Ben Galley is a best-selling dark fantasy author from the UK. Ben also works as a self-publishing consultant. Let us know more about his writing.
What inspired you to start writing?
That comes down to two things – both my love of fantasy and my incessant imagination. My parents raised me on fantasy classics – from Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit to CS Lewis and The Iliad and the Odyssey. I’ve devoured every fantasy I’ve come across since. I’m a firm believer that what you read can fuel what you write and that’s why I started writing at a very young age indeed, penning my first book at age 11. I haven’t stopped since, thanks to my imagination constantly coming up with strange ideas and driving me to write.
What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?
I believe that the greatest challenge, and joy, in writing a book is the execution of your plans. I’m a big planner – I write at least 10,000 word plans before I even put fingers to keys. The planning for me is the easy part. I let my brain wander and write down every idea that comes to me. The hard part is collating those ideas into prose, dialogue, and progression of plot. I often get carried away, so reining myself in and getting the story down is a challenge, but a great one.
How much research do you do before writing the book?
It depends on what I’m writing. For my first series, the Emaneska Series, my world was based completely on fiction. I got to create everything top to bottom, and so the research was limited to minor things, such as blacksmithing or castle construction. However, my most recent books, the Scarlet Star Trilogy, is based in an alternate 1867. Even though it’s an alternate history series, I still need to draw from real history. There was a huge amount of research needed for this, delving into the American Civil War, American history, as well as British Empire history as well. I spent about 2 months researching.
What motivated you to write the book “Bloodrush (The Scarlet Star Trilogy Book 1)”?
It was actually the magic system that features heavily in the book, and lends it its title. I had this idea for a magic system based on consuming blood, and after a lot of deliberation, the wild west of Wyoming seemed like the perfect setting for such a system. That, and I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of mixing magic and guns. That led me to creating the story.
Can you tell us more about your latest book “Bloodrush (The Scarlet Star Trilogy Book 1)”?
It’s a coming of age tale set in an alternate 1867. When Prime Lord Hark is murdered on the steps of his own home, his only son Merion is sent west to live with his long-forgotten undertaker aunt. She lives in Wyoming, on the very fringes of the known world, where the railway is the only thing that can forge a path to the Last Ocean. Merion is set on one thing and one thing only, and that is the solving of his father’s murder, however it quickly becomes apparent that the world is bigger than he thought it was, and that there are secrets in his bloodline that must be discovered.
How did you come up with the idea of writing a western fantasy genre book?
Western fantasy isn’t a new genre but it’s certainly unexplored. I find there are a lot of parallels between medieval fantasy and the wild west – for instance the lone gunslinger meets the mercenary knight, or the cattle baron meets the local warlord. Both were wild, uncertain times, full of discovery and lawlessness, and so they go quite well together. I wanted to explore that.
Who are your favourite authors?
To name but a few, Neil Gaiman, JRR Tolkien, Joe Abercrombie, Robin Hobb, and Mark Lawrence.
How much time do you dedicate to writing on a daily basis?
I try to keep the business of self-publishing and writing separate, with the latter taking precedence. I make sure to spend 80% of my time writing, with 20% dedicated to emailing, marketing, and general business.
What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?
Whatever you do, keep at it. Perseverance and practice are key to success. Whenever you feel down and that you’re not getting anywhere, remember that you’re doing something that not everybody can do. When it comes to publishing your book, professionalism is the key.
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