SPFBO Author Interview: T.L Branson “Soul Render”

Welcome back to a new year where we in the UK get fucked by rail fares.

On a happier note, I have another SPFBO interview to post up. I thought I had ran out until I was kindly reminded I still have this one!



First of all, tell me about yourself! What do you write? 

I write a mix between YA and epic fantasy. It might be easier to classify it as clean epic with young characters and younger themes.


How do you develop your plots and characters?

I wave a magic wand and all the stars align. In all seriousness, this is like asking Coca-Cola what formula they use. I think it’s going to be unqiue to every person, and I really don’t know how to answer it. Things just kind of develop. When I think of something cool, I write it down. Then I modify as cooler ideas come along.


Tell us about your current project.

I’ve got two projects running concurrently, though one is temporarily on hold while I power through Book 2 in my Soul Stones series, Soul Shade. It’s a continuation of my SPFBO entry, Soul Render. The book titles are from the featured “stone” in the book which ultimately control all the magic in my world.


Who would you say is the main character of your novels? And tell me a little bit about them!

The main character changes from book to book. The main character of my prequel, Soul Siphon, is actually the antagonist of Book 1, Alexander Drygo. Soul Render’s main character is young teen who lost his father at the hands of Drygo. And the main character of Book 2 is a supporting character from Soul Render that is best left not mentioned for any who haven’t read the first few books.


What advice would you give new writers on how to delve into creative fiction?

Just start. No matter how bad you think it is, just start. The biggest deterrent is your own mind. I wrote four chapters of a book 12 years before actually finishing one. To this day, that book still sits there with only 4 chapters. I don’t know if I’ve ever pick it up again, but what stopped me is I felt within myself that it would never be good enough, so I quit. Secondly, I would say join a writer’s critique group. Not only did this motivate me to keep the chapters flowing, it allowed me to critique others, hone my skills, and be encouraged by the comments of others.


What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the worldbuilding within your book?

Wow, I don’t know. My main character is from a cold climate, which I equate with my upbringing in Pennsylvania. Then my secondary character is from a really warm climate, like San Diego, where I’m currently from. The physical geography for Shadowhold, the capital city, is based off on Wollongong, Australia where the escarpment literally blocks the sun a couple of hours before sunset casting the city in “shadow.”

As I’m writing Book 2, the geography of an island is based off of Coronado, CA with the southern half of the island being occupied by civilians and the northern half being completely militarized.


What inspires you to write?

The voices in my head that won’t go away unless I do. And I’ve come to love crafting my own tale more than reading others sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I love diving into a good book where I don’t need to think about plot structure, but there’s something to be said about having control over what does or does not happen.


What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Getting past the third chapter. The first two chapters are adrenaline filled and exciting, I wrote them in a day or two. But then I reached this slow part where my characters were going to travel a great distance over the course of ten days or so. I really struggled with how to do this as nothing really happens during the travel time. So it sat there for several months untouched. I don’t know what possessed me to pick it up again or push past that third chapter. Maybe I just didn’t want another book that only got started and never finished. But I learned you need to push through the uninspired chapters and write them anyway, even if they are crap. You can always go back and fix it, but get the story down so you can move on with the exciting parts.


What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

Every single one of my twists and all the foreshadowing I built in for it. There are so many nuggets throughout the book that are clues to later twists that I guarantee no one will ever catch unless I point them out or they read the book numerous times until they’re as familiar with the story as I am.


Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?

It takes time and effort and writing books is more than just writing books, there’s marketing and networking and engaging with readers. It’s all very time consuming, but a very rewarding experience overall.


It’s sometimes difficult to understand the characters we write. How do you go about it?

I wrote a prequel series specifically so that I could write the tale of each minor and supporting character in my story. This gave them life, backgrounds, motivations, that sort of thing. It was super beneficial and helped me connect with my characters on a deeper level.


What are your future project(s)?

Continuing the Soul Stones series. I have multiple off shoots planned. I wouldn’t be surprised if I get 3-4 series out of this with 3-4 books per series. I also have a secret project I’m working on that I’d like to enter in next year’s SPFBO


If you couldn’t be an author, what ideal job would you like to do?

Other jobs exist? No really, they tell you to do what you love and if you don’t love it, you shouldn’t be doing it. I love writing. Plus, everyone can be author. Not everyone should I suppose, but everyone CAN be. Unless the world goes on lockdown, books are outlawed, and the creation of new and thoughtful ideas prohibited, I don’t think we have to worry about this job not being available in the future.


What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?

Facebook, definitely. https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100023775935351


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