E.M. Swift-Hook just released A Necessary End, the last book in her Fortune’s Fools space opera sequence – a total of nine books across three trilogies, as well as countless short stories and flash-fiction pieces. She took some time to answer a few questions about her books and her writing.
Q1. To begin with, can you tell us a little about yourself? What’s your background? Your bio on Goodreads says you live in the North-East of England and do a lot of writing, but that wasn’t always the case?
A1. I’m actually a soft, shandy-drinking southerner and moved up north about twenty years ago. I used to be a teacher before taking up writing, which is not an uncommon career progression from what I have seen.
Q2. You write Space Opera under your own name, and you write Alternate History with Jane Jago, but you also write a lot of short form fiction in various genres – both for your blog and for anthologies. Can you tell us a little about that? You must be working on multiple projects in parallel?
A2. The Dai and Julia Mysteries have always been a parallel project with whatever else both Jane and I have been writing. We seem to have finished the series as a regular thing, but there might yet be more stories if we get inspired. I have also ventured into GameLit for a couple of charity anthologies, but the rest has been sci-fi and mostly Fortune’s Fools short stories. The blog is a glutton for flash fiction and poetry, Jane is much better than I am at feeding it, but I do manage drabbles and some of the humorous pieces.
Q3. You’ve chosen to self-publish your books. What made you come to this decision? What does it mean to you to be an indie author?
A3. For me the choice was self-publish or do not publish. I had resigned myself to the latter, then five years ago I discovered self-publishing was a ‘thing’ and my son acquired the needed technical skills to facilitate that for me – I am about as techie as someone who thinks Apples grow on trees…
Q4. Your next project, if I recall correctly, is a regency romance of sorts, which may or may not involve fantastic elements. What can you tell us about that?
A4. I did have to chuckle at your use of ‘Regency’ as The English Civil War – or War of Three Kingdoms as it is often called (1639-1653) – was about 170 years before the nine years that made up the Regency period (1811-1820)and yet almost all the ECW period books are listed on Amazon and elsewhere under ‘Regency’. It is kind of like listing American Revolutionary War books under WW2 (oops… seems I need to get my clues in order /nils).
I could go on about this new series at great length as it is my current project and any author knows the current one is always the best ever, but I will be restrained. It is certainly not a romance, though there is romance in it at times. It is not a fantasy, but it does contain some very speculative history without shifting the actual timeline at all.
It is the story of a young Anglo-Scots lawyer from London – Gideon Lennox – who in 1642, just after King Charles has raised his standard, finds himself caught up in the affairs of a dangerous, enigmatic mercenary commander, Philip Lord. Lord is newly returned from the wars in Europe (what we now call the Thirty Years War), with his own agenda that has nothing to do with supporting either side in the civil war that has just broken out.
Q5. Your space Opera Series consists of nine books, split into three different series. The first book in the first one might as well have been a fantasy novel, apart from how one of the main characters is rescued from a crashed space ship at the very start. Can you tell us a little of what space opera means to you, and how it relates to SciFi and Fantasy?
A5. Gosh. I think the key element of space opera – which can be sci-fi or sci-fan – is supposed to be a galactic spread of civilisations. But I think if you look at any space opera the most noticeable common factor is that it focuses on the people rather than the tech. That said, Fortune’s Fools fits the first definition too. The first trilogy, Transgressor, is as you say set exclusively on one very low tech world, but it is always cast against the back cloth of the Coalition dominated galaxy.
Q6. It is sometimes said that being an author is a lonely calling, but at the same time, authors seem to seek each other out – especially online. I know you’re active in a number of different writing communities, and you run a blog of your own. Does writing really have to be lonely?
A6. No. Not at all. If anyone feels they are they should look around for the numerous writing communities and start chatting. I can sincerely recommend co-authoring. It is a really amazing experience to have another writer just as invested in the same story as you yourself. Also I can not recommend highly enough that you find a critique group – a good one will support your writing in more ways than I can list.
Books by E.M Swift-Hook
Only novels in the Fortune’s Fools sequence listed. For a full list of books by E.M Swift-Hook, look here.
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