This is a sponsored interview
Today, we’re delighted to welcome bestselling author D.P. Prior to e-Books India with whom we recently had a conversation with. Read on to learn what the man himself had to say about his work experience, how he got into writing and his books, including his most recent release, which is a four book series and his exciting upcoming work.
1. Please tell us about you. Where are you from? What is your professional background and how did you become an author?
I’m originally from the South East of England, but I’ve lived in Wales, Australia, and now the US.
Back in the 90s I studied Classics and Drama at the University of Wales, then went on to postgraduate research on the Theatre of Cruelty. I briefly worked as an actor in theatre in education, but ended up as a mental health practitioner both in England and Australia. I’ve also worked as a personal trainer and as an instructor of management of violence and aggression.
I’d been writing most of my life. At first I tried writing novels, but they all ended up poor parodies of Tolkien. Mostly, I wrote plays and songs until the late 1990s, when I finally finished a novel, The Resurrection of Deacon Shader. I ran it by an editor, who totally despised it. I subsequently redrafted the entire book and, on the advice of a well-known fantasy author, self-published it. Back then I had no knowledge of marketing, and my expectations were pretty low. I thought I’d maybe get 15 sales ever.
After that, I just continued putting out books, working on improving my narrative skills, and gradually the efforts paid off. Readers started writing to me to express their support and appreciation, and within a few years, writing became my fulltime job.
2. What types of books do you write?
I mostly write heroic fantasy in the vein of David Gemmell, but with a debt to Michael Moorcock, R.E. Howard, Lin Carter, Stephen R. Donaldson, and Joe Abercrombie.
My fantasy books are nearly all set in the same universe, and there are many crossover characters. The world building is deep and rich, providing an epic backdrop to stories that are tightly focused on either an individual or a group of complex characters.
I like my stories to operate on a number of levels. Chiefly, they are meant to be tense, action-packed, fun reads; but there is always more between the lines: philosophical, political, and interpersonal conflict; parody, satire, and underlying themes of falls and redemption.
The books can get really dark at times, but no matter how bad things become, there is almost always a glimmer of light on the horizon. Although I have some pretty nasty characters, none of them are without redeeming qualities, and many of them are changed (for the better) by the events of the story. I’m not a huge fan of the pessimism and nihilism implicit in much modern “grimdark” fantasy, but at the same time, I think I do acknowledge the complexities of the human condition, “nature red in tooth and claw” in opposition with culture, reason, and a degree of Idealism.
3. Could you please tell us about your most recent book, its overall plot, and the main characters in it?
In January of this year (2016) I released a four-book heroic fantasy series called Legends of the Nameless Dwarf:
- Carnifex: A Portent of Blood
- Geas of the Black Axe
- Revenge of the Lich
- Return of the Dwarf Lords
In all, the series contains more than half a million words encompassing high tragedy, epic adventure, humor, horror, and even romance.
It is the story of the Nameless Dwarf, a former soldier in the ravine city of Arx Gravis, where the dwarves have hidden away from the world for centuries. As a series of chilling prophecies come to pass, he commits atrocities against his own people under the influence of a demonic axe. Ultimately, this leads to the stripping of his name from every place and time.
There follow a number of quests and adventures, during which “Nameless”, as he comes to be known, must try to free himself from the power of the black axe that has cursed him, and ultimately find the forgiveness of his people.
The story spans three worlds, plus the underworlds of Gehnna and the Abyss. There are clashes with sorcery, dark science, all manner of monsters, and even the most ancient and insidious being to ever walk the worlds, Dr. Otto Blightey, the Lich Lord of Verusia.
Here’s what reviewers are saying:
“Prior weaves a fully realized world in this rich fantasy, from history, political structure, and family life to work, food, drinking (lots of drinking), and romance.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Carnifex is a masterpiece of sword and sorcery storytelling. A visceral yet thoughtful epic.” — Bookwraiths Reviews
“Gritty, tense, and brutally tragic. High quality storytelling with great characters and a relentless plot.” — Mitchell Hogan, author of A Crucible of Souls and Aurealis Award winner.
“…by the end I did care about those people–all of them, including Carnifex, were flawed but fundamentally decent people. But I had read The Nameless Dwarf, and I knew what was coming, and how it all ends. That knowledge made the book both hard to continue reading and hard to put down.” — Black Gate Magazine
“And holy shit… the battle scenes. THE BATTLE SCENES!!! People don’t actually realise how hard it is to write a good battle scene, but Prior makes it look easy. They are gripping, violent, and brilliantly choreographed.” — Smash Dragons
“A Fantasy Adventure of remarkable scope, populated by many memorable characters. Maybe D. P. Prior’s finest work to date.” — Ray Nicholson (Amazon Top 1000 reviewer)
“Whenever I have high praise for a book, I usually like to find at least one aspect of the writing to challenge, but this one’s got me stumped. I guess I could complain that it ended all too soon, but then there are three other volumes to enjoy…” — Laurence Scotford
“It’s not often I’m left speechless but this was one of those times. WOW!!” — Ebookwyrm
“5 Stars is easily earned here and I’m sure it will not be long before we see this, the most unique of dwarves on the big screen! This year is indeed the year of the dwarf!!” — Scott Morrison
- GEAS OF THE BLACK AXE
“This second book in the Legends of the Nameless Dwarf was a book I found hard to put down… there were many great moments in this novel that I can reflect upon.” — Ray Nicholson (Amazon Top 1000 reviewer)
“D.P. Prior continues to exceed my expectations.” — Frederick H.
“Again Prior brings his characters to life, and gives the reader a full pallet of deep, epic fantasy to savor.” — @DahgMahn
- REVENGE OF THE LICH
“I’ve called the Shader series the best indie fantasy series that I personally have ever read, and while I really adore the hero of the series, Deacon Shader, Nameless (as his friends call him) is the best sword and sorcery companion that I’ve run into lately.” — Bookwraiths Reviews
“One thing that impressed me right from the beginning were the fight scenes. Nameless is implacable, but not invulnerable, and the scenes give a good sense of how tough and strong he is, while never descending into cartoonish invincibility. The fights are well-written, clear and concise without skimping on detail or ending anticlimactically.” — Black Gate Magazine
“This book whisked me away at the start, and pulled me back in again and again. Prior’s focus on rich characters and progressive plot kept me enticed. Healthy amounts of humor. Plenty of spells. And loads of arse kicking! I recommend The Nameless Dwarf to any fan of fantasy, particularly to those that can’t get enough of dwarves.” — Travis Shore
“The Nameless stories grabbed me from the first page and pulled me along relentlessly. You won’t want to put this down once you start. Fully-realised worlds? I found Prior’s world of Aethir to have been meticulously crafted – this is an author who has done his homework before developing his plot.” — Laurence Scotford
“The plot itself is really quite masterful and aside from the questing/looking for something aspect of the fantasy this story felt fresh!” — Momma Says Read
“This book is a shogging good time!!! The characters really come alive.” — Doug Ward
- RETURN OF THE DWARF LORDS
“I am leaning towards this being my favorite book in the series.” — Frederick H.
“As usual with this author his characterisation is excellent and he can really bring a landscape to life.” — PhotonQyv
4. Are you working on any other books(s)? If so, can you please tell us what we can expect to see from you in the future?
I’m currently working on two fantasy novels. The first, The Codex of Her Scars (Snaith and Moonshine book 1) is going the route of traditional publishers, so I can’t predict when it will be available. The plan is to get it to my agent by late August 2016.
It’s an epic fantasy set on the Isle of Branikdur, with two very flawed protagonists, both of whom have “issues” which are magnified when they are horribly maimed in an accident.
Their injuries render them useless to their clan, and so they are left with a choice: be dragged out to the forest and left as fodder for the demons rumored to live there, or try out for an apprenticeship with the clan sorcerer.
When the isle is invaded by the Helum Empire, questions arise about the reality of magic, which has the appearance of trickery/legerdemain, the political power governing the clans, and the truth of ancient legends, which tell of the banishment of a sorcerous race that once dominated the earth.
The second book I am working on is for self-publication. It’s called Dead or Alive (Assassin’s Legacy book 1), and features Shadrak the Unseen, one of my most popular characters from the Nameless Dwarf and Shader books. This is pure Sword and Sorcery, and a lot of fun to write. I aim to release this before the summer.
5. Can you please tell us about your approach to writing? For example, do you follow structures and writing rules? Or do you write in a free flow way? Do you have any particular time of the day you like to write? Or any specific environment you prefer to sit down and write in?
I start each writing day by reviewing what I have written before (at least the previous scene, but sometimes two to three chapters). This often involves a lot of redrafting and further development of the scenes. Once I’ve finished that, I move on to the new scene, while the material is fresh in my mind. I usually have a loose outline of what I plan to write, and a lot of notes (often quite chaotic) that I have made previously as ideas pop into my head (which they do at random times throughout the day).
I write the scene quickly, not worrying too much about phrasing, grammar, or even all of my notes. I then go back through it and start tightening up phrases, eliminating redundancies, and bringing out themes, emotion, interiority. I check the content against my notes, sometimes discarding the note, other times incorporating it into the scene. I highlight points of tension and climax and concentrate on sharpening them as much as I can. I naturalize dialogue, adjust the balance between access to a character’s interior life and what is going on outside of them, making sure to only show what they can see, hear, feel, taste, and smell.
I generally repeat this process for each scene multiple times over the next few days, while still reviewing older scenes, and forging ahead with new ones.
Once I have a section completed (a group of scenes that together form a logical part of the novel) I go through them again, in sequence, focusing on flow, continuity, pace, and button points. Sometimes I move scenes about, insert new ones, and occasionally remove scenes altogether.
I continue with this process until the first full draft of the novel is finished (by this time each scene has had an average of seven drafts, often a lot more). Then I work backwards through the chapters, which helps with continuity, endings and beginnings of scenes etc. I’ll then start again from the beginning, and finally, when I am fairly happy with the book, I send it out to about six beta readers. When their notes come back, I work through the text again, making further changes, and then I bring in my editor for the hard cuts.
At every stage I’m tidying up copy, but I still do a finally copy edit and then a separate proofread, sometimes on different devices.
For me, the key to getting novels finished is to write every day (save for weekends, wherever possible). So long as I at least draft a new scene each day, I’m content with my progress.
I prefer to write in my study, overlooking the trees and lake in our back yard. At times, I’ve written on board ship, or in cafes, but my preference is to work from home. I often listen to Mozart’s Requiem while I write, in order to screen out background noise (most other music is a distraction, but I’ve heard Requiem so many times, I barely notice it’s playing).
I tend to write best early in the morning or late at night, but when I have deadlines, I write all through the day, with breaks every few hours.
6. Do you have any favourite authors? If so, who are they and what do you like about their work?
I was a huge fan of David Gemmell’s from the mid-80s until his passing. He manages to combine gritty realism with the heroic ideal. Gemmell’s characters are often flawed but ultimately do the “right” thing when it counts, albeit at great personal cost.
Michael Moorcock was a big early influence, largely due to his wild, fantastical settings, cosmic conflicts, and iconic characters.
I like Stephen R. Donaldson for being fearless in using the full extent of his language skills, despite the current obsession with dumbing down. He’s also strong on character conflict and heaping tension upon tension.
Joe Abercrombie is a very clever writer, who influenced my use of very tight point of view and interior thoughts, a technique that, when done poorly, throws me right out of a story. He’s also doesn’t shy away from humor.
7. What other things do you like to get up to when you’re not writing?
I work a lot on taming our land. We have five acres of aggressively encroaching vegetation, snakes, and fire ants (my archenemies). I also train with weights most days, dead lifts and squats primarily. When in England, I sometimes perform songs at local venues, and even in the US I play guitar during breaks from writing.
When I was working on fight scenes for the Nameless Dwarf books, I started watching MMA, and still do from time to time: Conor McGreggor, Holly Holm, Fedor, the Diaz brothers, and Cris Cyborg are among my favorites.
8. How can people find out more about you and keep in contact?
There’s a lot of information about my books, as well as my blog, special offers, and artwork at: https://www.dpprior.com.
You can also connect with me at:
I’m represented by Laurie McLean, Fuse Literary (www.fuseliterary.com).
D.P. Prior is the bestselling fantasy author of the Nameless Dwarf and Shader series. He is represented by Fuse Literary.
Raised on a diet of old school Sword and Sorcery, and later influenced by the Heroic Fantasy of David Gemmell, the literary epics of Stephen R. Donaldson, and the “grimdark” offerings of Joe Abercrombie, Prior combines the imaginative daring of the old with the realism, tight point of view, and gallows humor of the new.
As well as being a prolific author, D.P.Prior is also an experienced fiction editor with an impressive portfolio of clients (https://homunculuseditingservices.blogspot.com).
He has also worked as a personal trainer, and is a competing member of the US All-Round Weightlifting Association.
Books by D.P. Prior
Carnifex: A Portent of Blood (Legends of the Nameless Dwarf Book 1) is available at:
The Legends of the Nameless Dwarf (The Complete Saga) is available at:
Husk: Hunt or be Hunted (Plague Demon Chronicles Book 1) is available at:
Against The Unweaving: The Entire Shader Trilogy is available at:
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/hv1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Hiten Vyas is the Founder and Managing Editor of eBooks India. He is also a prolific eBook writer with over 25 titles to his name.[/author_info] [/author]