Finally, after a long period with no interviews, I return with another 10 Questions. This time, it’s with S. R. Ford, the author of The Kingdom and the Crown, which I reviewed recently. So, I’ll let him introduce himself and answer my questions.
My name is Sheridan R. Ford, and I write Young Adult, Fantasy, and Science Fiction stories under the abbreviated pen name S. R. Ford. I live in Ogden, Utah, USA and am 23 years old.
1. What’s your favourite colour?
I call it Shamrock-Lime Green. It’s the more-green-than-yellow lime green, I guess.
2. What’s your favourite food? Do you like Marmite?
This is a bit of a toughy, but I’d have to say you can never go wrong with some good barbeque. As for Marmite, I’ve never had it. I’ve had Vegemite several times, though, and that is definitely not one of my favourite flavors.
3. Which country would you most like to visit?
Again, this is a tough one to answer. It’s always a tossup between Australia, Ireland, Scotland and Italy.
4. What genres do you like to read?
I love to read non-fiction (mainly because I love to learn), but when I’m looking for a good story I enjoy fantasy, mystery and adventure. Classics are fun, though not always good.
5. If you were going to write a book outside your genre(s), which genre would you choose?
I would probably write a full-blown sci-fi, a murder mystery or a historical fiction.
6. Describe your writing environment, including room, desk, sounds, etc.
My office is a small room, probably 12 x 15 feet with two windows. My cherry wood desk sits between them, allowing me to enjoy the outside air and the sounds of birds when the windows are open. There are bookshelves to my right and left and a warm 40-gallon terrarium behind me. Inside the terrarium is a young ball python that will often come out of hiding to watch over me as I write. My office also contains a stereo, a small TV, a couple “old school” gaming systems, a comfy beanbag, and even a place to lie down if I need it. Usually the room is quite quiet and still; however, when I need to get my head in the right setting, I might turn on nature sounds or other appropriate music. If I hit a writing wall but don’t feel the need to leave the house, I might step away from my desk for 15 minutes or so and help my mind relax by playing a game, watching a show, or just kicking back for a moment. The key to it all is self-control. As for my desk, it is not messy or cluttered. I keep it quite clear and organized. The only real ornamentation on my desk is a family photo, a sketch pad, a notebook, and a Mickey Mouse bobble-head that I consult with difficult yes or no questions.
7. If you could have dinner with any character (person, if non-fiction) from your books, who would it be?
Naminé (from the Kingdom Chronicles) or Morgan (from Oblivion’s Gate). These two characters are so deep that I would love the chance to pick their brains and get to know them better. I’m sure they would tell me things and express opinions that even I, their creator, would be blown away by.
8. Do you draw maps when planning your books?
I do, and I don’t. I can draw objects and simple settings well enough to be proud of them, but for some reason I’ve never had much of a knack for cartography. I draw up detailed city layouts, but world, nation and geographical maps tend to be rather rough and out of scale. They are far from being publishable works. I’m working, however, on getting a better handle on cartography; and if that doesn’t work out, my goal is to get a good mapmaker to help me out so that I can publish and share “official” maps of places in my books.
9. Do you ever read self-published books?
Yes, I do. I have several friends who have self-published. I admit that it’s been a while since I’ve read one, but it’s been a while since I’ve read any books other than non-fiction publications by scientific organizations. I’ve been busy working on getting all the details fine tuned for my own works, including maps, societies, cultures, etc. But yes, I do read self-published books after I’ve carefully checked things out.
10. I’m interested in fantasy, science fiction, history and classics. Which author’s books would you recommend to me?
Mine, of course. Ha! No, no. I’m just teasing. It sounds like you have tastes similar to mine. Naturally, the first name to be promoted is Tolkien’s. Anyone who claims to enjoy fantasy but disregards Tolkien is a blaspheming heretic to the genre. However, the series that really got me into fantasy and science fiction was Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series. I was introduced to Artemis Fowl in grade school and followed the series to its end in 2012. I re-read it often and enjoy the fact that I can read the entire series in two to three days. The books are short, but they are engaging and fun to read. They mix fantasy things like elves and gnomes with time travel, geothermic travel, and all sorts of sci-fi goodness.
As for history, I’ve always enjoyed the writing of David McCullough. His books, however, are concentrated on American history. For most of history I find the best books have to come from the people themselves, Flavius Josephus, Homer, and other historians, the people who actually lived at the time. I don’t like to read the interpretations of men and women hundreds and thousands of years after the fact. History is just as much about the propaganda as it is about the facts, and over the years history is always modified by the successively dominant powers or nations.
Classics lead us to the monster stories, like Frankenstein by Shelley, Dracula by Stoker, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Stevenson, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Irving, Animal Farm by Orwell, and The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas. Of course, Tolkien’s name must arise here as well, along with that of C. S. Lewis. Then you’ve got the real classics like the Iliad and the Odyssey. I’ve never read Beowulf, though it’s on my list.
Thank you for participating, Sheridan. I enjoyed your answers very much, and they were very thorough. I’m quite impressed by your writing environment. It sounds like a cozy room to write in. You’ve given me some good ideas for books to read, as well. It seems we do have similar tastes. Thanks again!
If anyone has any questions for him, please leave a comment.