James Austin McCormick is a college lecturer from Manchester, England and his free time enjoy writing speculative fiction, mostly science fiction, horror and a little sword and sorcery fantasy. He is also a particular fan of classic Gothic and Victorian horror tales and is currently in the process of writing updated versions of these with a science fiction spin.Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write? And why?
James: I tend to write speculative fiction; science fiction, horror and a little fantasy. I like to mix these three genres together when I can. For me writing is all about escapism and I enjoy creating imaginary settings and worlds for my stories. The further a story is away from ‘real life’ the more I usually enjoy writing it.
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
James: H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, the mix of cosmic horror and sword and sorcery between them really inspired me. Actually, my favorite character of all time is Solomon Kane and I remember deciding many years I I would have to write something similar. I never have though, although some parts of my sword and sorcery novella The Last Synn were heavily influenced by the Kane stories.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
James: When an imaginary setting resolves itself in my mind I get excited about populating it with characters and events. Also, I love writing action scenes.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
James: I think maybe the Silver Surfer (I love the comics but there is also a TV series) because it has quite a lot of depth. Norrin Radd searches for meaning and purpose as he roams the universe, free but desperately alone.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
James: Shakespeare, so I could ask him if he did write all those plays. I might get a lot of flak for this but in my humble opinion the evidence seems to suggest he didn’t.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
James: Go hiking, I love getting out into the countryside whenever I can.
Beverley:What are you working on now?
James: I have just finished the fourth chapter of a dark fantasy steampunk story. At present I don’t know if it will be a novella or a novel. It’s the most ambitious thing I’ve ever attempted and quite metaphysical, deconstructing reality, identity and morality. That sounds quite pretentious I realize but it isn’t really, believe me.
Blurb for Dragon:As worlds conspire against each other, Gax, an insane warlord, stockpiles an arsenal of ancient technology in his attempt to rule known space.
Two ill matched and reluctant heroes stand in his way; Sillow, a neurotic and cowardly Sylvan and Brok, a surly and ill- tempered Herkulun warrior. After a chance meeting in a seedy, mobster owned casino the two find their fates interlinked as they are propelled into a series of hair raising adventures that takes them from wanted smugglers to agents of a peace keeping alliance.
Excerpt from Dragon:
Asmara was a small desert moon orbiting its gas giant parent at a distance just great enough to put it outside the planet’s radioactive reach. It was a cold, dusty little place, barely capable of supporting microbic life. Yet it did have one thing in its favor, its location. Asmara was in the gray zone, an area of space almost central to the six worlds. None dared lay claim to it and consequently it was free of all outside authority. That was why the crime syndicates built their Pleasure Dome there, and in the two decades after the Dark Age Wars it flourished.It was here, at one of the casino tables, the last three players of a merciless card game studied their hands. Two of them, a human and a reptilian Tuolon, were far from happy, glaring angrily at the third player as he whistled out a tuneless melody. If Sillow had been human, he would have been judged to be no more than fourteen. He wasn’t; he was a Sylvan, and his childlike face and adolescent build were quite normal for his twenty-five years.
As he looked over his cards from beneath a shock of dark green hair, only his large eyes were visible. It was just as well, for his lips moved frantically as he mentally played through the possible scenarios.
Finally, he gave a little nod and placed his cards face down. He took his cigar from the ashtray and began puffing heavily on it. The human, a skinny man with pockmarked features, ran a hand over two day’s stubble,
“Make your damn move,” he growled. “If you’ve got the goods, show them.”
Sillow shrugged. “Hey, give me a break Garrick,” he replied in his soft, musical voice. “You can’t rush something like this.”He looked at his cards again, studying them as he blew smoke rings in the air. His little feet tapped all the while on the hard marble floor.
His fellow players regarded him with extreme irritation, and the human cameto the decision the Sylvan was playing mind games with them. The truth though was far different. Sillow was scared and was trying to decide how best to safely extricate himself and the credits he needed from his present circumstances.
Although he couldn’t say why, he was certain now the Tuolon was a professional assassin here to kill him. His would be killer even blewhis ship up to stop him escaping.
Since then the little Sylvan had been busy at the tables making the money he needed to get a freighter off the Dome. There was a royal summons to answer and he’d delayed too long already. The message was just one word, Suleiman.
“Okay, ready,” he finally announced. “You want to see this hand it’ll cost you…” he paused for effect, “six more credits.”
The human thought hard for a moment, shook his head then threw the chips into the pot in the middle of the table.
Buy Links for Dragon:Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/674265
Paperback from the publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/component/virtuemart/science-fiction/dragon-396-detail?Itemid=0
You can find James at:Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJamesAustinMcCormick/
Class Act Books http://www.classactbooks.com/index.php/our-authors/manufacturers/james-austin-mccormick