Last night I remembered when the release of the movie Blade worried me because the titular character was a half-vampire and I had one in my book. That was something like 13 years ago and since then the novel has evolved and grown into The Four Realms.
The thing is, throughout that evolution I’ve been very aware that I want to be original. I made the mistake for a long while of staying away from new fantasy novels for fear they might influence me and by the time I came back, my book felt so far removed from anything anyone else was doing it was both exciting and scary.
But needless to say, I’ve constantly strived to be original. That’s hard when you have a lot of Fantasy archetypal fantasy races, but then part of the fun was trying to subvert them in new and different ways. Where other authors went left, I turned right.
The end result, after a lot of hard work, is something I love, and more importantly something I think other people will love as well. But now my focus has to turn to marketing the book.

Some agents ask you compare yourself to other writers and I have to say this is incredibly difficult. First, what are the criteria for comparison? I’ve recommended books to the people close to me based on previous shared loves, only to find I love it and they hate it. Yes, I think some of the cross-genre stuff is very much in line with what Alan Campbell did with Sea of Ghosts, but there’s no sea in this book.
In some ways I think it’s similar to Ben Aaronvitch’s Peter Grant series or Chris Woodling’s Kitty Jay books. It has that same sense of fun, of being a great book to whip through between heavy reads. But all three books are such different genres, some might not see the comparison.
I did select Neil Gaiman although in some ways it can be seen as a lazy obvious choice. Neil writes stories that sit between urban and more traditional fantasy, whilst ensuring his books are entertaining and inviting.
I also selected Mark Charan Newton. Whilst I wouldn’t put myself in the New Weird, I think Newton and I share a love of those big epic moments, and inject a touch of epic fantasy into our work.
I’m sure I’ve got it totally wrong and over time it will become obvious where my book sits in comparison to the rest of Fantasy. I just need to engage my marketing head now the book is done, and I’m finding that more of a struggle than I thought I would.