"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." Sir Richard Steele

Friday, March 25, 2011

Interview with Author Joshua Blanc

It is with a great deal of pleasure that I intoduce my guest Joshua Blanc to my blog today. I met Josh through Book Blogs and was given the opportunity to read and review his book. So lets get to the interview.

Bio: Joshua Blanc was born in Australia and has lived in Canada since 1994. He developed a taste for writing in primary school and started writing science-fiction in his teens. He now writes speculative fiction with a sense of humour, ranging from fantasy to horror to just the plain-odd. His first published short was Death of a Sock Puppet, in 2001. His work has since appeared in several e-zines. Tales of Elves and Trolls: The Crystal Goblin is his first book.
Joshua is also an amateur photographer and produces electronic music as The Manitou.

1) Tell us a little bit about your book Tales of Elves and Trolls- the Crystal Goblin.
   It's a novel with a bit of a twist: there are nine stories of varying length in place of chapters. Each story is self-contained to an extent; but as a whole they form a complete narrative. The stories take place in the Elven Realm, where elves and trolls are mortal enemies, magic still exists and you can expect to run into fantastic creatures. The heroine, an orphaned elf girl named Lora, befriends a troll who's turned his back on the warlike ways of his race. This opens up a can of worms, as the saying goes, and their world may never be the same again.

2) How did it come about and what made you decide on elves and trolls?
   One day while walking in the neighbourhood I noticed some stout willows had been cut down. I'm fond of trees and don't like to see them destroyed wantonly. At the scene was a truck with the words 'tree removers' on the side, and this lead to a story about two trolls who set out to remove a magical tree only to have it turn the tables on them. At about the same time I was experimenting with short stories featuring young girl protagonists. Lora was the culmination of this; she embodied all the character traits I'd been trying to weave together. I paired her up with an imp named Sticky, from the Tree Removers story, and off they went on an adventure. Gradually more stories and characters presented themselves and a book became inevitable.

3) Is there a WIP? If so, can you tell us about it? Is there a second book to the elves?
   I generally have a short story or two in the works. Right now I'm a third of the way through the second Elves and Trolls book. The first one unfolded as it went along; but this time I have the basic plot mapped out from start to finish. The characters have a way of filling in the details themselves, which is a mixed blessing. I also have a novella I'd like to publish, and I'm adapting some of my stories for audio dramatization. I need three of me!

4) Have you always wanted to be a writer? If not, how did it come about?
   Writing was something I was drawn to in school. It was about the only school activity I enjoyed-provided I was left to my own devices. English assignments tended to put me off. I was home-schooled from the age of thirteen, and that's when I picked it up again and began thinking about writing as a career.

5) What or who has had the most influence on your writing?
   Everything I read or watch has some influence. The most important author would be Douglas Adams, with his singular wit and way of playing with language. L. Frank Baum has been a major influence on how I approach writing for children.

6) What challenges have you faced getting your book published?
   I've found the Canadian publishing industry to be a very limited market. Even small presses publish for a clearly defined niche audience. Basically you are out of luck if your work doesn't fit the mould, and mine doesn't  even know what a mould is! Fortunately, I'm keen to be involved in every aspect of the process, so I published the book myself. There were some things I could have planned better; but it's been a learning experience and I'm proud to be a self-published author.

7) Do you plan to branch out or do you think you will stick with the fantasy genre?
   Most of my work is speculative fiction, which covers a fair range: fantasy, horror, paranormal, and a little bit of science fiction. There's usually some humour involved but not always. Whatever the genre, it's usually escapist.

8) What do you do when you are not writing?
   My 'other hobby' is creating electronic music as 'The Manitou.' I do it purely for my own enjoyment; but recently did some soundtrack work which was a great experience. I like to photograph nature, so I spend a lot of time walking in the woods (and avoiding bears). My day job as a renovator gives me relative freedom to pursue my interests.

9) What types of books do you read? Do you tend to stay with a particular genre or do you like variety?
   When I was a kid, I chiefly read science fiction and a few stand-out authors such as Ronald Dahl. I branched out into fantasy and other genres as I got older. These days I'd say my tastes lie with classics of just about any genre, particularly children's classics. I enjoy humorous fantasy by the likes of Terry Pratchett and Piers Anthony, and also read and collect manga.

10) How can the readers contact you? (FB, website, twitter, etc.)
   The best way is through my website:
   or through my author page on Facebook:

I just want to thank Joshua for stopping by my blog today and giving us a look into his life as a writer. Please feel free to comment or ask a question. Just make sure you check back if you ask Josh a question.


  1. Great interview! I like that the author is a fan of manga, I like manga, too :) I will definitely read this book in the future!

    I'm following you now!