Indie Author Interview | Tim Hardie

About the Author

Tim Hardie grew up in the seaside town of Southport during the 1970s and 1980s.  This was before anyone had even heard of the internet and Dungeons & Dragons was cutting edge.  Living in a house where every available wall was given over to bookshelves, he discovered fantasy writers like JRR Tolkien, Michael Moorcock, Ursula Le Guin, Alan Garner, Stephen Donaldson and Susan Cooper.  Those stories led him into the science fiction worlds created by Frank Herbert, Philip K Dick, Arthur C Clarke and HP Lovecraft.

After training to become a lawyer Tim lived in London for three years before moving to Yorkshire in 1999, where he has worked ever since in a variety of legal, commercial, financial and management roles.  His writing began as a hobby in his early twenties and has gradually grown into something else that now threatens to derail his promising career.

Tim writes epic fantasy that will appeal to fans of Joe Abercrombie, John Gwynne and Robin Hobb.  He currently lives in Derbyshire with his patient wife and two teenage children.  

Author’s website

Describe yourself in six words or fewer.

Always willing to try something new.

Tell me about your book. 

Hall of Bones is my first published novel, released in 2020.  I’d probably describe it as Vikings meets Game of Thrones, although the biggest influence was actually Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Apprentice.  Here’s the back cover copy:

In the remote land of Laskar the seven ruling clans have vied with each other for power for over a century.  The son of the Reavesburg Clan Chief, Rothgar, has been groomed all his life for a role supporting his elder brother, Jorik, in leading their kingdom when their father’s time finally comes to an end.

However, the rulers of their greatest rivals, the Vorund Clan, are in the grip of something older and far darker.  They have been conquered by evil, a remnant from the time when the gods warred with one another and the world of Amuran collapsed into the Fallen Age.

Everything is about to change …

The first book in The Brotherhood of the Eagle series, Hall of Bones begins a tale of epic fantasy, magic and intrigue.

In other exciting news, the sequel, Sundered Souls, came out in July 2021!

What makes you and your books unique? Shine for me, you diamond.

Like a lot of people, I find this kind of question really hard as it bumps up against my natural self-doubt when I compare myself to … waves generally at the millions of authors out there.  It took me a long while to accept only I can write stories with my unique voice and even longer to start believing people wanted to read my stuff.

With my books you’ll get:

  • Well-drawn, believable characters – some of whom are likeable and some of whom … are not
  • Detailed world building
  • A plot that keeps you guessing
  • Politics and intrigue
  • Thrilling action and battle scenes
  • A “chilling slide into Not Bedtime Story magic”*

* That last one is a quote from fantasy author Janny Wurts.  It meant a great deal to me that she took the time to give me her thoughts and feedback on Hall of Bones.  It illustrates how supportive the creative writing community is.  Becoming part of this has been one of the real positives of launching my career as an author.  Sorry – I’m going off topic here …

What are you working on now/any future projects you want to talk about? 

I’m currently editing Lost Gods, the third book in The Brotherhood of Eagle series, with the aim of publishing that novel in 2022.  I’m also finalising the plot for Broken Brotherhood, the fourth and final instalment.

As I mention above, I’ve also written a standalone novel called A Quiet Vengeance that’s out to submission right now with various publishers.  It may become the first novel in a new series or the first in a sequence of standalone novels.  I really enjoyed writing this particular story – here’s an idea of what it’s about:

Nimsah is an abandoned child living on the streets of Bengarath, surviving on her wits as part of a criminal gang in the City of Tents, home to the dispossessed.  Dojan is the Crown Prince of the Emirate of Fujareen, enjoying a life of luxury in Bengarath Palace.  Their lives are brought together as the threat of war looms in the neighbouring city state of Kandarah.  However, Dojan and Nimsah share a secret, one that will set in motion a chain of events leading to vengeance.

Let’s celebrate. What’s one of the best things that’s happened to you as an author? Don’t be shy. 

As a new author, my bragging rights are still a work in progress!  I’ve already mentioned how I’ve found my true calling, which is actually pretty incredible when you think about it.  Not everyone can say that’s happened to them.  I consider myself to be incredibly fortunate.

Let’s talk about CRAFT

What is one thing that you’ve learned about yourself as a writer?

I’m persistent, which is demonstrated by the next question!  Honestly, I think persistence and a willingness to constantly work at improving your craft are the most important attributes for a writer, far more so than raw talent.

If you had to start over with writing and publishing, what would you do differently and why?

I would have started this much earlier and I should have sought out more help and advice.  I waited until I was 32 before attempting to write my first novel, which I did very badly during five and a half years of helpless flailing.  Back then, I didn’t always enjoy the experience very much, although I did manage to finish the novel, which was an important milestone.  My second novel was completed when I was 42 (only four years that time!) and it took me until I was 47 to self-publish that book, which turned out to be one of the most positive experiences of my life.

Writing may not be my official career (yet) but whilst it doesn’t pay the bills it’s something I feel I was born to do.  I know that sounds pretentious but there’s a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction when I write that nothing else comes close to touching.  I only found this in my mid-forties, once I’d mastered the basics of the craft, which I guess proves it’s never too late to try your hand at something new.

What does your writing space look like?

I tend to write at the dining room table, which is the hub of our family home as you have to pass through it to get to the other rooms in our house.  Before COVID changed things, I would also write in coffee shops when I was out and about.  I now have an office in my house as I’m still working from home but, strangely, I’ve never found this to be a great space to do creative writing.  I think it helps having some background noise in the main home and seeing people come and go.

Do you listen to music when you write? What kind? 

Personally no – I find it far too distracting, although I know a lot of writers use this to help them get into the right frame of mind for a particular scene.  Earlier this year I found myself getting involved in compiling various writer playlists via fellow author Emily Inkpen, who’s one of the most positive forces for good in the Twitter writing community.  You can find out more about that particular side-quest by reading my interview with Emily, which we did as part of that project. Click here for more.

What does your research process look like?

I try not to be too obsessive over research.  I’m writing fantasy, so the world and its history are entirely my creation.  I don’t see the point of getting caught up in a pointless debate about whether something would be possible in the Middle Ages because they didn’t invent X, Y or Z until 1799 (unless I’m trying to create a convincing alternate history, which I’m not).

I use research to create a sense of detail and realism, without being slavish to replicating everything perfectly.  So for Hall of Bones, I researched Viking culture on specialised websites.  I found this incredibly helpful for finding the inspiration for names to use in the novel and it also gave me the idea for the clan moot, which is an important part of my world’s legal system.  I also learned a lot about shipbuilding and the names for different parts of a longship.  My memory is terrible, so I’ve already forgotten most of those facts and I think only 10% of the shipbuilding ones even made it into the series.

So basically, having just read back over that, I’m light touch and slapdash when it comes to research.

Tell me about an unexpected thing you’ve learned, and how you’ve worked it into your book.

I wrote a novel called A Quiet Vengeance in 2020, which is currently out to submission with publishers.  I set this in a culture drawing its inspiration from the Middle East and North Africa.  I did a lot of research into the cuisine of those cultures and in particular the differences between the two.  After I finished I realised food played an important part in the overall story.  Various characters use food in different ways – to demonstrate their wealth and power, as the foundation for a welcoming home or to exercise control, sometimes cruelly.  Something was definitely working through the subconscious side of my writerly brain as a result of that small piece of research. Sometimes your own writing can surprise you.

Let’s talk about BOOKS

Tell me about the most recent book you’ve read.

I’ve just finished A Drowned Kingdom by PL Stuart.  This is his debut novel, which was published at the start of 2021.  It’s a unique take on epic fantasy, with an extremely well-written unlikeable protagonist, the exiled Atalantean Prince Othrun.  Half the time as the reader you find yourself wondering whether you want Othrun to succeed in his quest and whether he is, in fact, the antagonist of the story.  Stuart uses Othrun’s perspective to throw light on some complex themes, a very clever narrative device.  The world building in this novel is on another level and Stuart is a really interesting new voice in the fantasy genre.

What’s your bookish guilty pleasure?

Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding.  Indirectly, I owe my writing habit to this book (and newspaper column in its original format).  After I finished my education I was unemployed for a while and I kept a diary of my desperate job hunting exploits.  This evolved into a pastiche of Bridget Jones’ Diary over the next five years, after I moved down to London as a single twenty-something in the 1990s.  It was during that period of my life when the habit of regular writing was formed.  I haven’t read those entries for decades and have no intention of rummaging around in my loft to find them.

My other guilty pleasure would be the original Dragonlance Chronicles trilogy by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.  I have a battered 1988 collector’s edition of those first three books, which I’ll never part with.  Although the Dungeons & Dragons influence is really obvious, Dragonlance did move the genre forwards, playing with many of the traditional tropes (and doubling down on a fair few of them too!).  It’s a classic comfort read for me and the world of Krynn is wonderfully realised.  I’m getting misty-eyed just remembering the Inn of the Last Home.

Hobbies & All Things WEIRD

When you aren’t writing, what can you typically be found doing?

Pre-COVID, the answer most people would have given would be I’d be found down the pub!  Nowadays things are still a little different and one of the impacts of COVID for me has been a rediscovery of the love of reading.  I’ve read far more books in 2020 and 2021 than in previous years and it’s a habit I intend to keep.

I’m very fortunate that I live in a beautiful part of England.  My other favourite pastime is walking, usually out in the Peak District.  It’s a place that offers some stunning scenery and views, which my photos don’t really do justice to …

Tell me about something in your life that brings you joy. What is it, and why?

Aside from the things I’ve already mentioned, next on my list would probably be music.  Whilst I don’t find it a useful writing tool it’s a great way to unwind at the end of the day and get the subconscious working.  My tastes are fairly broad and whilst I’m not at the cutting edge when it comes to who’s ‘in’ right now, I love discovering work by new artists I’ve never heard of, even if their releases came out years ago.  Few things can hold a candle to that moment when the hairs on the back of your neck stand up as you’re listening to a good tune for the first time.

What’s your favorite food from a country you do not live in?

I’d have to go with Italian.

What’s your favorite swear word and why?

Fuck, for its sheer versatility.  It can be used in almost all situations, both positive and negative

Final Thoughts

That was a really thought-provoking interview.  I honestly can’t think of anything else to add – I’m exhausted!  Thanks so much for taking the time to do this and for featuring me on your website.

Thanks for stopping by, Tim! Remember to stop by his website and buy his books!

If you’d like to do an Indie Author Interview, please contact me and we can sort it out.