Julius Bailey is a proud though unobtrusive resident of Oklahoma, and though many have seen him at some point or another few might acknowledge the fact. His interests include a list of things considered archaic, strange, and/or beguiling. Having delved into the realm of fantasy many years past, he now finds it one of his most steadfast allies. His debut fantasy novel, Strife Of The Mighty, can be found on Amazon.
- When did you first discover your love for writing?
I’d say that it was somewhere around twelve or thirteen years of age. It was back then that I unearthed my up till then unknown love for reading; unexpectedly a love for writing followed. I read a lot of fantasy, and the different worlds I was introduced to and the numerous adventures I discovered pulled at me. No, they enthralled me. That’s when I found my calling. These uncharted worlds and fantastical tales were marvelous to me; they transported me from the current world I inhabited to another. By and by, the thought occurred to me, Well, if other folks can do it, why can’t I have a try?
So I did. And, wouldn’t you believe it, I really enjoyed it! It was incredible, wielding the power to create new things. Entire continents were at the mercy of my pen (ok, pencil), whole races of people or creatures were subject to my whim, and a fantastic tale was mine for the weaving. As I delved the deeper into my stories, I gradually came to realize that I was also delving deeper into myself, and I found that interesting. My skill increased with time, but when I first began writing, and even for a while after, I did not write for the purpose of simply getting better. I wrote because I enjoyed it.
- Do you have a favourite place to write?
Yes. In my bedroom with the windows shuttered and silence all round. Occasionally, if I am in a writing standstill or a certain mood, I’ll listen to soft music to aid my creativity. But unlike some people I don’t write my best in areas that are too open, such as outside or in a large room. I need closeness and privacy to function at my top capacity.
- Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?
Not really. I do make it a point to set aside an hour or two every day, but the time of the day doesn’t really matter (unless it’s early in the morning; the words simply won’t flow at 7am). I also try to write whenever I’m hit by sudden inspiration, but as we all know that doesn’t always work out. I find that trying to adhere myself to a strict routine makes me feel unnecessarily bound, and that should never be the case with something you love.
- Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?
The two authors that have had the heaviest impact on me are C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Of the two, Tolkien’s influence has been the heavier. Unlike a surprising number of people my age, I take a keen interest in the lengthy eloquence of what many call ‘archaic language’. Tolkien is a master of this. His tales of Middle-earth were rife with action, suspense, lore, and even some romance, yet it is the way in which he describes all of these things that makes them especially enduring. He brings his world to life in vivid imagery, and his characters in striking imaginings. His battle scenes are an especial gem. Also, Tolkien’s world-building was wholly complete. He had his own languages, his own histories and legends, and they were all believably applicable to whichever of his invented cultures were using them.
I learned from him and his style, and it inspired me and my writing. By the time I had seriously begun the work that would become Strife Of The Mighty, I was earnestly regarding the formulas that Tolkien used to craft his craft.
- What inspired you to write Strife Of The Mighty?
The desire to mold a realm of my own and then have the pleasure of reading about it is a good answer, I think. It was about a year (give or take) after I discovered my love for writing that I decided it was time to take the next step— time to write my own full length fantasy novel.
- Can you tell us a little about your book?
Strife Of The Mighty is the first book in what will become a collection of several books in an epic and exciting fantasy series. It tells the tale of the toils and adventures of the people of the kingdom of Vrandalin, in a time when threats from legend arise, hope decreases, and those who are thought weak discover their strength. It is epic fantasy in its truest form, catering to the olden, high style.
- Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?
Oh, come now. You know I can’t answer that. I love all of my characters, even the evil ones; for me to choose to set one on high above all the rest in this respect would be sooo wrong. However, I will say that there is a special place in my heart for Brandegan, Parma, and Merch (I know, I know, that’s three characters.).
- Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?
It does. Several actually, but most of these are left up to the reader, and I would like to leave them so. But a few of the main things Strife Of The Mighty focuses on are perseverance, choosing one’s own path when all other influences seek to squelch that choice, and daring to hold to something that is shunned by all.
- Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?
Of course! Here’s an excerpt from Strife Of The Mighty:
Brandegan quickened his run. Ahead of him the lights had begun to recede, melting into the night like wraiths. There were no more shouts either. All around silence again crept forward. Just before he could reach them, the last of the fires vanished. Brandegan was just about to dash after them, but something halted him. The heavy forestry round about was still, too still. Brandegan became aware of an intense watchfulness, and as he listened, a shroud of dread descended upon him.
Suddenly he felt, rather than saw, a shadow shift beside him. Next moment, he was hurled forward, heaved from the earth as though he was weightless, and tossed like a wind-blasted reed. Hardly had he struck the ground when a dark weight fell on him, crushing him down. He heard a snarl, and then four enormous claws, sharp as blades, raked his side. He fought back, lashing out with Rithlir, but a great, hirsute paw gripped his arm and, with a massive strength, pinned it to the ground.
Then Brandegan saw the eyes. Hovering just before his face, they shone as red fire, feeding the darkness with their terror and harboring within them the insatiable spirit of the Dread Palace. Even as they gazed down on their prey, the malice behind those eyes was kindled to sudden wrath, for here at last was their scourge, here at last was the thorn long sought.
But just before teeth as deadly as the edge of Rithlir found their mark, there was a dazzling flash. Shadows leapt up and fled, the darkness was pushed back, and in that moment Brandegan’s adversary was revealed. Greater in stature than any beast of the wild stood Daugruil. As other Gragmarr, his forelegs loomed up, broad and strong. His back, arching downward near his hind-legs, was covered in coarse, crimson fur, and his great muzzle was lined with dagger-edged teeth. Now he stumbled backward, thwarted from his intent by the blinding, silver flare.
Brandegan leapt to his feet as soon as the weight was lifted. His side throbbed in agony, and blood had already soaked through his raiment. But he heeded it not. The insatiable spirit of malice that burned in the eyes of this Gragmarr he knew…
- What would you say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing Strife Of The Mighty?
That’s easy: Writing it! Had I known, when I started out, that writing a novel would have been so very difficult I think I might have quailed. I’ve learned so much along this journey, and I’ve gained and lost much as well. I’ve sweated, slaved, wept (almost), roared, whispered, coaxed, and I’ve spent and lost money by reason of things I knew not of. But the pros vastly outweigh the cons. I’ve grown both as an individual and a writer. I’ve discovered those things that can either make or break a novel. I’ve found new friends and formed alliances, and have been introduced to the wonderful community of indie authors. But greatest of all I believe (besides the first reason), is the fact that I’ve learned how to write. Properly.
- What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing Strife Of The Mighty?
That I can literally write until my brain aches like a drum’s nerves after it has been beat on all day in a tribal festival (if a drum had nerves). Okay, in all seriousness. One of the most important things I’ve learned is that it is essential to never believe that you have reached the pinnacle of your skill; you can always push for something greater. And if you try hard enough, really try, and are willing to learn and sift the rubbish advice from the golden advice, you will continue to rise. And also patience. I’m not naturally all that patient. I like to see results to things quickly. Sometimes it’s a marvel to me that I was able to make it through Strife Of The Mighty at all! The rewrites were painstaking! The filling in of the plot was torturous! The constant editing was indescribable! Yet I stuck with it. I had to. By an inner sense I knew that I had to. I had to see this work to the end. Several times I almost rushed into certain decisions that would not have turned out well for me, but something always withheld me from these ill opportunities. Patience was a main factor that saw me through.
- Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?
Be hardworking, be resolute in your craft, and be patient. A big thing I encounter in aspiring authors is the lack of determination. They find that they enjoy to write, launch into writing a novel, and then, upon discovering how difficult writing said novel is, waver and eventually drop off the tracks. Being a writer takes dedication and patience. These are the two most important things. No, skill is not the most important thing. If you have real dedication to your craft you will always be seeking to hone it; you will ever be striving to make yourself better and in doing so you will become better. And patience will see to it that your determination has two legs to stand on.
- Anything else you would like to say?
Just that I enjoyed this interview, and wish all of my fellow fantasy authors the best of luck! And also I render a heartfelt thank you to all the indie author supporters. The reviewers, the bloggers, the interviewers, and the fans. All of your help is never forgotten, and you guys are more important than words can describe.
- And finally, do you have any future works planned?
Yes indeed! I am currently working on Book Two of the Chronicles of Vrandalin, in which the adventure continues, new things are revealed and discovered, and sacrifices are made. And upon its completion, I shall delve into a few new realms. The Lael chronicles have only just begun!
Strife Of The Mighty is available here! http://www.amazon.com/Strife-The-Mighty-Chronicles-Vrandalin-ebook/dp/B00T5IW9DE
Julius’ blog http://juliusbailey.blogspot.com/
Julius’ Twitter https://twitter.com/kingdomwanderer
Julius’ goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13491222.Julius_Bailey