Friday, June 26, 2015

Interview of Author Jeffrey Collyer

Displaying Jeff 1.jpgAW: Tell us about yourself…

My parents are English (though my Dad grew up in Hong Kong); I was born in Australia where I spent my early years; I then spent time living in the US and Chile, though I now live in England. Does that make me a citizen of the world, or just confused? Probably the latter.

My home in the rolling hills of northern England is filled with the sounds of four children. We also have two cats, who spend much of their time trying to lie on my laptop while I work, sample my food when I’m not looking, and trip me down the stairs. Somehow, they’re still worth it. My wife is a saint.

Oh, and I write.

AW: What genre do you write and why?

I mostly write fantasy, though I dabble in other areas too. In addition to my author website, I have a religious blog. And on my to-do list is turning a diary my grandfather secretly kept while a Prisoner of War in WW2 into a historical novel.

AW: Tell us about your book….

Dreams and Shadows is a YA Fantasy, and the first book in a new series, the Aylosian Chronicles. It revolves around a young man who is pulled from modern England into a world of magic. He goes from being a nobody to all of a sudden everyone trying to kill him, and his emotional journey matches his physical one as he travels the new land of Aylosia, and begins to discover who he is. It may sound familiar, but I think the way I’ve approached it is new.

There are a lot of symbols and metaphors in it, but I think they’re well enough hidden so that if someone just wants to read a story they can do so. 

I hate cliff-hangers, so despite this being a first book in a series, there isn’t one; although there are still questions at the end which the reader knows are still to be answered.

AW: What was your inspiration for this book?

It all began with a thought about a young man sitting alone in a run-down flat. What was his background? Who was he really, and how would he discover his identity? That quickly moved to a scene in the shopping precinct where we sees a woman and time slows down. Everything else came from that.

AW: Do you have a favorite character and why that one?
Displaying dreams and shadows - ebook 600 x 800.jpg

My favourite character is one who is introduced fairly late in the book, called Jixi. He isn’t human and is the embodiment of appearances being deceiving. He looks fierce, but is a gentle soul. I’ve grown to really love his race as the story has developed into book 2 (for which I’m about half-way through the first draft).

There is another character who will become incredibly important in the second book of the series, but she gets only a passing mention in Dreams and Shadows. Her importance was unexpected for me, so I’m looking forward to seeing her develop.

AW: Did you find anything particularly difficult in writing this book?

As I say, there are a lot of symbols and metaphors in Dreams and Shadows, and trying to ensure the various messages I wanted to convey were both present, but subtle, was a real challenge – as well as keeping them consistent throughout. It’s been incredibly satisfying to get to the end and get really positive feedback, though.

AW: What project(s) are you currently working on?
My main project at the moment is book 2 in the Aylosian Chronicles, provisionally titled Woven Peril. The title will make perfect sense if you’ve read Dreams and Shadows!

But I also occasionally post a short story on my web-site. One of these is also from the world of Aylosia. There is a second from Aylosia, too, but I haven't posted it yet, because it contains spoilers for book 2.

AW: Do you have any interesting writing quirks you want to tell us about?

It’s not a quirk, as such, but I’m interested in how different authors approach their writing in terms of how structured it is. For me, I have a clear idea of how the story will end, and important waypoints along the way, but I don’t start out knowing how I’m going to get from A to B. That makes it something of a voyage of discovery for me.

AW: Is there a standout phrase or section of the book that you’re particularly proud of?

I’ve written what you would call ‘Wisdom Literature’ at the beginning of each chapter, and I’m really proud of most of them. A lot of other people have commented on them, too, which is pleasing.

Outside of the wisdom literature, if I had to pick a single paragraph that I was most pleased with, I think it would be this from the first chapter:

‘As he looked to the sides of the path again, he saw the trees were nearly lost in the fog – only the ends of their now desolate branches visible, pointing like skeletal fingers directly towards him. It was if they were accusing him of their barrenness. If he hadn’t come here, they silently shouted, they would still be in spring’s bloom. The fog would not have come and they would be basking in glory.

And I guess if I were to pick a single sentence that summed up the book it would be this one:

‘At times in our lives we are all forced to risk much if we are to be true to that which we hold dear."

AW: Where can we find you? 

My author website is
Twitter: @JeffreyCollyer

My religious blog is:

AW: And of course we have to know, where can we find your book? 

Dreams and Shadows is available in paperback and ebook from Amazon stores internationally. The US link is


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