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Author Interview: Thomas Howard Riley

Thomas Howard Riley is the author of We Break Immortals, his debut novel and book one of The Advent Lumina Cycle.

Interview

Use three to five words to describe yourself.

Charming irreverent angry insomniac bookworm 

Can you give us a little background on your debut?

My debut is called We Break Immortals, book 1 of the Advent Lumina Cycle. A drug addict who hunts sorcerers, the most renowned swordsman no one has ever heard of, and a thieving magick-wielding woman hellbent on revenge collide in a last ditch effort to stop a superhuman serial killer from making himself a god. It is a world where magick leaves traces behind that can be tracked by those with the right knowledge and tools. But a madman finds a secret way to break into the source of magick where he can become invincible and destroy the world, and now the lives of natural enemies are thrust together. They might have a chance if they don’t kill each other first. 

Can you give us any insight into your planning and writing process?

Organized chaos. I create worlds and cultures and history just for fun. Then stories bubble up out of all that, they swirl around like an a creation disc in my head until nice smooth chapters form. Then I start writing to that frame and make everything else up as I go, hanging it on the frame. Or bending or breaking the frame if need be. 

Silence or music or other when writing/editing?

Always music. For reading or writing or writing. I create better with a score/soundtrack feeding me the emotions of a scene. I have 100gb of music I cycle through. Though my favorites get repeated A LOT.

Based on your experience, can you offer a piece of advice to budding authors?

Read a lot. Of everything. Fiction of course. See what other authors do that are effective, and you style will emerge. But also non-fiction. Ideas can come from anywhere. And the more things you know the more chaotic thoughts you will have flying around in your head, ready to bounce of another random thought and combine to form a new story idea. 

You can erase one book or series from your mind entirely so that you can read it again for a first time, which do you erase?

Toss up between Mistborn, First Law, and Realm of the Elderlings. 

Who are some of your favourite authors/books?

See above, but add Foundation, Kingkiller Chronicle, Dune, Death Gate Cycle, Red Rising, Game of Thrones, Master of Sorrows by Justin T Call, Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s series, and any of the old school Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms books. 

Who are your favourite book characters?

Fitz Farseer and Sand dan Glokta

Do you have any favourite magic systems?

Mistborn had a terrific one. Simple enough to understand, but with enough variations to really lead to some interesting problem-solving situations. I prefer the ones with enough structure that characters can develop strategies and little chess games can be played with them. 

You can bring one world from a book or series to life and live there, which world do you choose

Krynn from Dragonlance (after the war is over). Or if I could just live in hobbiton chilling and smoking pipeweed all day. 

What book or series would you love to see on the big screen?

They would just mess it up. Best to leave it alone. 

You can collaborate with one other author, who do you choose?

Alive or dead? Hemingway. But we would be found dead after strangling each other while fighting over a typewriter before we ever finished the book. 

Have any cultures/civilisations inspired your writing?

Every one across the board. I like to smash them together and break them apart and sew the pieces back together in different orders. 

What is your favourite mythical creature?

Griffon

What is your favourite mythical race?

Gelatinous Cubes.

You can have one superpower, what is it?

Flying

You have the ability to morph into any real—not mythical—creature. Which creature do you choose?

An eagle. Or maybe a bioluminescent jelly. 

You can go back in time and live a different period of history, when do you choose?

Mid-1000s Byzantium. I would also do well as an Ancient Egyptian pharaoh. Or as an outlaw murderer in the wild west. 

You can meet any five people in the world, who would you choose?

Jimmy Page, Nathan Fillion, Oscar Isaac, Patrick Stewart, Adam Driver topless screaming Shakespeare at me without ever breaking eye contact.

Would you rather…

  • ride a dragon or fly a spaceship?
    • Spaceship.
  • have the ability to fly or be indestructible?
    • Fly.
  • be an elf or an orc?
    • Elf.
  • have the ability to travel to mythical worlds, from your favourite books, or the ability to travel faster than light and visit planets and solar systems in this world?
    • Mythical worlds 
  • face one orc or three goblins in battle?
    • One Orc.
  • be an expert swordsman or archer?
    • Swordsman. This is a tough one.
  • be able to wield elemental magic or raise and control the dead?
    • Elements magick
  • live in a city under the ocean or one floating in the clouds?
    • Floating in the clouds.
  • be able to see the past or see the future?
    • Future would be more practical. But past would be super interesting. Hmmm. 

Thank you for the opportunity. These were a lot of fun

Thank you for taking the time Thomas, we really appreciate it.