Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the thirty-second, is of crime / fantasy novelist Dave Sivers.
Dave grew up in West London, England. He left school at 16 to start a successful civil service career that took him to a diverse range of locations, including Newport, Rhode Island, Northern Norway, and Sutton Coldfield.
Over the years, he has gained a First Class Honours degree from the Open University and moonlighted as, among other things, a nightclub bouncer, a bookmaker’s clerk and a freelance writer. His published work includes short fiction, magazine articles and newspaper columns, and he has also found some success with stage and TV material.
Since taking early retirement from the day job, he has devoted more time to his writing, which includes both crime fantasy and mainstream crime fiction.
His short mainstream crime can be sampled on his website, and his crime fantasy novel, A Sorcerer Slain, introducing personal inquisitor Lowmar Dashiel, is available as an e-book at the Amazon Kindle Store, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and all good e-book stores.
In whatever spare time he can find, Dave can be found writing, directing or performing in amateur theatre productions, trying to keep on top of his allotment, supporting Queen’s Park Rangers Football Club, or attempting to play guitar just a little more like Mark Knopfler.
And now from the author himself:
My reading taste is fairly eclectic, but has been dominated by horror, crime and fantasy, and these influences have pretty much driven my fiction writing over the years (apart from a chick-lit short story in Take a Break magazine under the pen-name Melanie Blake).
A Sorcerer Slain, the first of a series featuring personal inquisitor Lowmar Dashiel and his dwarf sidekick, Grishen, is what I call crime fantasy – a blend of the two genres. The concept began, almost by accident, with a fantasy short story in which a sexy sorceress dupes a gullible man into doing her very dirty work. Along the way I realised that she was really a Raymond Chandler-esque femme fatale, and I liked that. So I reworked the story, the hero morphing into a hard-bitten private eye-like figure in a world of swords, sorcerers, dwarfs and demons.
The characters and the concept stuck in my mind, and I set about writing the full-length novel that became A Sorcerer Slain. The longer form gave me a much bigger canvas on which to develop Dashiel and his world. He operates on the mean streets of Andruan, capital of the Kingdom of Balimar, a city that has its palaces, exotic towers and temples, but also has a seedier underbelly.
When I write mainstream crime, I spend a fair bit of time on research to give my stories an authentic feel. If you don’t ‘get’ fantasy, it must be easy to assume that it’s a softer option to simply make everything up. Yet I find creating a whole world that looks, smells and feels ‘real’ just as challenging in its way. You have to create political systems, international intrigues, cultures and landscapes that are plausible.
It’s also essential for the magic to make sense. You can’t just have a spell up your sleeve to resolve every difficulty, or there will never be any real suspense. Like science and nature, magic has to be confined by what is and isn’t possible. In Balimar, this is strictly controlled. Magic users are born, not made, and they are all required by law to join the Guild of Sorcerers, formed over 900 years ago in the aftermath of the devastating Sorcerers’ War. Only Guild members are allowed to practice the craft, becoming part of a ‘weaving’ that binds them to the Guild’s rules and makes it impossible for them to break them.
At the time of the events in Sorcerer, the guild’s head has been murdered and his heir, Zarna, is the prime suspect. If she is convicted and executed, the weaving will unravel, breaking the Guild and unleashing a terrifying new conflict.
With everyone in Balimar seeming to have an agenda, the King commissions Dashiel, a man outside the establishment with legendary inquisiting skills, to investigate. But Lowmar Dashiel has his own motives for solving the crime. Zarna is the woman he loved and lost, and he is even more determined to save her life than he is to prevent a war.
Inquisitor Royal, the sequel to A Sorcerer Slain, will be available soon.
Thank you Dave. Although I don’t read (or write fantasy – but listening to my Monday night writer who does it’s certainly not easy!) it does sounds like… er, fun? You certainly have a wonderful imagination. 🙂
The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow morning (UK time) with poet Kerry Hammerton – the one hundred and ninetieth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. Dave will be back for our interview on Wednesday 21st December.
And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can read / download my eBooks from Smashwords (Amazon to follow).