This week’s guest for Friday Five is Thom Lane. Thanks for visiting the blog, Thom!
So, what kind of books do you read for fun?
…Wait, what? There are kinds of books? There are categories, and people think some are more fun than others…?
No, sorry, I will be serious: but I read all kinds of books, me. Anything in English. History – for research, yes, but who says research can’t be fun? – and biography, science for simpletons, all the varieties of fiction that there are, from kids’ books to serious literature. What I love best is genre: science fiction and fantasy and historical fiction and mystery and and and. I’ve written all of those, in various combinations, but I read them before ever I was a writer.
What’s the one thing you can’t live without?
Ask me first thing in the morning, it’ll be coffee: brewed hot and black and very strong. Ask me five o’clock in the evening, it’s alcohol: beer or wine or a cocktail, depending. Ask me at six o’clock in the evening, it’s my favourite kitchen knife. But ask me once for all time, and it’s books, reading, the ability to read. If I couldn’t read – well, I dunno, but I’d probably just cease to exist. In some absolutely concrete way, I think I probably am text rendered flesh.
If a genie granted you three wishes, what would they be?
Heh. I’d find it hard not to wish for eternal youth, because I’m insatiably curious and I really, really want to know what happens to humankind in the far far future; and I might well wish that I’d been into bitcoins in the very early days, because an awful lot of money would make things so much easier, for myself and all my friends; and then of course I’d wish for three more wishes, because I’m not a fool, y’know.
What is the best writing advice you can give?
Probably my favourite single line is “Don’t get it right, get it written.” Bad drafts can be made better, but nothing can help a story that’s not actually made it onto paper. But that’s a quotation; my own personal best advice is not to get hung up on anyone’s advice, let alone a mantra like “less is more”. Sometimes that’s true, but sometimes less is just less. Every story has its own voice, and some of them need to be tight, and some of them need to be extravagant. Write everything you can: every genre, every style. If you don’t tell your stories, nobody else is going to tell them for you.
Can you share a little about your current release with us?
I can! For some years now I’ve been writing the “Tales of Amaranth” series for Loose Id, set in a fantasy empire where slavery is an accepted part of life. These are m/m stories, some told from a slave’s point of view, some from a master’s. People who are strict about such things say they’re not properly BDSM, and they’re not romances either. Me, I just shrug: I’m not good at definitions and they are what they are, which is stories about young men learning how to live and be happy in a fairly ruthless environment. Some of the stories feature magic (there’s a recurrent couple of characters, a master mage and his body-slave), some don’t.
(cover art by Anne Cain)
The new one, Heart’s Hunt, is a long short story, a good entry-point for anyone who hasn’t met the series before. It’s set in a neighbouring kingdom, where revolution has overturned the social order. A bounty hunter is chasing down a runaway prince, but his big score doesn’t turn out the way that he was hoping. According to the publisher’s blurb (actually, I think I might have written this): “When he rides into the charcoal-burner’s clearing, he doesn’t find a depraved young aristocrat hiding out with his loyal servant. Rather, he finds a displaced old man doing the best he can with only a slave to help. A willing, beautiful, poorly trained slave. From their first encounter, Martel can’t keep his hands off the boy – and sees no reason to, when the master doesn’t care and the inexperienced boy is sullen and frightened and eager all at once. This is the last thing he was looking for – but can one hot night change the course of a life, of two lives…?”
You can read more (and buy the book!) here: http://www.loose-id.com/tales-of-amaranth-heart-s-hunt.html