Craig Aird was born in Brunei, raised in Scotland, and now lives in Perth, Australia. He grew up on a healthy diet of Conan stories, David Gemmell’s drenai series, and copious amounts of paranormal TV shows. In 2018 he published his debut novel Truth or Darkness, and continues to work hard on the second book of the series.
Why storytelling? What made you yearn to tell a good story, and how long was this story within you before it came out?
What fascinates me about storytelling is that anyone has the power to create something out of nothing. I was always good at telling stories, whether recounting old glories or funny experiences from my past. So, in 2016 while working in Indonesia, I decided that I needed a new challenge and jumped head first into writing a novel. There was no plan, no childhood dream of being an author to draw on, just a desire to see if I had what it takes to write a story that others might enjoy. It wasn’t your typical start to a writing career, but I have travelled all over the world and met some fascinating people to draw inspiration from.
I love the blend of characters. They are all hell-bent on achieving their goals and will do whatever it takes to get there. There is so much tension that it’s easy to create conflict. I also love the art work by Felix Ortiz and Shawn King. They captured the essence of the novel and were a pleasure to work with.
If I were stuck in a room with your main character, what would we be doing?
You would probably be in some sort of imminent danger. I would recommend getting as far away from Leoh as possible.
When you are writing, tell me about the emotions that are running through you and what it takes to work alongside them.
Truth or Darkness is a roller coaster of emotions. There isn’t much of a break to catch your breath. I know I am onto something good when my heart starts pounding as I type. It’s either that or the super strong coffee I fuel myself with every day. Because I discovery write, I tend to go through the same emotions that the reader has. This works well for me to get the feeling right for the chapter. Sometimes I get carried away listening to movie soundtracks by Hans Zimmer or Basil Poledouris.
Everyone has at least one specific challenge that holds them back. What is that challenge in your work and how do you overcome it?
The challenge for me is time, I just don’t have enough of it. My life is pretty hectic as I am opening a wellness studio while juggling the day job, family life, and writing. I do most of my writing on the plane travelling across the country for work.
Describe your workplace.
These days it’s a 737 airplane on the way to work and writing in the notes section of my phone. I would love a room filled with books, a Persian rug, and an old leather chair to relax in to write. A glass of whiskey next to me and the Elder Scrolls soundtracks playing in the background would complete my writing haven.
Describe your muse.
I get a lot of my inspiration by jumping into a floatation tank and floating for an hour or two. It’s amazing how deep you can search in your mind while in a state of sensory deprivation. If I ever had a decision to make in terms of the plot, I would always resolve the problem in the float tank because it’s the only place in the world with no distractions.
If you could live anywhere other than where you are, where would it be?
The Highlands of Scotland. Perth is an amazing city with perfect weather, but I miss the mountains of home.
You have a chance to hang out with any literary character for one day. Who would it be and what would you do?
Standing shoulder to shoulder with Druss on the wall, driking Ventrian red, and listening to his stories.
If you could choose any other writer, living or dead, to be your mentor, whom would you choose and why?
Joe Abercrombie. He has a perfect blend of dark sarcasm that offsets the awful deeds of his characters. Without the humor, it would be seriously depressing. Joe has been a huge influence on my writing style.
Now that you have published your first book, do you have any dreams you have not reached? Goals for new books, series beyond this publication, or anything else that can tantalize the fantasy public?
Truth or Darkness is a stepping stone onto more ambitious books in the series. It pushed me to my limits, but you need to push harder in order to grow. I am working on a second book, set a few weeks after the events of Truth or Darkness. I have a lot of ideas for new series, but my focus is on expanding The Afterworld series for now.
Do you have a celebration that you embark on when you finish a book, be it a release party, a trophy, or even a shot of whiskey?
The book launch for Truth or Darkness was at a whiskey distillery. It was a lot of fun and there were a few sore heads the next day. I look forward to going there again after the next book is finished.
Do you share any vices or habits with any characters in your book? If so, what are they?
I think there are elements of me in all the characters. I share Daelin’s obsession with putting together a well-organized plan and executing it perfectly. If I had to deal with Juliette’s chaotic nature, I would be struggling as much as he does.
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