I am really honored to have as a special guest the amazing author of Eladria, Rory Mackay. His book was released on 31st May, 2013 and it already conquered the hearts of the people around the world. He was kind enough to join us today and share a part of his life.
1. Hi Rory! It’s a pleasure to have you on my blog. Tell us a little about you and your book, Eladria.
Hi Adrian it’s my pleasure, thanks for having me! I’m a 34 year old writer and artist from Scotland. I’ve been writing since I was in my teens, but ‘Eladria’ is my first published novel. It’s really exciting that, after so many years of work I’m finally able to share my work with the world. ‘Eladria’ is a fantasy/science-fiction novel which combines action and adventure with some elements of mysticism and philosophy woven just beneath the surface of the story. It follows a teenage princess (Eladria, recently described by a reader as ‘badass’!) whose home is invaded and occupied by a violent militant religious group. She finds herself on the run, a fugitive in a savage and wartorn world, and also soon discovers that she herself is the key to saving her world from an even greater danger.
‘Eladria’ is actually the second book I’ve written. It serves as prelude to a series called ‘The Alanar Ascendant’, so it’s being released first and the first novel I wrote, ‘The Key of Alanar’ will be released second. I always end up doing things a little differently!
2. How did the story come into your mind?
I think the character of Eladria came to me first. I had a strong sense of who she was and the sequence of events that would initiate her adventure. The initial idea came to me when I was lying in bed and I had the image of a planet’s royal family living in orbit on a moon, where they’d fled to escape a terrible war ravaging the planet. I knew that Eladria was a young princess living on the moon and was disenchanted with her life there. I also figured out that in the opening chapters the moon would be invaded by one of the warring factions and Eladria would have to flee for her life. From there the rest of the story came to me. It was almost as though it was already fully-formed in my mind. I just had to sit and take notes! It was an amazingly effortless process.
3. When did you realize that you want to be an author?
From quite a young age! I was always drawing and writing, creating whole new worlds and characters and all kinds of fantastical adventures in the form of stories and comic books. I’m pretty sure I was only about 6 or 7 when I realised I had a certain story I wanted to tell…the story that many years later would become ‘Eladria’ and the ‘Alanar Ascendant’ series. It’s taken most of my life to develop and refine the story, to write it and to get the first instalment published. It wasn’t always easy and there were a number of times when I almost totally gave up. I got more rejection letters from agents and publishers than I’d care to count. But I’m so glad I persevered and stuck with it because in the end I got there and found a publisher willing to work with me!
4. Who or what inspires you?
I get inspired by lots of things. Creatively, I find there are two kinds of work, in any field, whether it’s books, music, art, film or whatever: there are works that are almost solely driven by market forces, by the desire to sell as much as possible, and there are works that are created because the writer/artist had something they genuinely wanted to say. That’s not to say it’s wrong to want to sell as much as possible –who doesn’t? But I’m inspired by creative people who follow their own vision primarily and who have something they want to share with the world, something with a little depth and meaning. I’ve always been inspired by books like that. If I reach the end of a book and feel it’s sole purpose was just to fill the time, then I feel a bit disappointed. I love feeling that I’ve been taken on a journey and made to think, or see or feel life a bit differently.
5. Do you have any writing projects you are currently working on?
My attention the past few months has been solely taken up by preparing for the release of ‘Eladria’, including building an extensive website packed with info and even artwork, plus an original full-length soundtrack that I created and composed myself. I’ve also been blogging on top of that and endeavoring to do some art for an exhibition. It’s been quite exhausting. But once things settle down I have a number of writing projects – the first being my second novel! This novel is actually already written (it was written prior to ‘Eladria’ but is to be released after it. Long story!), it just needs some rewriting. Once that’s released, I have another series of books I want to start writing. It’s called ‘The Dreamlight Fugitives’ and is a fantasy series with a rather quirkier and more offbeat tone than ‘Eladria’. In spite of that it’s also quite a pointed political and social commentary on our society. I’m filled with ideas and excitement and am looking forward to getting started on this. I also have a few nonfiction books I am planning, including a book based on content of several years’ worth of blogs I’ve written and a ‘beginner’s guide’ to the ancient philosophy of Vedanta.
6. Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
I have a few people who are always first to read my work, and I greatly value their feedback and help in weeding out typos. Typos are just the bane of every writer, it’s almost impossible to get them all out yourself because when you’re reading over your own work, you generally tend to read what you’re expecting to read, since you wrote it!
7. If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I’m gonna choose Leonardo da Vinci. I’ve always been hugely inspired and intrigued by the Renaissance men, Michelangelo being another. I’d love to hear his thoughts on just about everything. I love being around other creative people and seriously, you simply don’t get much more creative than Leonardo. True genius.
8. What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your book?
Hmmm…surprising? I certainly learned a number of things. Writing a book isn’t for the faint of heart, it takes an enormous amount of commitment, dedication and motivation. I admire anyone who manages to plug it out and make it to the end. It’s surprising just how much editing a book takes. It took me a year to write ‘Eladria’ but almost twice as long to rewrite and edit it. And if it wasn’t for the fact it’s now published I’d probably still be working on it. It can seem like a neverending spiral. To quote the aforementioned Leonardo “art is never finished, it is only abandoned!”
9. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Be prepared to be in it for the long haul. Have a story and characters that captivate and compel you so much you just can’t let go of them. I found it helps to learn as much as you can about the theory of writing first; about structuring stories, building narratives and character arcs etc. There’s a craft to writing. I believe most people have it in them to write a book, but it is necessary to learn the craft first. Then just write and write and write! Do whatever you can to get into your flow and allow the words to spill out. Write first, edit later. It can be a real slog and quite a lonely endeavor, but find ways to keep the enjoyment alive. Believe me, holding your completed book in your hand is one of the single most amazing feelings in the world!
10. Thank you for your time Rory. Do you have anything to say to all your fans and not only?
Thanks so much for this opportunity Adrian! It’s been a pleasure. It’s funny thinking of myself as having ‘fans’, but I’ve already had a few people tell me they are. That’s so wonderful. I’m truly grateful, honoured and humbled by every single copy of ‘Eladria’ that someone buys. I will never take that for granted. I feel it’s a real priviledge to be able to share my work with the world and an even greater priviledge to have it be read and enjoyed. I am hoping that ‘Eladria’ is just the start of a long and exciting career. I still have so many stories, adventures and messages I want to be able to share. I feel this is just the beginning of an exciting new journey.
ELADRIA is a fantasy/science-fiction epic aimed at all ages from Young Adult upward. An action-packed adventure filled with startling twists and turns, it’s also a character-story about life, touching upon some universal themes: of dealing with loss and adversity, overcoming our demons and learning to be all that we are and all that we’re capable of being. A self-contained novel, ELADRIA also serves as prelude to an upcoming series of books titled The Alanar Ascendant.
Purchase the book: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Author Resources: Dreamlight Fugitive | Facebook | Twitter