I may be heavily side-tracked on my own posts, but the guest blogs are of course coming in thick and fast! Today we have another member of Team Xchyler about to launch the second in the series of the Kingdom City saga and some fine, fresh sci-fi for you all.
And so, without further ado, visitors to Omega W, I give you Mr Ben Ireland! Now to grill him for answers…
How did you come up with the concept of your story?
Before I wrote books, I thought to myself “I want to write something, but it needs to be cool.” I decided that epic items, like swords, are cool. And then those epic items being needed for something completely unexpected. It was around the swords Fury and Serenity that the entire Kingdom City universe grew. Admittedly, it’s a much more manual thought process than I’ve had with most of my other story ideas; they usually just come to me. But I don’t think that Kingdom City is any less rich or exciting for that.
How did you come up with the title?
My little brother LOVES Dungeons & Dragons. Years before I called myself a writer, he was drawing a map for a campaign he was planning and I walked up behind him. He couldn’t think of a name for the capital city of the kingdom, so he called it Kingdom City. I thought that had an amazing ring to it so I stored it away for later use. Once you read the books, you’ll understand why they are subtitled Resurrection, and Revolt.
What was the most surprising part of writing this book?
I was most surprised by how dark it was. I was always fascinated by things that were a little dark and gritty, so I set out to create something edgy. Once I was done and I reread the book, I was taken aback by how dark it had actually become. Reading the first chapter again after not seeing it for several months made me think ‘oh gee, I wrote that?’ I think darkness in art is important to help us see the light and good in life. Though I believe some authors take that too far. R.R Martin is a prime example. I feel that artists that write darkness simply because it’s “realistic” miss the point of art.
What was the hardest part of writing your book, and how did you overcome it?
Finding time! I love writing and I love telling stories. I haven’t experienced writer’s block, so to speak. My mind it brimming with stories and ideas and the fountain hasn’t run down, let alone run out. As a worker and a father I did the only thing I could do to find time. Sleep less. Some weeks I was going on three and a half hours a night when I had to.
What is your preferred writing genre?
I lean towards fantasy, especially urban fantasy. I get a rush when someone isn’t only smart enough to solve their problems, but they can also solve them with fire. Lots and lots of magically invoked fire.
Who is your favourite author? Who has most influenced your work?
Early on, I loved The Hobbit—it was the first big-kid book I read twice (One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish was the first little-kid book I read more than once). I read a lot of Asimov growing up, too. Just prior to my writing really taking off, I fell in love with Harry Potter. JK’s world is so colourful and engaging it’s hard to not fall in love. Today I’m an avid fan of Harry Dresden. The engrossing characters and thoroughly conceived world that Butcher has created is something I’m constantly trying to emulate.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always loved creating. Probably the worst thing that happened to me is when I took a creative writing class in college. The professor told me that my story was the best thing he’d read “in a long time.” I’ve been spiralling since then. That story ended up being a scene of Kissed a Snake, in Xchyler’s A Dash of Madness short story anthology.
What is your writing drive? The power that keeps you going when your writing gets difficult?
My brain is full of story ideas and it hurts when I don’t let them out. Writing isn’t a choice, it’s a compulsion.
What are some of your other published works?
Kingdom City: Resurrection (Kingdom City Book 1)
And two short stories. Kissed a Snake in A Dash of Madness anthology, and Fairykin in Moments in Millennia .
What’s up next for you?
Kingdom City part3. Working title is Retribution. The original working title was Redemption, but that sounded way too optimistic for Kingdom City.
Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?
I want my readers to get to know me through my work. Please pick up any of my stories and see what you find.