The League of Scribes: Interview With Jeffrey Collyer

Each week, The L. Palmer Chronicles uses The Magical Watch of Steampunk Coolness to bring you a member of The League of Scribes.

Credit: Ronald Saunders

Credit: Ronald Saunders

The League of Scribes is a legendary group of authors who write grand adventures in the realms of science fiction and fantasy. They are able to write rich, compelling stories while keeping content in the PG –PG-13 range.

If you have been on a quest to find clean sci-fi and fantasy novels, you have reached the right place.

This week, we present:

Jeffrey Collyer

Otherwise known by his Code Name: Erallis

 :

It’s the name of the third book in my series. I could say more than that, but if I did… well, I’d have to… you know. Let’s just leave it there shall we?

About the Author

Jeffrey Collyer was born in Perth, Australia. Following stints living in the US and Chile, he finally settled in England, where he now lives with his wife, four children, and cats that love sitting on his laptop and trying to trip him down the stairs. Although his reading (and writing) tastes are somewhat eclectic, his first love is Fantasy, as it enables such a wide range of subject matter to be explored in subtle ways.

Jeffrey Collyer’s Work

Dreams and Shadows by Jeffrey Collyer:

The Aylosian Chronicles tells the story of a young man in modern England named Michael. Except his name isn’t really Michael, and he isn’t really from England. He just doesn’t know it. When he’s strangely drawn into the world of Aylosia, suddenly he’s facing threats to his life from all directions and he has no idea why.

Added to all this, he has an unexplained, but desperate, urge to know the mother he never had.

Learning about this beautiful world with strange magic and powerful creatures, he’s pulled from one place to another, trying to work out who he can trust, and who his real friends (and enemies) are, even as he slowly begins to discover truths about himself. Gradually, his life becomes interwoven with others as he moves on a path where he will eventually have to face true darkness.

Interview

Who would love your books?

If you like unique creatures and world-building; if you like a really interesting magic system that will make you think about other possibilities with it – about what sort of magic you might have; if you like a story that spends a lot of time inside the MCs head; if you like a pinch of suspense and drama, along with moments of tenderness; if you like original wisdom literature that will make you stop and think about how it applies to you and your life…

If you like all of these things, then you will love The Aylosian Chronicles.

Of course there is action and excitement – in Dreams and Shadows, it’s especially towards the end. But it’s not really a story about great fight scenes, and if you read it primarily for the action, you may find it’s not really your thing. Instead, it’s a story about a young man who is lost, and who needs to learn about his true self if he is to save those he grows to love. The magic, the quests, the creatures, the lore: these are all part of that much more important story.

What was the inspiration for your latest book/series?

I was actually going through a really dark time in my life, and fleeing into invented worlds of fantasy was my escape. That’s where the Aylosian Chronicles were born. It’s interesting when I go back and reread Dreams and Shadows now, knowing as I do which chapters I wrote during some of my most difficult periods. I’ve written a little about that here

If a movie of your book were made, what movie(s) would it be most similar too?

That’s a really tough one. A lot of people have said they enjoy my world-building and can picture the scenes on film, but which would it be most like? Maybe the closest would be Lord of the Rings, but with just a little suspense and mystery thrown in.

My readers might say something completely different, of course!

Do you use music while writing? If so, what music do you use? Is there a theme song for your book?

Aargh. No. I need total silence to write. Silence, I say!

As far as a theme song, I have a little tune I’ve composed in my head, but whether I’ll ever try to turn it into something recognisable is another matter.

What authors or books inspire you most?

Without any doubt, the biggest influence on me has been Stephen R Donaldson’s classic series, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. I read that first series when I was a teenager, and it blew me away then. It still does today.

It’s definitely not a book for everyone’s taste, but there are some powerful themes woven through that book that continue to call to my soul. Although I haven’t consciously sought to mimic that approach in my own writing, it is there (though hopefully a bit more upbeat).

But more generally, I like different styles of writing depending on my mood. I loved Lindsay Buroker’s Emperor’s Edge series. That’s Steampunk (not my usual sub-genre), but those books are just a load of fun and a great bit of escapism.

On other occasions, I really love books with beautiful prose. Lord of the Rings, or The Kingkiller Chronicles by Pat Rothfuss – that’s very poetic and just beautiful.

What I don’t enjoy is grimdark, or anything too battle-heavy or gory. I prefer books that are ultimately uplifting.

If you were conquering the world, what fantasy or sci-fi creature/race/entity would you build your army out of? Why?

I’d like to say Wombles, because they’d be discreet about it. They’d also make highly benevolent rulers. However, in all honesty I don’t think they’d get very far with the “conquering” part.

If your goal is as simple as “make sure you conquer”, I guess maybe the Borg form Star Trek. They’re just so adaptable. The whole “Resistance is futile” thing is more than just a slogan for them. They really mean it.

Would you rather ride a galactic unicorn or a space dinosaur? Why?

A heavenly dragon. Because dragons are just so awesome.

When did you decide to be a professional writer?

I’m not one of those who says they’ve always dreamed of being a writer from the time they were ten, or whatever. No. I always did really well in my English classes, and my favourite book from that time was Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (if you don’t know it, it’s the book from which Apocalypse Now was derived. N.B. I didn’t enjoy the film). Again, it’s a dark book, with loads of imagery that just spoke to me. To be honest, that should have been a signal to me that literature would be more important to me that I thought it was. But it didn’t, and it never even entered my head that writing was something I could do.

Instead, I kept on studying, got a “real” job, and only starting properly writing fiction a couple of years ago. Back during that very dark period, I began writing with no intention of publishing. I was doing it solely as a form of self-therapy. But once I got about a third of the way in to my story, and knew it would take a trilogy to finish it, I passed a few early chapters to some work colleagues.

Their overwhelming response was “Finish it!” That’s when I decided to take the plunge. I’m really pleased I did, as I just love writing.

Take us on a brief tour of a place in the world of one of your books – It could be a building, a city, a dungeon, a mystical sword factory, etc.

Ooh, there are so many places I wish I could take you. There’s a place in my world of Aylosia that has allusions to Dante’s Inferno, but that will only be fleshed out in book 3, Erallis (it’s an interesting place, though).

Or there’s the mountain, Dawnseer Peak, that plays a prominent role in Woven Peril. That’s awesome. I really like the Cedrill Hills, too: filled with mystery, danger, and wonders.

But my favourite place must be the Pa’lasha. There are a few of these hidden underground caverns dotted across the land. They always contain a pool of pure water, and have blue and green stones (Kerid Stones) that glow on the walls, floor, and under the water. They’re believed to have been left by the ancient immortal Ashael, as places where her love is manifest. The Kerid Stones may only be carefully removed by Stone Weavers, and even then for only the most special of occasions. Different Pa’lasha appear in each of my books, each time serving a very particular purpose.

I don’t want to really elaborate at this point as I don’t want to spoil anything for new readers. But, yeah. The Pa’lasha are special places I’d love to take anyone.

What is your number one piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Build your resilience. You’re going to need it.

For those times your muse has abandoned you and you just have to write anyway. That can feel like hard work.

For when you edit. Yawn. Really, really tedious. Writing is fun. Editing is… not.

For when you get negative feedback. Maybe from your editor, maybe from beta readers, or maybe from reviews.

It’s okay. Everyone gets negative feedback. The trick is to identify what’s valuable. Then take that and use it, ignoring the rest.

If I’m feeling sorry for myself, I sometimes search out the 1-star reviews of Lord of the Rings. The fools! It makes me feel better.

Yeah, resilience.

Where do your books fall on the Rating Scale of PG to PG-13 Content (1 = How To Train Your Dragon, 8 = The Dark Knight, 10 = Borderline-R-Rating).

Maybe a 7? There’s no swearing (okay, one invented swear word, but that’s it). There’s an attempted seduction but nothing graphic there. There is violence, including a decapitation, but again none of it is graphic. The reader is told it happens, and that’s it.

If you could live in a fictional world (besides one you’ve created) which would you choose and why?

The Star Wars universe is pretty cool (as long as I was a Jedi). But I think if I were to pick one place above all others, it would be “The Land” from The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. Just totally, completely, beautifully awesome.

To explore the worlds Jeffrey Collyer has created, check out the books below:

To Interact with Jeffrey Collyer, check out the links below:

Readers:

  • Do you have any more questions for Jeffrey Collyer?
  • What magic do you believe is in your every day world?

If you would like to join the League of Scribes, please e-mail lpalmer@lpalmerchronicles.com

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