When a woman loves a dragon, that love will change the world.
“Run.” The Dragon made a shooing motion with his forepaw. “Go on. It’s more amusing for me.”
ExcerptThe Roc lifted her five feet and two inches frame with ease. As he manhandled her toward the safety railing which lined the gantry beneath the Dragonship’s hundred-and-fifty-foot hydrogen balloon, Lia saw the unmistakable profile of Ha’athior Island’s double volcanic cone abaft their starboard beam. Ahead and several miles below lay a tiny side-volcano, nestled against its parent like a Dragon hatchling taking comfort against an enormous mother’s flank. After that? Crimson-
tinged Cloudlands lapped unbroken from the Islands to the horizon’s skirts, a deathly carpet clothed in immeasurable, brooding majesty.
Strange. She had always wanted to experience Dragon flight.
The touch of cool metal against her back provoked a sudden, final outpouring of strength. Reaching behind her, Hualiama caught her long braid in her fingertips.
“Any birthday wishes, little Lia?” chuckled Captain Ra’aba.
“Rot in–” she inhaled sharply, choking on blood “–a Cloudlands hell.” Reaching up, Lia jabbed her three-inch long, razor-sharp hairpin into his windpipe, several inches below his left jawbone.
He wheezed, “You …”
As Ra’aba recoiled, the flailing of his arms tumbled her over the edge. Lia screamed endlessly as she fell through the ruddy beams of a perfect Fra’aniorian suns-set.
Marc is the bestselling author of 12 fantasy novels. Aranya and The Pygmy Dragon are full of dragons, battles and romance, and are set in a unique island-world above the toxic cloudlands. He's also the author of a bestselling African historical fantasy series set in ancient Ethiopia.
Author interview questions:
1. Tell me about the books you’ve written?
My books can be broadly split into two categories – epic fantasy and African historical fantasy. I’ve written 12 fantasy novels – 5 African fantasy novels for Middle Grades readers which are set in ancient Ethiopia, 4 dragon fantasy novels (and counting), one ocean fantasy, and two standalone epic fantasy works. A number of these are bestsellers on Amazon. I love writing and try to produce a new work every 3-4 months or so.
My work in progress is Dragonlove which I hope to release by the end of July 2015.
2. What’s your writing schedule like?
I aim to complete 2,000 words per day. Usually I get up at 5am and write until 8am, every morning. Once every 10 days or so I write through the night. My record (while completing The Pygmy Dragon) was 25,000 words in one night. Productive! I will edit a book multiple times while I’m writing it, and then do at least 3 complete run-through’s of editing before releasing a book to my Beta Readers.
1. Give me your secret playlist for writing fantasy books?
No big secrets here. Dragonfriend was written primarily to three soundtracks:
Tron Legacy – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYJBcr1LDg4 moody, beautiful, brilliant
Hammerfall – for when I feel the need to write a battle scene, no, I’m not a metalhead, but there’s just something about this band I gel with when I’m throwing fireballs about the page and blowing things up.
Queen – It's a Kind of Magic – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0p_1QSUsbsM when I’m about to pull a crazy plot twist on my readers …
1. What would you say are your top fantasy/sci-fi writer or series influences?
My early influences were hard science fiction writers such as Isaac Asimov, Ben Bova, Carl Sagan and Piers Anthony, combined with my love of historical fiction, particularly James A. Mitchener. But my true love has always been fantasy.
Anne McCaffrey’s Dragons of Pern has always inspired me with the courage of her characters, sometimes in the face of great odds – she’s my all-time favourite writer, and a master world-builder who I aspire to emulate. LOTR is the motherlode, setting the standard for rich background and historical detail, world building and a great storyline that pitches good against evil in an epic battle. In epic fantasy, Terry Brooks is awesome. I fell in love with his Sword of Shannara series and I think he’s a writer of great craft. I enjoy Robert Jordan for the enormous sweep of his tales and the meticulous crafting that goes into his work.
These are all ‘classic’ influences. I should mention George R.R. Martin, James Maxwell, Terry Goodkind, and Robin Hobb, and I have been known to spend hours chortling over a Terry Pratchett Discworld novel. There are some great novels out there and not enough hours in the day to enjoy them all!
1. Where do you get your ideas?
A number of my stories have started with a dream, such as Aranya and The Legend of El Shashi. I write down a synopsis of the dream the following morning. Similarly, for story ideas, I now write down a synopsis or jot down ideas in mindmap format, exploring related ideas or themes or characters I wish to use. I keep a file of all my ideas for stories and mine it periodically for inspiration.
The Shioni of Sheba series was inspired by a visit to the Simien Mountains of Ethiopia, and The Girl who Sang with Whales found inspiration in the song ‘Indescribable’ by Chris Tomlin. I never quite know when the next idea is going to strike … and I’ve far more ideas than I could possibly turn into novels at this point.
2. You’ve started lots of series. When are you going to finish them?
Yes, and it’s my own fault. Thankfully, I can produce quickly when I get my head down. I am currently finishing Dragonlove, the sequel to Dragonfriend, which I hope to have ready within the next six weeks or so. I’ve also started drafting Dragon Thief and the sequel to The Pygmy Dragon.
In all, I have the following novels planned:
Aranya and Shadow Dragon, part #3 planned for late 2015
The Pygmy Dragon, part #2 planned for autumn 2015
The Girl who Sang with Whales, part #2 planned for 2016
Dragonfriend (the sequel will be Dragonlove, planned for end of July 2015)
Dragon Thief (work in progress) – planned for August 2015
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