Grinding to Valhalla

Interviewing the gamer with a thousand faces

Reading the text: Tom Lloyd

Posted by Randolph Carter on April 24, 2009

grave-thief-coverAuthor website:


Could you take a minute and explain what The Grave Thief is about?

Sure, Grave Thief is the middle book of my quintet, The Twilight Reign. There’s a lot that’s already happened, but suffice to say that the main character, Isak, has been thrown into a world of politics, magic and power that he knows nothing about. Others have been planning for hundreds of years and now their plans are in motion with Isak caught in the middle. Grave Thief kicks off with Isak having to deal with the consequences of his actions – actions that have had ramifications across the entire world. With gods and daemons getting in on the fun it’s now time for Isak to go on the offensive before all hope is gone.

What was the process like in getting your first book published?

Long, slow and depressing! When I started writing I had no idea of what it took to produce a book others would enjoy reading, I really did start from scratch and it took years before it was good enough to get an agent, let alone a publisher.

Where do you happen to find inspiration for your work?

All sorts of places. When it comes to actual story ideas it’s usually reading other books or watching TV. Frequently the link is tenuous to say the least but sometimes it’s just automatically how I would have written a certain book differently and what aspects I’d do differently. When it comes to fleshing out those ideas the best work I do is on the tube; somewhere really dull that my brain just filters out and all there is to do is concentrate completely on the matter at hand.

Are you or have you ever been a gamer? What has your gaming experience been like (board games, pen & paper RPGs, console & computer games, etc.)?

I’ve only recently bought an Xbox and am still not much of a gamer, it’s too consuming to allow myself to play it much, but when I was a teenager I was a big Games Workshop fan and most of my free time spent fighting battles in my parents’ attic. While I don’t have time for that now it’s had a huge influence on my books!stormcaller-cover

Have you ever ventured into online worlds? If so, please explain what that experience has been like.

Not really actually, I spend the best part of the day with fantasy stuff running round my head and just don’t have space for online worlds on top of everything else that’s going on. Whenever mates have tried to get me to join they’ve also done a bad sales job…

Would you say that your gaming experience has had any effect on you as a writer? Please explain.

Certainly the Warhammer stuff had a huge effect, don’t tell my fiancée but I’d happily keen playing that if I had the time! If you read the books you’ll see that the vastly powerful characters have a lot in common with Warhammer ones and there’s a similar level of variety in terms of types and classes – plus as much demon action as I can get away with!

Grind is a term used frequently in gaming vernacular referring to something that is rather repetitive or unpleasant that one engages in in order to progress in the game. Would you say there is grinding in the writing process? Please explain.

Hell yes, more than anyone realizes! On a good day I’ll write 2000 words in an afternoon, which is only the first draft but might still be a total of 4000 actually typed. That means it’ll take 100 afternoons to finish the first draft of my current book, and that’s a higher rate than I probably manage on average. Then you have to polish and rewrite for another month or two of three afternoons a week. Once it’s handed in you’ve got to deal with edits which will take another month/ 6 weeks maybe, then check the proofs before the book is printed (something that shouldn’t be too hard but by that point you’ve read the book 20 times in the last six months and REALLY don’t want to read it again). You have eye strain from looking at a fixed point, back pain from sitting too long, headaches… Writing is fun, there’s no reason to deny that, but it’s also an effort both physically and mentally.

Would you have any words of advice for the would-be-writers out there?

Firstly – show, don’t’ tell. Among other things I’ve worked for literary agencies and now freelance for an editorial services company, writing reports on submissions. The biggest single issue is writers telling the reader what’s going on rather than showing them.

Secondly, plan ahead. Know where your book is going, know who your characters are and what they’re about before you start writing. Everything will change of course but have a framework to guide you, you’ll be glad you did in the end.

You wake up to a world where The Stormcaller has been made into an MMO. What class would you play and why?

twilight-herald-cover1Hmm, I guess that’s pretty obvious to people reading the books. The ruling class are unnaturally powerful and troublesome warriors so that might tell you something… aside from being a white-eye, I’d choose the Brotherhood – elite soldiers but ones with brains. In a world where Demi-Gods and worse are running around, being a good fighter isn’t enough to survive so they’re clever and adaptable too.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with this gamer/reader audience?

Only that they should have a read of the Twilight Reign series and tell me what they think!

One Response to “Reading the text: Tom Lloyd”

  1. […] Tom Lloyd […]

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