Sunday, May 16, 2010

Today Toad welcomes author Nyki Blatchley to her corner.

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Nyki Blatchley began writing when he was four years old, and hasn’t stopped since. In the meantime, he’s found time to graduate from the University of Keele in Greek studies and English and holds a number of jobs, ranging from bookshop assistant and care-worker to artist’s model, and even a stint with Macdonalds. Much of Nyki’s writing has been either poetry or fantasy (of the non-erotic kind), and he’s had numerous short stories and poems published, including one in a horror anthology where his story appeared immediately before one by HP Lovecraft. Nyki’s fantasy novel At an Uncertain Hour was published by StoneGarden in April last year, and he has another book contracted with them. He has also written music, and played numerous gigs on the London poetry/music scene, doing performance poetry to taped backing music, which he called the Invisible Band.

Nyki recently began writing erotica and had three fantasy novellas published by Dark Eden Press, before its unfortunate closure: The Concubine of the Temple, Kaydana and the Staff of Ishlun and Kaydana and the Ruby of Beguilement. He’s also had stories in the Xcite Books anthologies Sex & Submission and Ultimate Sex.

Interests other than writing (and reading, of course) include music, particularly folk, rock and blues, though Nyki has quite wide tastes. He also plays keyboards and percussion, though not particularly well. He loves history, and has been involved in Civil War re-enactments (the English Civil War, that isroundheads and cavaliers). Nyki enjoys fell-walking, especially in the Lake District, loves cricket, though he’s limited to spectating.

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What stories inspired you when you were young? Any particular authors?

I was read to pretty much from the time I was born and started reading myself very early. My early favourites, I suppose, were the Pooh stories, which I still love. From about eight or nine onward, I became fascinated with King Arthur and anything to do with knights. I read all the retellings of the Arthurian legends I could find, and one of favourite books (which I never actually owned, and I’ve only recently found a copy of) was a wonderful half-fiction, half-non-fiction book called The Story of Knights and Armour, by someone called Ernest E Tucker.

Later, I started to read a lot of historical fiction―my favourite was Rosemary Sutcliffe, though in my teens I got into Mary Renault as well. I read a few fantasy books, particularly The Chronicles of Narnia. Then, when I was fifteen, I read The Lord of the Rings for the first time, and that was that.

Who is your favourite character by another author and why?

Hm, there are so many. I’m very tempted to go with Homer’s version of Helen of Troy. She’s a wonderful creation―a real drama queen who exaggerates everything she says. Her relationship with Paris is one of those where they both equally enjoy the blazing rows and the making up afterward in bed.

In more recent terms, I love Mary Gentle’s character Valentine, also known as White Crow. She appears in the novels Rats & Gargoyles, The Architecture of Desire and Left to His Own Devices, which all take place in different settings and times―for instance, one’s set in an alternative version of 17th-century England, another’s in a near-future London. She’s described as a scholar-soldier. I’m not sure exactly what I love so much about her―I think she has a wide range of emotions and reactions, and she’s simply someone I’d enjoy having a long conversation with over a drink or six.

Who is your favourite character that is your own creation and why do you think he/she will appeal to readers?

That’s even harder, because I love them all (including the really nasty ones). It’s probably between Kaydana and the Traveller. Kaydana is an itinerant sorceress who has a huge appetite for life (and sex) and is brave, loyal and resourceful, even though she always has one eye open for her own advantage. She’s a long way from perfect, but I think this would make her someone readers can relate to, rather than a perfect ideal.

The Traveller is a character I’ve been writing about since I was in my teens. He’s an ordinary man who’s become immortal by a magical accident. He uses his immortality to wander, trying to see everything there is to see, but his desire for freedom to travel is balanced by his instinct to help when he sees oppression and injustice. I think his appeal is that he’s an ordinary person in an extraordinary situation, and I hope readers can relate to the fact that he always tries to do the right thing, though he doesn’t always get it right.

Tell readers a bit about your current release and who do you think will enjoy reading it, and why.

Kaydana and the Dragon Prince, published by Lyrical Press Inc, is the fourth story about the sorceress Kaydana. The stories are fantasy/erotic novellas, blending the traditional plot-types of sword and sorcery with exploration of sexuality.

In this story, Kaydana teams up with a warrior to rescue a young princess who’s been kidnapped by dragons―but there all similarity with traditional plots ends. Not only is the princess’s warrior-love female, but the situation turns out to be very different from what might be expected. I’ve tried to mix an exciting and intriguing fantasy story with an examination of sexuality under unusual circumstances and some scorching sex scenes, of many varieties.

Care to spill the beans on any future plans?

The fifth Kaydana story, Kaydana and the Pool of the Gods, is now making its way through the editorial process, and I’m also working on Kaydana and the Lost City. That’ll be the end of the projected series (hopefully a Big Finish) although I certainly wouldn’t rule out coming back to Kaydana at a later date.

I’m working on a TV script, to pitch as a series, which just needs a final edit. I also have a fantasy trilogy about 90 percent written―I want to get the first part into submittable form within the next couple of months. After that, I have at least five novels planned, with a few other ideas on an even-further-back burner. Then I have beginnings of about a dozen short stories that need to be written. So I have quite a bit on the agenda―and that’s assuming I don’t have any more ideas.

What is the strangest thing that has happened, related to your writing?

Back in the 1980s, a poem I’d had published in a little writing-group anthology was selected for inclusion in a major-house anthology of poems about London. I was paid £10 for a 12-word poem, so I didn’t tell them it hadn’t actually been intended to be about London. The book was edited by a fairly senior member of the government of the time, and I got to meet him and some of his colleagues at the launch party. I didn’t give them much heed, though―they were only politicians (who I didn’t even support) and I was much more interested in the other poets at the party.

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See Nyki’s Lyrical Press profile:

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