David Burrows is the author of the Prophecy of the Kings, a fantasy trilogy comprising Legacy of the Eldric, Dragon Rider and Shadow of the Demon. David is currently working on Drachar’s Demons.
I used to write stories in junior school when I was 7. Apparently I leaned right over the work which probably explains why I needed glasses at an early age. My teacher was great and I think I was teacher’s pet. No, they didn’t have a cage for me at the front of the class, but she used to always give me glowing reports about my stories. I think that must have had an influence. I was very good at writing stories about dinosaurs so a book involving dragons is clearly a step in the right direction. I had the idea for the Prophecy of he Kings when I was 17, but unfortunately didn't start writing the full tale until many years later.
Getting published is only the start of the process so I couldn’t afford to be jubilant when I self-published Prophecy of the Kings. It was a very nice feeling to see the work in print, but anyone can do this and I think becoming an author involves a great deal more. The first reviews really made me feel more like an author, although I really think that accolade has to be reserved until you’ve become noticed or sales hit a good figure (10,000 books). I was awarded book of the month on one web site (http://sfbook.com/shadow-of-the-demon.htm) and also a gold award on another – (http://readersfavorite.com/cat-71.htm?review=3451). That was really excellent news and started to make me feel that I was becoming an author. I still feel I have a long way to travel.
Writing is part time which is a very good thing given how slow it can be to earn living from writing. I decided to write after reading Tolkien’s Silmarillion, such an epic and sweeping tale. That was when I was seventeen. That book really enthralled me and I just felt I wanted to try my hand at writing. I have a very good imagination and for fantasy that really helps.
I wrote the books long hand originally. I liked writing on trains best of all and found I could concentrate better then. Not sure why, because it is everything I would normally try to avoid, noisy and distracting, but for some reason that worked for me. My wife was a secretary for a while so she typed the manuscript up and did a far better job than I could. I now have a laptop so I tend to write straight into Word.
Everyone gets writer’s block at a guess. My way of dealing with it is not to bother. I wait, and wait and wait. This is the advantage of writing part time and not having dead lines. The reason for my writer’s block was I wrote my characters into a corner; a fix; trouble. This is where the tale led me and I refused to rewrite the tale. I really took a long time waiting for inspiration. Sometimes months. When it came it was like reading someone else’s book, turning a page and going – wow, that’s a really neat idea. I would like to think that Prophecy of the Kings is full of really good ideas and some of the reviews confirm that. The other area where I struggled was in making up names. For a fantasy book of nearly 250,000 words, that can be a real challenge. I solved this one by using anagrams of people I know. A witch in book two became Ariome, nearly an anagram of Moira – the mother in law! Boy was I in serious trouble for a while. She took it in her stride though and bought me a small witch on her travels, to go in my car. I often spin it, hoping to make her feel sick. That’s boys for you.
My latest book is Drachar’s Demons and I am thoroughly enjoying writing it. It is a prequel to Prophecy of the Kings. I can hear some groans from Star Wars fans – they either love or hate their prequels. However, a prequel was very natural to write. I created a whole new world in the Prophecy of the Kings. You really have to have a background plot to tell a good tale in my opinion; something that the current book sits comfortably over. What is the surprise though is how hard it is to tell that tale. You have to keep true to the sequel and try not to change anything, chasing a good storyline. What was really good though was that Drachar’s Demons just flowed from imagination to computer and I found the plot waiting to be let out. It was far easier than Prophecy of the Kings. Still occasional blocks, but so far I have completed three quarters of the tale in record time (for me). So far it has taken me 3-4 months, writing part time.
For any aspiring author I would suggest, have a go, but manage your own expectations and be prepared for some really harsh criticism. Some authors take it to heart when people criticise their work. You cannot do that, you have to take the criticism and use it to grow and become a better author. Most of all is to have fun writing. If it is not fun, then it isn’t working.