Sam Llewellyn launched his series of fantasy fiction, based on the tales of King Arthur, earlier this year with the hugely successful The Well Between The Worlds. In anticipation of the following book, Darksolstice, he shares his inspirations and reveals how he writes successful fantasy fiction.
For many writers research is vital to telling a good story, but how do you go about researching a fantasy world? The Well Between The Words is an extended parable about the use of fossil fuels and climate change. For Sam all writers are simply journalists writing about an imaginary story, and this is the same when dealing with fantasy. “I made up this landscape in my mind and then I reported on it”, explains Sam. “Because actually, to wax a bit philosophical, all landscapes are in the end mental landscapes.”
As a keen sailor Sam has discovered that the creation of these mental landscapes are often triggered by periods of isolation and boredom. He explains:
“If you’re sitting in the middle of the English channel, there’s fog everywhere and your staring into the grey pea soup, your imagination is shockingly stimulated. You expect to see huge ships coming bearing down and squashing you flat in any minute.”
Sam lives in Herefordshire with his wife, prize-winning Canadian author Karen Wallace, and their two children. But for several months each year he sails across the world for inspiration. These adventures have seen him hunting pirates in the Philippines and crossing the Pacific in a rust-bucket freighter.
Sam says that instead of choosing a sensible career, like being a barrister, he opted to travel the world and ask questions: “The really intriguing thing about being a writer and a journalist”, he explains, “is that you can go and ask anybody any question. I really like this as I’m incredibly nosey.”
Sam has spent almost 10 years editing fiction and non-fiction, he has had more than 30 books published, he has tutored creative writing courses and regularly has articles published in major magazines and newspapers. He also provides analysis and assistance to writers who want help with their work.
His upcoming novel, Darksolstice, will be out in April and can be ordered online for £9.83