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Interview with SPFBO Author Chris O'Mara

Write on: Wed, 28 Aug 2019 by  in Guests Reviews Read 4242

Welcome to! Can you tell us a few things about yourself?

I'm an indie fantasy writer living in the South East of England. I have two crazy kids and love grunge and alt-rock, anime, the MCU, tabletop wargames and I'm an absolute nerd for Romanticism and Modernist literature - especially the emotionally and intellectually overwrought poetry of dead people. So yeah, I'm cool.

What book did you enter SPFBO with, and is it your debut?

Healer's Ruin, and although I've written another novel since, this is the one I'd like to submit.

Tell us a few things about it. What should the Judge you'll be allocated to, expect from it?

I wanted to write a story from a different perspective. I was coming across a lot of fantasy that focused on heroes that were unstoppable killing machines, and I was fascinated by the idea of coming at it from another angle entirely. Also, I wanted to see what a cataclysmic fantasy war was like from the point of view not of the super-powered saviour character, but of someone witnessing the clashes between that saviour and the invading army. I was also interested in manic depression, for personal reasons, and how that might manifest itself in the duality of the protagonists. But that's a little pretentious, I know. So the judge should maybe expect a bit of that, too!

You'll compete against 299 other books. Do you believe your book will stand out against the competition, and if yes, why?

I think it probably will, because I think it has a very strong emotional centre. But as long as the Judge enjoys it, I'm happy. It would just be an honour to appear alongside so many awesome writers.


Biscuit barrel. Always.

Why did you decide to enter SPFBO in the first place?

I love the craft and the community, and this is a great way to stand together and support other creatives. Missed out on last year's, hopefully won't miss this one!

Are you working on a book right now? What should we expect from you next?

Absolutely. One project took up the last 18 months or so, and is going through a pretty rigorous editing process. It's a tale of betrayal, single-minded revenge, and the cost of this process to soldiers, civilians and gods.

Right now, I'm working on a pretty grim Lovecraftian fantasy novel, which is grislier than my work usually is. But I think it's solid.

In the background is a thousand-page opening book in a trilogy that I plan to submit to an agency once I've made it beautiful. We'll see!

Anything else you would like to add? A message to the other contestants, the Judges, or Mark Lawrence himself?

I want to say thank you for running this, it really brings the community together and helps us all focus on the craft and genre we love. I just want people to read books they enjoy, maybe discovering new authors along the way.

What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

I think we dwell too much on encumbrances of the corporeal variety. A swallow yoked into transporting Steven King hardbacks may still fare better in some sort of swallow speed and endurance contest than a swallow laden with the guilt of past misdeeds.

I overthought that. Sorry. But I'm also right, so...

Editor’s Note: There is great wisdom in your answer. A pity the laden swallows will not appreciate it.

Good luck with the competition Chris, and with the three (3!) projects you’re currently working on! Lynn has reviewed this one already, over here -- she seems to have been quite pleased with it! 

Last modified on Wednesday, 28 August 2019 14:36
Filip Magnus

Filip picked up his first fantasy novel when he was seven and hasn’t stopped reading since. A critical reader who judges novels on their technical use of language and plot alike, he has a soft spot for literary fiction and tragic, heroic tales.

In his free time, Filip writes fiction, makes gaming reviews on YouTube, and maintains a personal blog. All that when he’s not too busy going through piles of books in as short a time as possible.