Here’s what best-selling author and friend of mine, Steven McKay has to say about his experience so far… books, stories and expectations. Read on!
Shana: You’ve published four books now. How has the experience been?
Steven McKay: Five actually – I just put out Friar Tuck and the Christmas Devil on Friday November 13th! It’s been fantastic so far, really exciting and lovely to find so many readers enjoying my work. I’m still full of enthusiasm for writing so I guess it must have been a good couple of years since I first published Wolf’s Head.
There’s a nice balance between the youngblood Robin Hood and the settled, father Robin. Does that change the magnetics of the game?
Yes, definitely. Young Robin – in Wolf’s Head – was frightened and not really sure how to deal with the situation he found himself in, whereas the slightly older, more mature Robin of Rise of the Wolf is still frightened but he’s much more confident and able to deal with the harsh realities of live in medieval England. Let’s be honest, it doesn’t matter how old we get, we all still feel frightened at times don’t we? So, although Robin is a hero, he’s not a SUPERhero. Hopefully my books show that. Of course, being a father now means the next, and final, book in the series will need to explore that aspect of his life and character…
Which was the most difficult/ time-consuming character to develop in the Forest Lord series?
Probably Matilda. Being a man it’s hard to put myself into a woman’s place and you’re always worried it won’t work and female readers will hate what I’m doing! But so far everyone seems happy that Rise of the Wolf has two strong female characters playing a big part in events. Medieval Europe wasn’t a place filled with women who fought alongside the men – they were very much kept at home and seen as second-class citizens so trying to make Matilda interesting and realistic yet still powerful and identifiable to a modern audience was something I had to work at.
Do you plan to try writing in a different genre now?
Well, I kind of branched out into the horror genre with my novella Knight of the Cross, which was heavily inspired by HP Lovecraft although still in a historical setting. Similarly, my brand new novella, Friar Tuck and the Christmas Devil is more of a medieval mystery than all out action and adventure. I don’t have any plans to abandon the historical fiction genre any time soon – once I finish the Robin Hood books I think I’ll be starting a new series set around dark ages Britain.
How has the journey of self-publishing been?
It’s been great! I like the fact I get 70% royalties from each ebook sale and Amazon have been great helping me out in promotions and stuff. Sometimes it can get stressful – for example someone noticed a minor error in one of my audiobooks so I had to try and get that sorted which isn’t as simple as you’d think! And at the same time I’m juggling a full-time job, young family and trying to write another book so it can be hard. But at the end of the day I get a great sense of achievement when I see the nice reviews people have left on Goodreads or Amazon or wherever. It’s great to know you’ve brought someone so much enjoyment.
What can we expect from your writing kitty in the near future?
The final Robin Hood book will be out next year, all being well and after that I may do another novella with those characters. I’m not sure. Novellas don’t seem to sell as well as full length novels so, although I love writing them, it might not be worth the effort…I’ll see how it goes. After that,as I say, I plan on a brand new trilogy with all new characters. The planned title for the first one is – and this is an exclusive! – The Druid. I’m really looking forward to it – it’ll be nice to create my own characters after two or three years writing about old, legendary people like Little John, Friar Tuck and Robin himself. I hope you’ll all join me for my future adventures!
Thanks for having me in this Q&A Shana!