Julian M Armstrong is an author living in Brighton, on the south coast of England. I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with him since the beginning of his fantasy series, The Chronicles of Tala, and have loved helping perfect these amazing books. His style is a nostalgic homage to the kind of high fantasy I grew up on, though he never shies away from contemporary issues.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I like (fairly) long-distance walking, socialising, writing classical music, listening to music and being a long-suffering Fulham season ticket holder.
What are your three top tips for aspiring writers?
- Be honest with yourself. If you think something isn’t good enough, don’t try and convince yourself it is.
- Listen to other people if they’re being constructive; don’t be afraid to bin something and start again.
- Don’t wear your influences too much on your sleeve. It’s better to be original.
What makes you/your stories different from other writers?
I like to think I have very three-dimensional characters, for a fantasy world. It’s not just simply a matter of good people all being heroes; good people can be idiots too! Also, evil people can work for good, so long as the end result justifies it. People are ambiguous in real life and fiction should represent that.
What’s your typical writing process?
I set out the basic plot of the book first, so beginning, middle and end. That highlights any potential weak points quite quickly. Then I sketch out the chapters in note form before starting to write it. However, I am always aware of being able to change something if that’s the way the book flows. First draft tends to be low in detailed description, but after a few weeks, I go back and edit to get consistency and remove repetition.
When did you first realise writing was something you wanted to do?
When I was very young to be honest. I was always making up stories (and not just about dogs eating my homework). My wife always jokes about me seeing people in the street/pub and constructing whole narratives around them.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
The sense of achievement and also the whole release of entering a completely different world, whether fantasy or fiction. The act of creation is super-exciting.
What have you learned from your self-publishing journey?
That I have no idea at all about marketing and self-promotion!
What are you reading at the moment?
I don’t tend to read when I’m actively writing as I find it puts me off. I did just finish The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa, which is a masterpiece of writing.
What’s your favourite cake or dessert?
I rarely do sweet things, but have been known to succumb to the embrace of a New York style baked cheesecake.
What’s something that no one would expect about you?
I had my own IT company for 10 years. Now I’ve stopped working, I find it hard to expect that about myself!!
You can find Julian on Twitter @jools_arm or check out his website, julianmarmstrong.com, to find out more about his series and upcoming releases!