Welcome to my second Author Interview.

I am proud to introduce to you Melbourne author A.Finlay.  She is the author of Shadows of Light – book one of the Shadows of Light trilogy.  Book two, Binding Darkness, is coming out towards the end of the year.  Ally has answered my questions with genuine humour that had me laughing aloud.  If you don’t believe me, read below and see if you do not chuckle.

Without further ado, let’s get to the interview.

What genre would you like to write a book in (that you haven’t yet)?

After I finish the Shadows of Light trilogy, I’m going to write short stories. I think the smart phones and tablets generation will begin to move that way, but for me it just means I can get lots of ideas out more quickly.

Where do your ideas come from?  Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole construct?

My ideas come from a place in my mind where I’m allowed to be entirely irrational, emotional, and insane. I write best when I let my imagination overlap my reality, even if only slightly. For example, I was once in a situation where I didn’t like the job I was in (perhaps more than once). It got so bad that one day I stormed off to my car, fuming and cursing. After stewing in the drivers seat for half an hour, I realised that I had to go back and face my life. It was an awful feeling, seeing no end to a horrible job. It’s amazing how much worse everything seems when you don’t know how long you have to endure it.

As I scuffed my feet back through the car park, into the building and up the stairs, my mind began forming a story. The steps a main character takes, the torment he feels as he faces his own decisions and tries to find a way to manipulate the most dangerous manipulator. The king of demons. Some of my best writing so far. The weeks following this, everything horrible that happened at work became exciting because it inspired such deep, emotional writing.

When you start a new story, do you have a title for it?  Does that trigger the story?

Both of my books I’ve named after finishing them. (Shadows of Light, Binding Darkness). I try to keep the reason for the title subtle. I think, for example, if I had called my first novel ‘Torment’, ‘Angel’, or anything that appears consistently throughout the novel, it would take away from the story and become monotonous. Both novels hopefully leave the reader thinking about the title at the end, instilling deeper meaning into an under layered storyline. (I’m not even sure this answer makes sense to anyone but me)

Do you see the future of fantasy as bright?  If so, which authors are driving it?

Yes. If by bright you mean misty and enthralling.

I think there are many authors driving in across varying readers, but, seeing as we’re talking about authors driving things, can I just mention something? Now I’m not a diehard Twilight fan or anything like that, but I often wonder how many relationships have ended due to the increased expectations Edward Cullen instilled into the female minds.

What themes are being overused?

Vampires for sure.

But more annoyingly than that is misuse of traditions. I think to some degree, if you’re not creating your monsters from scratch, you need to honour their origins as closely as possible. I’m not saying that all angels should be called Gabrielle, and speak like scholars, but who wants to read a book about an abominable snowman who surfs all day and drinks tequila? (If there is an actual book out there about said snowman, please know I was not privy to this information). Did you know the word ‘privy’ also means toilet? Strange.

Are movies of books ruining the book?

Most of the time no. If I’m really into a book, it will make me want to watch the movie, which will make me want to read the book, then before I know it I’m in a vicious cycle that can only be broken by solitary confinement and going cold-turkey. Mmm Turkey.

Do you see ebooks threatening traditional publishing?

Ah the ‘changing environment’ debate. My short answer is, of course it’s a threat. Whether an immediate threat… well I actually think it’s all been a bit slower than any one expected. Most people I speak to prefer to pick up a solid book, and others dabble in both worlds.

But change is always imminent. Look what happened when we moved from parchment to books. (Ok honestly, I have no idea what happened, I’m only 28).

One day eBooks will be threatened by some other form of invention and a similar debate will emerge.

My experience? My books in stores are selling far better to those online, and ALL my advertising if for the online space.

Pretty sure I just gave you four answers, which were all conflicting.

Can I get an autographed book? (lol)

I don’t know CAN you?

Do you have a group of people that you show a new story to?


How much impact can they have on the whole story?

Very little as I’ve usually finished the manuscript by this stage. Occasionally I will give chapters to my proofies before I’m finished, but I only really change things such as inconsistencies or ‘cringe’ moments. No one has the ability to affect my story – not even me. My stories write themselves in my mind and to go against it feels wrong most of the time.

Do you write constantly or have breaks between books?

Depends. Let me explain.

If I’m in a zone, I try to ensure I’m writing as much as possible. Sometimes when my zone fizzles out, it’s hard to know when it will come back, so I need to make the most of it. I’m trying to be tactical in how I’m explaining it here. I usually refer to it as artistic diarrhea/constipation.

I wrote the first eleven chapters of my second novel immediately after I completed Shadows of Light. But then I stopped and the rest of the manuscript took me two and a half years.

Do you have characters running around your head?  Do they dictate events and their histories to you?

Yes, but they don’t talk to me anymore. Stupid pills.

Do you remember the first time you saw your book in a shop?

Yes! It was on a display and had fallen over. I subtly fixed it and tried to shuffle out of the store inconspicuously.

Would you read my book?

Sure! As soon as I’m finished editing Binding Darkness, and as long as I’m don’t have A.D. (see answer that speaks about bowel movements).

Ally can be found scattered around the web.  Here are the better places to find her.

The A. Finlay web site


Ally’s blog

Shadows of Light on Amazon

Shadows of Light on Google Play.