Friday, January 22, 2016

Interview: Grey Wolf

A new site that quickly caught my attention was Alternate History Fiction (AHF). Created by Grey Wolf, AHF showcases the works of alternate history authors and artists in one convenient place. I had a chance to talk to Grey Wolf about the site and here is what he said:

Who is Grey Wolf?

As my personal name is one of those owned by thousands of people, and there is already an established author (who writes crime fiction) with that name, I decided to use my discussion board handle as my author, or pen, name. Curiously, I discovered recently an old floppy disc with a discussion document on it about what name to use for my poetry, and can date the use of Grey Wolf as a name for that back to 1999, which surprised me.

Who am I personally? I'm self-employed in web design, publishing, and odd jobs, living in the Swansea Valley in South Wales.

What got you interested in alternate history?

I remember reading books as an adolescent such as The Ifs of History and The Man In The High Castle. I was also a war gamer and spent one fantastic summer gaming out an alternate Pacific War in WW2 with my friend. As a story-writer, it came naturally to start to write alternate history fiction, though I was as likely to write science fiction or fantasy at first. The first alternate history I remember writing as a long story had Roy Jenkins as SDP Prime Minister of Britain being kidnapped as he walked through an underpass.

What is Alternate History Fiction?

AHF is a website designed to be a compendium of books, authors, artists and other alternate history information, all in one place. Its not designed to compete either with Alternate History Weekly Update or AlternateHistory.com but to add something new. To date, the half dozen authors who comprise the starting tranche have focus pages where their biography is, as well as a list of their books and links to their cover artists.

What inspired you to create the site?

Inspiration came in a stream rather than wave. I had the idea in its basic form a year or so ago, but didn't have the time to devote to actually building the website until the autumn. As soon as I started to build it, it became obvious that each database should link to each other one, that authors, books, and cover artists should mesh across each section.

On the one hand I wanted to highlight some excellent works by people I had worked with, one way or another, but I also wanted to get buy-in from other alternate history authors, whether I knew them or not. Being able to find a whole selection of books on alternate history in one place was the key idea, and making it easy to browse as important for discovery.

Do you have any future projects in the works?

Personally, as Grey Wolf, I have several books I hope to publish this year. Slayer's Quest will be the sequel to The Slayer, chronicling the second part of Jason Wolfe's adventures in a parallel world in which he wakes up as a Slayer, a Gladiator-cum-Champion. Slayer's Quest takes place now that the century has fallen and the Black Death has come again, as it does every hundred years or so. It covers his quest to Kazan, and the many adventures he has both enroute and once he gets there.

Dancers of The Mind is my final poetry retrospective, comprising a hundred poems from 1987 to 1999. Tsar Michael The Great is a timeline piece, with cover art from Derek Roberts once again. I also intend to bash my Eleventh Hour timeline into a book partly comprised of the narrative pieces and partly of newspaper-style articles covering those parts I wrote in a more discursive fashion.

Additionally, March will see the launch of AHF Magazine to be companion to the website, focusing on a mixture of short stories, reviews, interviews, art, features and essays. It is very much taking submissions right now, so please if anyone is interested in providing any of these, email editor at wolfianpress dot com.

Any advice for aspiring writers?

The simplest advice is to make sure you are ready to publish. Have original cover art to hand, understand how your work will look either in print or in ebook. Have a Facebook page and a Twitter account already set up with lots of followers. The latter ensures you don't build a great product but can't tell anybody about it.

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