Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Author Interview with Jeffrey Collyer

I've got another new author to introduce you to today thanks to an Indie Science Fiction and Fantasy group I joined on Facebook. It's a great place to ask questions about marketing, researching ideas, etc. There's no advertising though. Which is a nice change really.

Anyway, let's get to know a little more about Jeffrey and his writing.

Jeffrey Collyer was born in Perth, Australia. Following stints living in the US and Chile, he finally got bored/tired/confused with travelling the world and settled in England, where he now lives with his wife, four children, and two cats that constantly try to lie on his laptop while he is attempting to write, or trip him down the stairs. Although his reading (and writing) tastes are somewhat eclectic, his first love is Fantasy, as it enables all sorts of subject matter to be explored in subtle ways.

Title of Book:
Dreams and Shadows (Book 1 of the Aylosian Chronicles)

What do you do when you are suddenly transported from twenty-first century England into a world of strange magic where everyone seems to be trying to kill you?

That’s the question that faces Michael – an orphan who had been abandoned with a young couple while a baby, and largely ignored after his “adoptive mother” died. When a powerful dream sets off a series of events that inexplicably draws him into the land of Aylosia, Michael finally believes he is arriving in a place where he will feel his mother’s love, but magical and political forces quickly seek his destruction.

Caught between truth and lie, Michael now faces a fight for survival in a beautiful land; and must struggle to learn of his own powers and destiny if he is to save those he has grown to love.

Dreams and Shadows is a story of magical powers and strange creatures; of love, betrayal, despair, and ultimately hope.

(Also available in other Amazon markets)

Note that US readers can get the Kindle book for free if they purchase the paperback.

Author Links:
Twitter: @JeffreyCollyer

Question 1: When and why did you begin writing?
Well, for as long as I remember people have told me that I’m talented at writing. I’ve often written something short for family, and started a blog a few years ago. It was only last year that I decided to attempt a novel, though. I was actually going through a dark time in my life, and imagining a new fantasy world – and then writing about it – was a release for me at first. When I got to the point of realising that it could be a novel, I shared it with a couple of people who I thought would give me honest feedback, and to say they were encouraging would be an understatement. So, here we are now: my first full-length novel published earlier this month, and strangers are actually buying it, and saying they love it! Wow. I have to pinch myself.

Question 2: What books/authors have influenced your writing?
I've loved a whole range of fantasy from my early teenage years. Lord of the Rings is a masterpiece, of course. And I really enjoyed David Eddings' various books for the pure joy of the storytelling.

But without doubt the books that had the biggest influence on me then – and probably still do – are the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen Donaldson. He created a world that was just gorgeous, but more importantly, the world and the story were really vehicles to explore much deeper issues around despair. A lot of people dislike the series because the main character is tremendously frustrating, and being about despair a lot goes wrong. But for me there was so much to think about. It taught me the potential power in writing, specifically in fantasy.

More recently I’ve read some Patrick Rothfuss, and have found his writing style to be amongst the most beautiful I have ever come across. Truly stunning.

Question 3: What genre do you consider Dreams and Shadows?
It’s fantasy of course, but beyond that I struggle to pigeon-hole it. Technically, it qualifies as Young Adult, because the MC is roughly 18, but there’s no teen angst, and the hormones are kept to a minimum. It also ticks a lot of boxes for Epic. But while there are battles and sword fights, they don’t dominate. A lot of reviewers are saying that it’s very fast-paced, but I consider it a character-driven story, although the character development in this first book is mostly seen in the MC. A consistent theme that has so far come back from readers is that it is a story for all ages, male and female.

Question 4: What was the hardest part of writing Dreams and Shadows?
While it is first and foremost a story, there are numerous themes and symbols woven throughout. My aim was to have most of them discreet, so that people who just want a story can read it without finding secondary messages too ‘in-your-face’; while at the same time, they couldn’t be so well hidden that no-one would spot them if they like that sort of thing! Getting that balance right was tough. I hope I’ve achieved it.

Question 5: How did you come up with the title?
Dreams and Shadows is the first book in a planned trilogy, and I plan to have the titles of each book somehow represent the entire series, so Dreams and Shadows does that, while also being apt for this specific book. The first chapter is a dream, full of meaning and symbolism. You’ll see many elements of the dream portrayed throughout the book, so that was the first part of the title.

The Shadows element represents the question of what is real versus what is a pale reflection. I’ve written some epigraphs for each of the chapters – invented “Wisdom Literature”, and the first two chapters have lines about Dreams, and Shadows, respectively.

Question 6: Is there an element of Dreams and Shadows you’re especially pleased with?
Just getting the book published, and people saying they’ve got enjoyment from it has been amazing for me. But I think the elements that give me the greatest satisfaction are probably the wisdom literature, which I’ve called the Wisdom of Ashael. I’ve had some fabulous feedback specifically about these, and they are the most quotable. I’ll have to create a number of memes that quote them, I think. :-)

And finally, fill in the blank…
Keep Calm and Explore Fantasy Worlds.


  1. Thanks very much Charity :-)

  2. I remember the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. He was an interesting character. Definitely not likeable, but that's all the rage nowadays.


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