So, I’ve been slogging through the third draft of The Lost Mask (Book 2 of the Bone Mask Trilogy) and will be handing it to my editor at Snapping Turtle on August 1st. So far everything looks set for me to meet that target so it’s my hope that The Lost Mask will see publication before Christmas!
I’ve also revisited the outline for Greatmask, the conclusion to the trilogy, and I have to say that I’m taking a lot of care with it. I don’t want the series to spiral into an endless line of books, but that also means that the third book might be a bit bigger than the first two – each a bit shy of 500 pages. We’ll see!
In other news I’m hoping to release an unrelated novel, The Fairy Wren possibly in September, you can check the blub here. I’m just working on preparing the e-book (print is ready to go as we speak) and the cover art. In yet more 'other' news, the parnormal fantasy novella Sea of Trees (working title) is also at the publisher and I'm really looking forward to the feedback so I can refine it further.
In the meantime, stay tuned for a cover reveal for The Lost Mask and a teaser from The Fairy Wren in the near future, along with a couple more interviews with great authors!
Alan is a British-Australian author celebrating the release of his latest novel Bound (which I’m really looking forward to) first in an urban fantasy series starring MMA fighter Alex Caine. Amazingly, the novel is free for kindle for the whole of July – you can check it out over here!
Alan was kind enough to do an interview for my blog – hope you enjoy it! Once you're done reading, check out Alan’s site here and follow him on twitter right here.
Ashley Capes: I’m really looking forward to Bound, especially as the mix of MMA and magic sounds awesome. I wanted to ask whether balancing realism and the fantastical was something you consciously worked on while writing, or whether it came naturally?
Alan Baxter: I don’t know that it comes naturally, but it comes easily. I really enjoy melding a magical, mythological undercurrent to a gritty real world environment. It’s an excellent playground.
AC: With your own background in martial arts, does any aspect of the somewhat sedentary lifestyle of a writer ever frustrate, or do you possibly find a sense of stillness in writing?
AB: I enjoy the yin or writing to the yang of physical activity. Having said that, the art of writing and the art of fighting are so similar in so many ways. I plan to write a book about it one day.
AC: That sounds great, can you tell me more about that? For instance is it a case of similarities via discipline as opposed to say, reaction?
AB: Certainly. All the principles of working hard, striving to learn, always looking to improve when your only competition, really, is yourself. Also aspects of focus and self-discipline, determination, learning to take a punch (a rejection!).
AC: Your fans will know that you teach Kung Fu and as a teacher myself, I’m curious as to whether you see any overlap between the world of teaching and writing?
AB: See above! There is loads of overlap, more in the process of practicing martial arts and being a practicing writer than in the teaching of martial arts.
AC: In terms of writing practice I’m curious to hear where you fall on the ‘pantsing – plotting’ continuum? For instance, the mention of ‘playground’ above is interesting and rings true to me, because there is an element of play to creation, surely? How do you see writing in that sense?
AB: Definitely – it’s loads of fun. I’m a hybrid panster/planner, in that I plan loosely and then pants all the bits in between. And if something comes up that goes against the plan, the plan goes out the window and I rethink the direction. I love the organic process of creation.
AC: I notice on your blog you’ve recently posted about having a good team around you as a writer. You go on to mention how vital you feel it is for this team to be critical, in order for a writer to grow. I hear a lot of new writers ask, ‘how do I find a great writing group/support team’? Do you have any insights on how to go about that task?
AB: Best thing is to join your local writers’ centre and search around online for a community of likeminded people. Like making friends anywhere, it takes a while, but it’s completely worth it. With any luck you’ll gather a group of people who will grow with you as a writer and you’ll all help each other. Otherwise, just keep writing and submitting and never give up – once you’ve been around a while, people gravitate towards each other.
So what does a debut novelist(or any novelist) want to do with a fantasy novel? Entertain us, give us a mix of something new as well as giving us something familiar and entice us back for more. On the first count Capes is good, City of Masks is a slick read, a mixture of political intrigue and thriller paced action. The main cast of characters is wrong footed from beginning to end and Capes drip feeds the clues to the mysteries at the right points to allow the reader to keep slightly ahead of the characters.
Ok! Last post from me about this for a while, but right now, proofed and live on Amazon, waits the print version of City of Masks, my first novel!
You should be able to order through bookstores at this point too – so please ask if you’re interested, as I’d love to know what stores plan to charge etc :)
In the meantime, if you’ve got an Amazon account, you can order right now, here and here:
City of Masks – Print Edition
City of Masks – Print Edition
But be warned, if you’re shipping to Oz it will be quite expensive, so I’ll let folks know when there’s a special deal or if something changes. (I’ll be getting some stock of my own to sell, so that’s in the pipeline too.)
Hope you like it!
(E-book available too of course)
Here's the long awaited Goodreads Giveaway - so if you're on the site and would like a chance to win a signed copy of City of Masks, check it out below!
You can read the blurb under right here under Books and check out the first 5 chapters on Amazon via the ebook version.
Listing is a strangely enjoyable obsession, or preoccupation perhaps. I’ve always enjoyed creating Top Tens and Top Fives and so on. I actually used to think that doing a 'top ten albums' was tough until I tried a top fifty a few years back. Well. There was just way too much scope and too much to fit in, and so I haven’t tried that since.
But on an obviously related note, I thought I’d do a bare list of my favourite five Ghibli films – no commentary on ‘em just yet – and ask readers to share their favourites. Love to hear which ones you’ve enjoyed!
Here are mine, in no particular order:
What I love best about all the Studio’s releases would have to be the consistency of brilliant storytelling, imagination and awesome leads. (But more on that next time.)
Doing another clump of cover art because...well because it's fun! So here's the music that's been on rotation for writing and editing The Lost Mask. One day I'd like to add youtube links to some of these but I'm feeling too lazy to do so right now.
Hard for me to express how much I enjoyed this book (and the series) so I'm not going to try in any depth - but basically, I LOVED the world building and the cast of characters too, ace - some of the secondary players especially stood out.
The series also has a superb set of magic systems, one of which involves painting in a clever way which really puts some complications on the plot. And for someone living in Australia, the red desert-setting felt familiar yet chilling too, especially when water plays such a vital role in the story.
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Ashley Capes is an Australian writer of fiction, poetry and very occasional non-fiction.
Imperial Towers (Never Book 5) - draft 1
Moss Dragon - draft 1
Reed Lavender (working title) - draft 1
Unnamed Spec Fic - draft 1
Whisper of Leaves (sequel) - Outline