June 2017 Author of the Month: Amelia Faulkner
Amelia Faulkner was born in Thame, Oxfordshire, and sprouted upward in short order. The ground around Thame is reasonably mucky, especially in the winter, and she can’t be blamed for wanting to get away from it.
Raised on a steady diet of Star Trek and Doctor Who, Amelia stood no chance in not becoming a grade-A geek. She has sat on the board of the British Fantasy Society, contributed fiction and fluff to various published roleplaying games, and written non-fiction for SciFiNow and SFX Magazines. For every positive there is an equal and opposite negative, and Amelia is forced to admit that she loves Wild Wild West.
In her spare time she enjoys travel, photography, walking her Corgi, and trying to convince her friends to replay the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game with all the Goblins decks.
How many books to your series?
There are four so far, with a fifth due early in July. I don’t envision the full series being any fewer than ten books.
Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
I think we’re into questioning what “works” means. What one person is trying to achieve with a free book can differ vastly from what others may try to achieve with it. For me, I’m attempting to diminish the barrier to entry on a series which already has over 400,000 words. It can look daunting as a reader to dip your toe into something so huge, so if the first book is free it’s less of a commitment, and something people can undertake at their own leisure. Jack of Thorns won’t always be free, but certainly, for the time being, I think it’s “working” in the manner that I hoped it would.
How has your writing evolved since your first book?
I largely cut my teeth on screenplays, where you convey emotion through dialogue and the most minimal of stage directions (lest the director think you’re dictating to them). It’s taken me a while to get to grips with putting all the things in prose that you’re not allowed to put into a screenplay, and as such my earlier books were much more brusque. I think I’ve struck a good balance now between letting the reader into characters’ heads and keeping the action moving. I hope.
What do you think makes your book stand out from the crowd?
It’s different. It merges Urban Fantasy with Paranormal Romance, and a lot of reader reviews state that it’s a refreshingly unique series which got them out of their reading slump.
What’s the one thing that has really surprised you since you started writing?
I’m startled that, by putting my nose to the grindstone, I have gradually worked my way up to being able to write more than 500 words a week. When I started out over ten years ago I had no idea that practice could or would improve speed, not just quality. I can’t achieve thousands of words a week reliably, but there really was a time when I thought 500 was my absolute limit.
Is there a message in your novel that you hope readers grasp?
Yes. I really hope readers begin to see that abuse is a cycle and that the only way to break it is to stop passing on the hurt we receive to other people.
Would you describe your humour as hilariously funny, oddly quirky, diabolically macabre, or non existent?
I would say it’s definitely on the macabre end of the scale, with some quirky on the side. I grew up on a steady diet of Monty Python, Vic Reeves & Bob Mortimer, Bill Hicks, and Blackadder. I think British humour tends to dance between darkness and surrealism, and I’m well and truly mired in it.
Have you ever written a scene where it has reduced you to tears?
Absolutely. More than one. If it isn’t making me cry, how’m I gonna reap those delicious reader tears?! There’s a reason my Facebook fan group elected to dub itself the “Chapter 13 Support Group” after Lord of Ravens was released…
Florist. Psychic. Addict.
Laurence Riley coasts by on good looks and natural charm, but underneath lies a dark chasm that neither heroin nor lovers can fill. Sobriety is a pipe dream which his stalker ex-boyfriend is pushing him away from. Luckily, Laurence has powers most can only dream of. If only he could control them.
Aristocrat. Psychic. Survivor.
Quentin d’Arcy is the product of centuries of wealth, privilege, and breeding, and is on the run from all three. A chance encounter with an arresting young florist with a winning smile could make him stop. Laurence is kind, warm, and oddly intriguing but Quentin’s wild telekinesis and his fear of sex make dating a dangerous game.
When opposites attract, they collide.
Desperate to fix his rotting life, Laurence prays for aid and accidentally summons a fertility god who prefers to be called Jack. Jack is willing to help out for a price, and it’s one Laurence just can’t pay: he must keep Jack fed with regular offerings of sex, and the florist has fallen for the one man in San Diego who doesn’t want any.
If they’re to survive Jack’s wrath, Laurence and Quentin must master their blossoming feelings and gifts, but even then the cost of Laurence’s mistake could well overwhelm them both. How exactly are mere mortals supposed to defeat a god?
A few words about your book
Inheritance is, at its heart, a series about personal growth, and how sometimes it needs the support of our loved ones. In Jack of Thorns, neither of our main characters are anywhere near their peak potential, and have resisted reaching it for so long that they don’t even see it in themselves any more. It takes a chance meeting for them to spot it in one another, and then their journey can begin.
Give us a little insight into your main characters
Bambi Laurence Riley is stuck. He’s been bullied for his sexuality and pretty looks all through high school, he’s lost his father recently, he’s been battling his heroin addiction for years with no end in sight, and he sees no hope for his future whatsoever even though he can see the future… He’s pretty much at the end of his rope by the time Jack of Thorns begins, and all he can do is keep praying to Cernunnos – a god he feels a strong connection to – for aid in the hope that one day his prayers will be answered.
Quentin d’Arcy, the earl of Banbury, is a British aristocrat on the run from his own past and family. He drinks to deal with a trauma he can’t remember, and he usually speaks of himself in the third person to keep everyone at arm’s length in case they get past his wall and hurt him. His latent telekinesis is a danger to anyone who breaches that wall, and it’s a danger Quentin doesn’t even know he possesses.
They need each other. They just don’t know it yet.
Laurence snorted and gulped down his tea. “I’m sorry about your mom.”
Quentin frowned into his tea and blew softly on the surface. “Thank you,” he murmured.
Laurence pushed a grape around the bowl. “Do you remember the funeral much?”
“Hard to forget that sort of thing.”
“You remember the weather?”
Banbury’s grey eyes lifted to him a moment. “Of course.”
“Right.” Laurence set his spoon down and leaned in closer. “And you remember the weather when you met Dan in La Jolla, right? The wind that came outta nowhere?”
Quentin hesitated, then inclined his head. “Yes.”
“It happened again last night, at the party. When Jack attacked you.” He pulled out his phone and tapped out a text. “Totally wrecked the shop. I think it’s you. I think you’re psychic, and whenever you feel threatened or upset you start throwing shit around.”
Banbury scoffed and leaned back. He set his teacup down and shook his head as though Laurence’s story was a child’s fantasy. “It isn’t possible, Laurence.”
“It is!” Laurence’s phone buzzed, and he checked it, then sighed at the pictures his mom had attached.
The shop was a wreck. All the crap on the floor had been swept into a pile in the corner, and there was plastic sheeting covering the broken windows. He turned the phone to show the images to Quentin. “Look. You did this, man. You picked up every single thing in mom’s store and you threw it at Jack and when he didn’t stop you just kept it going.”
Quentin’s eyes widened as Laurence scrolled through the photos. His lips parted, but he didn’t make a sound.
“I’m not making this up. I saw it with my own eyes.” Laurence put the phone down, and sighed. “I’m psychic,” he explained. “You’re not the only one, man, but this stuff isn’t what I do. I grow plants. I see the future. I can’t throw shit around with my mind the way you can.”
Banbury huffed at him and tapped his fingers against the table. “Very well. What will I have for breakfast tomorrow?”
“I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. Whatever I tell you, you might go eat something else just to prove me wrong.” Laurence bit his lip. “But I saw you in a vision I had three years ago, man. I saw you play the piano. You played Clair de Lune. It finally happened here in this apartment the other day. I waited three years to hear you play that and I never met you until last month.”
The earl frowned slowly, and opened his mouth.
“Don’t tell me it’s impossible!” Laurence crossed his arms angrily. “I don’t have the kind of power where I can just show it to you. Not when you don’t have any plants in here. But I’ve been practicing. Jack said I should be able to look back in time, not just forward. Maybe one day I can see something that’ll convince you, or we can go downstairs to your front yard and I’ll grow something out there for you. But I’ve been getting better, and maybe I can help you get some kind of control over your gifts too.”
Quentin’s lips pursed and his eyebrows tugged together. “And if one lacks such ‘gifts’ after all?”
“Then I’m wrong. But it’s not the end of the world, is it? We can try to work on your stuff and if I’m right we’ll make it work, and if you’re right you’ve at least had something to pass the time with while you rest up and recover, right? Better than sitting around doing nothing?”
Quentin looked to the windows overlooking the ocean and was quiet for so long that Laurence wondered whether the guy had already dismissed him in some polite British way. But then he finally looked back and spoke.
“All right,” he murmured. “There seems to be very little to lose.”
Where to find Amelia