Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Interview with fantasy author A.J. Walker

It's nice to meet fellow writers who share your interests. I met A.J. Walker on an archaeology discussion group and discovered he's just published a novel with Double Dragon Publishing, one of the top two ebook publishers that does something other than erotica. His work is called Roots Run Deep and that's what we're talking about here today.

So, how does it feel to have your first novel published?
Exciting and exhausting. It's been six years in the making and it's a thrill to see it finally out there. That said, I'm learning that publishing isn't the last step. There's a lot of promo work to do for an unknown writer to get noticed. So many ebooks come out every week it's easy to get lost in the flood.

Tell us a bit about Roots Run Deep
This is the tale of Kip Itxaron, a goblin thief and sorceress trying to make her way as a second-class citizen in a kingdom dominated by humans. When the human King Roderick is deposed, they are thrown together by fate. Roderick offers her people equality if Kip rallies an army to help him take his throne back. Kip must struggle with her own self doubts, her mistrust of humankind, her fear of battle, and the divisions among her people in order to lead them to a better future.

One thing that's interesting about Kip is that she isn't really good at anything except getting into trouble.
I like having flawed characters. Yes, she's a bit of a mess at the beginning of the book, but she gets better!

I've noticed Roots Run Deep has a lot of anthropological detail. I had fun playing "spot the reference". You seem to put a lot of your academic research into your work. What are your main inspirations?
I am a Medievalist by profession and so my writing is deeply rooted in that era. My archaeological training exposed me to lots of different cultures. Readers of Roots Run Deep will find aspects of Native American, Pacific Island, Neolithic Switzerland, and contemporary American culture in my work. And yes Sean, your email is right, those statues were inspired by the Kurgan culture!

Why did you choose to epublish rather than going the traditional route?
Impatience with the traditional houses, mostly. They take a year to get back to you and don't want you to simultaneously submit. Now with all the belt tightening they are taking fewer books, far fewer from first-timers like me. I really feel that epublishers are the way to go to establish a fan base.

What's next for you?
I'm working on a sequel to Roots Run Deep called The Maze of Mist. It follows the adventures of Kip and Roderick's biracial son as he tries to deal with being part of neither race while being expected to rule both. I also have a couple of other books in the works, including a mystery/thriller and a collection of fantasy short stories. Check out my writing blog to keep up to date on what's happening!

Thanks for being here, A.J., and be sure to check out his blog for an interesting feature he's doing called Medieval Mondays. I learned something about Viking navigation!

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