Some brave new authors are sailing the ocean of self-publishing, and one of them is a promising young fantasy author Ian Bristow. Read what he has to say about writing, reading and more…
1. Why are you a writer?
A number of years ago, I was interested in illustrating a book, but I was never able to find anyone to write one. Over time, I began conjuring some of my own ideas, hoping to inspire someone with the beginnings of a story, and somewhere in there I just began writing the story myself. It was a rocky road at first (I had never written anything longer than a short essay), but with hard work and the aforementioned virtue of diligence, I have come a long way.
2. You have finished writing your trilogy, and I assume planning to publish all three books. Could you tell us a bit more about the books, your writing process and illustrations?
Well, book one is about Conner’s discovery of the world Rohwen—a world that shares a connection to Earth. Throughout the series, Conner learns that his discovery of Rohwen is far from an accident. His struggles continue to intensify as the story progresses, challenging him to the limits of his physical and mental strength. My writing process is basic: write, then edit like a madman! As far as the illustrations are concerned, I have decided to leave them out of the book for now, which saddens me greatly. This is due to the fact that they were giving me great difficulty in the formatting process. I hope to implement them at some point.
3. When you write your books, what audience do you have in mind? What do you consider your profile of a YA audience? Do you sometimes feel the burden of responsibility when writing for a young audience?
I have a general audience of anyone who enjoys fantasy/adventure. The YA is attached because my main character is younger and I stear clear of heavy language and sexual content. I personally feel that a YA audience has a starting point of 13 and never reaches a capping age. I have met many older people that adore YA novels. What really matters to people is whether or not the book reaches them on some level. Labels will never truly be able to classify everthing, but they do help us to find a starting point when we set out to discover something new. I don’t often feel the burden of writing for a younger audiece, but on occasion it would be nice to have more freedom to use curse words.
4. Do you have beta readers? Who do you turn to and trust for comments on your writing?
I have a few trusty readers (one family member and a couple friends) that go over my books when I am finished with the first draft; we mostly talk about the plot and the potential implementation of additional ideas. This is one of my favorite aspects of the writing process, as we usually do this over a cold beer or a hot cup of coffee. It’s relaxing and really inspirational for my next wave of writing. I also trust everyone else to feel genuine about their opinion when they make comments. I take all comments to heart. Not all of them are applied as changes, but they are all thought over with a great amount of care.
5. What do you like to do when you are not writing? Does it serve as an outlet or provide further inspiration?
I play music! It is not necessarily inspirational for writing, but it is another outlet for creativity, and I adore it! I also do artwork and just hang out. Good food and drink doesn’t hurt my feelings;).
6. Do you think fantasy is your preferred genre of writing or would you like to try your hand at some other genres? Why?
This is a great question! I’ve been asking myself this for some time now. On the one hand, I want to give my readers more of what they have already gotten from me, but on the other, I’m quite taken with the idea of trying something new. I guess we will see what happens when the time comes.
7. Who is your favourite character in your books and why?
I would have to say my favorite character is Lenny. The reason for this is that he was the first character that smacked me in the face and said, ‘Ian, you can really write!’ He just came so naturally.
8. If you could travel to any famous book/movie fantasy world, which would it be and what would you like to do?
Oh man! Okay, I would have to say I would travel to Brian Jacques’ world from the Redwall series (specifically the area known as Mossflower). I don’t know how many people are going to know about these books, but I grew up LOVING them, and I would be so happy to go there and join one of the epic banquets they hold in Redwall abbey.
9. As a new author, what shocked you most about writing, editing, publishing, promoting your book? What do you find most difficult and time-consuming, and what do you enjoy most?
I think I found the number of other indie authors more shocking than anything. I mean, how often do we meet authors in our daily lives? Yet, you get on twitter and it’s unreal how many there are. I think the most time-consuming has to be editing—if you don’t put in your time, your book will suffer greatly. I enjoy people telling me that my book had a positive impact on them. It’s the most rewarding feeling I have ever had.
10. Did you like reading as a teenager? What were your favourite books?
As I mentioned before, I love the Redwall series. I also really enjoyed Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, the Narnia series, and others of similar genre. But to be quite honest, I spent most of my teenage years attached to my guitar.
11. Would you like to add anything about your current work or send a message to the readers?
I am currently editing Conner’s Odyssey – Book Three: Conviction, and my second book is in the publishing process, so look for that to come out soon. One last thing… To anyone who reads this interview, thank you for taking the time to get to know me, and I hope you enjoy the Conner’s Odyssey series! It is written for you.
Thank you, Ian! Happy writing!