Tell us a bit about your chosen genre. Do you feel your strength as a writer is within one specific genre or do you dabble in a number of different genres?
I chose the genre of Fantasy really because it gives an author a licence to write anything. The types of stories I had going around in my head at the time had very little to do with the real world as we see it every day and related more to other worlds and magical powers. Fantasy seems to fit me well, but I do wish to stray into other genres in the future for sure, emotional drama perhaps, where I can freely explore the human race on my own terms.
Is there one particular author or book that influenced you when you were younger, and if so, how did that influence shape who you are as a writer today?
In particular, two authors shaped how I write and how I go about my craft. Stephen King and Anne Rice. Even I find this interesting, considering that both of these fantastic authors have the genre of Horror pretty well sown up, and yet I write fantasy…? However, it was Anne Rice’s descriptions that influenced me, her ability to take me to a city I have never been before, and long to be there again and again, meeting dark and wonderful vampires and witches outside beautiful houses. With Stephen King, I learned the balance of the description with the reality of things. Is that a wonderful potato sliver you are eating, smattered in the finest glints of salt and bitter, stinking vinegar? Or is it a bag of fries? Stephen taught me to call it what it is, and not work too hard to tell the reader what they see. After all, everyone is going to see it all differently anyway, so why try too hard? Everyone knows what a bag of fries looks like after all.
Physical books or ebook? Everyone has a preference...what's yours?
My preference all depends on what I’m reading. I would say on the main I am mostly happy with a Kindle book, for all the practical reasons, and the story is always the story, no matter the media. However, if I am looking to complete a collection, or retain some kind of connection with the story? In other words, if I could not bear to lose it if Amazon went bust tomorrow? Then my bookshelf is there to house my paperback collection. (Paperback over hardback though, always.)
What can you tell us about your preferred writing environment? Music, no music? At home, locked in your office, or out in the world in a coffee shop?
I cannot abide noise. I have actually asked this question myself and researched other writers to find out their preferences, because I find any kind of noise, whether music, the neighbour’s lawn mower, the church bells, or someone with a hammer the most aggravating things in the world when trying to write. My concentration just breaks and I am left with a sentence, and no reason for its existence. However, as for where I write? Sitting on my bed mostly… I long for that perfect writer’s room, the desk, the chair, the solitude, the wall to wall bookcases… alas, it’s on my bed, getting a bad back, hunched over my laptop, tilted up toward me by my toes.
A simple question: why do you write?
I write because I have stories to tell. I believe it was Anne Rice who advised to write the story you would like to read, and some of the stories I’d love to read are the ones that I write. They explore the questions that I can never get answered any other way, and are able to be expressed in an enjoyable way.
How often do you read new authors? Any you'd like to recommend here?
I try to read new authors when I can, but sometimes I do find I just go back to old favourites, and reread those books that bring me home. I would recommend anything by up-and-coming author Sarah Michelle Lynch. Check her out on Amazon, she is a top rate author in my book. (No pun intended.)
Do you have a favorite local bookstore you like to support or do you get your book fix from Amazon or some other online outlet?
My books come from Amazon, but I do have a favourite bookstore. It is a Waterstones, but it is my favourite because I love to watch my girlfriend go straight to the Graphic Novel section, sit down on the floor cross-legged, and just start reading her way through the latest. It’s so cute, and I cannot possibly love another bookshop as much as that one for that reason alone.
Do you buy new or used books, or both?
I tend to buy new books. I love the look and smell of a brand new book. However, a lot of my collection are second hand, collected over the years. I’m not adverse to swapping them out though if they get too damaged, but I will always pass the older copy on to someone else if I can. I never throw away a book.
Where did your love for reading and writing come from?
My mother and my sister were always avid readers, and it was my mother who began writing me short stories about my teddy-bear when I was little that got me into writing. I was fascinated by the shelves of horror books she had, and all the creepy covers. Stephen King’s Pet Sematary was the first book I ever read cover-to-cover. I haven’t stopped since.
Blake Rivers lives in the East of England, surrounded by acres of historical countryside, towns and villages. It is from these mysterious places of history that he draws on the fantastical, moulding them into stories and adventures.
For as long as he can remember, writing books and being an author of stories was all he wanted to do. He still keeps his first two manuscripts, one written on an old Royal typewriter when he was twelve, and the other on an Amiga computer when he was fourteen, and although they'd never be published, they are a reminder of the dream and the journey. In the late 2000s, Blake wrote many starts to books that he abandoned, which have since created the Kindle eBook he calls A Writer's Lesson in False Starts, but it was in 2011 he began to write his first novel to be published, The Assassin Princess.
When he is not writing, Blake reads a lot, his favourite authors being Anne Rice, Stephen King and Patricia Cornwell, among many others, and he also enjoys going for long walks and, of course, spending time with his beautiful girlfriend. He is also very fond of visiting the many medieval churches of England.
The Assassin Princess is available for Kindle and in paperback.