Today we’re putting the Independent Author Spotlight on Ross Hughes, who just released the first book of his new epic fantasy series. Without further ado, here’s Ross…
Please introduce yourself and tell us about your latest release.
My name is Ross Hughes, I’m 28 years old, and I’m an avid reader of fantasy books. I started writing so long ago that I can’t remember, but I started this particular series I am now publishing – the Convent Series – 7 years ago at the University of Birmingham while studying for a BA in Ancient History.
Let’s face it, there are tons of fantasy books out there, and more are released every day. Why should someone take a look at yours?
Well, my novels follow both old and new routes, I would say – a mix of the two. I personally prefer the more plot-driven, omniscient narration of classic fantasy to the newer trend of character-driven, limited narration, and so that is the style in which I write. Despite that, I try not to follow the same worn old paths – yes, I write about wizards and witches, elves and dwarves, knights and pirates, but I try to bring a little something new to each character and culture. Not only that, but I have written the entire series – six books, I believe it will be – before publishing the first book, so that the story is coherent and water-tight from start to finish. And most importantly, people should give my book a go because I have fun stories to tell!
What are the most prominent influences on your writing? How do you incorporate those influences without being derivative?
My most prominent influences I would say are the Dragonlance Chronicles and Legends by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, the Drenai and Rigante series by David Gemmell and the Riftwar and Serpentwar Sagas by Raymond E. Feist. They are my favourite series, and all have influenced me in different ways. David Gemmell writes fantastic action, which taught me a great deal about fight scenes. Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman write great humour, from which I learned a lot; and Raymond E. Feist writes in such epic scope that it’s mind-boggling at times. So, by learning from each and amalgamating what I consider to be the best traits of each, I like to think I have created something entirely new from familiar bricks, never copying, but always paying tribute.
What are the greatest difficulties facing you as an independent author?
I think marketing is the greatest challenge for me or any self-published author. Even if you write an amazing book, it can be tough to get it out into the world and convince people to read it.
How much does your audience’s expectations factor in to what you write? Does this ever cause you to hold back from experimenting?
Honestly, I write the book I would want to read, so other people’s expectations play little or no part in my writing process.
Name one newer and one older book you have read and enjoyed recently. (“Newer” meaning from the past year or so, and “older” meaning written before 1980.)
There are a couple of newer, humorous fantasy books I have greatly enjoyed, for example Mogworld and Differently Morphous by Yahtzee Croshaw and Off to Be the Wizard by Scott Meyer. As for older books, I haven’t read many that predate 1980, so I’m going to choose the timeless classic, The Lord of the Rings by the incomparable JRR Tolkien.
Any final words?
Just this: if you’re a fantasy fan who loves dark and epic tales with shifting morality, plenty of action and a unique and exciting plot, look no further! A Dead Wizard’s Dream, Book 1 of the Convent Series, could be the next book for you!