Welcome to the Guardians of the Wild Blog Tour! I'm so excited to have Kris Humphrey, the author of A Whisper of Wolves, here today and answering some bookish questions! Don't forget to check out my review and enter a giveaway to win a copy of A Whisper of Wolves
How do you pick your character's names?
I usually have an idea about what kind of name I want for each character – a certain sound or a name that begins with a particular letter. Because Guardians of the Wild is a fantasy series I tend to invent a lot of the character names, some of which seem to pop straight into my head and others take a lot more effort – I might merged two existing names or look online for interesting names I’ve never heard before.
What comes first when you're writing, the story idea or the character?
It’s almost always the story idea, although character and story are inextricably linked. As soon as I start working on the plot of a book I also have to consider the characters involved because the action of the story depends on the motivations and personalities of these characters. You can’t just cram a random character into the fantastic plot you’ve constructed.
What inspired you to write A Whisper of Wolves?
I’ve always wanted to write fantasy books, and I’ve always loved animals too. I spent some time living in Canada and my camping trips to the Rocky Mountains were a huge inspiration for the Great Forest in A Whisper of Wolves. That was one of the few times I’ve been surrounded by true wilderness and it made a lasting impression.
Describe A Whisper of Wolves in ten words or less.
Whisperers, wolves and demons do battle in the Great Forest.
What's the best thing about being a writer?
Daydreaming for a living – being able to drift away on your imagination and not having to feel guilty about it.
And the worst?
Biscuits. I drink a lot of tea while I’m writing and I just cannot resist having biscuits to go with it. It’s really very unhealthy.
A Whisper of Wolves is the first book in a series, do you already know how it's all going to end?
I’m just working on the details of the fourth and final book at the moment, so I have a general sense of how things will end – but nothing is fixed!
Do you listen to music whilst writing? Do you have a 'writing' playlist?
If I’m getting down ideas and not actually writing chapters then I sometimes listen to music. I do have a writing playlist, which consists of mostly instrumental tracks that I won’t be tempted to sing along to and distract myself! When I’m writing chapters I can’t have music on at all. I need to concentrate on the rhythm of the sentences I’m writing.
What books are currently on your reading pile?
The top section of my reading pile consists of Diamonds and Daggers by the always-brilliant Elen Caldecott, Scarlet and Ivy by Sophie Cleverly and Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell – these are all brand new books that I’ve been looking forward to getting my hands on for ages. Also, I’m going on holiday to Burma very soon and I’ll be taking The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh, which deals with Burma’s troubled recent history.
What's the last book you read?
I just finished The Starlight Conspiracy by Steve Voake. It’s a fantastic YA thriller about an alien artefact that falls into the hands of a teenaged girl and sets her off on a journey from England to the New Mexico desert in America. The characters were great and there was much more depth and playfulness to it than your average thriller - The X-Files meets John Green.
What authors and/or books inspired you to write?
Brian Jacques’ Redwall series got me hooked on reading when I was at school. It made a book-lover of me and started me on the long road to becoming a writer. JRR Tolkien was also a huge influence on me when I was younger. I used to draw maps of my own fantasy worlds and dream about writing epic sagas to go with them; this was a direct result of the magic and drama I experienced when I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Later on, writers like Michelle Paver, David Almond and Marcus Sedgwick have inspired me by showing me just how good children’s books can be.
About the Author
Hotly tipped by tutors on his MA course in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University, Kris Humphrey graduated with Distinction and was awarded the prize for Most Promising Writer. Skilfully combining the dramatic, vivid landscapes of Meridina with a fast-paced narrative, A Whisper of Wolves is Kris’s first novel.