Many years ago before I had my kids, I used to work full-time (my mind boggles just thinking about it). I worked for a large, well-known, weekly magazine, and one of the perks of my job was product samples. Why am I telling you this? Well, if it wasn’t for our monthly free-for-all around the meeting table, I would never have read The Book of Lies. I remember picking it up and thinking how great the cover was, and we all know how much I love covers. I have since read it a few times, and every time I loved it more than the last. Then, imagine my happiness when I discovered there were two more books in the series. I bought them as fast as my mouse could click! Now The Book of Lies has pride of place on my bookshelf, along with Master of the Books, and The Book from Baden Dark.
James Moloney is an award-winning, master story-teller, with more than thirty titles to his name. Today I’m very pleased to welcome him to Aussie Owned and Read.
Describe yourself in three words.
Persistent, thoughtful, content
From all the titles you’ve written, which was the hardest to write and why?
I think writing is getting harder rather than easier as I grow older. YA novels of a deeper and more thought-provoking nature are also harder than adventures and fantasy. By that measure, Kill the Possum would be the hardest. It was a very intense experience to get inside the head of a teenager prepared to kill a man, no matter how evil that man was, and present the main character as well-meaning but at the same time a little unbalanced himself.
I’m a big fan of your fantasy novels; The Book of Lies introduced me to your work, and it’s one of my favourite reads. Do you find it harder to write about imaginary worlds than the real? What is your favourite genre to write (and read)?
I find fantasy a lot of fun to write and, without dissing the genre, I find it easier. One of the attractions is that the author is freed from the constant need to ‘keep it real’. This frees the imagination to come up with different worlds and challenges for characters. I don’t read a lot of fantasy, preferring realistic fiction and history, but I have come across some great ones like Temeraire about dragons during the Napoleonic Wars. Original idea brilliantly done. I am a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings movies and Game of Thrones. Love that medieval style world which is where I have set both of my fantasy trilogies. If I write fantasy again, though, I feel I have to come up with something out of the box, like Temeraire, and not place the emphasis on magic.
I hear you’re about to embark on a cycling trip around Europe. What are you looking forward to most? Do you travel often?
My wife and I are reaching the stage in our lives where the kids are (mostly) gone, we have more ‘mad’ money in the bank and we can indulge ourselves. We tried a week-long cycling holiday in France and loved it. Later we cycled from Saigon to Hanoi on an organised tour. In June, 2013, we are cycling totally independently around France, discovering the country one cow at a time. I am looking forward to more such experiences with the focus on meeting people as we go. My favourite travel experience was the three weeks we spent in an apartment near Montmartre in Paris where we bought ingredients at the market stalls and went home to cook it and generally pretended we were French. C’est bon!
What is your view on the booming self-publishing industry? Would you ever try to self-publish, or are you happy with the traditional route?
I have been lucky because traditional publishers took me on and nurtured my career and I can now get my work published, or at least read by editors, without any trouble. That is not the case for new authors trying to break in today and so I can understand how self-publishing on the Net is attractive. What you miss out on when you do this, however, is top-notch editing. I am talking about the discussion with hard-nosed professional editors who make you re-write sections that need it, shorten and alter the story to make it better and generally help you produce the best piece of writing. I hope that is not lost in the new style publishing where anyone with a computer can potentially get a book out there for others to read. I am not planning any self-published projects.
Lucien, the third book in your Silvermay series, comes out this month, and you published your first adult title, The Tower Mill, in September 2012. What’s next for you? Are there more books on the horizon, and if so what can we expect to see?
I like to jump around between genres and age groups. I have written an adventure for younger readers about a boy learning to be a magician in the tradition of his tragic great-grandfather. We are unsure of the title as yet but it will have the words Trangled Magic in it. Then I have two short horror stories in the new Eerie series all written under the collective pseudonym ‘S. Carey.’ (Hunter and Collector/The Night Prowler.) My current project is my first YA novel in five years and as mentioned above it is proving a struggle. The Palmerston Case is about a teenage boy with Cerebral Palsy who takes on the cause of a Muslim boy accused of mutilating some farm animals. The experience helps him win his independence from a mother who wants to control his life for her own needs.
For a little bit of fun, tell me which you prefer:
Tea or coffee? I drink four cups of tea a day and one cup of milky coffee at 10.30 am. I love the coffee, but couldn’t drink coffee as frequently as I drink tea. Whenever my wife and I go cycling on a weekend, there must be a flat white involved.
Summer or winter? I live in Brisbane and like the winter.
City or country? I’m a city boy. The country is fun to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.
Movies or TV? I love quality in both. Can’t stand much free-to-air TV. I look for HBO programs like The Sopranos, The Wire and Game of Thrones.
Movies, I love the best Hollywood films, don’t go much of teen romance or tough-guy car-chase, blow-stuff-up pictures. At the risk of sounding like a dork, I enjoy sub-titled French films, too.
Cats or dogs? Dogs – our last one died and we won’t replace her until we have slowed down our travelling.
Cricket or football? Football. I’m a Broncos man in NRL, watch the Lions if they are playing well in the AFL and can just manage watching the Reds and the Wallabies without throwing stuff at the screen.
You can find James at the following links
K. A. Last is a YA author and has recently self-published her debut novel – Fall For Me – available at Amazon and Smashwords. She drinks lots of tea, is obsessed with Buffy, and loves all things pink. K. A. Last hangs out on Facebook or you can find her on twitter and Goodreads. She’s also been known to blog once in a while.