Welcome to this exciting interview with E C Greaves, an author and illustrator who has made a name for himself in the world of fantasy adventure stories.
Born in Solihull, UK, Ed now resides in Christchurch, New Zealand, where he continues to create unique and interesting tales that have a mildly Slavic tinge to them.
When he’s not weaving tales of magic and adventure, Ed can be found pursuing a variety of passions. He restores old vehicles, codes video games, and teaches history to high school kids. It’s hard to believe that he manages to fit all of this into his schedule, but perhaps his secret lies in the fact that he seems to be completely immune to the effects of aging—despite being far too old to explain the lack of grey hair!
As we delve deeper into this interview, we’ll learn more about Ed’s creative process and how he approaches his work as an author. So sit back, relax, and join us as we explore the fascinating world of E C Greaves…
What inspired you to start writing in the fantasy genre?
In short; long and exceptionally boring train rides to a long (and by some eldritch curse) even more boring job in finance—believe it or not, but I wrote the entire first novel on my phone!
And, I suppose since I grew up with a total nerd for a dad (playing D&D, and various fantasy games on the Atari STE with him, as a kid) fantasy was really the only genre I’d ever read, so it was all I thought to write.
How do you approach world-building in your stories?
Whilst I do have a general idea of what the world looks like—tech level, magic or whatever, types of creatures and peoples, regions, etc.—I pretty much just write stories that take my characters wherever they need to go. From there, I sorta make it up as I go along, and flesh out whatever I need to.
I take this, and jot it down in one of about 35,000 google docs (on my phone, of course), and forget about it until I catch a contradiction once a book is already pretty much finished!
Can you walk us through your writing process?
During the day, I procrastinate a whole lot. Then, in the evening, I reread some existing stuff. Finally, at around midnight, once I can no longer escape it, I start writing. It takes me through til perhaps 2 or 3 am. Which is when I try desperately to get enough sleep to survive the following day!
I usually begin with a conversation, description, or situation that sorta comes to me from the ether—more often than not, something I thought of when I was driving. And then I build on that.
My characters tend to take the story where they want it to go, and I’m most definitely not a “plan every chapter” kind of author.
As such, I let them guide me, and I then go through and tie the stuff I wrote back to the general idea I had for an overarching plot, or I try to work in stuff that references earlier things—you know, to make it seem like I actually DID plan that sweet twist!
The entire time, because I have ADHD and it’s one of the best ways I’ve found I can focus, I drink a billion litres of caffeine—coffee, cola, energy drinks—and I usually chain smoke home-grown tobacco.
Would you survive in your own fantasy world?
You know what? I think I just might.
It’s not all that much more dangerous than our own history was. I grew up on a small farm, and I am fairly handy.
Oh, and I know how to make blackpowder. Anyone with that knowledge would do just fine in a pseudo-medieval (low magic) fantasy world, I think.
What themes do you explore in your work?
Identity and belonging, motherhood, legacy, freedom vs responsibility/authority, and what exactly constitutes “right.”
What do you consider to be your biggest influences as a writer?
In all honesty—and this really isn’t something I’ve seen another author admit,—but…
I don’t actually read many books.
As such, I am more influenced and informed by general conversation and discussion on politics and philosophy, by life and the real world (particularly ancient and medieval history), and by childhood influences—earlier fantasy works (usually films) like Conan, Dungeons and Dragons sessions I played when I was like 7, hours spent poring over the pictures in Dragon magazines, countless video games (from Drakkhen and Hero’s Quest, to Ultima 7 and Baldur’s Gate).
What’s the strangest thing you’ve had to research for your stories?
The stages of pregnancy, and then what happens AFTER you’ve had a baby—how long before milk dries up, and under what conditions? how long before periods come back? what happens to your body? Etc etc
Needless to say, the algorithms started targeting me with a lot of maternity stuff on devices where I’d forgotten to block ads!
What do you hope readers take away from your stories?
I don’t aim to convince readers of anything, and I try very hard to separate my own views from those of my characters. For me, my writing serves as entertainment first and foremost.
That said, I do hope they consider their own views on some of the thematic stuff, and some of the more “thorny” or “weighty” topics discussed within.
Would you rather have a pet dragon or a unicorn, why?
A unicorn. When I was a kid, I had this beautifully illustrated book about woodland critters who hung out with these industrious little gnomes.
In one of the books, they meet these total dick elves, who at one point, steal a unicorn egg or something. I honestly can’t recall much more than a few pictures (of a stripy guy transforming into a fish, and of a telescope putting ink around another guy’s eye).
What I remember clearly, however, is this beautiful picture of a unicorn/pegasus hatched out of an egg. It was really cute and pure, and for a weird little kid who liked goblins and mud, and who was picked on quite a bit, that little white horse creature seemed to represent an innocence and goodness that I think I sorely wished was more prevalent in the world.
Weird, I know.
Wish I knew what those books were!
If you could have any magical ability, what would it be?
It is, by far, the most powerful/useful ability besides perhaps just straight-up omnipotence. 9-out-of-10 dentists agree.
If not that, cos it’s cheating, then the ability to live happily and healthily without doing harm to any other living being. Photosynthesis or something!
I would also like to be able to communicate with any other living being too (maybe even some dead ones… Just to spice it up!)
If you were stuck on a deserted island with one of your characters, who would it be and why?
I’d want to pick one of the Vulkari, but they’d all probably just eat me.
And whilst Zyntael could perhaps use her weird necromancy to convince the Spirits to help us, I think Phobos Lend would know of some way off the island. Either that, or he’d have a stash of rum and pipe leaf.
What would you name your pet dragon?
Wait, you mean that I didn’t get the Unicorn after all? And I poured my heart out for that question!
It is my go-to pet name in anything where you can have a pet.
Where is the best place to start reading your work?
It’s available on Amazon here:
But, you know what? I really appreciate you humouring me.
So here, have the first book in the trilogy for free!
Find out more.