Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The Writer and The Reader

A poem for all of my fellow writers out there :)

With undipped ink beside blank parchment,
Once upon a time never seemed as far off as now.
A thousand stories run through the temple,
A thousand songs are sung and stars implode.

Fearsome monsters and broken wings become stone,
The mind’s eye runs rabid with fear and excitement.
The ink is still undipped and the parchment remains blank,
The invisible barrier hard to penetrate as the story overwhelms.

Together as one the journey unfolds,
One thousand lives are lived as the game begins.
Spells are cast and wars are waged,
The world could end on the very next page.

Every voice is heard but few will listen.
Stories are told and songs are sung,
But it will always be too late to turn back the clock,
Back to when page one was fresh and new.

Music plays but the symphony dies,
All poetry becomes meaningless as sex begins to sell.
A simple kiss becomes a soul-crushing blow,
And it is such that the writer must decide.

Friday, 22 June 2012

How to Live One Thousand Lives

Writer is a peculiar creature, often seen hanging around with a strange group of friends. Research is Writer’s best friend, the friend who is always there and who you mock because, hey, that’s what you do with your best friend! Writer’s second best friend is Characters – people Writer talks about constantly, pores over night and day to make sure that they develop into mature people, the kind of friend who everyone thinks the writer is crazy for crushing on. Setting is an important friend in Writer’s group, that one friend who apparently takes charge. Finally, there is Conflict, the one friend who is a slight attention whore who has to make drama for everyone, and who Writer finds a solution for at some point.

'A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies ... The man who never reads lives only one.” (GRR Martin). The same is true of writers.  Creative writing is an incredible discipline, and I’ve often thought that some of the best writers out there must be some of the greatest minds the world has ever known. The creation of worlds, histories, and individuals is an astonishing feat in and of itself, and the authors responsible for it go to a lot of effort to make it happen.

The writer and the reader share a unique relationship. For me, being both a writer and a reader is about having a two-way existential crisis: the characters are both fictional and real, and the same is true of me. Fictional in the sense that they are avatars brought to life by imagination, real in the sense that the character is able to make you feel for them. For both writers and readers, stories offer the opportunity to live as many lives as they choose, hence George RR Martin’s famous quote. When I studied English, I found it tedious to analyse every aspect of a story because it felt like the life was being torn away from it, so I decided to read History at university and just enjoy the books I read.

Saturday, 2 June 2012


"Why is Matt gay?"

Because he is.

"No, seriously. Why?"

Because he is.

"What music do you listen to when you write?"

I listen to a LOT of Nightwish. Their music has helped me a lot, and if I ever get the chance I will personally thank Tuomas Holopainen for how much his music has helped me and kept me going.

"Who are your favourite authors?"

I have a read a LOT in my short (nearly) 19 years. While I was writing RSTD I revisted a lot of stories, plays and books I'd read years ago as research, including a lot of Aristotle, Sturluson and Michael Grant.

"Why is Matt gay?!"

I refuse to answer this question with anything other than "Because he is. Get over it!"

"What prompted you to write RSTD?"

That's an interesting story. When I was growing up, I didn't have a father, so my mind invented one for me. His name was Richard Amsterdam. Every night when I went to bed, he would appear and tell me stories, but when I was nearly 15, he just disappeared. Of course I missed him initially, but when I was 11 I had started writing down the stories he told me, and over the years they developed into a complete book known today as "Runes Shalt Thou Dream."

"Cool story... What's with the title?"

Originally it was called "The Nightmare Man," and after my little self-publishing phase turned out to be a disaster I started seeking proper representation. When Ecanus picked me up, the editor wanted me to change it to something which reflected Norse mythology a little bit more, and nothing is more Norse than the Runes :)

Don't Question Reality... Or Else!

"In the beginning, humans were created to protect Midgard from Loki the J├Âtunn and his evil forces.

When a series of bombings occur in London, it is clear that something unnatural is happening. Two brothers lead an investigation into their organisation’s long-held traditions to uncover a legend which tells of nine noble warriors who will rise up and fight in a battle for the world. But that’s just a legend, until Matt, the son of one of the Organisation’s most prominent members, begins to display powers the likes of which have never before been encountered.

With Yule fast approaching, Matt must face his demons and slowly begins to realise that, just because something is a dream doesn’t mean it’s any less real."