We are delighted to welcome Ben Galley to Big Book Little Book. Not only is Ben the author of the Emaneska series, he is also the creator of Shelf Help, a site offering advice on the entire self publication process.
At 24, Ben Galley is a young author from sunny England, and a writer of fantasy and tall tales. Author of the epic and dark Emaneska Series, he has two books to his name, and there is soon to be a third. He’s passionate about sharing his knowledge and know-how with other hopeful authors, and is keen to help them turn their passion into their profession. Ben regularly tours the country signing books, pestering bookshops, and searching for dragons. He is a regular speaker, and blogger on everything fantasy and Self-Publishing, and has just launched a Self-Publishing, Writing, and Marketing site called SHELF HELP. You can also find him lurking on several social media sites including Twitter and Facebook
What do you do when you are not writing?
When I’m not writing, I’m usually asking myself the question: Why am I not writing? But aside from that, I’m an avid reader, amateur cook, I enjoy running, and like to pretend I can surf.
What inspired you to become a writer?
Originally, it was the influence of my parents, and the great books they let me read as a child. Books like Lord of The Rings, Iliad and the Odyssey, the Redwall series, and a huge number of others. It instilled a strong sense of imagination in me, and it was hard to ignore it, so it wasn’t long before I was attempting to write instead of read. I wrote my first book at age 12, and haven’t looked back since.
What was your inspiration for the Emaneska series?
Fantasy has always been a big part of my life and of my bookshelf, so it was a genre I’ve always wanted to delve into, with a bold and epic series. I had recently got back into fantasy and weird fiction, so it was partly that, and the desire to write something gritty and dark too, thanks to getting irritated by the watershed subject matter of a certain BBC series about a certain Arthurian wizard…Aside from that, the idea of Farden, my main character, literally came crashing into my head.
Why did you choose to write fantasy?
From my deep love of everything fantastical and out of this world. It’s a genre with no bounds.
How did you get interested in the fantasy genre?
Thanks to being introduced to Lord of The Rings by my parents and at a very young age. It’s an obvious choice for fantasy lovers, but for me it is the birth of the genre as I know it, and the birth of a love.
Tell us more about your books?
My books – The Written and Pale Kings are books 1 and 2 of the Emaneska Series, an epic fantasy trilogy that follows the cold and pseudo-nordic world of Emaneska and its troubled inhabitants. It’s a land caught in the middle of a vicious winter and an uneasy peace. They’re primarily about Farden, a dark character who is a powerful mage and soldier for his people the Arka, but a man with a great many problems. The books follow him as he is dragged into a malicious plot to not only destroy him, but Emaneska as a whole.
What research did you do for this series
Only a little. The beauty of fantasy is that the author is the world-builder, and therefore is responsible for its history, its people, and its aspects. However, as I wanted to include a lot of Nordic tones, I went back to a lot of the Scandinavian myths I had read as a child.
Are any elements of your books based on real life experiences/people?
Again, very little. Once again, with fantasy, it’s hard to transfer real life experiences directly, but they do percolate through and transmute into the concepts that I use, and also to power certain scenes. Love, loss, anger, greed, and all the others I may have experienced. In regards to real life people, I use that a lot for describing appearances, but I can’t name any names 😉
What are you currently working on?
The third and final book in the Series – Dead Stars.
What is your writing process ?
I write every day, without fail. It’s a habit I think you have to get into to keep your book moving along, to keep your writing sharp, and to make sure you stay on track with plots. I write on my laptop or on my phone, and if I’m not writing at home, I like to go find a river or a beach or a hill for inspiration.
Do you use anything to sustain you during the writing process? Coffee? Chocolate? Music?
It used to be coffee, but now it’s just water and a little music every now and again. And plenty of exercise.
What prompted you to self publish?
The fact that I knew I could publish my book once I finished it. No questions asked. On my terms. Without having to face rejection or a lengthy wait.
Can you tell us about the challenges in writing and publishing your first novel?
The first challenge was writing it whilst working full time at bars, clubs, and restaurants. I had to write most of the first novel on my mobile phone. Once I finished it, the second challenge was getting it edited, and that took even longer! In publishing, I researched extensively before going ahead, so I avoided a few pitfalls but not all. The main challenge for me there was sourcing a great cover and formatting for eBooks.
Do you ever experience writers block? How do you overcome it?
I don’t really believe in writer’s block, just writer’s uphill struggle. I think you have to go for a jog, make some lunch, or just work on something else, like another chapter, or leave a note and move on.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
It takes hard work and time to write and publish novels. Whatever happens, just keep going 🙂
What books have inspired you?
Lord of The Rings, once again. All of Neil Gaiman’s books. Mythology as a whole. Robin Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy, and also John Milton’s Paradise Lost, and Charles Dickens’s entire collection.
What was your favourite book as a child/teenager?
Any of the Redwall series.
What are you currently reading?
A rather non-fiction book called UXB. It’s a WW2 book.
What was the last book you recommended to a friend?
Way of Kings Part 1 and 2, by Brandon Sanderson.
What/Who inspired you as a reader?
Just for Fun
If your book had a soundtrack which artists would feature on it?
Many a raucous one, due to its fast-paced nature and action. But I have quite a varied music taste, so I think the Series would reflect that too. Audioslave, Incubus, Killswitch Engage, but also Helios, Thomas Newman, Sigur Ros.
Paper, Audio or eBook?
Tea or Coffee?
Neither. Doctor’s orders 😉
Slippers or barefoot?
Shower or Bath?
Marmite: Love it? Hate it?
Email or postcard?
Can’t put an email on your fridge. Save the fridge magnet.
His name is Farden.
They whisper that he’s dangerous.
Dangerous is only the half of it.
Something has gone missing from the libraries of Arfell. Something very old, and something very powerful. Five scholars are now dead, a country is once again on the brink of war, and the magick council is running out of time and options. Entangled in a web of lies and politics and dragged halfway across icy Emaneska and back, Farden must unearth a secret even he doesn t want to know, a secret that will shake the foundations of his world. Dragons, drugs, magick, death, and the deepest of betrayals await. Breathtakingly vast, chillingly dark, brooding and dangerous, The Written will leave you impatiently waiting for the next adventure Welcome to Emaneska.
A huge thank you to Ben for taking part in our Self Published Sunday feature. Check out Ben’s Guest post So Now Everyones Is An Author? where Ben provides us with the benefit of his self publishing experience.
The Written and Pale Kings, the first two instalments of the Emaneska trilogy, are available to buy from Amazon.