Adrian Faulkner is a fantasy writer, a medal-winning historical sword fighter, and a storm chaser who’s been inside a mile-wide tornado and lived to tell the tale.
Adrian’s first novel, The Four Realms, was awarded Fantasy Book Review’s ‘Book of the Month’ award in March 2013 and his short story, Jetsam, was given a honourable mention in Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year 2011.
Adrian Faulkner lives in Wiltshire. He still owns far too many toys.
Adrian Faulkner was born in 1972 in Guildford, Surrey, United Kingdom. His first interaction with fantasy came in 1980 when the family moved to run a business in Kent. The school had just 20 pupils and an open library where Adrian discovered the wonder of Watership Down, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, and the Narnia novels. It influenced him enough to try his hand at his own fantasy story at just eight years old. His teachers thought the hundred plus page epic so good, they typed it up and placed it in the school library.
Living in the countryside and with his parents busy trying to build the business, Adrian spent his early years reading, writing huge hundred page epic fantasy stories, and creating adventures with his Star Wars action figures.
In 1997, Adrian started a night school class on creative writing. The last lesson of the course concentrated on non-fiction, something Adrian had never considered before. Intrigued by the lesson, combined with his interest in online, he started 3.75” Action Figure Centre, a Geocities page dedicated to news on upcoming toys and collectables.
What started as a hobby quickly grew, morphing into Action-Figure.com the following summer. The site continued to grow and despite being told that a guy from the UK could never become a leader in reporting on the growing industry surrounding pop culture and memorabilia, he pretty much single-handed built the site into a behemoth. During the annual Toy Fair trade show when new products were announced, he’d regularly acquire several million hits in a space of an hour or two. He’d also burn out hardware at an alarming rate, much to the annoyance of his hosting companies.
He had stars from music, film and TV participate in the site, writing articles and appearing in videos. Adrian, himself, was recognised on the streets of New York by eager fans of the site. Action-Figure was fast and geeky and attracted a loyal following, despite the fact that when Adrian was working 20 hour days, his copy could get a little screwy by the end.
But his love was always fiction and the number of hours a day Action-Figure was taking to run, lead to the difficult decision in 2009 to step down and close the site to focus on his dream of being a fantasy novelist.
“The first thing that happened when I announced my retirement from Action-Figure,” Adrian says, “is that I got a call from Los Angeles. The caller was one of the heads of the merchandise companies I had worked with occasionally over the years. At the time I was wondering whether I’d made the biggest mistake of my life, but the caller told me something I’ll never forget. He told me that whether it took five years or twenty years to make it, I would, because I’d proved with Action-Figure I was the type of guy who kept working at things until I made them happen.”
With that in mind, Adrian put his head down and worked on a new novel – a mix of epic, urban fanasty and Science Fiction that would eventually become The Four Realms.
The book would take 13 years to write, Adrian’s friends always joking every January that Adrian’s New Year resolution was to finish the book. But finish it he eventually did, and in 2012, Andy Remic’s small press, Anarchy Books agreed to publish it.
The book was released in December that year and met with very favourable reviews.
Disaster struck in March 2013. Sitting at his desk working on the sequel, Adrian felt something wet on his leg and looked down to see a tea-plate-sized hole in his shin.
“It looked like something out of a horror movie,” Adrian says. “I could see bone, there was puss so orange it was practically neon oozing out of it.”
A chronic infection would lead to Adrian being almost permanently bed-ridden for months, during which time he would face a number of complications from secondary infection, necrosis and circulatory problems.
At the same time, Adrian became aware that his second novel was broken.
“I realised that the characters lacked agency, that the plot needed massive work, and here was I, saddled with health issues that meant I was at risk of losing my leg. I sat on the floor of my room and cried. It was my lowest point, but I came to the conclusion I had two choices: I either gave up, or I fought. To my surprise, I decided I would fight.”
Adrian immediately set to work. He started a process of rehabilitating himself. Starting with hobbling around the block, he slowly built up the strength in his leg, challenging himself. Whilst the hole in his leg was still healing he did a 30 mile geocaching walk, finding over 120 caches by himself in a single day. Several months later he would break the UK record for number found in a day with 160 finds, and then reclaim the title 6 months later with a mind-blowing 40 miles and 210 finds.
He dropped weight, losing over 10 stone over the course of the next year. He rewarded himself with a Year of Adventure in 2014 where he started both learning to sword fight and chase tornadoes
Meanwhile, realising that he couldn’t take 13 years to write another novel, he changed his process. He became more of a planner, deciding to try his new process on a new novel rather than risk it against the second novel in a series. That book would become Black as Knight.
Today, Adrian is a different man to the one he was in 2013. He’s lost over 13 stone in weight. Despite managing several minor disabilities, he is a medal-winning historical sword fighter, actively competing in international tournaments and instructing other students. He’s also a seasoned storm chaser, having got up close and personal to over twenty tornadoes.
However, his first and true love, continues to be his fiction, which he imbues with as much action as he now finds in his own life. Whether he is in an tournament ring, heading towards violent tornadoes in the American Mid-West, or writing a new novel, you can guarantee he’s always embracing his motto of “Let’s have an adventure”.