An Interview With David Rae

David Rae lives in the West of Scotland where he lives in a world of his own; a world of wonder, a world where hoards of workers spill out of factories, a world were fog and smoke shroud all kinds of creatures, a world where ruined castles, factories and houses were haunted by ghosts, gangs and memories. He lives in world where witches have been burned at the cross and martyrs have been hung on the Gallowgreen. He writes poetry and short stories and reads every trashy novel, every children’s book and every comic that comes his way.

He studied Botany, Architecture, Mathematics, Computers, Geography, and Ecology. He worked in a sweetie factory, as a scaffolder and ditch digger. He worked as draftsman and as an ecologist, as a statistician and as a policy maker. He is married and has four children, lovely children and now lovely grandchildren. And he continues to read and to write and marvel at the world he live in.

He is currently working on CROWMAN, a dark fantasy novel, which will be available in the Fall.

It’s Sunday. Do you know what that means? It’s interview day! Let’s read, learn and connect with this year’s fantastic bunch of writers, editors and agents. Today’s interviewee is author David Rae.

This week he also interviewed me! Have a read of my first interview swap on his website here: An Interview with Leigh Hartman.

David’s Advice for Other Writers

The best advice I can give to writers is to write, to edit, to submit. Be brave, be true to yourself and, most of all, enjoy yourself.

Your book, CROWMAN, is a fantasy novel. How, if at all, does history influence your writing projects?
This story is based largely on myth and fantasy, but history also plays an important part in developing the novel. Unless a fantasy writer is setting his story in modern times then history must be central any world building. That’s not to say that other factors don’t play a role. Magic is not historical, although magical systems and beliefs are. Culture, clothing, architecture, even language are all influence by history in my novel.

I’ve borrowed heavily from Edu period Japan, from medieval Italy, and even from the early industrial revolution. And some of it borrows from the second world war. But hopefully given it my own unique twist. It sounds as if I’ve stitched together all sorts of history, but it’s also remarkable how similar people are throughout history and remarkable how different they are. 

Do you see any historical influences on current pop culture?
Yes, of course. I can’t pretend to be current with pop culture, but history played a huge part in my experiences when I was younger. You can think of David Bowie and his fascination with Kabuki, or Duran Duran aping Lord Byron and Shelley. There is a huge retro movement, a fascination with the fifties and sixties, times that also borrowed much from previous historical periods such as the Victorian era, or the 1920s.

Television shows leave little to the imagination. With scenes ever increasing in intensity, how much is “too much?”
Well, quick rule of thumb, if you’re happy watching it with your kids or grandkids then it’s fine.  Sex is part of life. I can see the need to describe it in a story, but not always in graphic detail. It’s rare that these scenes add much to the story. And, quite often, they can be boring. Certainly graphic sex is no substitute for strong story lines and convincing character development.  And too much of it is frankly boring.   It’s not like I don’t know how it’s done.

Now for a bit of you history. When, and why, did you start your writing journey?
I’ve written ever since I was at school. I wrote a full novel when I was at college, but never did anything more that stick it in a drawer. It probably sucked anyway.

After I wrote CROWMAN, I thought I really wanted to share it so set about building writers credentials; joining writers groups, going on writing courses, flash fiction, short stories and building a body of work. Eventually, there was an opportunity to publish CROWMAN with a small press and that’s where I am now. 

Do you have any favorite historically based tv shows or films? (ie Reign, Outlander, When Calls the Heart, The Duchess, etc).
Yes. Loads. Some you might not think of as historical. I loved the recent adaptation of Gogal. I enjoyed The Last Kingdom. David Duckovy’s Aquarius is a more recent historical piece based on Charles Manson. The White Queen was another I loved. I loved the BBC adaptation of Vanity Fair. And Samurai Champloo. History is everywhere, if you look for it.

And don’t forget that this week’s interview with David Rae is also a SWAP! Check out my interview on his website.

Check back next week to meet Editor Cassandra, along with my first interview swap! In the meantime, have a read of last week’s interview with Jessica Lewis.

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