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Home » John Gwynne – A Q&A Session

John Gwynne – A Q&A Session

If you’re a lover of fantasy, you’ll be familiar with John Gwynne‘s books. John is the author of David Gemmell’s Morningstar award-winning novel Malice that launched The Faithful and the Fallen series. Another series you may have read about, Of Blood and Bone takes place 100 years following the conclusion of The Faithful and the Fallen. He has just launched a new series that features the world of a completely new one, The Bloodsworn Saga with the debut book due out later this month, The Shadow of the Gods.

We are very fortunate to be fortunate to John joining us for a conversation about his work and his life.

Your birthplace was Singapore and was often moved around due to your father’s service employed in the RAF. Do you think your semi-nomadic existence has influenced your writing style or how you how you approach story development?

It’s a great question. I’m not certain what extent my move has changed my writing style but I’m sure that it had an impact on my development as an author. Moving so frequently was certainly a factor in the reason I read so many books. After moving 3-4 times in your childhood , you become accustomed to being away from your friends and over many years, books were my companions. In the course of time, I became somewhat of a loner as well, and reading was one of my preferred friends.

A good story that isn’t tragic however I did settle down in my teens and made great friends for the rest of my life.

You are famous as a battle scene creator and a master of action pace. What are your methods for creating battle scenes?

It’s truly lovely to hear. Thank you.

I’ve always approached writing combat the same manner and this approach was greatly inspired by an experience I had in the cinema. This was when I saw the film Braveheart in the year 1995/96?

In terms of the way it depicted war, it was revolutionary at the time, taking away the Hollywood glamour and removing all the glamour from war and displaying the terror, horror and pain. The manner in which it was shot in this way, with the kaleidoscope-like images swathed over you at you, awe-inspiring your senses it was as if you were in the battlefield.

From the time I began writing, I tried to capture the moment and then write it down on paper.

I’m hoping that being an Viking replicator has helped and. It definitely provides a layer of detail that make combat more authentic with a myriad of tiny details that I would not even imagine. Like how heavy the shield feels after about 10 minutes of combat or the need to ensure that you put on your gloves at the end of the day and clean every buckle – belts, weapons, helmet the chin strap, and so on before putting your gloves on. gloves can make you stumble and slow.

There are also other occasions that have to do with battle or combat that have nothing to do with involve actual combat, such as the way it feels wearing mail-order clothes, and how hard it is for you to wear it. Yes, I’ve been caught in my mail at times to the delight of my friends and family who are around me. Being a Viking isn’t as simple as it seems.

What was the first thing that you thought of whether it was restoring furniture from the past or reenacting a scene and practicing using the spear, sword and shield?

Rejuvenating vintage furniture. By that I’m talking about my wife. She was the brains behind it and my part was doing fixing, painting carrying, sanding and fixing.

My little girl, Harriett, is profoundly disabled. My spouse, Caroline, and I are her caregivers. Harriett always requires lots of attention, all the time however there was a time when I worked at an area University where Harriett was suffering from severe illness and I decided to step out of Uni to assist her at home. However, there were bills to be paid, and my wife had an established business selling vintage furniture and I was able to get more involved in that business since this was something which could be handled from home, and so was a good fit for our current circumstances.

I’ve been involved with re-enactments for the past 5 or 6 years and it’s a total fun.

I am sure that you are avid readers as well as a writer and that you began reading books early. What was the first book that impacted you the most and why?

The book that probably had the greatest influence for me and got me interested in fantasy was Lloyd Alexander’s “The Book of Three the first book of his ‘Chronicles Of Prydain’ series. I was between seven and eight years old, and I recall vividly my teacher sitting me on the floor in a circle with his desk and reading to us. The book was called ‘The Book of Three’. It captivated me to such an extent I decided the very next morning, I asked my mom to purchase the first book and two. Then it was an unforgiving hill of hobbits, Ringwraiths of dragons and minotaurs, And holy Grails…

Without “The Book of Three’ I doubt I’d have the time to write today.

What do you think about where the world of fantasy will be moving over the next few years? Do you think that we’ll continue to follow a dark path with a little grime into our fantasies? or, revert towards more noble-looking stories to counteract the events of 2030 and 2021.

This is a difficult question to answer. There’s a authenticity to fiction that readers now demand to experience on an emotional level. This doesn’t mean every character must be self-serving and anti-hero. In reality, there are those who do heroic acts, like jumping off the bridge to save a person who is drowning. Just as as there are those who are self-serving and generally act according to their own interest. There are certainly patterns in fantasy but, more importantly I view the genre of fantasy as growing instead of focussing on certain genres and leaving out other ones. I believe there’s space for everyone and in every genre, so long it’s written in a genuine and engaging manner.

The Gwynne brothers have a wonderful YouTube channel known as the Brothers Gwynne, where they discuss fantasy and write book reviews. Do you have any thoughts of it or have you even had the opportunity to visit it?

I am so happy that they are creating their own YouTube channel. They’re committed to books and it’s great to see them share that passion while discussing books. I’ve seen their videos and even had the privilege of being interviewed in one of their videos.

As I watch them now, it brings back memories of the times that I along with my spouse Caroline would read to them before bedtime and as they got older, I would look into their bedroom to see if that they were alright and then see them lying in bed, with the light turned on and their heads in the pages of a book. It’s amazing that we are avid readers within the Gwynne family and that books are not far from our conversations.

I just saw on Instagram that you had completed the sequel to the Bloodsworn Saga, Dead Gods Rising. Congratulations. Would you like to share something about the novel that hasn’t been discussed in the past? (If you have any brand new points of point of What is the number of pages?)

Thank you for your kind words.

What else can I tell you? It’s not too much, as I’m afraid to step into spoiler territory. I’m scared. Um, okay. I’ve added two additional Points of View, so we’ve got five POV’s this book, in order to make sure that the conflict can be seen from multiple angles. Additionally, at present it’s slightly longer than book 1. Book 1 was about 160,000 words. Book 2 weighed in at 203,000 words (but this is prior to my editors having gotten their red pen ).

The story of The Shadow of the Gods There are three perspectives available, Orka who is an former warrior who lives alongside their son and husband in an idyllic steading. Varg is a thrall who is on the run to escape his slave masters and Elvar is the young warrior seeking to gain fame in battle through the warband that hunts monsters, the Battle-Grim. Of the three Which is the hardest to compose? If so, what was the reason for that?

Difficult? In this novel, I can say without hesitation that there isn’t a single one. I enjoyed SO having a blast creating this book, both with the characters and the setting. It’s because I’d been spending long periods of contemplating the story as well as researching, and constructing the characters and world that when I finally got to writing it , it kind of fell right out of my mind.

The writing of book 2 was a more difficult to write, but this was because of certain characters, I used a much more gardening approach than I normally would (usually I do a little of both – some planning along with some gardening). I could envision an ending scene of the book. I needed a new set of eyes to present this story. It could not be a good fit in conjunction with the other characters. So a brand new character was put in the spotlight . They appear in the first book, but not from a point of perspective. It was an uphill task to create this character since I was planning their journey towards the end scene while I was writing the scene. When I look back it seems that they did a good job. I’m hoping. (Fingers crossed.)

I’ve heard you say that you conducted a lot of study into Norse mythology while creating The Shadow of the Gods. I was curious about your other influences that helped you in writing The Bloodsworn Saga and Vigrid? I was struck by what I believed were homages to Bernard Corwell’s The Saxon Stories, which I’m aware of as a series which you love highly.

It’s true My influences do expand to include Bernard Cornwell and the Last Kingdom series. It’s because I’m a huge Bernard Cornwell fan, so to tip my cap, I have included an original insult that the character of Bernard Uhtred of Bebbanburgh employs (one of the most famous characters from classic novels).

Furthermore The Last Kingdom and my series do share a cross-over even though my Last Kingdom is a historical series, and the Bloodsworn Saga is a fantasy series. I wanted the series to be a bit historical in its feel, and to convey an understanding of Norse and Viking-era history (even even though it is filled with dragons, trolls, and various other Scandinavian monsters lurking within) This is why I did a lot of research on that historical time period, including the vessels they used and the clothes they wore and how they fought, the food they consumed and so on. and then of course, the Last Kingdom is about the Anglo-Saxons and their battles and the Danish Invasion during the Viking period, which means there’s an underlying connection between the two (at at least in my head ).

If there were the possibility that your two worlds of fantasy could be connected Are there two characters that are from Vigrid and another from The Banished Lands, that you’d like to see in a scene? And what sort of story do you imagine will ensue? When while reading The Shadow of the Gods I kept seeing images of Einar Half-Troll wrestling with Balur One Eye to the delight of everyone who were witness to this battle of strength and might.

I like the idea of Balur Arm wrestling One Eyed alongside Einar Half-Troll.

I believe Craf meeting Orka might result in some funny discussions.