I have been a big fan of Fantasy and Science Fiction since I was about five years old. Books of this genre really allows for our imaginations to take flight. For many years, I felt that I was able to dive into a magical world whenever I needed a break by simply opening one of these books. Now as a writer myself, I realize how much work it really takes to create such a novel. Every single aspect of the magical world created requires meticulous detail and precision. The hours of research a sci-fi writer must put into the work to make it fantastical yet believable at the same time, is truly commendable. That is why I am always excited to interview Fantasy and Science Fiction writers. I was very lucky when I found out that I had an opportunity to interview Brent Griffiths, Author of Ancient Evil.
Michael Pang: Brent, can you tell us a bit about your background?
Brent Griffiths: I was 15 years old when I moved with my parents from Canada to the UK. It was an eye opening experience for me to live somewhere that was so familiar and yet alien. When it came time to choose a University, I landed at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, which is where much of my first novel is set. St. Andrews is an interesting little town. Although the University is the third oldest in the UK and the town is famous for being the birthplace of golf, it is small, compact and a little isolated. It was the type of place where you knew just about everyone and knew just about every pub, restaurant, and bar. There were also a lot of very specific traditions associated with the University due to its age, some of which I included in my novel.
MP: That’s great! I love it when authors take facets of their life and incorporate it into their books. It makes the world that was created come to life. So, lets talk about your writing. Where and when did your writing journey begin?
BG: My journey began with a love of reading. I first cracked open the Hobbit at age ten and I knew that I was reading something special. I had read books before but this is the first book I really enjoyed. I have been reading Fantasy and Science Fiction ever since. A few years ago after our youngest got out of diapers, I decided it was time to give something back, so I decided to write. I wanted to contribute instead of just consume. I wrote the type of book I wanted to read.
MP: Fantasy and Science Fiction are my favorite genres as well. I find it exciting to be able to dive into a new world that is so vastly different from reality. After I started reading Fantasy and Science Fiction, I really find it hard to get as excited about any other genre. Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing?
BG: I enjoy complex plots and multiple characters. I am a big fan of Iain M. Banks. I loved his non-linear story telling which inspired the structure of my first novel Ancient Evil. I am also a big fan Neil Gaiman and Neal Stephenson. None of these authors is overly bound by the restraints of genre and all write great books with interesting plot twists. I also like George R. R. Martin, but who doesn’t. I do have to say I liked him way before the Game of Thrones, I have all the Wild Cards books.
MP: Great list of authors! We all know that writers are busy people (with the writing, and reading, jobs, family, promoting their books, etc…) What does a typical day in your life look like? And how does your writing routine fit into your day?
BG: It can be tough to find time to write. I am spending a lot of “writing time” on marketing and learning the book business at the moment. I also have a full time job and three daughters, so I am grateful wherever I can find an hour or two to write something down. Taking my daughters to their activities, whether is it piano, track or lacrosse is a great opportunity for me. I’ll bring along my laptop and get a few words, thoughts or ideas captured.
MP: I’m in the same shoes as you. I usually have to squeeze in my writing time when I’m taking my daughter to her extra-curricular activities on Saturdays. But, let’s talk about your book. How did you come up with the idea for your novel?
BG: From an early age I was fascinated by psi phenomena, telepathy, psychokinesis, astral projection and the like. I took that interest and liberally sprinkled in some of my life experiences at University and then added a dash of alternate prehistory to come up with a twisted alternate universe for the story. The story itself is about how people can end up doing some truly horrendous things through circumstances that they have little control over.
MP: So there seems to be quite a lot of books out there about people with “special abilities.” What do you think sets your novel apart from others current on the shelves?
BG: My novel is a little difficult to pigeonhole. There are elements of fantasy, paranormal, alternate history and science fiction. I really enjoy fantasy set in contemporary settings, but there are so few of them out there that are not your standard vampire novel. I wanted to contribute to that non-vampire niche.
Many of the characters are telepaths, so developed a format to indicate telepathic conversation. I struggled with finding a conventional way to write telepathic conversations, so I developed a format for my novel to capture some of the additional information or meta-data that could be transmitted telepathically. For example is the telepath transmitting thought generally to a group or are they directing the message an individual and excluding others. Are they sending any other type of information, such as mood or their title or an image?
MP: As a big fan of Sci-Fi, you’ve really peaked my interest. But what really draws me to a story are well developed characters. Which character in your book is your favorite and how much of yourself is reflected in that character?
BG: My favorite character is Jonny Brown the best friend of one of the main characters. He is abrasive and does and says some pretty outrageous things to get attention. He is the antithesis of me.
MP: Interesting! And the icing on the cake for me are scenes that show the interactions between witty characters. Which scenes in your book did you have the most fun writing?
BG: I really liked writing the dialogue driven scenes. I can almost hear the character’s voices as I read those passages. Whenever I found myself just writing description or backstory, I would stop myself and see if I could make it into a conversation. Writing dialogue is a great place to use those witty repartees you came up after the fact in your day to day conversation. You know when you think to yourself, “It would have been great if I said so and so,” to someone’s comment. When you write dialogue, you can have a whole day or a week or a month to come up with some clever comeback and use it in a conversation
MP: I think will really enjoy this book! What do you hope for your readers to take away after reading your book?
BG: Good people can do very bad things for good reasons, but they still have choices.
MP: That is very true. What are your hopes for this novel?
BG: I hope that my readers just enjoy it and share it with others. Reading has provided me so much enjoyment over the years that I would be delighted to provide a tiny bit of enjoyment to others.
MP: Now that your debut novel is out the door, what do you have in store next for your readers?
BG: Book 2 is going to leave the shores of Scotland behind as our characters go on the run and additional characters are introduced. The plan is for each book to expand and add additional layers of complexity to this literary universe that is so closely related to our own.
MP: Thank you so much for sharing with us your story! See more about Brent’s book below.
Ancient Evil (The First Genocide Book 1)
by Brent J. Griffiths
Publication Date: January 1, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Sci-Fi
The plot twists keep coming in this novel that interweaves three stories that unfold over forty millennia uncovering a struggle that hints at the origin of our species.
In Edinburgh a severely disfigured genius hunts the supernatural predators that destroyed his body and ripped away his true love. He struggles to retain the remaining shreds of his humanity as his obsessive quest drives him perform horrendous acts in his search for answers.
At the University of St Andrews on the coast of Scotland a dark force shadows Finn, a young Parapsychologist as he investigates a conspiracy of silence and confusion that is preventing him from proving the existence of telepathic phenomena.
A boy grows up in a city ruled by a race of benevolent, telepathic overlords. He is destined to become his people’s youngest general in a five thousand year old war of extinction against the hereditary enemies of his city’s rulers. He starts to doubt the justice of his cause in the aftermath of his first battle.
About the Author
Brent was born in Canada but has lived in England, Scotland, Ireland, Texas and California. When not writing he enjoys spending time with his family, indulging in his interest in charcuterie and of course reading.
Website – http://brentjgriffiths.com
Twitter – https://twitter.com/BrentJGriffiths