I recently had the opportunity to ask some questions to James A. Moore, author of "Seven Forges", a great fantasy novel, and the start of a series, which I reviewed earlier this year (a review link is provided at the bottom of this page). James was kind enough to give us some insights into his writing style and philosophy. Thus, I am delighted to share this interview with all of you...
James A. Moore
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First of all, when did you first start thinking about the concept behind Seven Forges, and how much did it evolve since then?
James A. Moore:
I spent almost a year playing with the notion of doing a fantasy series before I ever started writing anything down. I've always loved fantasy, but I hadn't even read any in years. I was focused primarily on horror and crime fiction for a long while. A friend of mine was talking about old sword and sorcery favorites and that got my mind cooking on the notions. It was around a year later I worked out the outline and first few chapters and then approached AR.
Where did the inspiration for this novel come from? Are there some key writers that you feel have - in some way - molded your approach to writing fantasy?
Fantasy was my first love when it comes to fiction. I read it voraciously when I was younger. So it was really always back there in the back of my head and I enjoyed the genre, I just never really got around to writing in it until I found a story idea that wouldn't leave me alone. I wanted to write something I hadn't already read.
There are so very many. Off the top of my head the writers who influenced this the most are Robert E. Howard, Fritz Leiber and Michael Moorcock. Stephen King's DARK TOWER books were eye opening when it came to breaking away from the standard mold, but another influence I cannot emphasize enough is Tim Lebbon. His NOREELA books were the first I looked at in fantasy for a very long time and they were so very different from what I'd run across before that I started thinking about fantasy as a real possibility again.
How is it to write fantasy adventures when a few stories in this genre have been getting huge media attention in the past few years, such as "The Game of Thrones"? Does it end up being motivational, or hampering creativity?
Oh, I always look at the popularity of another writer's work as a challenge. I love GAME OF THRONES and I can't get enough of Joe Abercrombie. I'm reading HALF A KING right now and it's a damned impressive work. As far as I'm concerned, that level of success (and talent) just makes me want to try harder to do it right.
Which character was harder to build and explore? And do you think any of your characters felt neglected?
I think the hardest character for me was probably Swech. I wanted to her to be different from any of the characters I've run across before. I needed her to have a certain level of naiveté and at the same time I needed her to be an absolute killing machine. More importantly, I needed her to be believable. I think she turned out pretty well, actually, I think MOST of my characters tend to feel neglected, because, honestly, I always want to spend more time with them and the nature of the beast is that I really can't. These books aren't about Merros Dulver or about Emperor Pathra Krouse, much as I want them to be about each of them. These stories are about a world being changed. The one i wanted to spend more time on the most? Drask Silver Hand. He has a lot to say.
Finally, what word of advice would you give to someone starting to get into the fantasy genre?
As a writer? Read voraciously. Read horror. Read science fiction. Read westerns and romances and murder mysteries. Read history. Read the news. Watch the news. Watch people. World building is a big part of fantasy, and in order to build a world that makes sense, you have to look beyond your comfort zone. The world is a massive place, and there are levels and levels of politics, military powers, ecology and economy that should be understood to one degree or another before you try building a world, because you can't really fix all of that as easily after the fact.
And, of course, write every day. Every day. Write it first. Edit it later. Write.
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Book 2 of the series has already come out! I have great expectations on further books by James.
[full review of Seven Forges]