Wednesday, April 13, 2011

An Interview with Author Gerry Huntman

Read more about Gerry HERE!
Welcome to Wednesday, and author interview #23, better known as Mr. Gerry Huntman, author of the debut Middle Grade novel, Guardian of the Sky Realms. You can visit Gerry's website, The Chronicles of Evyntyde, HERE. He writes some fabulous speculative fiction (a few of which I've read and loved), which you can see in the Bibliography section of his website. Go check it out!

Thanks for coming by, Gerry! Here's what I know: You hail from Melbourne, Australia, work for IBM, and are the chief editor for IFWG publishing. Please elaborate on these endeavors from the Land Down Under. What makes IFWG Publishing different from other publishing houses out there?

I have worked in the IT field for more years than I care to remember and I have worked with IBM for a little over 5 years. I work as a consultant in IT Infrastructure and it is very rewarding. Basically, I help other companies mature their systems. If I have to have a day job to support my writing aspirations, this is the one to have for me. 

A few years ago I befriended through the Internet three other authors - Esme Carpenter in England, Randy Knowlton in Missouri and Warren Goodwin in New Jersey. All very talented authors, and we mourned how hard it was for us, as well as other writers that we know, to get into publishing. While we couldn't change the world, and we also didn't quite get our model right at the start, we ended up forming a company that at least helps some writers with talent, to achieve publication. We are speculative fiction publishers but we also wander off those genres on occasion. This is a hard business and it is a long haul for us, but the pleasure is in seeing folk with talent go up a rung or two in the ladder to professional authorship.

One of the wonderful things that I have discovered working with IFWG Publishing is a validation that I'm not a bad editor at all, and in fact having edited something like 12 novels over the last year and a half, have improved dramatically. This is a skill that is handy as a writer, and is something I can cherish, and use, for life.

Tell us about your recent release, Guardian of the Sky Realms, soon coming up on my TBR list. What inspired the idea for this book and how long was the process?

Buy your copy HERE!

Guardian of the Sky Realms was born from something quite small and trivial. I participate in monthly short story writing challenges among some of my peers in a private wiki site and Randy Knowlton posted a great painting entitled "Wings". I was immediately inspired to write a short called "The Painting" that became, basically, the prologue of Guardians. It was one of my most well received shorts back then, and it certainly begged to become a bigger story. While the short really focused on the main character's discovery that she was not really human, the novel spends more time on her agonizing about losing the humanity she once had. Apart from the tons of adventure, of course! 

I wrote the short in August 2008 and let it linger for a long time. Early in 2010 I decided to write it and it took about three months, including rewrites and editing. When I decided it was ready to be published, I made sure it cut the grade for IFWG Publishing, and then it went through the usual editing proofing stages. I have to say there was one delightful story attached to this journey - I got in touch with the artist who did the painting that inspired me in the first place - Penina Gal from the US. She was chuffed with what I had to say, and agreed to allow me to publish the painting on the cover of my novel. Amazing symmetry.

What advice would you give to other writers who are working on their first novel?

Whew. This is a tough one. Writing is a very hard business. Even if you publish, the journey is still in its infancy. 

Writing is like any discipline, it needs to be developed over a lengthy period of time with lots of hard work - especially practice. Even when you feel you have written something well, you will later look back and say "I improved at that point, but I have gone up several notches since then". You need good, honest and skilled friends to give you feedback. Learn from them. Read other authors' works - you need benchmarks work with. Join a critic group with other authors. Finally, when you want to publish something - perfect it. Do everything you can to make it perfect. And when you finished it and submitted it, whether it was successful or not, go to your next project and write something better.

Can you tell us about any current writing projects?

I wrote a short story called The Comfort of Beanbags - a dystopian young adult story. I like it, still do, but it had one weakness - I tried to pack too much in one short piece of fiction. I am working on turning it into a novella. I have an epic fantasy that I wrote quite a while ago which I want to revise - mainly because I have grown so much since then. I have a sequel nearly done which I will pick up again. Finally, I have a modern day scifi - almost Michael Crichton style - which I would like to outline this year, and write next. I also have a collection of short stories set in the same fantasy world as my epic - in fact I published two of them in SQ Magazine and Planet Magazine - which I would like to polish and publish as an anthology. Busy :)

Bet you thought you'd get away without a random question. Nope. So, what is the weirdest food you've ever eaten?

The weirdest food I ever at was alpaca, when I was in the city of Cuzco, just before I walked the Inca Trail. It was yummy - in a lovely sauce.

Finally, Mr. Huntman, would you share a short excerpt of a published work or a work in progress?

Might as well journey back to Guardians. Here is the latter stages of the prologue:

       “A beautiful work, no?” came a deeply masculine voice from
behind her.
       She started in surprise, but she didn’t move an inch. She was
now frozen with fear.
       The voice came again, this time a little closer. “Do not worry. I
am a stranger in this gallery as well. I too have an…affinity with the
       A sweat bead ran down Maree’s neck. She found the courage to
turn around. A tall man stood before her, no more than five feet away.
He had short cropped hair—light but the exact color was unclear
in the shadows. His eyes seemed pale, perhaps gray; his face was
thin but his body seemed full and fit. It was hard to tell what age he
was; perhaps in his late twenties, possibly older. “I suppose you are
wondering why I am here?”
       Maree’s voice was weak, still with fear. “I…I suppose so…”
       “I too wanted to see the painting. I have looked upon it before
but never tire of viewing the captured emotions on the canvas.” He
slipped past Maree and came within a few feet of Wings in Despair.
       “Do you mind?” he asked, pointing to her torch.
       She complied, standing next to the stranger, and illuminated
the painting.
       The mysterious visitor’s voice seemed to mellow, almost break
with emotion. “This is the story of Alanar, Guardian of the Northern
Sky Realm, and his share-heart, Mirriam. They were Protectors and
fought the daemons of the Fire Lands valiantly, never allowing the
enemy to taint the Homelands. Protectors always work in pairs, as a
team.” The stranger started to cry, not vocally, but allowing the tears
to cascade down his cheeks. “One day a stray arrow dug deep into
Mirriam’s breast, cleaving her heart. Alanar was devastated, and he
caught her as she fell and carried her in his flight to the Homelands.
       “This painting captures the moment when Mirriam’s body was
caught. It faithfully portrays the agony of Alanar, his yellow-tipped
wings rippling in the wind as he concludes his terrible descent. The
swirling colors reflect the awful light of the Fire Lands but they also
depict Alanar’s darkened heart. I look upon this work and I cannot
but weep.”
       Maree heard his words and they all rang true to her. How could
this be? she asked herself, for this was but an artist’s fantasy; and yet
she now realized why she was drawn to the painting. There was some
inherent truth on the canvas. Something that needed to say something
to her. She also began to weep.
       His hand gently clasped her shoulder. “You feel this too?”
       She could only nod. Words were too difficult.
       “And why?”
       She shrugged her shoulders. She still couldn’t speak.
       “Come with me.”
       Maree turned to the stranger, looking up at his face. She saw
compassion in him, and yet they only met a few minutes ago. Maree
wanted to instantly reply ‘yes’, but all she could do was stare at him
       He laughed while he cried. “Look at the painting again.”
She did. The swirling colors suddenly seemed to have a life of
their own; they actually were swirling. The tall man’s hand was still
on her shoulder, and it ever so gently urged her to move toward the
canvas, but not forcibly.
       She didn’t know why but she allowed herself to fall into the
painting, and then, without warning, she unfurled her expansive,
blue-tipped wings, and flew into the maelstrom of colors.
       He never let her go.
       “It has been a long time, Mirriam.”

Thank you so much, Gerry for visiting Unwritten! I wish you oodles of success!

Thanks Mysti. I really appreciate you allowing me time on your great site. Cheers.


  1. So glad you could be here Gerry! Hope to read Guardian soon!

  2. Fascinating interview! Alpaca in Cuzco? Wow...
    I need to get out more. Your project list sounds amazing and so does Guardians of the Sky Realms. :)

  3. Terrific interview...The prologue to Guardians of the Sky Realm was intriguing!

  4. Another great interview Mysti. I was in the fortunate position of being able to read Gerry's book before it was published. Despite its genre, I did enjoy reading it as I already knew the quality of Gerry's work... :)


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