MY INTERVIEW WITH AL BURKE!!!
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
Hi! My name is Al Burke, and my first book is in the fantasy genre.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
The idea first popped into my head about five years, and was germinating for the next three. I wrote about football before this, and I decided I wanted a break. I still felt the urge to write, so I decided to start my novel.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
I’ve been avid reader since I started learning how to read, and I’ve always loved what is now known as speculative fiction. When I read The Lord of the Rings trilogy in my mid-20s, I was hooked. I still read other genres, but fantasy (dark fantasy in particular) is my favourite.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
Not a whole lot. With fantasy, you can create your own world from scratch, although there is an expectation of not veering too far from reality. My setting was a pseudo-medieval world (a.k.a. stock fantasy), so I was on familiar ground.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I’m not a jobbing writer yet, so when I’m not working, I’m looking after at least one of my kids. I tend to write when no one is around, which is pretty rare, hence the sluggish pace of my writing. I have this genius idea to write at least 300 words every day, but sometimes I don’t even get to write 300 a week. I’m not complaining though, life is good. When my little guy goes to kindergarten in September, I’ll be spitting out a book a week.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
I have four new books in the making. One is a collection of short stories based on Irish folklore. I’m also writing a novel based on Irish mythology (in case you haven’t noticed, I’m Irish), plus another which mixes the start of the Iron Age with the Cenozoic Era. Finally I’m writing a trilogy which revolves around magic.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
My first book I went with common names. I started with the intention of changing them later, but I just got used to them and left it as is. For my folklore and mythology stories, I’ll stick the traditional names, while for the other work I’ll create my own names.
Where do your ideas come from?
Eh, the psychic aether? Only kidding, I love mythology and folklore, so I borrow (steal) from there heavily, but I’m a philosophy major, so I’ll throw some of that in for good measure.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Finding the time.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I’ve seen some terrific ones, and they can add some nice atmosphere to stories if done well. That being said, I don’t think they’re for me (too much like hard work).
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Publishing a book is pretty awesome. Being a parent is pretty awesome. Take your pick…
What’s the best thing about being an author?
Holding a book with your name on it. It is surreal.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Yelling at teenagers and still complaining about having no time to write.
Have you always liked to write?
Yep, since I could write. I remember typing on my father’s typewriter when I was a kid. I was a whizz at essay writing in school too, and as I said earlier, I was a sports writer for a while.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Sit down, write, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. If your looking for a publisher, I heard that shower at Bella Tulip Publishing are pretty good.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
Well, I don’t really write for a living, but I work in my local library (I am not a librarian) and love it.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I read them, and take on board what is said. You can generally read between the lines on reviews and tell who is being constructive and who needs a hobby. But I definitely take constructive criticism on board.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
Marketing. Don’t mention the marketing. I am no salesperson…
What are you working on now?
A short story based on Halloween.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
I could, but I’d have to kill you. The short stories I’m writing are versions of tales my uncle told me when I was a kid. As I type, I can still feel the same prickle on the back of my neck that I had when I was seven. I just hope I can translate it so others can feel it too.
Where did your love of books come from?
Probably my sister. She was the only one in my family who read a lot. She’s older, so what she read, I read.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Authors – George Orwell, HG Wells, Oscar Wilde, Steven Erickson. I could go on.
Books (in no particular order) – 1984, Catch-22, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Lord of the Rings, Helter Skelter. Again, I could go on.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
Whisper, the assassin. A killer with a moral code.
Where can readers go to discover more about you and your books?
My website – http://www.alwroteabook.com/ – and probably every form of social media known to humankind.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It’s a rush. I get stronger the more I write. When I get a long stretch of time, I am very prolific.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
This question looks familiar. The answer is me. I am both Superman and Bizzaro Superman at the same time.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I try to write as I see fit. If you try to please everybody, you’ll end up pleasing nobody.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
The other writers (and staff) at Bella Tulip are very supportive, although we all probably waste too much time harassing each other on Facebook (Phil Price, Zizi Cole). I have met plenty more on social media. There is some excellent support out there, people.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
The Cure for Insomnia.
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
Why did the cow become an astronaut?
Because she always wanted to go to the moon.
Blurb for the book:
Etruvia has known peace for twenty years. But
this time of peace has brought corruption and greed. The nobility has
taken control, and the memories of great victories of old have faded.
Crime is rife and the once proud people are little more than peasants.
As a great evil rises in the desolate north, can a forgotten king and an
embittered former war hero wake a nation from its stupor and build an
army strong enough to give it a fighting chance?
(Thank you Al for taking your time out to do this interview!! Congratulations on your upcoming release and good luck with your future endeavors ❤️)