Time to pick up the pace! I bring you an interview today with Jamie Edmundson, an awesome author and good friend of mine. He was my Bristolcon wingman last October!
The more you know…Speaking of, here is a photo from that lovely time where we were allowed to go outside.
Anyhow, on with the interview!
STARTING OFF WITH A BANG
Introduce yourself! An easy question to start off with. Who are you, what do you write?
Hi! I’m Jamie, an Englishman living with his wife and 2 kids who, after spending (serving?) time as a history teacher, has made the leap into writing. My books are best described as epic fantasy.
Is this your first time in SPFBO?
No, I entered my debut, Toric’s Dagger, back in 2017, when I had only just self-published it. It got a full read and review by its blogger, but she didn’t totally dig it.
What book did you enter into this year’s event?
I completed my first series, a four-book epic fantasy, last year. I wanted to write something different next, so I decided to write a comedy fantasy. This was an odd choice since I am not a funny person. The first story in the series is called Og-Grim-Dog: The Three-Headed Ogre. Luckily (or not?) its publication fell just in time for this year’s SPFBO.
Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?
Well, this book is really all about the eponymous main character/s. The meat of the book is written from the POV of the middle head, Grim, though of course his brothers are ever-present. Initially I was really writing purely for laughs (even if just my own) but as the story developed, I came to fall in love with the character and I think by the end there are one or two quite touching moments.
What was the inspiration for the story? What are your future project(s)?
Og-Grim-Dog first appeared in a short story I wrote a long time ago. I was writing a character with the idea that he would later join up with other adventuring characters, written by various members of my family. I found it a challenge to write a character who had no-one to talk to, hence they ended up with three heads.
I have continued writing about Og-Grim-Dog and this will now be a four-book series.
What are the key themes and/or messages in the book?
Unsurprisingly, the series pokes fun at some of the tropes in fantasy. In this book in particular it is Dungeons and Dragons, which a lot of writers of my generation have an affection for.
Other themes are friendship, exclusion, diversity, bureaucracy, capitalism and bashing goblins over the head with a mace.
What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?
Obviously, I had to get the point of view right. It could have been a complete mess with three different points of view so confining it to Grim’s was an important first step. It helped to give each head their own personality. Then also, English grammar hasn’t evolved to deal with three-headed creatures. At first, I struggled with whether I should be writing in singular or plural. But you can also have fun with that and there were times when I kind of delighted in writing strange sounding sentences that you wouldn’t normally read. Those sentences are probably really annoying to everyone else.
What is the future for the characters? Will there be a sequel?
Yes, Og-Grim-Dog will return 3 more times. Plenty of the other characters from book one will also become recurring characters.
MORE RAMBLES ABOUT WRITING
What is your favorite book you’ve written?
Well that’s a tough one. Perhaps The Giants’ Spear, the last book of my epic fantasy series, because that’s where most of the payoffs from the first 3 books get delivered. Also, in my opinion, I nailed the ending.
Who are your favorite authors?
Oh man. If I stick to those who had an important influence on me then Tolkien, Weis & Hickman, Tad Williams maybe stand out. Then GRR Martin knocked it out of the park in my opinion.
What makes a good villain?
Man these questions got hard. I like a villain with an air of mystery. You never really know them. Some books these days spend so much time with the villain, because the writer is enjoying themselves, they kind of cheapen them. They’re not scary anymore, or they’ve lost that edge. We have all their motivations, so are they even a villain anymore? For example, I loved The Joker movie, but is he even a villain in my eyes now? Do you know what I’m trying to say? Because I don’t.
Do you have any writing blogs you recommend?
Do you have any writer friends you’d like to give a shoutout to?
There’s this one dude called Michael Baker who physically grabbed me and pulled me over to speak to Mark Lawrence because I was too shy.
A Scar’s Response: That was fun! I had to get you out of your shell. Hey, I was shy as well!
Did you learn anything from writing your latest book? If so, what was it?
Every story has a natural length and you have to respect that.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? A gardener or an architect?
I’m not sure you have to be one or the other completely. My first series was heavily plotted, my second is much more pantsy in comparison. I tend to think about my stories in my head so I don’t think I’ll ever be one of those people who sit down at the pc and think ‘I wonder what will happen next?’
If you had to give up both snacks and drinks during writing sessions, or music, which would you find more difficult to say goodbye to?
I used to not be able to write and listen to music, now I do. I didn’t even attempt to answer that question, did I?
Which is your favourite season to write in, and why?
I hate the winter, I just want to hibernate. In the north of England summer is pretty awesome.
It’s sometimes difficult to get into understanding the characters we write. How do you go about it?
I just do. But none of my books are character studies.
What is your writing process? Do you have one? What is your workspace like?
Just writing when I can, I don’t really have a streamlined system to share. At the moment I spend a week in my office upstairs and then a week on the table downstairs which looks out on the back garden.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Books, films, tv shows, history. I was a history teacher in my former life.
How many plot ideas are just waiting to be written? Can you tell us about one?
Og-Grim-Dog goes through a portal and visits Earth.
Do you have any new series planned?
Yeah I have loads of ideas all listed in a word doc. The weirdest is just a title: I Love F****n America: A Biography, by Chuck Wener
I have little memory of what that one was going to be about, but I still think it sounds pretty awesome.
MORE ABOUT YOU
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like watching tennis and I waste a lot of time playing fantasy tennis. The lockdown has stopped all that which has helped my productivity, but I miss it!
If you couldn’t be an author, what ideal job would you like to do?
Coffee or Tea? Or (exult deep breath) what other drink do you prefer, if you like neither?
About 3 years ago I switched from tea to coffee.
You can travel to anywhere in the universe. Where would you go, and why?
I don’t believe you.
Pick any three fiction characters. These are now your roadtrip crew. Where do you go and what do you do?
What, now I have to write a story for you? You’re very demanding.
What superpower would you most like?
The power to come up with amusing answers to author interviews.
What are two of your favorite covers of all time? (Not your own.)
Touch of Iron
The Wrath of Heroes
If you could invite one person to dinner, who would it be and what would you cook?
Michael Baker. Oysters, red wine and flowers. And I’d turn the heating up really high.
A Scar’s Reponse: Dunno what people have been telling you, but it takes a lot more than that to seduce me!
Share something your readers wouldn’t know about you.
It’s a very difficult time right now for the world. When quarantine and pandemic comes to an end, what is the first thing you would like to do?
Leave my house.
Finally, 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)?
Readers can subscribe to my newsletter here: https://subscribe.jamieedmundson.com/
My website blog: http://jamieedmundson.com/index.php/blog/
My Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/JamieEdmundsonWriter/
My Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16712129.Jamie_Edmundson
Thanks for the interview!