Getting into writing – an interview with Gareth L.Powell

Gareth L.Powell

Gareth L Powell is the award-winning author of six novels and two short fiction collections. His next novel, Embers of War, will be published by Titan Books in February 2008. You can find him online at:

When did the writing bug bite?

I’ve wanted to write for as long as I can remember. Even in primary school, I was making ‘books’ by stapling pages together and writing stories in them. The earliest one I can remember was of a knight who found a dragon’s egg and raised the baby dragon himself. I think I must have been eight years old.

Ack-Ack Macaque book by Gareth L.Powell

What are your happiest memories in your writing career?

Although winning the BSFA Award was a big moment, my happiest writing-related memories are all to do with the people I’ve met at conventions and events, and even on Twitter. I’ve made some great friends, and consider myself very lucky.

Your first story was published in 1989 and since then, with the aid of a horde of primates, you’ve gone from strength to strength – how?

I published a few short stories in small non-paying markets. Then, when I felt I was ready, I sent a story in to Interzone magazine, who published it. That story led directly to the publication of my first novel, Silversands, and my first short story collection, The Last Reef. After that, I put together the pitch for what would be my second novel, The Recollection, and sent it to Jon Oliver at Solaris. He bought it, and three more novels from me, including Ack-Ack Macaque, which won the award and has been translated into Japanese. Now, I have an agent and a new trilogy coming out from Titan Books.

When do you write?

Whenever I can. Even if I have to stay up until the wee small hours, I make sure I get some writing time each day.

How do you handle success and failure?

I celebrate every success and try to learn something from every failure. Sometimes I brood, but mostly I try to learn and move forward.

What is your advice to young and new writers?

My advice to young writers is simple: Write your story before you try to edit it. Get it all down on paper before you try to make every line perfect, or you’ll never finish. Also, read as much as you can, and don’t look for shortcuts, there aren’t any. The only way to write a good book is to put in the hours, and put in the work.

Are you a traditionalist or a digital? (paper or eBook)

I have nothing against ebooks, but I still mostly read hardbacks and paperbacks.

Do you enjoy blogging or is it a means to an end?

I don’t really think of what I do as blogging, per se. I have a website which I use to communicate information about forthcoming books, and sometimes I’ll post an article about writing or publishing, as a service to the aspiring writers in my audience.

How did you gain a publisher?

As I mentioned earlier, I started my making a name for myself in magazines, and attending conventions, so that when it came time to pitch ‘The Recollection’, the publisher had a good idea who I was.

Embers of War by Gareth L.Powell

When can we expect another Gareth L.Powell book?

My next novel, Embers of War, comes out in the UK & US in February from Titan Books – although I believe it’s already available for preorder on most book sites.

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