This is Part 2 of the Author interview. You can find Part 1 here.
What themes does Wulfaert contain?
There are quite a few packed into this book.
The central theme is one of exploring the journey of the main character, Wulf, both his inner and his outer journey. In a sense it is modelled on the classic Hero’s Journey, a theme that many are already familiar with. A journey from innocence to awakening, from adversity to realisation and finally to mastery. It is also tempered by reality, the reality of the time and the era it takes place in but also by the reality of what it means for an ordinary human being to go through this process, rather than say, a figure from fantasy. A great deal of it is based on personal experience and experiences that have been shared with me by others who walk the “path less travelled.”
There are other themes that are also explored. One is that of Wulf’s relationship with the “heretics” that he had been sent by the Church to kill. It explores how we can be conditioned into believing someone to be our enemy but when we meet them and see their humanity is the same as ours, the conditioning falls away as the truth is revealed. This is something that is very common in the world today, we are often taught to hate and distrust those that we do not personally know, just because their faith, skin colour, or way of life may be different to ours. Such prejudice rarely stands up to seeing what unites us rather than what divides us.
Another theme is redemption, and this too is explored with a sense of realism. Wulf is a haunted man. Years of violent campaigns as a mercenary have taken their toll and one final trauma, witnessing the sacking of Beziers, is enough to tip the scales. We accompany him on his journey, his breakdown and then finally his breakthrough as he discovers what it means to find healing.
There will also be themes and concepts that the readers will find for themselves. This is a part of intuitive writing. I have not planned and measured everything and that way the book will contain elements that will speak to people in different ways, ways that I may never have planned to.
You have chosen an unusual way to getting published. Can you say a little more about how you came to choose Unbound and crowd-funding as a means to getting into print?
As a writer starting out, you are faced with many choices. The traditional route, that of finding an agent and ultimately a publisher, offers a certain sense of security as you will be supported on your journey into print. However, there are so many people trying to get published nowadays that agents have had to refine the way books are submitted, becoming stricter and stricter and with publishers only signing books from genres that are currently in fashion, the chances of successfully getting represented have fallen to about 0.1%. These types of statistics are very difficult to work with. You almost feel that you hardly have a chance before you even start. Also profits for writers are much smaller than you would think with the publishing houses and agents taking the lions share.
Self-publishing is always an option but this requires a greater investment of time and money as you need good resources to pay for professional editorial support, advertising and also have a great talent for self-promotion. Granted you will be the sole earner of profits but sales are by no means guaranteed. You are also faced with the idea that if you decide to self-publish it may then force you to stick to that route as some publishers will not want to work with a book that is already published.
With publishing stuck in a rut and self-publishing a gamble, Unbound has broken the mould and created a totally new concept in publishing. They have minimized the risk to themselves, as writers must prove they can sell enough books to meet the costs of the book’s publication through crowd-funding. They have also opened the market to let readers decide what should be published and what not. This allows new and creative ideas to get to see the light of day and authors maintain creative control and share equally in the profits. I think we will see more and more of this type of model starting to threaten the status-quo.
Unbound was recommended to me by a friend and, having spoken to an agent who had researched the company as a possible route for one of her authors, I decided to submit my manuscript and see what would happen. I was delighted to receive a positive response and started my campaign to fund my book shortly after that. With award-winners and nominees for celebrated accolades, Unbound is already proving that the market is ready for a new paradigm.
Do you have any plans for writing any other books?
I have completed my second book and have started a third that will be its sequel. They are a re-imagining of the Merlin story starting with the journey of his mother in the first of the two books, Merlin’s Mother. The sequel, The Dragon’s Gift is astory about Merlin himself. They are set a little earlier in history than any previous version, the 3rd Century AD. It is a fascinating era use for a story as the whole power structure of Europe was in flux at that time. Saxons were sweeping across eastern Europe pushing the already-conquered Germanic tribes onto the borders of Gaul. Rome had pulled men away from these borders to fight in civil wars and Germanic tribes raided across the borders sacking previously safe cities and pirates terrorised the coastline of Gaul, Amorica and Britain. It is in the midst of this upheaval that the story of Merlin begins and a prophecy is born.
It was fascinating researching this era and quite daunting to find that not much historical record existed, mostly it was just archaeological evidence or heavily biased Roman writings. However, I wanted to set the story in this era as then I could explore certain themes.
Merlin’s Mother is currently with test readers and I will be submitting it to agents by the middle of the year.
What are your aspirations as a writer?
Well of course my greatest hope is to make it into print and that my books are read and enjoyed.
Other than that, every time I write I set certain intentions that I hope carry through into my words. Those intentions are to put an energy into my writing, to add something positive to the world.I hope that through my stories readers can experience something that enriches their world, inspires something in their life, that they may see the world in new ways and find something within themselves that they may have never discovered before. This way my writing is in line with the intentions for my life in general.
If I can fulfil these intentions while providing the reader with a great story, something that is gripping and engaging, then I will have fulfilled my greatest aspirations as a writer.
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