Brain to Books Blog Tour
Author: M.T. McGuire
Genre: Humorous science fiction fantasy action adventure with a dash of clean romance
Short story prequel of the K’Barthan Series, Unlucky Dip
Few Are Chosen, K’Barthan Series: Part 1
The Wrong Stuff, K’Barthan Series: Part 2
One Man: No Plan, K’Barthan Series: Part 3
Looking For Trouble, K’Barthan Series: Part 4
M T McGuire is a 46 year old stay-at-home mum. She used to do stand up but sat down to write books when she got married. Sixteen years later, she has finished theK’Barthan Trilogy. She still checks all unfamiliar wardrobes for a gateway to Narnia, which probably tells you everything you need to know about her. She lives in Bury St Edmunds with a McOther a McSon and a McCat.
If you’ve read any of her stuff, she’d like to say, ‘thank you’ and hopes you enjoyed it.
Interview with McGuire
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started writing? What do you do when you’re not writing?
My name is M T McGuire and I’m an authorholic. Seriously though, I think the reason I started writing was because I couldn’t not … although it was a while before I realised that was the root cause. Also, my mind spent so much time away with the fairies that it seemed logical to try and show people where it went. I am a stay at home mum so when I’m not writing, which is a lot of the time, I’m looking after my boy, or checking up on my folks, who are a bit doddery and live a long way away, or doing social other things so that I have more stuff to write about. I also like wine tasting, gardening, reading, painting and I go metal detecting quite often. Some of the stuff I’ve found is hundreds of years old but I’ve yet to find anything worth more than about ten quid.
Is this your first book?
It’s my first series – The K’Barthan Series – and it stands complete at four full length novels and a short. Writing them did feel like writing one huge novel at times and I was mightily relieved when I finally got the whole story out there. The beginning of the series, Few Are Chosen, K’Barthan Series: Part 1was the first decent book I managed to write. It took me 13 years during which time I wrote 3 other books I heartily wish someone else had written.
What genre do you enjoy writing the most and what is the book about?
My genre; when people ask, I say I write humorous science fiction fantasy for teenagers. Unfortunately, it’s a lie as I actually write what pleases me. So take the K’Barthan Series, which is the extent of my novels in the public domain. There’s quite a lot going on. It’s basically about a bumbling cowardly getaway driver in a parallel reality (K’Barth). He’s blacklisted, which means his existence is treason and he’s an outlaw. All he wants is a quiet life but the more he tries to blend in and disappear the more trouble he gets himself into. Eventually he has to take on the nation’s despot leader to save the life of the woman he loves.
There’s a lot of humour, there is science – the cars fly and the mobile phones run on static (rub them in your hair to charge) –the parallel world, K’Barth, is full of weird and wonderful creatures in varying sizes, degrees of hairiness, shapes, colours etc. The Pan’s ex boss is a 6ft swamp thing with orange skin and antennae, the head of the Resistance movement is a Blurpon: a small monopedal cat like creature with red fur, a propensity to extreme violence and unsurpassed laundering skills – shirts, not money.
It’s quite non standard.
What inspired you to write this book?
To be honest, I just wrote the kind of book I wanted to read. To me it’s just an updated version of the Narnia books, which I loved, with funny bits and some ritzy modern gadgets thrown in. A kind of Douglas Adams meets James Bond, except I wouldn’t pretend to be able to write like Douglas Adams and if we’re going to start comparing it to the greats it’s probably more like Pratchett. Except I can’t write like him yet, either but I like to aim high (just a bit) so I’m working on it.
How did you come up with the title of your book or series?
The idea of a pimped parallel version of reality has been with me since I can remember. It went through several incarnations before K’Barth indeed it almost went to press as Yarth and the Yarthan Series, but by the time I got to publishing the first book, I discovered that Yarth was some really obscure realm of Dungeons and Dragons invented by a chap who had died and therefore wasn’t alive to ask. So I thought of G’Barth, my husband suggested K’Barth and it stuck. The book titles were easier because I wanted to project that kind of British comedy feel. Also, K’Barthan Series is the weird bit, so the titles need to be a bit less odd. Hence generic choices like Few Are Chosen, The Wrong Stuff, One Man: No Plan and Looking For Trouble. I hope these say ‘comedy’ first and foremost because that’s what it is.
Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
The covers were designed by a bunch called A Trouble Halved, who are based in Stratford Upon Avon. They are contacts from my previous life when I worked in marketing. I wanted someone who I could guarantee would be able to interpret my warped ideas and since they have form in that respect they were the obvious choice.
The plot of the K’Barthan Series hangs on getting hold of three artefacts. Their significance is revealed one book at a time until the last book which is just a good old battle between the forces of good and evil. From the point of view of the covers, I wanted to have whatever artefact was relevant to the story on the front of each book with the characters tumbling over one another to try and grab it. I had drawings of what my characters looked like and asked them if they could do it. They told me it would be very expensive and came up with the idea of the hands (less drawing so it was cheaper). After a bit of discussion, we added the flying cars on the back as I thought they’d be brilliant for merchandise, and they are. It cost a lot but to me it was well worth it.
If you could cast your characters in a Hollywood adaption of your book, who would play them?
That’s a tricky one I am really useless on actors and actresses. I have no clue who anyone is and I’d need a time machine. Many of the people I’m suggesting are a lot older than the stage of their lives at which I’m offering them the part or, coughs politely, dead. Time machine procured, off we go.
The male lead, The Pan of Hamgee, is a lot like David Tennant as Dr Who, only with a slightly less rubber face and a dash of Joel Fry thrown in (Stylax from Plebs), for Lord Vernon, the evil baddie, I’d have to find Timothy Dalton, as playing Mr Rochester in a 1980s BBC TV adaption of Jane Eyre, and teleport him to now but actually this fellow is close – in that picture, at any rate. There’s definitely bit of Daniel Craig about General Moteurs. I think Ada would be Maggie Smith and I suspect Judy Dench or Catherine Tate would both make an equally good Gladys. Big Merv is Samuel L Jackson with antennae and a cockney accent but Ruth and Lucy are tricky… I think I’d cast Anna Friel as Ruth maybe, although she’s not quite as comfortably upholstered as I imagine Ruth. Lucy is easier, I imagine her as Claire Danes (Carrie out of Homeland.
When and why did you begin writing?
I think there were two reasons: first, because nobody else seemed to be writing the kinds of stories I wanted, I loved books like Children of the New Forest and the Three Musketeers – yeh, I’m a historical novel sap. Give me a frilly shirt, a big hat with feathers in (or a tricorn) and a sword fight and I’m a happy bunny. However, I also love Day of the Triffids, StarTrek and all those 1960s TV Science Fiction shows like the Avengers and the Prisoner. I love fantasy but I was shy of writing books about dwarves and elves and dragons because knowing my luck all I would get out of it would be a deluge of e-mails from experts in dwarves, elves and dragons telling me I’d done it wrong. Anyway, who wants to write about things someone else has already made up? I wanted creatures. Really, really weird creatures but who were actually quite like us under the green skin, purple fur etc. I wanted James Bond gadgets with sword fights and Terry Pratchett humour. And I wanted romance in it too.
So, what happened, eventually, was the K’Barthan Series, where only some of the characters are human; where the cars fly but the baddie and one of the heroes have a sword fight in the last scene. The book I’m currently plotting – Space Dustmen – is supposed to be straight science fiction, but our heroine, Driff, will probably have horns or something and a laser sword.
What does your writing process look like?
Like a very disorganised thing. I don’t write much down, except as part of the book. I keep it all in my head, which works well but it does take up rather a lot of short term memory. That means it tends to impact on other areas of my life like … I dunno … being able remember my own name, my ability to finding my own arse with both hands, that kind of thing. I probably drive the people in my life nuts. Actually, there’s no ‘probably’ to that statement, I know I do.
What are you working on now?
Right now, I’m putting the finishing touches to a fifth book, with a working title of Scary Space Creatures which I hope to release next year. It’s been a gas to write but it is a bit mad and it’s single stand-alone story, when the accepted advice is to write a series – always one to buck the trend, me, and keeping the same stuff in my head for eight years while I wrote about K’Barth near fried my brain. I am plotting a sixth full length novel, Space Dustmen, and I have an idea for a spin off about K’Barth for my seventh. I’m also fiddling about with a couple of children’s books, I’ve no idea what they’re called yet or what to do with them but the tinkering process is fun.
Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?
Yes there are two and the first is the racy stuff. At one point I thought I should look at trends and write what was selling well, rather than what comes out. So I thought erotica. Now, I am OK at gentle romance, you know, a poignant snog, I can do those, so I thought I should read some erotica books and then try a hawt one. The resultant sex scene could well be the funniest thing I’ve ever written in my life, but so not in a good way. I learned that there’ll be no earning millions as an erotica author for me and resigned myself to closing the bedroom door on my characters and leaving readers to imagine the squelchy bits.
The second thing I have failed to write successfully is anything that doesn’t turn into weird science fiction fantasy. No matter how hard I try, unless the book is set in space, there WILL be Creatures by the end of the first chapter. To be honest, it tends to happen when the book is set in space as well, but they’re aliens so that doesn’t count.
What, when you’re not writing, do you do to support yourself?
I lean very heavily on McOther like a giant, book-writing money sponge.
What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
It’s a cheeky ask but if you can manage it there are three things you can do:
- If you enjoyed it, say that you’ve just finished it on social media and share a link.
- Sign up for my mailing list so you will actually know when the next one comes out. Like many authors I sell my pre and new releases for a short term promotional price so this is worth doing from your point of view as well.
- Write a review on whatever site you bought it from and any others if you can. It doesn’t have to be long, just a couple of lines: what was good, what could be better, why it moved you – if it did. Reviews help in too many ways to count, so yeh, if you can, please leave one.
Thank you so much for inviting me here today, it’s been a gas.
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