The Picky Bookworm

"Books are a uniquely portable magic." –Stephen King

I had the pleasure of meeting Randall through Twitter (the writing community there has been so wonderful to me!) and he was so kind to grant an interview. One of these days, I’d love to have the courage to actually record an interview for you, but for now, a written one will have to do. Randall writes in his spare time, and has written a book named “Shadowless.” I’m really excited to get a chance to read it. If you’re interested in getting to know the author a bit better, then read on!

It seems every author gets asked this question, but when did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

The truth is I only write part time, my real job is Project Management for an I.T. firm, and
yes, it’s just as exciting as it sounds! Writing is an escape mechanism I employ to get away from the
spreadsheets and metrics reports of the nine-to-five grind. I was working as a software developer for
a company a few years back and really disliked it and happened to read an article online about
someone who began writing because they were stuck in a dead-end job. It struck a chord with me
and so I turned to writing to keep me sane.

Do you read and write in the same genre?

I work full time and write part time so that really doesn’t leave a lot of time to read but
when I can I try to read Science Fiction, Horror and most types of Fantasy. I grew up reading books
written by JRR Tolkien, HP Lovecraft and David Gemmell, Fantasy is my preferred genre so that’s
what I write.

What are some books in the genre you write in that you would consider favorites?

Anything by the authors I’ve mentioned above, as well as the Elric of Melnibońe, Dune and
the Earthsea series.

What are some books in the genre you write that you would recommend to a budding author?

Apart from the books I’ve mentioned above, maybe the Dragonlance Chronicles or the His
Dark Materials books. Recommending mainstream fantasy books is easy because most people have
heard of them but getting people to read books that have published or self-published by an indie
author, that’s not so simple.

What would you tell someone who wanted to be an author?

I would never, ever try and put anyone off writing a book, but what I would say is for any
prospective writer to sit down and give it some serious thought. Books are like a pit, they can
swallow money with little or nothing to show for it, and in self-publishing everything seems to cost
money. When it comes to writing a book, I’ve found that you get out what you put in, the reason
Shadowless looks like a professionally published book is because I hired professionals at every stage
of the process. Also, choose carefully what you’re going to write about. The next time you are in your local
bookstore have a look around; the women’s literature section is probably ten times larger than the
SFF section. So maybe you should think twice about writing Sci-Fi or fantasy, unlike me.

Do you have any tips for someone like me, who reviews books?

What would you want to see in a review?

Reviews can make or break a book, especially an Indie book, so all I ask is that reviewers are
honest and fair. When I send copies of my book out for review (either physical or e-copies) I always
include a note saying ‘If you have any questions about the book please do not hesitate to contact
me.’ Shadowless isn’t like most mainstream books, its structure is different, its themes are dark and
complex, and its chapters are not chronologically linear. It doesn’t spoon-feed the reader with
information served up and wrapped in a bow, it forces readers to think about why things are
happening and to make connections between characters and chapters.

I’ve had reviewers contact me because of words or phrases that mean something different in the
U.S. than they do in the U.K./Ireland. I also ask that if Fantasy / Grimdark is not a reviewer’s
preferred genre, then with all due respect please don’t review my book – you won’t like it, I promise
you.

That said, I’ve been relatively lucky in that Shadowless has been fairly well received, it’s got a score
of 4.27 out of 5 on Goodreads. I won’t lie, a good review does make you want to go back to the
keyboard and start/continue on a sequel. If it’s a bad review I take it on the chin and move on, and
under no circumstances engage the reviewer with the intention of venting.

Who is your favorite character from your books? Least favorite?

I know that I’m not supposed to have a favourite character but I really have a soft spot for
Clanitâr Novastus. Clanitâr is one of the oldest, and thus one of the most powerful characters in the
book, he’s unique in that he doesn’t tend to run or hide from the gods like the other characters do.
No one else acts or talks the way he does and I know he’s essentially a villain but his charming
personality really is infectious, as his chapter title suggests.

I wouldn’t say I have a least favourite character exactly, but I really regret putting Lauterbur Hess’s
chapter in at #2 in the book. It’s caused a lot of confusion. One reviewer wrote ‘The book is made up
of demi-humans with no shadows who all come back from the dead when they’re killed.’ Not
realizing that it’s only Lauterbur who comes back – seeing as that is his power.

If you could have dinner with an author, who would it be and what would you ask him or her?

JRR Tolkien and I would ask him where he got the inspiration for Lord of the Rings.

If someone asked you the question from question 8, how would you answer it? (the question you asked the famous author)

I’ve heard it said a few times that writers should ‘Write what you know’ and I grew up
watching films like Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans and reading the Fighting Fantasy
books (the ones where, if you go left, you turn to page 59 and if you go right, turn to page 34) so the
idea for a fantasy novel has always been there. Playing medieval-themed computer games and RPG’s
were also a great source of inspiration and really helped with the world-building and character
development.

I hope you had as much fun with this interview as I did! Thanks again to Randall for visiting with me! If you’d like to check out his book, it’s available on Amazon. Just click on the link below! The link is an amazon affiliate link, so I’ll get a small commission, at no extra cost to you! Be sure to subscribe, because if you liked this interview, I’ll be reviewing Shadowless very soon! Stay tuned! Until next time, bookworms!

 

One thought on “Author Interview: Randall McNally

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.