Brian Ruckley's News & Views

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Emerald City

I don't plan on tracking Winterbirth's every footprint across the web here, since I'm sure people can find that kind of stuff on their own if they want to (plus it'd probably be kind of unhealthy, and anyway, I'm supposed to be busy finishing the sequel), but in this case I'll make an exception: Winterbirth has the honour of being one of the last few books to be reviewed in Cheryl Morgan's long-running zine Emerald City, which is in the process of winding down. Emerald City's been going for such a long time (years and years, an amazing effort) that it's built up a humungous archive of genre fiction reviews that should be remaining online even though there won't be any new additions. It's well worth trawling through if you're looking for an opinion on a book you're thinking of buying.


Saturday, September 23, 2006


It's kind of traditional for writers to talk about their influences. Well, here's one of mine. The natural world is an abiding interest, and constantly finds its way into my writing. The landscapes and environment of Winterbirth draw very heavily on the wilder bits of Britain. So, because of that, and to experiment with posting photos up here, some visuals. In this case, scenes from a short visit to the Lake District.

The author's thought process: 'I know I should be writing, but look: a hill. I bet you get a good view from up there ...'

Stray off the path in a dark forest and look what you find - toadstools looking just like toadstools ought to!

Light + hills + trees = mood.

Even though Britain's a little, densely populated island it still has a natural drama and mystery, and sometimes looks like a ready-made backdrop for a story. This kind of stuff sits in the back of my brain waiting to sneak into a story, so it's probably only a matter of time before toadstools, stone walls and bracken turn up on the page.

P.S. The mushrooms, by the way, are fly agaric - a species that not only looks fantastic, being the model for virtually all appearances of toadstools in popular culture, but is absolutely loaded with folklore and religious and shamanic significance.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Q and A

I have been interrogated.


Friday, September 15, 2006


One or two folk have asked me about the cover for Winterbirth, so just in case anyone else wonders about this kind of thing: no, it's not up to the author what cover his or her book gets. Others, better qualified, do the decision-making (i.e. the publishers). I did get the chance to comment on the cover, once the design had been put together. My carefully considered and insightful input boiled down to: 'I like it.'

It's very noticeable that the covers on fantasy and science fiction books are changing, at least in the UK. There's a steady increase in the number of covers that - like Winterbirth's - are more about design than straightforward illustration. I'm a fan of the trend, not least just for the variety of it. When they're done well, I think these newer 'designy' covers can be very pleasing on the eye. Whether they have any real effect on the numbers or types of people who buy the books (which is obviously part of the thinking behind them), I'm not so sure, but at least they make the sf/f section of bookshops look good.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

How to surprise a newbie

As a newbie to the world of publishing, it's been an eye-opening experience to witness some of the workings of the industry. One aspect of it all that probably shouldn't have come as a surprise, but did, is how far in advance of publication copies of the book start circulating amongst reviewers and others, either as a manuscript or an Advance Reading Copy. So, with a few weeks still to go before Winterbirth appears in bookshops, there are already comments and reviews out there to be read.
The first (as far as I know) appeared no less than three and a half months ago (three and half months!) here. A more recent one is in the 'Falcata Times', available as a pdf here, and largely duplicated on's Winterbirth page. So now I know how a book acquires a review on Amazon before it's even been published ...


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Post Numero Uno...

Well ... a real live website with my name on it! Life's full of little surprises.

Anyway, welcome to any and all who find their way here, whether by chance or design.

There'll be snippets of news, views and possibly incoherent ramblings appearing here, a lot (but not necessarily all) of it relating to my imminently-to-be-released first novel Winterbirth (Go! Buy! Right, that's enough of that ...) Elsewhere on this site you'll find the usual author-related stuff: short bio, extract from the book etc. Make yourself at home. Comments and/or questions are very welcome - just click on comments below.

This being the first new item on the site, I guess there should be some news in it, so: Winterbirth will be on UK bookshelves in early October, published by Orbit. There are publishing deals lined up for a few non-English-speaking countries, too, but the timescale's a bit longer on those, so news of them can wait for a later date ...