The award-winning author, scriptwriter and games designer talks craft, getting published and staying focused, as well as revealing his new creator-owned fantasy project 'Letters from an Unknown Land'
Hey, John! Thanks so much for agreeing to do this Q&A. Who am I kidding? I’m bloody delighted to have you do all the heavy lifting for this article! First off, can you please tell our readers who you are, what you write and what you’ve written?
I’m a writer, script-writer and sometime games designer. Basically, I write novels and short stories, scripts for TV, video games, and audio dramas, and just occasionally something involving the rolling of die and playing of cards. A lot of my work has been for Warhammer, including novels for the Horus Heresy series, but I’ve also done work for the Call of Cthulhu RPG, and novels for Arkham Horror, Sherlock Holmes, and sundry other writerly things.
So, what do you say at parties when people ask what you do? Do you do what I do and look at your shoes like a schoolboy caught smoking behind the bike-sheds and mumble ‘I write stuff…’?
I grin and say, ‘I’m a writer’. No sheepishness involved. That I get to do this is quite a surprise to me, and a huge privilege. Saying it aloud always gives me a spark of pleasure. As does the ‘What? Really?’ reply that follows.
And do you write part-time or full-time? Are you freelance?
I’m full-time, but have been part-time too.
How long have you been writing professionally?
[counts slowly on fingers…] About seventeen years.
And how difficult was it for you starting out?
It was both tricky and not, to be honest. A lot of my experience of becoming a writer is that I did one thing and then another and another. It didn’t all happen in one go...
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