Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Author Interview: Rory B. Mackay

Rory B. Mackay has written Eladria.

1. What is your name and where do you call home?
My name is Rory Mackay and I live in the North East of Scotland, where I've lived most of my life. It's nice here. But cold!

2. Do you have a pen name?
No, I just use my own.

3. What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or less words, what would you say?
My first novel is called Eladria and is published in May 2013. It's a science-fiction/fantasy/YA adventure about a young princess who finds herself a fugitive in a dying world, forced to embark upon a journey that takes her to the very brink of the human experience.

4. Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
Yes! While Eladria can be read as a largely self-contained novel, it's also a prelude to a series of novels titled The Alanar Ascedent. The first book in this series is called The Key of Alanar and is already written (it was actually written before Eladria) and should hopefully be released next year.

5. What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?
I was creative from a young age. I remember coming up with fantasy worlds, characters and stories when I was only about six or seven years old. I loved to play by myself and act out all kinds of adventures from my fantasy worlds. It wasn't until I was in high school, around 16 years old, that I started to develop the stories and characters that would form the basis of my books. At that point I was inspired by pretty much anything and everything; books and comic books I was reading as well as and films and TV that I loved. I also had some good teachers who really encouraged me when it came to writing, which helped give me the confidence to begin. Of course, from those humble beginnings it was a long time before I got my head together and finished my first novel. I'm a slow worker!

6. Do you gift books to readers for book reviews?
I certainly do. If anyone would like a review copy, please let me know. 

7. How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book?
The cover was designed by my publisher but I had some input in the process. What I love is that the picture perfectly captures the likeness I had in my head of the title character, Eladria. She's beautiful but quite fierce, headstrong and determined. I think it's a powerful and eye-catching cover, so I'm pleased with it.

8. Do you have a playlist in mind for any of your books?
Even better - I composed my own soundtrack for the book. I create electronic music, mainly very ambient chilled-out stuff, so I decided I would challenge myself to create a soundtrack. The soundtrack covers most of the important parts of the book and was initially inspired by music such as Vangelis's Blade Runner soundtrack. I don't know if it sounds anything like that, but it captures the drama and also some of the serene, quieter moments. It will be available as a free download to anyone who buys the book as a gift to my readers.

9. Did you listen to any particular songs whilst writing your books?
If I listen to music when I'm writing, it's generally instrumental, downtempo, usually electronic music. I find anything too loud or with vocals is distracting. When I'm editing I can listen to a wider range of music. For this novel, I listened to a lot of Klaus Schulze, Brian Eno, Vangelis, Ulrich Schanuss, Solar Fields and Sigur Ros.

10. Is there anything you would change about your book? And why?
I'm a bit of a perfectionist, I find it hard to finish any project because I'm always tinkering with details and trying to make every last element perfect, if there even is such a thing. But I'm very pleased with Eladria and whenever I read over it, particularly the climatic chapters, I'm very proud of it.

11. Do you have a book trailer? And what are your thoughts on book trailers?
I do, I just created it last week ( I've seen some amazing book trailers. I think short and snappy is best, so that's what I aimed for. 

12. Do you have a “Dreamcast” in mind for any of your books?
I don't actually. I've been told by many people that my books would make great movies as they are very cinematic. As I wrote them I saw them as movies in my mind. I find it hard to match up my characters with actors and actresses as I have quite specific ideas of who they are and what they look like. If it ever did get made into a feature film, I'd like to be surprised - and hopefully delighted! - by casting choices.

13. Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hardcovers or audiobooks?
I've always preferred paperbacks for some reason. Hardbacks look better but are heavier. I kind of like reading in the bath (which is sometimes a disaster, as books have been known to accidentally join me in the tub!), so paperbacks are fine and light. I was initially resistant to ebooks - too much of a romanticist perhaps - but I now find I enjoy reading certain types of book on my iPad. They've won me over. 

14. Are you a self-published / Indie author?
No, I was lucky enough to find a publisher willing to take on my first novel. It did take many years of searching though. It is something I might consider in the future though.

15. Have you ever read a book more than once? And if so what was it?
I frequently do, but I'm more likely to re-read nonfiction more than once as opposed to fiction. I guess I like the element of surprise and not-knowing when it comes to fiction, which is lost on a reread. However, if a book is well-written it'll still be an enjoyable experience and you may notice details and layers of depth you didn't pick up on the first time.

16. What is your opinion of novellas?
I like them. It all depends on fitting the needs of the story into the most appropriate medium - short story, novella, or novel. The story should dictate how long it needs to be. It should be an organic process I think; these things can't be forced or coerced!

17. Have you ever read a book just based on it’s cover?
I don't know if I've read a book based solely on its cover, but there certainly have been books that caught my attention solely because of a stunning cover. Once a book has caught my attention, I'll then read the blurb and dip into it to see whether or not it's for me. I also like being able to read reviews first so I can have a clearer idea of what to expect. I guess I like to hedge my bets.

18. Has the quality of the cover of a book ever put you off of reading it?
Yes. If a book has a really poor cover, I tend to either consciously or unconsciously assume the content isn't going to be up to very much either. Which may not be the case, of course. But if a cover looks cheap and nasty or is badly designed it can be an offputting first impression.

19. What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format?
I am about to read a short story called Gyaros Book Zero by Rohan and Alex Healy (a prequel to their first novel) and The Earth Shifter by Lada Ray, both in ebook format. 

20. If you could invite any four celebrities (alive or dead) to your dinner party, who would you invite and why?
Oh what a cool question! I am very much into Eastern philosophy and they aren't celebrities as such but I'd probably invite Lao Tzu, Buddha and Shankara to discuss the nature of life and enlightenment and I'd also bring along Leonardo da Vinci as I've always been fascinated by his creativity and genius. That would be one interesting dinner party.

21. Do you have any advice for other writers? And what’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing?
Have a plan for your book. Learn about the structure of stories and how to let your characters grow and develop as the story unfolds. I spent a number of years learning the theory before I was ready to put it into practise. I think that helped me a lot, I'd have stumbled down all kinds of blind alleys otherwise - although that's also a great way to learn. Find a story that captivates you, that you feel you absolutely *need* to tell and share with the world, and then just keep writing. And editing. And editing again. Keep the love of what you're doing alive, and don't give up when you run into the inevitable setbacks and frustrations. 

22. Do you have any hobbies that aren’t related to reading & writing?
I'm also an artist and also create music as I mentioned. 

23. Where can your readers follow you?

Thankyou so much for taking the time to do this interview and allowing us a glimpse into your writing world!

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