Author interview with Stephen Hunt

Author interview with Stephen Hunt

Author bio:
Stephen Hunt is a British writer living in London. His first fantasy novel, For the Crown and the Dragon, was published in 1994, and introduced a young officer, Taliesin, fighting for the Queen of England in a Napoleonic period alternative reality where the wars of Europe were being fought with sorcery and steampunk weapons (airships, clockwork machine guns, and steam-driven trucks called kettle-blacks). The novel won the 1994 WH Smith Award, and the book reviewer Andrew Darlington used Hunt's novel to coin the phrase Flintlock Fantasy to describe the sub-genre of fantasy set in a Regency or Napoleonic-era period.


Hi Stephen, welcome over at The Book Plank and for taking your time to answer these few questions for us.

BP: First off, could you give us a short introduction as to who Stephen Hunt is? What are your hobbies, likes and dislikes?

SH: To be honest, I’m fairly interchangeable with any of the cast of The Big Bang Theory – comic-books, reading genre fiction, computer programming, RPG games, even model railways and painting Warhammer figures. I’m a walking stereotype, basically.

BP: You have been writing for many years, writing short stories and the Jackelian series. Do you still know the moment when and where you decided to that you wanted to become a full time author?

SH:  I started out writing reviews for game magazines back in the late eighties. That fired my interest in writing and got me interested in short fiction, and from there, full-blown novels were only a hop, skip and jump away.

BP: The Jackelian series was very well received, did you gain by writing this series valuable experience that you were able to use when you created your new series Far-called, of which the first book, In Dark Service will be released this May?

SH: I’d be willing to bet that most authors get a book behind them and think their next novel is going to be even better . . . a more refined work than the last - that their greatest book always lies in front of them. Hopefully I’ll keep on feeling like that until I peg out. I’d like to go like Jack Williamson, still writing well into my nineties.

BP: If you would have to sell In Dark Service with a single sentence how would it go?

SH:  A father on a mission to save his son, and a son on a mission to stay alive as a slave with his friends.

BP: Jackelian ran for 6 volumes, in the announcement of In Dark Service it is mentioned that it is set in a non-Jackelian world. Was it hard for you to part with Jackelian and create a completely new atmosphere?

SH: After six books, I think I was ready for a change. Authors should always be willing to experiment. The alternative is getting stale.

BP: What was for you the hardest part when you were writing In Dark Service?

SH: The hardest part is usually starting out for me. It feels like you’re staring up a mountain slope with a boulder in front of you that needs rolling. You push and push, and then it starts slowly moving.

BP: Besides the hardest part in writing, which chapter or scene did you enjoy writing about the most?

SH: I usually try to stick a BBB at the end (bloody big battle). They’re always the greatest fun to write.

BP: In Dark Service is the first book in a completely new fantasy series called: Far-called, can you tell us a bit more about what this series is about?

SH: It’s about two families – the Carnehans and Landors - stuck in the nub-end of a backward, rural kingdom. Slavers strike the town they live in and carry away all the youngsters to sell. The town mounts a rescue expedition, hampered by the fact that the world, Pellas, is an amazingly large one, and their lost people could be anywhere in it. Those taken have to survive as slaves in a hellish environment. Those in the rescue expedition face their own kind of hell as they track down the missing.

BP: The first book in the Far-called series is set to be released this May, if you were given the chance to retract your book from publishing and make one final change would you do so? If yes, which part and why?

SH: I would probably resist such a temptation. I might look at how the characters have developed over the later novels and retrofit a few small changes in to accommodate what I know now, I guess.

BP: have you already mapped out how many volumes the Far-called series will run?

SH: At least two more. After that, we’ll see.

BP: DO you still have any other projects besides Far-called that you would like to pursue in the near future?

SH: I’m currently writing a short story set in another author’s world as part of an anthology. It’s the first time I’ve done something like that – more for fun than anything else, It has to be said.

BP: everyone enjoys science fiction and fantasy in their own way, what do you like most about reading and writing it?

SH: I just want to say one word to you, Benjamin, just one word: plastics. No, actually it would have to be: IMAGINATION. If I’m not receiving it in a novel I’m reading, or generating it in one I’m writing, I’m on the wrong track.

BP: and just lastly, if you would have to give your top five favourite books, which would they be?

SH: For SFF they would be  (1) The Legion of Space by Jack Williamson (2)  First Lensman by E.E. Doc Smith (3) Neuromancer by William Gibson (4) The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien (5) Legend by David Gemmell. I’d have a different list for crime, thrillers, historicals, literary fiction and the other genres I read.

BP: Thank you very much for your time Stephen and good luck with your future writing projects!


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