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  • Writer's pictureG R Matthews

Question 4: T O Munro

Question 4 came straight from T O Munro's keyboard, through the internet and onto r/fanatsy. You might know his name? He is the charming writer of The Lady of the Helm and its sequels. They are well worth your time so go and pick them up on Amazon.


1) Given the vibrant debate on self-publishing that Marc Aplin has stimulated via fantasy-faction, what have been the high spots for you?

2) With book 3 nearing completion (?!) will you

a) develop your existing world and milieu with another story in the same setting (like Mark Lawrence and the Red Queen's War)


b) branch out in a new but still fantasy direction (like Daniel Polansky and Those Above)


c) Go down the sci-fi route (like er.. GR Matthews and "Silent City")?


Hi T O Munro,

1) The high spot? Seeing someone I didn't know reading my paperback :) A "bloody hell, someone actually bought it" moment. Another, reading a review which praises the editing :)

I read Marc's post and the conversation that has followed on from it. Self-publishing is not easy - in fact, the only thing easy to do is make mistakes. I also know that Marc made his points with the very best of intentions and thought - people take from it that which they brought (more on twitter than Facebook)... did I just steal that line from Empire Strikes Back? Luke going into the grotto? I am also very aware that Marc, and Fantasy-Faction, support self-pub'd authors - you'll have seen a few reviewed over the last months and years. It all goes back to the slush pile, the noise and the sheer amount of self-pub'd books out there.

Now some are really good. I have read quite a few all the way through and thoroughly enjoyed them and coming totally clean here, I have been reading some of the #SPFBO entries for Fantasy-Faction and in doing so have found one or two that I thought were really good - and more that I couldn't get past the first three chapters (sometimes even one... see the info-dump article on my own website).

How do good self-pub'd books get noticed above the 'noise'? The Self-pub blog-off is one good way. 250 books - some getting good reviews, some not.

2) Into the final third now of book 3 and starting to draw some threads to a close, exposing some secrets and hopefully relating things back to earlier foreshadowing!

A, B or C? Reflects a conversation I had with a respected voice in Fantasy recently. The Stone Road, being set in China, is a little more 'niche' (I think) than other fantasy - it is a great book (bloody wonderful in my opinion) so was I thinking of something a little more mainstream next?

Epic Fantasy - a doorstopper tome? My 'voice' doesn't fit that multiple PoV style.

Steampunk - it is an idea.

Urban Fantasy - I have some ideas down this road and my journal will start filling up with ideas, scenes and concepts soon.

I think I will be leaving my alternative ancient China alone for a bit, though I may be stealing the magic systems (spoiler: There are 10 magic systems in the world of The Stone Road - book 2 delves more into the known ones, and hints at more, book 3 reveals them all and their importance to the world.) as a lot of inspiration went into them.

Before that though, I have another Corin Hayes book to write. A follow up to 'Silent City' and I have the first chapter mostly written - and a plot line to follow. The Sci-Fi is, again, a little more niche as it is not set in space, but underwater. I wrote Silent City to see what happened to Corin - a character I created and write 15,000 words about in one weekend. All the way through Stone Road and Blue Mountain, he was there shouting at me, telling me to come back and tell his story. In the end, between book 2 and starting book 3, I did.

He is still there, but now he whispers in my ear.


Corin is on my tbr list - shouting at me from my kindle, so I will get to him myself.

It is strange how varied are the genres that call out to our imaginations and perhaps that is a strength of self-publishing - that we can feel more comfortable about a genre switch because there is no commercial machine expecting us to stick with what works? (Or maybe not)


I think that is nail hit squarely on the head. I asked Tim Marquitz a similar question for the interview that went up on Fantasy-Faction today - he had a good answer :)

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