Today I’ve got an interview with self-publishing wunderkind Ben Galley. He’s got loads of books out, and advises others on how to publish theirs. He also does incredible work with his graphic design skills, and by now you may have seen some of his animated covers floating around. They’re great stuff if you haven’t seen them yet. I told him I’d put in a bio, and he gave me this:
“Ben Galley is an author of dark and epic fantasy books, and currently hails from Victoria, Canada. Since publishing his debut The Written in 2010, Ben has released a range of award-winning fantasy novels, including the weird western Bloodrush and the epic standalone The Heart of Stone.
When he isn’t conjuring up strange new stories or arguing the finer points of magic and dragons, Ben works as a self-publishing consultant, helping fellow authors from around the world to publish their books.
Ben enjoys exploring the Canadian wilds and sipping Scotch single malts, and will forever and always play a dark elf in The Elder Scrolls. One day he hopes to live in an epic treehouse in the mountains.
Ben can be found on Twitter or vlogging on YouTube @BenGalley, or loitering on Facebook and Instagram @BenGalleyAuthor. You can also get a free eBook copy of his epic fantasy The Written at www.bengalley.com.”
Very official. I will add, you should definitely check out the book I mention below in my first question, The Heart of Stone(click for link to it on Amazon). If you enjoy my stuff, I think you’ll like that one. Also, I’ve met Ben in person and he really is a wonderful guy. Lots of fun, and very knowledgeable about the business. Head below the image for the interview.
AC: My first exposure to your work was The Heart of Stone. It’s about a stone war-golem with a heart of… stone, I guess. It’s like a Grimdark Pretty Woman. After reading it, I saw you’ve got an incredible, genre-spanning backlist. Can you tell us a little bit about HoSand the other books in your catalogue?
BG: “Grimdark Pretty Woman” is one hell of a tagline. I’ll be quoting you on that! And thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it. The Heart of Stoneis an epic military standalone with a non-human protagonist. It’s a bloody, thundering, skull-crushing adventure through a war-torn country, but at its heart, it’s also book about war and the facets of human nature. My other books include the Scarlet Star Trilogy, a weird western, coming-of-age series set in an alternate 1876, and The Emaneska Series, which is epic nordic fantasy, the sort filled with dragons and demons and mages.
AC: You ignored my advice and did not write an erotic sequel called Bone of Stone (or, Heart of Bone – I’m good either way). I’m disappointed, but I’m also in love with the concept and visuals you’ve created for your next series, Chasing Graves. Tell us a little bit about that one.
BG: They were great suggestions, but I was just too tied up with my Benjamin Gotwoodseries! <editor’s note, zing!> <also editor’s note, if I wrote that, would you guys buy it?> Erotica aside, Chasing Gravesis book one of a new dark fantasy trilogy set in a world inspired by Egyptian mythology, where ghosts are bound as slaves for the rich and powerful. It’s coming out December 7th, and I couldn’t be more excited to release it.
AC: Speaking of visuals, as I’ve been following you, I keep stumbling across videos of you showing off other creative talents. Drawing maps, animating covers, you were in a band… What else is Ben Galley up to, when he’s not writing?
BG: When I can drag myself out of the writing cave, I’m an avid gamer, usually patrolling the wastes of Skyrim or Mordor. I also love to read, cook, snowboard, keep my bass guitar skills sharp, and yes, I enjoy the occasional spot of cartography when I get an excuse. I’ve also been vlogging about writing, indie publishing, and travelling for a number of years now, and that’s something I enjoy immensely.
AC: Is it true we drank two bottles of scotch and I beat you in darts?
BG: If the first fact is true, then I lack sufficient evidence to accept the second fact. So, a half-lie…?
AC: You run an author consulting business on the side, which is something I think a lot of new people into the business desperately need. Can you tell us your best piece of advice for someone who’s just finished a solid draft and is looking to get it into the hands of readers?
BG: Build a team of brilliant professionals about you – an editor, a cover designer, a typesetter, formatter, and whoever else you need to turn your manuscript into a highly professional, sellable product. Making the book physically attractive and polishing the story to its utmost forms the solid foundation you need to start marketing and selling.
AC: We all stand on the shoulders of giants. With books spanning multiple sub-genres of Fantasy, can you tell us who has inspired you?
BG: There are far too many writers that spring to mind, but the most notable inspirations are Neil Gaiman, Brian Jacques, Philip Pullman, Robin Hobb, and a lot of Tolkien and Lewis back in my childhood. Not to mention Greek and Norse mythology, and the Brothers Grimm fairytales.
AC: What’s your favorite writing spot?
BG: I’m spoiled for choice here in British Columbia, but I’d have to say a little corner of a pub down by the edge of Victoria Harbour. In the winter there’s a log fire, and in the summer I can watch the seaplanes and wander about the water as I type. Not too shabby for Galley!