolphin! It’s that or nothing!! It would also have to be somewhere warm, with clear blue seas. The fish would have to be cooked for me though. I think raw fish would be even worse than just fish. And no messy bones.
9.) What quirky habit do you have that often gets you teased by your peers or family?
I got teased a lot because of my re-enactment and often teased about wearing a dress. We don’t wear dresses of course, but a Saxon tunic could be mistaken for a dress. Don’t ever tell me that though, as I get very uppity!
I made matters worse once when I mentioned dyes were few and came from vegetables or tree barks and that I had a tunic that was a sort of shade of...pink. Well that went down a treat and wearing a pink dress at weekends was a real source of amusement.
I denied everything of course and insisted that the tunic was fuchsia. For some reason that didn’t get me off the hook, but every time someone mention a pink dress I would insist...fuchsia. At the time of the Saxons, pink was perfectly acceptable, as too was the man’s name Mildred!!
10.) My readers want to know what you had for breakfast. Not sure why exactly...
A strange request, but what the hell...it could be worse. Breakfast this morning was a pain au raisin with coffee - a bit of a weekend treat. I like it as it sounds pretentious – pain au raisin. On a workday it’s porridge. Far less pretentious.
11.) Why in the world did you consent to doing this wacky interview? I mean there is not one question here about your books, your writing or your future plans!
Hey, I did say I had a sense of humour and I love quirky questions. Being silly is a good way of passing the time. I have done strange things at times and sometimes it is humour that keeps you going.
I ice-climbed Ben Nevis, blinked at the wrong time and whilst hanging on with an ice axe with one hand, I found the lens frozen to the ice with small ice grains blowing past it. I managed to get the lens back in, much to a friend’s amusement.
The wacky and insane is part of life, I guess.
I recently noticed the moon was upside down. No - I am not intoxicated, nor am I suffering from madness (currently). Over the last three mornings I have definitely noticed something is not quite right with the moon. The usual face (the eyes being very large craters) is inverted.
I tried to take a photo but my camera on my phone was not up to the job and the resulting image was too small. Now, being a scientist, I deduced that the refraction of light at a low angle might invert the image. But, this would need a shallow angle and the moon on both occasions was about 30 degrees from the horizontal.
So, am I cracking up? Is the moon really upside down. I did a search on Google and was surprised by the amount of emails on the subject, much of it in 2012. So, have i been unobservant and the phenomena has been around for a while? unfortunately most the Google conversation didn't make much sense, so I am at a loss.
Anyone know the answer to this - and before confirming refraction, please have a look and confirm that the angle looks wrong.
Seeing the Hobbit today. Very excited. Anyone seen it yet? No spoilers!!
Saw it and it was absolutely brilliant. Amazing all round. The balance between serious film and humour was well done. OK - there were extra bits compared to the book but I enjoyed the lot. Jackson has produced a brilliant film.
My wife plays pranks on me and whilst in the pub one night, when I went to the "Wee Room" (Scottish phrase) - she phoned me. There I am, standing by the urinal with my phone ringing loudly in my pocket. Got strange looks from the chaps around me.
I found it difficult to understand why I liked this film, but for some reason I did. A super hero film with no super heroes. I'm not quite sure what appealed to me, but one thing was certain it was a very dark film. A child happily killing drug addicts in a crack house and comparing weapons with them as she did so. Very utterly bizarre, but very compelling. Her acrobatics were amazing and I was enthralled just watching that.
The story line was equally good. There were parallels to the Spider Man storyline at times, but it was always acknowledged and tongue in cheek. Nicholas Cage was brilliant in this film.
This is a strange review. It's quite critical but then states;
"Middle-earth's got its mojo back. A huge improvement on the previous instalment, this takes our adventurers into uncharted territory and delivers spectacle by the ton. And in case you were wondering, yes, someone manages to say the title as dialogue."
I suppose overall you can't fault the final statement and 5 stars!!
Clearly, that is a massive tribute, but I always take any comparison like that with a hefty pinch of pixie dust. Deep down though I am very (nervously) pleased. However, I can see such a comparison producing much wailing and gnashing of teeth.
One of the reasons I wrote my books was because, at the time, it was so very difficult to find anything even remotely similar in vein to Tolkien's fantastic books. Those works are truly amazing and have a grandeur that spans an eternity. I was especially enthralled by the Silmarillion. That is a massive novel and it amazes me that he created that world simply to make the Hobbit and lord of the Rings believable.
I was deeply upset when I typed Silmarillion and movie to find links to supposed movie pages, only to find it was a debate about whether Jackson would ever make this epic movie. Wow - what a challenge that would be. Bring it on, I say. To watch Beren hold out his arm and declare words to the effect, behold in my hand I hold a Silmaril - would have me reaching for a tissues. I also loved the tale of Turin Turinbar. That tale is so dark and sorrowful and yet at the same time moving. I would love to see the High Elves marching for the first time in Middle Earth as the sun rises for the first time, and flowers bloom beneath their marching feet. Then there's Glaurung, the first dragon, and Ungoliant, Shelob's distant relative.
I can but dream.
Anyway, have a look at the sample chapters on my website http://www.davidburrowsfantasyauthor.com and check out the reviews. Although there might be a loose similarity many readers say I have a distinctive style and my world is unique. I do hope that is the case and whilst I am flattered by the comparison I know it is an impossible height to strive for. Still, I hope that I can bring enjoyment to my readers.
Just seen Hunger Games, Catching Fire. One word - awesome. It's highly moving and entertaining.
I preferred the first film in the series, marginally. It's difficult to follow on with a better film when the premise is already set. Having said that - what a great film. Jennifer Lawrence is superb in it and certainly brings it alive. Well worth seeing and I must see the first film again.