G.M. White entered The Swordsman’s Lament into SPFBO 6 this year. I read the book and was very impressed with his main character, Belasko. He’s an aging duellist and the king’s champion…and he’s also a foodie. Mr. White writes a heck of a fight scene. The story quickly picks up when Belasko is enmeshed in a murder charge and hunted by the Inquisition. The story was enthralling and I really enjoyed it. I recommend this book.
G.M took the time for an interview and you can read it below.
G.M. White has always been an avid reader, a love of the written word instilled in him by his parents at an early age. This may or may not have something to do with the fact that he was a very talkative child and the only time he was quiet was when he had his head in a book. Anyway, we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on that one.
A lifelong daydreamer he finally decided to put his imagination to good use and set pen to paper (well, fingers to keyboard) and started to write down the worlds that he carried with him in his head. The Swordsman’s Lament is his first novel.
He has also had the typical author’s chequered job history. He has been at various times an actor, a performer at The London Dungeons, a theatre usher and box office clerk, a ticketing systems specialist working at the Ambassador Theatre Group, National Theatre, and Royal Albert Hall, and played drums in a variety of rock bands.
After thirteen years living and working in London he and his wife gave up the rat race, and moved to St. Martin’s in the Isles of Scilly, where they continue to live.
You can find him online and sign up to his newsletter at https://gmwhite.co.uk
Welcome to my lair, G.M! Tell me about a great book you’ve read recently!
Hello, thank you for having me! I’ve just finished reading By Force Alone by Lavie Tidhar, a brutal retelling of Arthurian myth in an incredibly original way.
What’s your favorite song?
Oh that’s a hard question. There are so many songs that I love… Today I’ll opt for “No One Knows” by Queens of the Stone Age.
Okay, time to escalate things: you get to travel to any book’s setting and world but you have to choose only one. Where do you go?
Probably Tolkien’s Shire. Perhaps not the most exciting choice, but living out my days in a rural idyll sounds rather nice.
How do you like to work? (In silence, with music? Do you prefer to type or to hand-write? Are you an architect or a gardener? A plotter or a pantser? D’you write in your underwear, or underwater in scuba gear?)
Tell me about your writing method!
I prefer to write in silence if I can, otherwise with ambient music in my headphones to drown out the background noise. I write in Scrivener, either on my Macbook, or iPhone, depending on how and where I’m writing. I’m a recuperating pantser, I find having a plan to hang my story off helps me make the most effective use of my writing time. Just how detailed that plan is, and how closely I stick to it, is very much a project by project decision.
What/Who are your most significant fantasy influences?
A lot of the usual suspects for someone who did a lot of their growing up in the 90s. Tad Williams, Robin Hobb, David Eddings, David Gemmell, Terry Pratchett… The list goes on.
What’s the most (and/or least) helpful piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
Probably the best advice I’ve received was two-fold. Get your butt in the chair, even when you don’t feel like it. And that the first draft is just you telling yourself the story. Get it down, get it finished, then you can make it good.
Can you tell me a little something about your current work(s) in progress?
I’ve just finished a prequel novella to The Swordsman’s Lament, which is out now, and have started plotting out the sequel novel. I don’t want to give away any of the plot, but this book will see us follow the characters out into the world a little more. There are assassination attempts, duels and sword fights, and an interesting encounter with a drunken shaman. It will be a bit bigger in scale than The Swordsman’s Lament.
How do you motivate yourself on days when you don’t want to write?
I usually find that if I sit down and start writing, even if I’m not in the mood or don’t feel I’m in the right headspace, the act of writing flicks a switch and useful material starts coming out.
Who are your favourite characters in literature or pop culture? And do you have a favourite type of character you enjoy writing?
I’ve always had a soft spot for iconic characters, like D’artagnan and the three musketeers, Robin Hood, King Arthur. With the latter two I enjoy the many retellings of their story as every author brings something different to it. My favourite characters to write are brilliant but flawed, with a dose of snarky humour.
Tell me about a book that’s excellent, but underappreciated or obscure.
The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper. I read and re read that whole sequence of books multiple times a kid and it planted a seed. To this day I love tales where a world of magic exists alongside our own.
Finally, would you be so kind as to dazzle me with an elevator pitch?
Oh no, I’m awful at this sort of thing. I’ll try though… When death strikes the royal family, the king’s champion is the focus of suspicion. With the forces of the palace and the city mobilised against him, can he discover the truth and clear his name?
Why should readers check out your work?
If they enjoy fast paced fantasy adventures with plenty of sword fights, honourable people trying to do the right thing, and struggles against terrible odds, then they’ll probably like The Swordsman’s Lament.
Read the book here.