Player Profile: Duncan Lay, author of Valley of Shields


Duncan LayDuncan Lay, author of Valley of Shields

Tell us about your latest creation:

My latest trilogy is Empire Of Bones, beginning with the bestseller Bridge Of Swords. Valley Of Shields came out in April and went into reprint after 17 days. Wall Of Spears, the third book, is out in February 2014. It’s the story of a warrior on the run. He’s discovered the answer to a 300-year-old mystery. he’s being hunted by his own people, trying desperately to get back to his children and just when he thinks it can’t get any worse, he runs into a young couple who want him to be their hero in their land’s fight for freedom – a bard who has learned a terrible secret about an evil King and a young dancer who has a hidden power that’s about to change everything.

9780732294199Where are you from / where do you call home?:

I live on the sunny Central Coast of NSW, midway between Newcastle and Sydney.

When you were a kid, what did you want to become?  An author?:

I wanted to write from the moment I saw Star Wars on the big screen, aged six. It sent my imagination soaring and from that day I’ve been writing stories. I’m just lucky enough that HarperCollins wants to publish them!

What do you consider to be your best work? Why?:

That’s a really tough question. Ultimately it’s not up to me to judge a work but my favourite has to be book two of The Dragon Sword Histories, The Risen Queen. It was the first thing I’d written KNOWING it was going to get published and it was an incredible experience.

Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?:

I write on the train, to and from work in Sydney. I have a laptop balanced on my knees, an iPod to keep the gibberers at bay and like to sit on the aisle side so my left elbow has more room to power through the typing!

When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?:

Mainly crime nobvels, the grittier the better. The Rebus series by Ian Rankin is great and, for darkness, they don’t get bleaker than Andrew Vachss’ Burke series.

What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?:

Legend, by David Gemmell. I read it as a 15-year-old and it opened my eyes to the fact fantasy doesn’t have to have a full cast of singing elves and dancing dwarves. It can be human and gritty – just the way I like to write it!

If you were a literary character, who would you be?:

Bit of a stretch to call him literary but I’d be Tony Stark. What’s not to like about a genius playboy smartarse with the Iron Man suit!

Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?:

Very little spare time, unfortunately, but I used to love touch football, hockey and a bit of amateur dramatics. Only acting, no singing though. I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket.

What is your favourite food and favourite drink?:

I love Thai food and a freshly-made espresso. Just not at the same time.

Who is your hero? Why?:

Tony Stark – for reasons outline above!

Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books
and reading?:

Persuading people that a traditional book or professionally-produced eBook is worth paying $10-$30 for, when you can fill an eReader with thousands of free or 99c books.

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Jon Page

Jon Page is a bookseller and author of the Bite the Book Blog.