Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I write speculative fiction based on fantasy worlds filled with magic, intrigue and adventure. My writing spills into dark fantasy worlds of sword and sorcery, magic and mayhem. I also write very slowly, this five-minute interview actually took me over an hour!
I live in Devon, England with a handful of teenagers, one feral cat and a dog called Fizz.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing I like to read. I particularly enjoy books on abnormal psychology, fantasy, physics, and forensic science. I also train at the gym about 4 times a week, and I love obsessing about Star Wars.
What are the books and films that helped to define you as an author?
The books that defined me were – Lord of the Rings, all books by Kathy Reich’s, and Stephen King. The TV programs/ Films I found particularly interesting were Star Wars, Firefly, Blake’s 7, Andromeda, Dr Who, Supernatural, Ghost Wars, and 12 Monkeys.
How would you describe your writing style?
Rather dark, full of adventure with lots of action and real characters that you can identify with.
Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?
People either love or hate my work. Some people think dark fantasy means ‘Twilight’ with love struck teenagers and a lot of teenage angst set against a fantasy backward.
’The Torcian Chronicles’ is deep, dark fantasy with flawed characters fighting for a flawed system. The humor is dark too and sometimes a bit naughty for those of a sensitive disposition. The world of Torcia is dangerous and all magic comes at a cost.
One negative review I am quite proud of was from a guy who stated, he hated all fantasy and my book was as bad as Lord of the Rings and that –
‘The world of Torcia is under attack by Mivirian raiders. The Torcian king sends out a warlock to aid in its defense. A captain, Sicam (the only character I liked) is in charge, and along the way they pick up a young royal warlock, Shadral. Scenes of war unfold from the opening page and it never lets up. If you want continuous action, it is all here, relentless and unforgiving. In the darkest kind of way, the world of Torcia overwhelmed me.
PJ Reed presents an arena in which every sort of creature, both evil and benign, romps through some of the most distressing and oppressive landscapes in fantasy lands. Perhaps that’s the point. Nothing in this world seems friendly or safe; the trees of the forests watch and wait, the soils creep and smolder, the cave walls and rocks threaten with jagged points, even the water and snow is dangerous. A world in which you wonder that only warlocks can survive. Death and debris and lingering horror is everywhere. Not a bright glen or valley to be seen, not a rainbow in the strangely torn skies. And that is just nature. Hordes of warriors and ghouls are all over the place.
To be fair, Reed has a powerful skill at colorful description and for the horror fan there is never a dull moment. She makes even the moss on the rocks come alive. Not a doorway or stony edifice or city-scape goes unbrushed with bleakness, corruption or menace. Rot and decay and stench bury this world to the hilt. It reads like dungeons and dragons on fast forward. Even magic swords and wizardry are unable to keep it all at bay for very long.’
I’ve also had lots of super reviews which I am very grateful for and want to thank everyone who posted such kind reviews. For example-
D. Stanley wrote, ‘This book is exactly what fantasy should be. Lots of fantasy is cliched and predictable, let’s be honest, but this book was anything but that.
The first chapter is the perfect opening. It’s tense, it’s exciting, and the tone of it couldn’t be better. The tone is just one example of the quality of writing, but the other is the characterisation. Mesham is a fantastic character — funny, believable, but flawed too. I wanted him to succeed. Unlike most fantasy heroes, he wasn’t protected. He suffered more than anybody throughout and that made him more likeable. In fact, the characters were so consistent that they all felt like real people, even the villains. The Mivirians, while terrifying, didn’t feel like the faceless monsters that most fantasy fighters are, which was a refreshing change.
The worldbuilding was good too, and the author obviously knows her stuff. The spells were fascinating and diverse, and the story was full of action to the very last page. It’s clear that PJ Reed has been writing for a long time. She’s good at it, and this book shows not only this, but how fantasy should be done.’
While K. Belight said, ‘I thoroughly enjoyed this fantasy book. I am an avid fantasy fan and have read many. Excellent in-depth perfectly imperfect characters. Believable other world. Dashes of humour and humanity (good and bad) plus of course great magic. I can’t wait for the next book. Well done.’
What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?
The editing. I find it a painful, soul destroying process.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author?
Yes, animal cruelty.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
The names in my book have names based on Hebrew, Viking or Anglo-Saxon words to indicate their properties e.g. their characters or vices.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers? A laptop, a writing pad, and a pencil. You must also have good observational and listening skills.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received with regards to your writing? Write for yourself. Write what you want to read.
Getting your worked noticed is one of the hardest things for a writer to achieve, how have you tried to approach this subject?
I attend lots of wonderful ComicCons and give talks to various groups.
To many writers, the characters they write become like children, who is your favourite child, and who is your least favourite to write for and why?
I like writing for all my characters – the bad ones are fun because you have to slip into the mind of a psychopath and work out their thoughts and feelings I am enjoying writing two protagonists at present. ‘The Grey’ a psychopathic warlock and ‘Gaol Captain Dimhusir’ an anally retentive bureaucrat who is worrying about the amount of prisoners dying incorrectly in his dungeon. I also like the nobility and kindness of Captain Sicam the battle-hardened warrior with a heart of gold, and Mesham the warlock who never quite gets things right no matter how hard he tries.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
‘The Torcian Chronicles’ Book 1 ‘Defiance’
For those who haven’t read any of your books, which of your books do you think best represents your work and why?
‘The Torcian Chronicles’ Book 1 ‘Defiance’ because it is a total immersion book. Even though its dark fantasy its characters represent actual people you meet, and they have real emotions and flaws. The book is set in a whole new world with plenty of places for the reader to explore. There are different cultures, languages, races, and a completely new magic system. It offers people a chance to escape from the mundane and enter the extraordinary.
‘The Torcian Chronicles’ is available from Amazon.com & Amazon.co.uk
What’s the one question you wish you would get asked but never do?
And what would be the answer? There isn’t one I get asked many, many questions about my writing!
Thank you for reading!