Looking at your bio, you’re obviously extensively travelled. Do you think that’s informed the way you write, and the ideas you come up with?
Yes and no. I’m a big believer in ‘travelling in the mind’. You don’t have to go and learn about loads of other countries to be a decent author. People tend to be the same all round the world. Living in other countries did help me appreciate the UK a lot more, however. Why did I travel so much then? Well, there was a recession back in the 90s and I’d been unemployed so long it wasn’t funny anymore. I went to teach English where someone wanted me. Having said all that, when you travel and see signs and traces of a ‘lost people’ (be it in the UK or elsewhere), it’s quite spooky. It’s haunting. It gives the landscape echoes of meaning, ancient meanings that we can’t quite grasp. Something whispered that we can’t quite catch. Edgar Allen Poe was far better at conveying that sense of the supernatural than me. Michael Moorcock is far better at conveying that sense of the eternal. Seeing Stone Henge makes you imagine the so-called ‘pagan’ peoples and cultures of the UK who are now lost in time. Seeing the pyramids makes you try and imagine the Nubians and others who ruled pharonic Egypt long before it became the Arab Republic of Egypt. I’m a big fan of Time Team, of course. Anyway, back to the point. I travel to places and know a sense of ‘loss’. We all seek what has been lost, I think. Our imaginations try to rediscover lost people, lost civilizations, the pagans who came before us, the pagans we’ll never know but without whom we wouldn’t be here. By what magic, faith and ideas did they achieve something as long-standing as Stone Henge? For me, those things are the essence of fantasy and the human condition. It might be quite an old-school idea of fantasy, but it’s a part of the ‘lost’ idea of fantasy, I think. It’s a trace or sign of it anyway.