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Author Interview img

The Author Interview

Richard Denning
Latest Book Title
The Last Seal (and other titles)
Available at
Tell us about your latest effort, (Title, genre, etc.)
The Last Seal is Historical Fantasy set in 1666. It blends history with a fantastical element.
What draws you to your genre(s)? Why is this type of story compelling to you?

I have always enjoyed historical subjects and at the same time fantasy as well as sci-fi. Thus my books are historical fantasy and historical fiction or time travel novels.

What is your writing process like? Do you map the whole thing out, or do you just let it unfold?
I like to have an outline. I like to sketch out my characters and what their aims are. I like the have a rough idea of what will go in each chapter. Then I find from that outline once I start writing that other ideas come along and add to the story. So its a hybrid approach.
How much of YOU makes it into your characters?
Occasional bits. Sometimes I find that the characters express doubts and idea I have and that they actually explore them more than I have done. For example I have doubts about religion and find my characters might discuss these doubts as a debate between them.
How do you balance the need to have time to write with the needs of family, society, etc.?

It is hard. I am a family doctor in the day job. Writing has to occupy free time, late evenings or weekends. Often folk say "I don't have time to write".
Well I work as a full time doctor, have a family, run the UK's largest hobby game convention, design games and also write. I don't say that as a boast but to show that you can fit a lot in. There are sacrifices. I hardly watch any TV. Maybe an hour or 90 minutes a day. I read somewhere that the average is 4-5 hours a day. That's a lot of time just there - 3 hours or more that I find.  I am also usually up late at night.

What breaks you out of a creative slump?
Sometimes I can work though it. If I have a block I will do stuff around the edges of a book project. EG reading up on the history, researching etc. Sometimes I just put it down and go do something else. Maybe housework, maybe visit a historical site. Sometimes I will go and do my emails or write a blog. Usually at some point an idea comes along and we are off again.
Do you ever censor your writing to avoid offending or displeasing people?
I write books for children of 9+ up to adults. So I am careful with the books for  younger readers not to have swearing or sexual content and to keep violence cinematic.  But in the end I write what I enjoy reading and allow readers to make their own choices.
Is there a story you want to tell but avoid because it would be too controversial?
Not at present
How can you write an honest autobiography without offending people who recognize themselves?
I think you just have to be careful what you say and stick to facts not too much opinion.
How do YOU build or create an effective platform to reach your audience?

My approach is still evolving but what I do is mix various activities.

So I blog about history and sci-fi/ fantasy. I am active on Facebook and Twitter and Google Plus and have made many connections and links via those media. I try to focus on providing useful comments and content, or maybe discuss movies and events and NOT on selling my books particularly. I do school visits and do talks on Time Travel, history etc.  I visit book fairs and try and have my books on sale at various events in the year and try to talk to folk about the subjects.
What would be the top five, (or 3 or 1 or however many) things you would tell aspiring authors?

1. Spend a long time on the writing. Write, edit and polish so it is as good as you can make it.
2. If you can afford one, get an editor. When I first published my books I did not use an editor. Once I had one the books became a lot tighter and polished.
3. If you can get an agent or publisher go for it as this is still the best approach. It is worth trying this for a year or so. Get the Artists and Writers Yearbook, research agents and publishers and start sending out those parcels.
4. If you don't get an agent all is not lost - not these days. You can self publish. Spend a lot of time researching self - publishing . Don't pour money into expensive vanity publishers. Lulu and Create space are not bad ways forward if you want to use Print on Demand publishers but I feel you are best to do it yourself if you can handle the technicalities (and here getting an editor, cover artist etc is essential) and can manage to set yourself up as a publisher. This is what I did with Mercia Books.
5. Get the books out as e-books. It is not hard and many people are buying most books via kindle or other e-book formats these days.

The Author
Richard Denning was born in Ilkeston in Derbyshire and lives in Sutton Coldfield in the West Midlands, UK, where he works as a General Practitioner (family doctor). He is married and has two children. He has always been fascinated by historical settings as well as horror and fantasy. Other than writing, his main interests are games of all types. He is the designer of a board game based on the Great Fire of London.

By the same author:

Northern Crown Series
(Historical fiction)
1.The Amber Treasure
2.Child of Loki (Coming 2012)

Hourglass Institute Series
(Young Adult Science Fiction)
1.Tomorrow’s Guardian
2. Yesterday's Treasures
3. Today's Sacrifice (Coming 2012)

The Praesidium Series
(Historical Fantasy)
1.The Last Seal


Book Links:

Twitter: @RichardDenning


Interview with Jeff Davis

Interview with Tom Doganglu

Interview with Dawn Batterbee Miller

Interview with Karl Beckstrand

Interview with Colleen H. Robley Blake

Interview with Richard Denning

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