Mitriel Faywood was taught to read by her great-grandmother, using fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm and Hungarian folklore, turning her into an avid reader by the age of five. Some of her early favourites included J. R. R. Tolkien, Alexandre Dumas, Arthur Conan Doyle and Stephen King.
Despite showing a considerable talent for writing as a teenager and being tipped to become an author by some of her teachers, she gave up on the craft early on and thought she’d never write again. That was until a twist of fate led her to become the beta-reader of her favourite author, Mark Lawrence, in 2014, who re-ignited her love of stories and her interest in telling them.
Mitriel Faywood lives in London, where she works in the music industry. A Gamble Of Gods is her first book.
1.- Why did you choose self-publishing?
I knew both the traditional and self-publishing route had their pros and cons. The former is the more difficult to enter and I personally find it to be the riskier. I saw books turned into massive success stories by publishers, but I also watched titles being given poor covers and minimal marketing budget, which would have really upset me. Nonetheless, traditional publishing has the network and resources which can put your book into the hands of far more readers than self-publishing, and for this reason, I attempted to try that route first. My agent really loved A Gamble Of Gods and was excited about finding a good home for it. But it wasn’t meant to be. Publishers most often look for stories that fit the current trends, are easy to categorise and can be compared to bestsellers in the genre. I wrote something that doesn’t fit into the standard slots and has no comparable books to piggyback on. Hence, it’s a lot harder and more expensive to market. After a year of waiting, I thanked my agent for his efforts and let him know that I had decided to publish the book myself. To date, I’ve never regretted it. I enjoy the control it gives me, the learning of new skills self-publishing requires and just being my own boss for once.
2.- A Gamble of Gods is a genre-blending book. How would you say it happened? It was planned from the start?
The idea of blending genres excited me, so yes, it was something I had envisioned from the start. In A Gamble of Gods, all three main characters come from different worlds. The first is from a futuristic world that allowed me to introduce some sci-fi elements early on, the second is from a medieval world where magic exists, the third is from near future Earth, giving a view of point to the story that could be potentially closest to the reader’s. How they experience their transitions seemed like a fun thread to weave around the main plot.
3.- Your novel is mainly told from three different POVs, the main characters. Would you say writing those three different voices was challenging?
It was difficult, but I enjoyed the challenge. I had written a Conor Drew short story in the past (it’s called Framing and Entering and can be found on my blog), so his voice came to me the easiest. The other two took more time to crystallise.
4.- Apart from writing, you also do beta reading for some authors. Could you tell us how the beta reading experience has influenced your own writing?
The only author I beta read for is Mark Lawrence, who’s incredibly prolific, so I couldn’t take on another, even if I wanted to. I’ve been his beta-reader for almost a decade now, during which time I learned a lot about the story crafting and editing process, about how to transfer your thoughts and ideas onto the paper. You can have the world’s best story in your head, but if your readers don’t understand what’s going on, if your overwhelming descriptions bore them and so on, it won’t go well. Beta-reading gives you the opportunity to constructively critique someone’s work through feedback with an aim to improve and clarify it. At the same time, it’s also important to let the writers know what worked well in their stories, what were the parts you loved, what made you laugh or cry. If done well, with care and consideration, it’s a process both the author and the beta reader can learn from.
5.- Could you pitch us your book using two fiction works?
It’s a tricky one, maybe the easiest is to say that it’s Mission Impossible in a fantasy setting. Readers often compare parts of my book to various movies, here’s a list of the ones I’ve seen in reviews so far: Star Wars, Tomb Raider, Indiana Jones, Bridget Jones’s Diary, The Mummy, Romancing The Stone, Star Trek, Friends, and X-Men.
6.- From all the self-publishing processes, which parts would you say were the most challenging/difficult for you?
I think it’s the waiting. That every step takes a while. For my day job, I work for a busy company, so it took some time to adjust and just accept that the pace here is completely different. Nothing’s going to happen overnight.
7.- What inspired you to start writing A Gamble of Gods?
As a child, I enjoyed the Mission Impossible television series and wanted to try and write something like that in a fantasy setting. It’s fair to say, the story became so much more by the end of the first installment, but at its core that was the main idea.
8.- Which other fiction works would you recommend to the people that enjoyed a Gamble of Gods?
I would recommend The Red Queen’s War trilogy by Mark Lawrence, which amongst other things also combines a lot of action adventure with humour and the found family trope.
9.- What can we expect from Mitriel Faywood in the future?
I’m currently working on the second book of the series, which is set in a city state inspired by medieval Venice and centres around the disappearance of a painter with magical abilities.