Q1: Where did you first get the idea for writing Hunting Darkness and the characters in it?
I had just finished writing the Conner’s Odyssey trilogy and wanted to try something new. At the time, I only had a few ideas that I knew for sure would factor in: One was that I wanted the book to be a standalone, two was that I wanted to try my hand at a bit of mystery and three was that I wanted to set the story in England. Being as I tend to enjoy the fantastical element, I was inspired to write an Urban Fantasy crime novel that would essentially weave the storylines of two very different worlds into one cohesive plot. Between my two brainstorming partners in crime and myself, we fleshed out a number of concepts that led to the story ideas I ultimately ended up using.
Q2: As an American, you chose to set the book in the British Isles, why was that and what issues did that cause you?
The short answer is that I love England (and the British Isles in general). I am the first generation of my family born in America, so I was raised by an English father and American mother. But it wasn’t just my fondness for England that pushed me in the direction of setting the novel there. Two other key reasons were far more influential. The first being that England’s immense (and at times mysterious) history makes it a superb setting for fantasy in the real world and secondly, crime detection was basically invented there, so I wanted my first mystery novel to be a nod to that. Now then, the issues of being an American writing a book set on the British Isles… Oh the issues. Having not grown up around a constant English dialogue made writing this book an incredibly difficult task. I spent countless hours pouring over all manner of articles about syntax and words and common phrases and so on. And for all my effort, I still needed the help of a few wonderful people who live in the UK to really purge the Americanisms from my character’s dialogue. (By the way, you know who you are. Thank you so much for your effort).
Q3: Every book an author writes is an inner journey and a learning experience, what did you bring back from this one you did not have/know before?
I hardly know where to start with this answer. I learned so much it was incredible—from English myths to tidbits about the history of Scotland Yard to the aforementioned study of dialogue. I mean, the learning was endless. I’m pretty sure I spent at least as much time studying about the content in the book as I did writing it. I hope the people who read Hunting Darkness feel like they got even a fragment of the takeaway I did from writing it. It was a journey I will always look back on with fondness.
Ian C. Bristow is the award-winning author of the Conner’s Odyssey trilogy. He has just released his first standalone novel, Hunting Darkness, and has started working on another title. When he isn’t writing, he enjoys creating works of art and playing music (good food and a few beers with friends doesn’t hurt his feelings either). You can catch up with Ian and his latest literary, artistic and musical projects, on his website, on Facebook and on Twitter.