Today on The Tattooed Book Geek I am very pleased to be bringing you all an interview with fantasy author R.B. Watkinson, author of The Cracked Amulet and the forthcoming The Fractured Portal both from The Wefan Weaves trilogy.
Welcome RB and a massive thank you for agreeing to appear on my blog and taking the time to do this interview. A pleasure.
1 – Would you please tell us about The Wefan Weaves trilogy?
R.B: I’d love to. The trilogy takes place in a world with two moons, perhaps in a parallel universe to ours. It has Portals – Duru in the old tongue – marked by ancient standing stones. Thes Portals lead to the Wefan-flux, or the wild Wefan, a place where rivers, even seas, of pure power surge in patterns too vast to understand, which lie between what is known and unknown. The Wefan weaves act as a dimensional gateway where time and space are fluid.
The Wefan, also weaves through everything animate and inanimate within the world of Dumnon in ordered patterns of energy that are part of the fabric of everything. But a Portal, forced open using Ascian magic, has broken the seal between the world and the wild Wefan. A growing rip opens onto the void and Wefan leaks from the world, weakening its structure.
A new Priest-king rules in the mountain bound land of Mureck, and the Murecken priesthood of the oppressive god Murak rise again to bring war to the lands of Dumnon, destroying farms and families, towns and cities, conquering swathes of territory and gaining new followers. They search for those with the Wealdan, for it gives their Ascian magic more power. Power to twist, alter and control other beings – human and beast. They seek to fulfil a prophecy and to succeed, they need a certain type of blood.
2 – If you had to sum up the trilogy in one sentence, what would it be?
R.B: Blimey, just the one? How about something a lovely reviewer said on Amazon about my book: A tale that blends the world-building fantasy of David Eddings and the science-fantasy of Julian May (I’ve paraphrased).
3 – What can readers expect from The Wefan Weaves trilogy?
R.B: Lots of strong characters, both male and female, both protagonists and antagonists, because stories need characters that readers care about whether they love or hate them. I’ve tried to make this a compelling and grim story, as well as intricate and powerful. It’s not as grim as the grimdark sub-genre of fantasy, but it’s a pretty dark world of filled with failing states and religions, and populated with a variety of magiks, unusual creatures and spirits of every ilk.
4 – What is your favourite part of writing The Wefan Weaves trilogy?
R.B: The initial explosion of writing that first draft. The words pouring out, trying to keep up with the filmic qualities of the tale travelling across my mindscape. The exciting creation of a new world with new magic systems and extraordinary creatures. Getting to know the characters…ooops, that’s more than one, right?
OK, we’ve learned about your work. Now, I’d like to change tact for a different section of the interview. I think it would be fun to find out what type of character you would be, if you were writing yourself as a character in a book.
1 – What would your character name be?
R.B: In any book, not necessarily mine? Hmm. Secan (old English for ‘seek’), The Seeker – of knowledge, artifacts, truth. Even people.
2 – What would your background be? Noble born? Royal Bastard? Farmer? Slave? Poor? Orphan? Mad God?
R.B: Born on a farm, travelled with tinkers, sailed with pirates, settled in the greatest of cities with the largest library in the world.
3 – What type of character would you be? Good? Bad? Anti-hero? Morally Ambiguous?
R.B: Mostly good, but can be morally ambiguous where required and ruthless when needed.
4 – What would your profession be? Warrior? Mage? Annalist? Assassin? Government official? Spy? Concubine?
R.B: A finder of secrets, an unraveller of enigmas, a seeker of those hidden, a pursuer of truths. A spy – but for whom? That’s the biggest secret of all.
5 – What would be your weapon of choice? Is the pen mightier than the sword or do you choose something to illicit visceral limb severing carnage?
R.B: The pen and tongue are mightier than the sword. When they aren’t, then stealth and hidden daggers for close up work, or a tiny crossbow, concealed up my sleeve, to deliver poisoned darts dealing silent death.
6 – If you were creating a crest/sigil for your house what animal/creature would you use and what would be your house moto?
R.B: A sea dragon is an excellent sigil. The motto: Danger lies beneath the surface, but also truth.
Last part of the interview. We’ve talked about your work, your character and now I think it would be interesting to find out more about you, a sort of uncovering the veil and seeing the person behind the book.
1 – When did you decide to become a writer?
R.B: I was raised on fantasy, myths, and legends as a child. I went on to read everything I could get my mitts on, not just fantasy and science fiction, and was inspired to write short stories and ideas for novels. But there were bills to pay and children to raise, so writing anything major took second place until the children grew their wings. I then went to Oxford University to study for the Creative Writing Diploma. It gave me the courage and belief that I could and should write. Once the box was opened all the characters and their stories that had been clamouring in my head for years burgeoned and became uncontainable – it was write or go mad.
2 – Why do you write/What inspired you to become a writer?
R.B: I love writing and lose myself in the words and worlds – it’s that simple. I get inspiration from all the books I’ve ever read – and there have been many from all the different genres.
3 – Have any authors influenced your work?
R.B: Yes. How could it be otherwise? So many, I’d be here ’til next week naming them all. My first fantasy books were of Narnia and Middle Earth, which I devoured while still in junior school. Since then I’ve read tales from Midkemia, Belgariad, Deverry, Drenai, Malazan and more – so much more. There are so many enchanting worlds out there, built by so many amazing creators.
4 – What are your top five favourite books?
R.B: Can I say series? Because few standalone’s would make such a list: Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen, Julian May’s Golden Torc, Pratchett’s discworld, J V Jone’s The Barbed Coil, Cecilia Dart-Thornton’s The Ill-made Mute. I have to add that there are many more that could easily have been, and should be, in this top five – even a top one hundred wouldn’t be enough to list all the books I love equally well.
And finally, the last question, you can breathe a sigh of relief as I’m sure you’re regretting agreeing to this arduous journey by now! It can be either a fun or a serious answer.
5 – If you could change one thing about the state of the world, what would it be and why?
R.B: Everyone should be able to read. That every child in the world should get a real, full and complete education so they can grow up knowing who they are, what their history is, what everyone else’s history is, how they can become better people and be more empathetic towards those different from themselves.
Well, that concludes the interview, many thanks R.B for taking the time to visit my blog, it’s been a pleasure having you on The Tattooed Book Geek and I wish you all the best with The Wefan Weaves trilogy.
Do you have any last words for readers of this interview?
R.B: I don’t try to write in someone else’s style, or better than anyone else, I only try to write every day in my own way but better than I did the day before.
About R.B. Watkinson:
I was born a long time ago in a country far far away – The Netherlands is a long way from Devon, right? I’ve lived in Africa and the Middle East – where my eldest was born. I’ve visited the Far East and much of Europe and Scandinavia. I’ve worked in Paris and Copenhagen.
I was raised on mythologies, legends, and tales from all over the world as, amongst other things, my father was a collector of ancestral tales and creation myths. It’s probably why I adore reading fantasy, but I also love science fiction, history, historical fiction, and pretty much anything else I can get my hands on.
I also write – a lot.
In the past, I’ve worked as an editorial secretary, in special educational needs teaching, and in publishing. I now run a small-holding, am Co-Chair of a local amateur dramatic group, sing folk music with a local group, and work on the occasional film as an extra.
Have I mentioned I love to write?
I’ve written (and illustrated) a children’s book, a play, screenplays, numerous poems, and short stories. After completing the Diploma in Creative Writing at Oxford University in 2011, I signed a three book deal for the Wefan Weaves Trilogy with Claret Press, London, a small independent publishing house. Book one, The Cracked Amulet, was published in January 2016, and had been nominated for the David Gemmell Morningstar Award. The audio rights for The Cracked Amulet was bought by a New York publisher, Essential Audio Books, and it came out in February 2017.
Book two, The Fractured Portal, should be out this year.
I know I am lucky to be an author and do what I love in the comfort of my own home – or any cafe with good coffee – but don’t be mistaken; it is also a lot of hard work.
You can find R.B. Watkinson:
The Cracked Amulet (Wefan Weaves #1).
Wefan is leaking from the world, and the blood-priests of the oppressive god Murak rise again to bring war to the lands of Dumnon. They search for those with Wealdan in their blood, for this gives them power. Power to twist, to alter and control, and ultimately to gain yet more power. In horrifying blood-rites practised on both humans and creatures, they gorge on the blood of innocents, destroying farms and families, conquering swathes of territory and gaining new followers. But not all Wealdan-infused blood carries the same intoxicating fuel. The blood-priests seek one above all others.
Against a background of failing states, magik and spirits, Coryn and Katleya lose all that they have and must flee all that they know. Coryn, protected by a cracked amulet, must find his sister and fulfil an oath. Katleya has only her wits and her knives to defend herself. Desperate to reach a haven where she can learn to use her power fully, Katleya uses her Wealdan to do little other than see the Wefan. But she is hunted by those who would use her for terrible purposes of their own.
A story as intricate and as powerful as any Weaving of the Wefan.
Purchase The Cracked Amulet:
Please remember to check back in tomorrow when I will be posting a book extract from The Cracked Amulet along with an exclusive extract from The Fractured Portal too!
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