You submitted the Iron Crown this year — who do you think your target audience is?
Oh gosh, this is always a tricky one! Certainly people who like epic fantasy, dragons, and the classic fantasy adventure story will enjoy The Iron Crown! I tend to write more “hopeful” books that are more lighthearted and fun. If you enjoy the fish out of water and found family tropes, characters doing the right thing for the wrong reasons (or the wrong thing for the right reasons!), dragons done in a slightly different way, and multiple viewpoints, you’ll enjoy this!
If you’ve read other SPFBO entries from the last couple years, which were your favorites?
Probably a common response, but The Sword of Kaigen absolutely blew my mind. It made me ugly cry. I also loved the Yarnsworld books and binge-read the whole audiobook set.
From this year, I’ve already bought: Windborn, We Men of Ash & Shadow, Ringlander, and Illborn, and am looking forward to getting stuck into these soon!
I have a large list of SPFBO books to read and hope to make a serious dent in that list next year!
Looks like you play video games, which 3 do you think you’ve sunk the most time into?
Without a shadow of a doubt, the Final Fantasy series is the one I’ve dedicated most video game hours to. The series (particularly VII and IX) have been incredibly influential on my life in general and as a writer. They really introduced me to storytelling, scope, and characters you cared for.
You’ve got food network and things like great british bakeoff listed as tv shows you like, do you bake at home?
The Great British Bake Off is another comfort. It’s wholesome, fun, and highly entertaining. I’ve definitely been inspired to try a few bakes from the show, and I love baking in general (although I’m not brilliant at it). It’s hard to beat a house smelling of freshly made cookies or cakes!
You’ve been to a lot of Cons, which has been your best experience? Your worst?
I love going to comic cons! I’ve been very fortunate to have positive experiences with good sales, because they can be very intimidating for authors. Thankfully, I’ve met so many amazing people (some of whom I consider friends), and I’m still not quite over the sensation of people coming back to cons the following year to grab my newest book!
My best experience was probably when someone came to meet me in cosplay of one of my characters! I’ll treasure that experience forever! I do suffer with my mental health and anxiety in particular is always extremely high, so having panic attacks at cons is definitely up there with my worst experiences. When you’re somewhere amazing, supposed to be having fun (and also there for business!) it can be absolutely crippling. Thankfully I have a very supportive partner and friends and most people are understanding, but it’s a horrible experience.
Obviously with recent world events, I haven’t been to one since March 2020, but hope to return to one in November this year! I’m very nervous but really looking forward to conventions again!
You’ve said you’re happiest at the seaside, is there a particular spot you like to visit?
My bucket list definitely includes visiting one of those “picture perfect” beaches, perhaps somewhere in the Caribbean one day. Or staying in one of those cabins on the water. I’ve never experienced anything like that before and think it would be paradise to visit!
You like tea, which tea makes you happiest?
Tea makes everything so much better. Or at least more tolerable. I stick mostly to English Breakfast Tea and absolutely need it to work or be creative in any way! It’s also very comforting as well as helps me focus. For a special treat, you can’t beat afternoon tea – who doesn’t like cakes, scones, and a pot of tea?
What fictional dragon is your favorite?
Super hard question because I love so many of them!! Smaug, Shenron, Drogon, Toothless. Can I cheat answer and say I love them all equally?
Any pets you’d like to share a picture of?
Boris!! My other half adopted him as a puppy and when we got together, I adopted him too! I work from home and Boris is my company, muse, foot-warmer, and expert cuddler. He is a kind of bulldog (specifically an Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog, which I appreciate is a bit of a mouthful), and is the bestest doggo ever.
My friends and I affectionately refer to him as “King Boris” and he certainly has a very noble look to him! (I even have a clip of giving him a few treats, which people seemed to enjoy! https://www.twitch.tv/videos/1036837088)
If someone were to be visiting your area, where should people go before they leave?
I’m very lucky to live in a tiny village in the middle of the English countryside, and the scenery alone is incredibly idyllic with rolling hills and greenery. Oxford is the nearest city, which is well-known for architecture, museums, and even a castle.
If you explore a little further afield, there are some incredible places to discover – from wildlife centres (including an animal hospital and the UK’s only crocodile zoo – fantastic for conservation) to market towns (perfect for food markets and festivals), and of course the River Thames offers plenty to do and see, including annual regattas.
Thanks for taking the time!!
Thank you so much Esme!