Interview by Pat Black
Booksquawk: The Amulet of Kings is as much a work of comedy as it is of fantasy (if not more). In the review, I point out that although it would seem to have a lot in common with the work of Terry Pratchett, at heart it’s more in tune with Douglas Adams. Would you say this is fair enough?
Will Macmillan Jones: Perhaps that’s right. Myself, I’ve always felt a strong affinity for the work of the towering comic genius of Spike Milligan and the immortal Goon Show. Perhaps with a more modern dash of Robert Rankin thrown in for good measure.
B: Location is important to the story – although the Helvyndelve isn’t a real place, the Lake District and Helvellyn are, obviously. How did the real-life location inspire you?
WMJ: The lakes are possibly my favourite place in the world. I haven’t given up entirely on an ambition to live there. The sense of mystery, of myth, and the feeling that even in this mundane. overly safe world we have made for ourselves, adventure can still be found lurks around every hill, every fold, along every stream. I’ve got an edition of The Weirdstone of Brisingamen which shows an enchanted dwarf sitting on a rock, naturally enough with a drink. That was an inspiration too – the mystical and magical here present in this world with us, if we walk a familiar path at a different time of day.
B: Oompa-oompa oom pa-pah. Let’s talk about music now – there’s barely a sentence goes by without a gag or reference to rock n’ roll bands. Name your ideal 10-track mix CD to accompany The Amulet of Kings. Do you play music yourself, or are you more of a listener rather than an active combatant?
B: Let’s place Fungus the Boogieman in a three-way fantasy deathmatch with Animal from the Muppets and the late Bob Holness, who popular myth once had it played the sax riff on Baker Street. What happens next?
WMJ: Oh come on, we all know that Urban Myth is just a myth...maybe. Close as Fungus is to my heart, who’s ever going to put Animal second to anyone????
B: You’ve just released the sequel to The Amulet of Kings – The Mystic Accountants. Can you talk a little about that, and where the series is going after that?
WMJ: Mystic arrived in my head shortly after the first major rewrite of Amulet of Kings. The bulk of the book was on paper in four weeks, would you believe? I think that I wore that keyboard out completely, I was typing so fast! Well, it’s another day, and another gig. But this time the feedback blows the Throne of the King Under The Mountain to Kingdom come. And The Banned have to replace it... Introducing Dai, the bass playing Bass drinking dragon, a rather put upon RAF fighter pilot and a lot of bad jokes about traffic policemen... The problem with my plots are that they can get a bit surreal, I’m afraid, but I wouldn’t want to spoil any surprises. But the music is there, as you’ve already guessed. The Banned are off on tour. My off-white witch even gets pulled at a beach rave this time, but I’m not allowed to talk about that in case she comes after me!
I’m actually signed for eight books, book 3 – The Vampire Mechanic is now in copyediting at the Publishers for a 1 November release, and book 4 – Sex and Thugs and Rock n Roll – is pouring out as we speak. There’s actually too much material, and some of it is going to wind up in book 7 instead. Book 5 (Their Dark Design) is partly written already and book 6 (Have Frog, Will Travel) is in advance plotting, so Safkhet and I are planning on a new book every 6 months for another couple of years yet! I’ve just created a fantastic new character ( no, I’m not going to tell you Ricky Valens’ real name and give the joke away) and already he’s demanding a whole book of his own.
Fortunately, each book is planned to be a completely standalone story, so I can have as much fun as I like with the characters, and then run away to play with some others whilst the first lot find it in their hearts to forgive me for what I’ve done to them!