Thursday, 23 May 2013

Interview with Ben Galley

The Emaneska Series by Ben Galley, is drawing to a close with the imminent, simultaneous release of the final two installments, Dead Stars Parts 1 & 2
Follow the links to see our review of the first two parts in the series, The Written and Pale Kings.
Ben has been kind enough to grant us an interview, where he talks about the origins of Emaneska, jaw dropping cover art and what the future may hold. Enjoy!

WBR - Thanks for making the time for this Ben; this must be a very busy time for you at the moment! What three words would you use to describe The Emaneska Series?
BG - Brutal. Non-stop. Epic.

WBR - You cheated a bit there, but I’ll let you off! Can you talk us through how you got started with the Emaneska Series? 

BG - It was a culmination of a few elements that gave birth to Emaneska. First off, I'd been looking to escape my gloomy day-job and achieve that old childhood dream of being an author for some time. At the same time I was inhaling every fantasy book I could find, rediscovering my love of the genre. Then, as clich├ęd as it sounds, the name Emaneska popped into my head one day, along with the inspiring tag-line of 'Lord of The Rings meets Sin City'. That was it - I had a name, a direction, and I started writing the first chapter that very night. It was as simple a genesis as that. I haven't looked back since.

WBR - You’ve become something of a self publishing guru, but how did you make the
decision to publish your books yourself, rather than go the more traditional path? 

BG - I originally wanted to go the traditional route, but while writing the book, I began to grow worried about the idea of rejections, of giving up my rights, and also the length of time the process takes. I began to research alternate ideas after seeing an advert for something called 'Self-Publishing'. The more I researched, the more I became enamoured with the idea of going DIY, of going indie. It was fortuitous timing, as this is the first time in history that self-publishing is a financially viable option for success. Self-publishing providers were beginning to pop up all over the place, and through a lot of research and experimentation, I negotiated my way to market cheaply, quickly, and professionally, just as I'd wanted.

WBR - You also help other authors to find out how to self publish their work, is that a part of your career you enjoy?
BG - I'm a zealot when it comes to helping others. I believe that the manner in which I published my books was a very successful and accessible one, and it's a route I'm keen to share. For instance, a lot of authors think that going indie costs a lot of money - up into the thousands. I published 'The Written' for around £400, and all from one laptop. As soon as I began to make headway with the books, I knew it was time to start helping others. There's a lot of mistakes to be made in this new landscape, costly and serious mistakes, and no author should fall foul of them when there are so many opportunities now available.

WBR - The covers of your books are fantastic. Were you trying to break the rule of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover?’
BG - Thank you very much! I very much was. I judge books by their covers all the time. Especially now, when the market is so wide and packed. The cover is your sales pitch, just as much, if not more, than your blurb or reviews. I knew that to make sales, I had to have an absolutely rocking cover. One that hinted at the genre, but also stood apart by being unusual for fantasy and visually entrancing. I used Crowdsourcing via a site called Crowdspring to find a truly original graphic artist called Mikael Westman, whose concept for my cover physically made me sit bolt upright and my jaw hang loose.

WBR - You’ve used a lot of ‘mainstream’ mythological creatures in this series, why did you decide to use things like dragons and vampyres in your world instead of going full on fantasy and creating an entirely new set of creatures? 

BG - I wanted to toy with a number of stereotypes, especially with the vampyres. It was a time when Twilight and dark romance was crowding shelves, and I wanted to use a creature that readers would feel familiar with, but also feel that they're being introduced to something new, something alternate. Dragons for me was a prerequisite. I'm obsessed with the beasts, but once again I wanted to treat them differently, and give them a few idiosyncrasies that might not have been written about before.

WBR - You’ve referred to the Emaneska Series as ‘A Trilogy In Four Parts,' Why have you decided to release both Dead Stars Part 1 and Part 2 at the same time?

BG - I wanted to be fair to my readers, and also be different. I know from personal experience that there are fans out there capable of inhaling one of my books in a night. I also know how frustrating it can be waiting 6 or 12 months to finish a series. It can be even more frustrating when you're left on a cliff-hanger. Dead Stars had to much material to be one book, but also was too fluid to be split easily. I decided that it was time to push the boat out and try a double release.

WBR - Now that the series if over and you’ve said your goodbyes to the citizens of Emaneska, how do you look back on the last four years? 

BG - With absolute fondness, and also a bit of guilty pride. I've achieved a lot in the last four years, and I'm very happy with what I've learnt, what I've published, and how it's been received. I also understand now what authors like King and RR Martin mean when they say they are still learning and growing as writers. Emaneska is the start for me - I've got so much more to do.

WBR - Your Kickstarter campaign was very successful and you first graphic novel of The Written was fully funded. How is that progressing and is Kickstarter something you will explore again? 

BG - Thank you again. The graphic novel of The Written is going very well at the moment. We're compiling all the concept art, ready to start building up the first chapter. We're looking towards a release in Autumn or Winter this year. It's a different direction for Emaneska, but so many people are eager to see and read it, I know I've made a good choice. Mike Shipley is an incredible artist. Once again, I'm very lucky to have come across him. If you haven't seen any of the art you can find it on my Facebook Page ( I fully intend to use it for funding the next graphic novel for Pale Kings

WBR - What’s next for Ben Galley? 

BG - A bucket-load of sleep and a holiday I think. I may even mix the two. Then it's straight back to the laptop. I will be writing a standalone fantasy that will be very different from Emaneska in many ways. Can't wait to try something new.

WBR - And finally, what book are you reading at the moment?

BG - At the moment I'm rereading the First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie. Outstanding books!

WBR - Thanks again, Ben! 

Ben can be found online at his website, and you can follow him on Twitter @Ben Galley.  

The first two books in his Emaneska series of epic fantasy, The Written and Pale Kings, are available now. The concluding parts of the saga, Dead Stars, will be simultaneously released on 31st May. 

1 comment:

Hannah @ Once Upon A Time said...

Great interview! How did you go about it? Did you hop on GTalk or something else? It's very fluid!

I wish I could afford to buy the Emaneska series in paperback, would LOVE to have these covers on my shelves but it's just not an option for me. :'( I have The Written on my Kindle, bought it way before the freebie deal *shakes fist* so hopefully I'll get started on the series.. at some point.. Tis the trouble with saying 'yes' to review books - squeezing in other books you'd quite like to read some time.