A d r i a n S e l by

The epic fan­tasy au­thor on a de­but novel that was 20 years in the mak­ing…

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Red Alert -

What is Snake­wood about?

It’s the story of Kailen’s Twenty, a once leg­endary mer­ce­nary crew, who years later are be­ing killed off one by one. It’s writ­ten from mul­ti­ple view­points, but most of it is told from the POV of one of the crew, Gant, as he tries to dis­cover the iden­tity of the killer.

Did it re­ally take 20 years to write?

I had the idea 20 years ago, but it stayed in my head un­til about 10 years ago, when I de­cided that if I was go­ing to call my­self a writer I’d bet­ter crack on.

Is Snake­wood the start of a se­ries?

It’s a one- off. How­ever, while I was writ­ing it, I saw an­other story emerge, us­ing some of the same char­ac­ters.

Did you do a lot of world- build­ing?

Yes, and it took years. I was painfully aware how lit­tle knowl­edge I had of the era that typ­i­cally grounds epic fan­tasy. I there­fore read a bunch of his­tory to pro­vide a launch­pad from which I’d blast off into my imag­i­na­tion. It stood me in good stead, espe­cially when I con­sid­ered the im­pact of my magic sys­tem and how it would have changed our own world.

Were there any spe­cific in­flu­ences?

One book, True His­tory Of The Kelly Gang by Peter Carey, had a huge im­pact on me. It felt in­cred­i­bly au­then­tic to have Ned Kelly tell his story, spell­ing mis­takes and all. I knew that Gant would seem much more real if I could sim­i­larly tell his story in his own lim­ited way.

Snake­wood is pub­lished by Or­bit on 17 March.

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