Welcome! This weeks Author of the Week is Edward Swing. Edward is a fantasy author with several books under his belt. Taking time from his busy schedule Edward was kind enough to take time out to answer these questions! Hi Edward! Welcome to the Author of the Week interview! I hope you're prepared to get down and dirty as we have some nosey readers! Lets start with a list of your books. Hi Elizabeth, Thanks. I've published, New Pantheon series (YA modern fantasy, five books planned) 1. Awakenings 2. Conundrums Gozen Saga (Sci-Fi Military mecha, 3-4 books planned) 1. Dance of the Gozen 2. Pride of the Gozen (currently writing this one! Look for it in late 2021) Adventures of Gavin Greene (MG Fantasy with Sci-Fi elements, 5 books planned) 1. The Wondrous Wayfarer Thanks Edward, so tell me and our readers a little about yourself! I live in Laurel, Maryland, which is halfway between Washington DC and Baltimore, with my wife and three teenage children (oh, the drama...). We also have an entire menagerie of pets: four cats, two guinea pigs, two rabbits, and a ball python. So our home is quite lively at times. Originally a software developer, I retired a few years ago and turned to writing. I've always had a strong creative urge, but I have little artistic talent. But I've always enjoyed creating adventures and characters for Dungeons & Dragons. And the transition to writing novels came naturally from that. When I was younger, I participated in the Society for Creative Anachronism, which is an international medieval recreation organization. I learned to fight with sword and shield and with polearms (don't worry - the weapons are wooden). I also learned medieval dances and games and wore medieval garb. Since I'd adopted a Scottish persona, I even wore a kilt sometimes (and yes, I wore it properly). Aside from gaming, I also am an otaku - a fan of anime and manga. I collect some of the figures, and even do some amateur figure photography. You can see some of my photos at https://myfigurecollection.net/profile/blackdaggr/pictures/ Well on two notes I can relate, firstly you wore the kilt correctly thankfully, as I'm descended from the Murray clan! And I've three teenage boys so I can seriously understand DRAMA! What got you into writing? My need to create and an overactive imagination. And my experience with gaming certainly helped. I've used a few elements of my games in my writing, and I also have some anime influences too. The New Pantheon series came about as a melding of my interests in mythology, comic books, and a few other elements. I thought about how beings, particularly super-powered beings, might come to be worshipped in the ancient world. And I took inspiration from Frost and Thunder by Randall Garrett and The Death of Superman storyline. The Gozen Saga owes its genesis to anime. I developed the initial concept when I began to wonder how giant mechs could move as fluidly as humans when their pilots are moving switches and pushing buttons. I incorporated other technologies in the story too, from bio-engineering to interplanetary teleporters. And I threw in some weird aliens - no rubber foreheads here! The Wondrous Wayfarer actually came about from an image I had of an ogre stealing a kid's bicycle because he didn't understand what it was. And my cover artist (Mike Rankin, who does the Rusty & Co. webcomic at http://rustyandco.com) captured the essence of it perfectly. I love the Forgotten Realm books and Dragonlance series although I've never played. I absolutely adore mythology so can relate to your interest. What’s the main thing you love and hate about writing? I love being able to craft characters, stories, and worlds, and share them with my readers. My writing is my best venue to express all the ideas I have swirling around my head. While the writing is fun (though difficult at times), and the editing is an unwelcome but manageable chore, I still struggle with advertising. I'm an introvert, so marketing myself is a real challenge. And I'm in my 50's, so I don't spend a lot of time keeping up with the ever-changing social media landscape. Don't give up on social media Edward. Marketing yourself as an Indie Author is hard but worth it. Maybe find some Facebook book reader groups for your genre and advertise there? What is next on your list to write/publish? As I mentioned before, I'm writing the sequel to Dance of the Gozen, called Pride of the Gozen. After that, I'll start on book 3 of the New Pantheon (currently untitled), and the second Gavin Greene book, tentatively titled The Nightscar's Curse. Who is the best character you’ve ever written, and why? I've created a lot of characters in the three series I've written, and I've had a lot of fun with many of them, including Jyurri (the main character's partner in Dance of the Gozen), who's an energetic young woman from a frigid world (she has fur, but otherwise human), Rhuk Blackpelt (a straight-talking dog-humanoid soldier who befriends Gavin in the Wondrous Wayfarer), or MacKenzie Morgan (a feisty combat instructor in the New Pantheon series). But I think the most interesting characters I've written are Negthree and Twilight, both from Dance of the Gozen. They're aliens of different species, and I enjoyed showing their unique perspectives through the book. Negthree is a Magnon, a race of creatures which use magnetic waves to communicate, while Twilight is a floating telepathic alien. Each of them have different goals and perspectives, and neither understands humanity entirely (nor does humanity understand their races entirely either). And each have their own goals. Interesting Edward, they sound well rounded characters! Who encouraged you the most to write? My mother, who has also dabbled at writing. She sparked my interest in science fiction and astronomy - she has a huge interest in space exploration, and even dated one of the Apollo astronauts for a few years. Wow, damn so jealous of your mother! She sounds a real get-goer! And lucky you for inheriting her talent. Are you as avid a reader as a writer? I try to be. I read a lot of other pre-published stuff from other authors and would-be authors in my writing groups. This ranges from scenes and chapters to full beta-readings for fellow authors. My reading of actual published novels has declined, unfortunately. Writing, reading other writers' drafts, and managing three active teens all eat up my time pretty quickly. But I'm setting aside a few hours each week to read books while relaxing outside in a hammock. I bet I can guess but what’s your favourite genre? Fantasy and Science Fiction, obviously. I also enjoy other speculative fiction - alternate histories, for instance. More complex stories about superheroes - beyond Marvel and DC - are also becoming a subgenre all their own. I love to see the creativity of other authors in speculative fiction. Every story starts with a "What If?" and runs from there. When you cast off the limitations of the real world, everything is possible. I generally prefer more upbeat stories, and I'm not as much a fan of dystopian science fiction. A little darkness in the world is fine, but if I want a miserable setting, I can just remember 2020. No thanks. LOL, Edward I think we're all going to remember 2020! Do you listen to music when you write? I'm in the "no distractions" camp when I write. I tend to listen to any music I hear, so I try to keep the background noise to a minimum. Now if only my cats wouldn't distract me with their demands for attention... I do like listening to music though, and I enjoy 80's rock (mostly hard & heavy), a little folk music (particularly Schooner Faire), and modern J-Pop and K-Pop, particularly some of the vocaloid music. If you could interview any famous author who would it be and why? Isaac Asimov. He pioneered many facets of modern science fiction. His Robots series gave us the Laws of Robotics as well as exploring robot psychology. The Foundation series gave us the rise and fall of a galactic civilization. His Lucky Starr books gave younger readers an entertaining hero galavanting around the solar system. He also authored many non-fiction articles about diverse topics in science and mathematics. They inspired me to study, far beyond what was taught in the school system. Issac has come up before, he's a popular author! Tell me a secret that none of your fans know! Believe it or not, I used to hate writing with a passion. I attended high school before the era of computers, so writing papers meant typewriters, whiteout, and lots of retyped pages. I never took a formal typing class, so it took me many hours to write a twelve-page paper for my literature class. And I loathed every minute of it. Of course, after spending thirty years hacking on a keyboard as a computer programmer, I learned to type quickly. And modern computers are even more fault-tolerant for writers. So I owe my writing career to the backspace key. You’ve been given the chance to have a home anywhere in the world where you can write! Where and what would you pick? My first reaction was to say Akihabara, the center of Geek culture in Tokyo. But I'm sure I'd be too distracted by everything to actually write. So instead, I'll say a place in or near a college town like Boston or Austin, or in a city with a lot of culture. I enjoy the infusion of ideas and the energy of a younger population, and I love exposing myself to different ideas and cultures. Fortunately, my home near Washington, DC offers both cultural variety and college campuses with a younger population, so I'm pretty happy where I am. Tell me what your main character would say about you! Let's see... Gavin (in The Wondrous Wayfarer) is eleven years old, so he'd see me a grandfatherly figure, probably similar to Qhosero (an elderly naga). Captain Tann Danre (of Dance of the Gozen) is a man of action, so he'd see me as a sedate person, though he and I are both introspective. Of the five rotating teen protagonists of the New Pantheon novels, most would see me similar to their teachers - the normal ones, not the immortals. Mike is a class clown craving attention, so he might entertain me with his wit or prank me (or both). Jason would treat me with respect, though we have little in common. Aliki, curious and reserved, would try to find out more about me before interacting. Kyle would see me as a source of knowledge and pester me with questions. But Tiff probably wouldn't interact with me at all. You know, they sound like typical teenagers! Quick fire round, how fast can you go! Favourite group: Blue Oyster Cult for rock, followed by Rush - Both groups have a wide range of fascinating topics for their music. And I have to give a nod to Hatsune Miku and the creators who've given her life and so many wonderful songs. Favourite colour: Red Favourite food: Sushi or other Japanese cuisine Favourite film: I don't have a specific favorite film, but as a writer, I have to give a nod to the original Star Wars (A New Hope). Many times, I find myself referring to it as an example of creating character arcs, assembling a diverse cast and showing their personalities within moments, etc. Favourite actor/actress: Again, no particular favorite, but I'll name two I'm fond of. Brent Spiner (Data in Star Trek: the Next Generation) and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) have performed as iconic characters. But they demonstrated their true range when they branched into voice work. Hamill is the iconic voice of the Joker in Batman: the Animated Series, a rendition that all other Jokers are compared to. And Spiner's performances include the hilarious Puck in Disney's Gargoyles. Favourite season: Definitely fall. I love the crisp feel of the air, and it has my favorite holiday - Halloween! Oh come on Star Wars is amazing! And who didn't love Data? Finally, any words of advice? Don't be afraid to try something new, whether it's writing, starting a new career, or visiting a new country. Every experience will add to the tapestry of your life. Then share your adventures with friends and family, either directly or through your stories. Thank you, for taking the time to sit and do an interview! To keep up to date with Edward please find him at, Author Website: http://wordsbyedward.com Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Edward-Swing/e/B08DHHQCB3 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/edward.swing Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19791182.Edward_Swing LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/edward-swing-bb692b51 Disclaimer. The opinions and views expressed in this article are the interviewees and may differ from the interviewer/general public. The works and images published here may be subject to the Author's Copyright, please do not copy the images as your own.