GJ: Where do you get your inspiration from for writing fantasy novels?
PC: Since I was little, I’ve been obsessed with all kinds of mythology, which helped me create my own magic words and mythical creatures. When it comes to the worldly aspects of my novels, I’ve drawn from my semi-nomadic lifestyle. My debut, Deception of the Damned, weaves through the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Spain, and Portugal, which are all countries I’ve lived in. My upcoming novel, The Priest of Orpagus, takes place mostly in Turkey, where I also spent a year as an English teacher.
GJ: What do you find is the most challenging aspect for an author in the fantasy genre?
PC: Actually, if you have a good imagination, fantasy is probably the easiest genre to write. After all, magic worlds are endless and eternal, and you are free to make your own rules on how to run them.
GJ: And what is the most rewarding for the genre?
PC: To me, a fantasy is an escape. You can read about real lives in newspaper or magazine features, but I prefer books that transport me into different epochs and dimensions. Saying that, I don’t read or write epic fantasy as it usually deals with different worlds exclusively. I like novels where magic slithers into ordinary lives. It just feels more material.
GJ: You plan to release a new trilogy over the next three years, can you describe the premise behind it?
PC: At the end of next year, I’m hoping to release the first instalment of the trilogy called Deathless Chronicle, which I started writing over fifteen years ago, and which was first intended as a standalone. It spans two millennia (from the first century to the near future) and follows the struggle of two antagonised immortals, one of whom strives to annihilate the human race.
GJ: Can you describe your journey to publishing your first novel?
PC: Oh, it was thorny. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so it took me years to decide that my novel was sufficiently polished to offer them to publishers. That’s when I realised how dreadfully saturated the market was. There was a small publishing house in New Mexico that was interested in reading the whole manuscript—but then it went out of business. Fortunately, last year I met the epic fantasy writer R.K. Lander who convinced me to go indie. I owe her a lot because she also recommended me her editor and held the torch for me as I stumbled through the self-publishing labyrinth.
GJ: I know R.K. Lander from my journey to indie publishing and she’s be a great inspiration and guide on the way.
What do you consider to be the most difficult part of the entire process of getting a novel to your readers?
PC: As usual, money is the biggest obstacle. If you have sufficient funds, you can run Facebook ads and do all kinds of promotion, but I can’t really afford to do that. Unfortunately, there are so many books on Amazon that uploading a new one there is like pouring a glass of water into the Amazon River, which means that a debut writer is virtually invisible. All I can do is to maintain my presence on social media and keep on writing and publishing.
GJ: What has been your most successful marketing technique?
PC: I’ve got a lot of Facebook friends, and on my birthday last month, I offered a free copy to everyone who sent me best wishes. It resulted in over two hundred Amazon “sales.” In other words, my most successful marketing technique didn’t earn me a penny, but I got the wonderful present of getting my name out there.
GJ: What is your favourite film in the genre of fantasy?
PC: Actually, I never watch movies. The last time I was to the movie theatre was some ten years ago to see The Smurfs with my nephews. When it comes to books, I devour anything from H.P. Lovecraft’s cosmic horror to the comical novels by Jerome K. Jerome. I do stay away from romance and erotica, though.
GJ: What has been your proudest moment as a writer so far?
PC: I feel proud and thrilled whenever I receive a positive review or a comment. A few days ago, a writer and influencer Jason Crawford called my writing style “awesome,” and he even bought a copy of Deception to review on Amazon. As he gets lots of review requests, this is quite an honour.
GJ: What can we expect from your writing in the coming years?
PC: This July, I’m publishing my second novel, The Priest of Orpagus. The third standalone, God of Madness, is coming next year, along with The Grains of Death, which is book one of Deathless Chronicle. The other two instalments will see the light in two years. I’ve also outlined my fourth standalone novel, Toothache. All of these works are paranormal fiction and fantasy blended with a bit of horror.
GJ: Thank you PC Darkcliff for joining me today. I wish you luck with your epic fantasy series. You can check out Deception of the Damned via Amazon now!