Today, I bring you a wonderful interview with UK author Connor Irving. As a lover of myths and legends from around the world, Connor has always been fascinated by the misunderstood and demonized characters within these tales. It’s this fascination that has driven him to write stories that capture the imagination and transport readers to fantastical worlds beyond their wildest dreams.
Let's find out more.
Tell me about yourself.
My name is Connor Irving and I am a 20 year old Fantasy Fiction author from Manchester in the UK. I have a love- some may say obsession- of Mythology, reading, writing, anything fantasy related and I am a proud Taurus.
What do you like to read?
My favourite genre to read is fantasy, it always has been. The works of Cassandra Clare- 'the Shadowhunter Universe'- are particular favourites of mine and have inspired my own writing. I also love to read mythological retellings, 'Circe' by Madeline Miller is one of my favourite books of all time; and the works of Natalie Haynes and Stephen Fry are brilliant reads.
I have to also mention the 'RiordanVerse', I can't wait to read the new book which has just come out. And my introduction to literary fantasy, Harry Potter.
Tell us about your work with the online magazine.
In The Pantheon is an online magazine made up of a number of talented authors who scribe the gods, goddesses and deities of Ancient Greece in the modern world.
I came across In The Pantheon on Twitter when I was sixteen. I started by interacting with the authors and their deities and quickly got wrapped up in the world they had created. My love of writing mixed with my love of Mythology made me very eager to join, unfortunately when I first applied I was denied as I was too young.
I applied again when I turned eighteen and since then I have scribed as Helios, Titan of the Sun. It has been wonderful to work with all of the authors there, everyone is so supportive of one another and it is actually where I first met many members of Tea With Coffee Media.
Tell us about ‘The Mythology Manifest’
The Mythology Manifest is an online persona created by me at age sixteen during my time at college.
I was studying Classical Civilisations at the time and I realised that it was a dying subject due to it not being particularly accessible to younger, state educated, people- as a state educated student myself, it is surprising I fell in love so heavily with a subject usually catered to those educated privately.
Because of this I set up a YouTube and twitter (I suppose it's now X) page under the name of The Mythology Manifest. On there I began posting regular content all about myths, legends and folklore from around the world with the hopes of helping more young people fall in love with the same myths and legends that drew me into the subject.
As time has gone on I have ceased posting on YouTube, however I continue to post on Twitter (X) and I have also now set up a Tiktok page under the same name which currently has around 80+ thousand followers.
What inspired your love of fantasy?
Mythology, in particular Greek Mythology. So many of todays stories and tales have influences from these tales and the complexity of the myths alongside the intense characterisation make for perfect fantasy.
My love of Mythology however does not come straight from me reading source material at a young age- I'm not sure many 7 year olds would enjoy the works of Homer or Virgil. It is my dad who is responsible for that. When the first Percy Jackson movie came out I was adamant that I didn't want to watch it- not because I'd read the books, I hadn't, I just refused for no good reason. My dad insisted saying I'd enjoy it and so I watched it and from that point on mythology became my personality and I haven't yet found a rival for it.
Your book ‘The Salt of Angels Book 1- Pillars of Cloud’ is coming out soon. Tell us about it.
Pillars of Cloud is the first book of a planned five book series called The Salt of Angels.
It follows the formidable Queen of Hell, Lilith, and her four half Demon children, Astaroth, Loukas, Estrie and Mania as they seek to raise an army of supernatural creatures in order to prevent oppressive laws being passed by a government of Angels and gods.
It contains a mixture of my own characters and those in mythology and presents ancient, powerful beings with modern day challenges. Even the Queen of Hell has relationship drama and the eldest of all Vampires is scared of being excluded- it's a little more complex than that however.
What inspired it?
Like many of my answers so far, it is mythology. It started when I first heard of Lilith in one of Cassandra Clare's books and grew from there. It is steeped in myths and legends from around the world.
Of course it wasn't always the story it is now. It has evolved massively from something with little plot and even less character development to one I am so proud of.
Does writing energise or exhaust you?
It very much depends on the scene I'm writing. Action scenes or arguments are so much fun to write, I love the constant stream of movement or heated dialogue and when I start I just want to keep going. However emotional scenes can drain me and yet they can be so impactful to the story.
Are you working on anything new?
At the moment I am working on book 2, Pillars of Fire and book 3- the title of which I am keeping under wraps at the moment.
Pillars of Fire picks up only a few months after the events of Pillars of Cloud. Without spoilers, it continues with Lilith on a quest for revenge, but before she can strike again she and those around her must venture to a hidden, dangerous location to retrieve key elements of her plan. With enemies hiding behind each corner and the lives of the Supernatural beings falling apart around them, all are faced with one question. Would you sell your soul to save your people?
Tell us about your writing process.
My writing process changes most times I write. I try to write at least once a day whenever I can- usually it happens in the middle of the night as my mind wanders. However I don't try to reach a word count, just so long as I get something down.
What is the best piece of writing advice you have ever been given?
There's a few words of wisdom I have been given that I think are good.
"Write without fear, edit without mercy." I try to stick to this one as much as possible. I think with fantasy you should really go wherever your mind wants to take you, but it is important to ground your tale when editing or it can become a little too nonsensical- not that the realm of gods, Angels, Faeries and monsters has to make sense.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
When not writing I love to read, and a large portion of my time is obviously taken up with researching myths, legends and ancient history not just for fun but also for my social media pages. As most people do, I also love to watch TV and movies- Netflix and Fantasy shows take up a large portion of my free time.
In non fantasy, mythology or literary hobbies, I do love going out and having fun with my friends and I enjoy playing badminton.
Thanks to Connor for joining us on the blog. If you would like to check out Connor's work, click on the links below.