MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR AJ CLAYMORE 😊
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
My name is AJ Claymore. I write fantasy which generally falls under the sub-genres of dark fantasy, high fantasy, sword and sorcery, and quest fantasy. I also dabble a little in sci-fi.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
My short story, Wingless featured in J.E. Feldman’s Shadows of the Fallen, is about a young lady who goes on a religious pilgrimage to please her father and gets caught up in the violence of a war-torn city.
The main characters Wingless revolves around are actually supporting characters in my current work in progress. I liked them so much I decided I had to tell their story!
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
I was introduced to Dungeons & Dragons and comic books as a teenager which eventually lead me to the science fiction and fantasy sections of my local bookstores. After I started DMing for my friends, I found I liked writing so much that I just kept on writing stories long after our gaming group broke up.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I have an interest in Victorian England and the Wild West. I decided early on that I wanted my work to have a bit of a Victorian/Wild West feel, so I researched various clothing styles for different characters. I’ve excluded firearms and gas lighting and incorporated magic as commonplace for lighting, communication, and so much more.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
A typical day (or night in my case) generally starts with me in my recliner after my wife goes to bed. I work night shift at my “day job” so that leaves me with a lot of free time on my nights off. I try to get 500 new words down a night, not including editing and rewriting, but I don’t always meet that goal.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
I’m currently working on a dark fantasy novel called The Wizard’s Skull. I had actually started it prior to starting Wingless. I got to a point in my story where I fell in love with two of my supporting characters and just knew I had to write their story.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
Character names are very important to me, but not in the sense that they have special meaning. To me it’s important that my readers actually be able to read my character’s names without being brought out of the immersion of the story. I read so many pieces that have crazy long names and every time I eventually give up reading the name and just read the first syllable of the name.
Where do your ideas come from?
I’m inspired by many different things. Novels, the news, music, television, and movies. Sometimes I’ll be in the shower and think of something I watched or read and think to myself “What if that had happened differently? What if that had happened at a different point in history?” and I’ll think up a story around it.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
I’ve been dabbling in science fiction. At some point I’d like to write an Urban Fantasy.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Honestly, I would say staying focused. I love watching TV, but find it completely impossible to write while I’m doing so.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I haven’t looked into them seriously. I’ve seen a few that I liked, but I don’t know if I’ll make one for my book once it’s published or not.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Finishing my short story. I’ve written so much, but I never finish. Lately I’ve learned to write the ending of my stories first, so I know where it’s going and how it will end. That gives me a target to shoot for instead of just writing by the seat of my pants, not knowing where I’m going.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
The best part is that I actually enjoy doing it. I’ve had three different jobs in the last twenty-plus years, and I’ve never liked my work. It’s different with writing. I never get tired of doing it, and seem like I have an unending supply of ideas.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years I hope to be able to support me and my wife with my writing, so we can travel across the country while we’re still relatively young.
Have you always liked to write?
I started writing in my late teens or early 20’s and I’ve been writing ever since.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Don’t give up. Sit down and write every day. Whether you think what you’re writing is good or not, it’s still good practice, and the only way to get better at anything is to actually do it.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
I currently work as a corrections officer, so if I didn’t have my writing, I would probably stick to that until I retire. It’s not a great job, but the pay is decent and it has good benefits.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
So far I’ve received two reviews (both 5 stars!) and I’ve read them both, so I have to say yes, I do read them. I haven’t received any bad reviews yet, but when I do, I suspect I’ll take it in stride and keep on writing.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
My favorite part has been holding my finished, published piece in my hand and realizing that I’m a published author and have achieved one of my dreams in life.
What are you working on now?
My current work in progress is a dark fantasy novel called The Wizard’s Skull. It was actually my inspiration for Wingless.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
Sure. This is an excerpt from Chapter 2:
Another bolt whistled past her head, carrying her slouch hat with it. Following the quarrels path, she spotted it’s source.
An orc, of all things, ducked behind a large tree to reload his crossbow.
Nocking an arrow, Petra pulled the string taut, and trusted Toby to keep a steady gait. She’d done this hundreds of times with burlap-covered strawman targets. The army was nothing if not repetitious. When the orc reappeared, she pictured a red bull’s-eye painted on his chest and released her arrow. Her aim was true and the arrow struck near his heart.
But not before the orc had loosed his bolt. A pained roar came from Toby, and he tossed her from the saddle. The horse crashed to the ground inches from her leg.
Why did you choose to write in your genre? If you write in more than one, how do you balance them?
I chose fantasy because that’s what I like to read, and I chose dark fantasy in particular because I like to include elements of realism and horror in my work.
Where did your love of books come from?
My mom. Growing up, whether we were sitting at home watching TV, gone camping, or at my or my brother’s soccer games, she always had a book in her hands. I guess watching her read all those years taught me to enjoy reading.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
I love anything by Terry Pratchett. I also enjoy works by Neil Gaiman, Jim Butcher, and Stephen King.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
I think Bogdan the Goblin Mage is probably my favorite. He’s strives to be a decent guy while surrounded by horrible people.
Does writing energize or exhaust you? – I find writing energizes me.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
I get terrible migraine headaches, and when I have one I just can’t find the energy or inspiration to write anything.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I try to be original, but I’m inspired by a lot of popular works, so I think that helps in giving my readers what they want.
Where can your fans find you and follow??
On Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/ajclaymore
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤