Here at DEMAIN we’ve been massive fans of Adrian Cole – as a writer and as a human being. Dean had worked with Adrian on an anthology a few years back (on a damn fine project called Demonology) and they were looking for another opportunity…his novella My Shadow Moves Among You (available as an ebook on November 30th – cover by Adrian Baldwin) has become that opportunity. Dean and Adrian sat down to chat and avoided talking football (Adrian being an ardent Plymouth Argyle fan and Dean, a supporter of (eventual hahaha) Premier League winners in 2024 Tottenham Hotspur [hope that doesn’t come back to bite me – Dean].
DEMAIN PUBLISHING: Great to see/speak to you again Adrian – it’s been a while since we’ve seen each other in the flesh – let’s raise a pint or two but first, let’s start with an easy one: Adrian Cole can you tell us a little about yourself and how you become a writer…
ADRIAN COLE: Cheers, Dean! I began writing when I was 19 and sold my first novel(s) The Dream Lords, a Sword & Planet saga, after about 5 revisions, to Zebra Books in the States. Inspired by all the movies I saw as a kid and all the books I loved, such as ERB, Tolkien, Dune and more, I just loved the process of world building and writing. I had a ‘career’ that ended as a Business Manager in a large secondary college, but since retirement I have worked even harder at getting more published.
DP: So your background-
AC: I first worked as a Librarian, then did various stints as a casual gardener and worked in Education system, before being trained as a Manager(!!). Had a very full-on job in later years, culminating in helping to build a brand new, large secondary college. But my real love has always been writing.
DP: Building a college – wow, well done bet that was both exhausting and rewarding. I know you’ve mentioned a couple already but was your first introduction to our genre?
AC: Pan Books of Horror 1 and 2! Classics illustrated comics. And Dad took me to see the movie, Earth v the Flying Saucers [1956 – a great movie and would love to have seen that on the big screen]. I also became a huge fan of the ERB Martian and Venusian books.
DP: Great great – so let’s turn our attention to your novella, My Shadow Moves Among You…
AC: It was an idea that came to me out of nothing, centred on the four elements, and it grew in concept until, once I started it, I was being pulled along by its ideas. It can be classed as horror or fantasy, or both. I don’t always feel a need to fix securely on either, and some of my work, including My Shadow blends genres, not for effect, but simply to tell the story – I think it’s to do with an urge to open more doors and stray off the beaten track. I’m a country boy (born and bred in Devon) so maybe that has something to do with it. My Shadow starts relatively normally, but its protagonists find themselves embroiled in something deep and dark and ageless, powers rooted in their world that have gone unnoticed for a long time.
DP: Personally I loved the way you did blend the genres – not everybody can pull it off but you did so well done. Let’s talk about research…
AC: The story is based in my home area and slightly beyond it. Devon, Dartmoor specifically and the country, dealing as it does with elemental forces. So my whole life has been an experience set mostly in these places. I love the Moor and the surrounding mines and woodlands, etc. So my research has been mainly my experiences, and visiting places to get the feel of the atmosphere. Many of my other short stories are based in the South West.
DP: I love it when authors write (and/or set their stories) about their local areas – for me it adds another level of interest/authenticity to the work. Did you find the story hard to write ?
AC: No, but it has been through extensive edits. Initially it was much longer, but it was suggested to me that I cut it back and sharpen it up, which I did. I am one of those writers who enjoys the process of editing, so I would have spent 3 or 4 times as much editing as actually writing. I’d like to think the final version of My Shadow is all the better for it.
DP: For my own writing process I’m finding it not particularly difficult to write the first draft BUT then that’s when it becomes a ‘difficult’ process as I labour over every word, then every sentence, paragraph etc etc. I’m obviously searching for something there…anyway, this is about you Adrian not me so let’s talk about your biggest success thus far.
AC: I’m just putting the finishing touches to a trilogy of novels, a series called WAR ON ROME. These form a historical fantasy, set in an alternative Romano/Celtic world in which history as we know it takes a very divergent path. I did a huge amount of research for it, even though I have a good knowledge of the period. The titles are: Arminius, Germanicus and Boudica. Reviews for the first volume have been very encouraging, so I think I’ve got somewhere close to what I wanted.
DP: This is great, I love historical fiction so can’t wait to dive in. Is there a new writer which interests you-
AC: In recent years I’ve become absolutely fascinated by the wonderful Charlie Parker stories of John Connolly. What a talent! Far better than Stephen King, in my humble view. His characters are extremely well depicted and his plots, both immediate and stretching over the longer arc of books are terrific. To sustain the series for so long has been an outstanding achievement.
DP: Ah, I love John’s work – sometimes takes me a little while to catch up on his new releases as my TBR is so high but yeah, hats off to him. What do you think of the state of our genre right now ?
AC: I think book sales are well down on a few years back, but I’m sure there will always be room for horror and fantasy, or a blend. Horror has become in many cases subsumed by crime. I think horror movies are booming again, so these things tend to go up and down. I can’t see them ever being truly dead...dormant in some cases, but never more than that. And I guess that other forms of entertainment, such as gaming, have become extremely popular, probably to the detriment of book sales.
DP: True, true…talking of different genres/mediums – is there [creatively] something you haven’t done yet which you’d like to nail at some point soon ?
AC: A film! My work is very visual. War On Rome would make a fabulous tv series, and I think My Shadow could easily be turned into a series. I’d absolutely love that !
DP: Well, we never know what’s around the corner ! But good luck. Okay, last one – can you tell us something your readers might be surprised to find out about Adrian Cole ?
AC: I’m coming up to 75 next year and still spend a lot of time in the sea and surf! (Some of it has rubbed off on my Elak of Atlantis cycle of stories.)
Haha wish I was there enjoying that.
Great to chat with you again my friend – let’s not leave it so long next time. Best of luck with My Shadow Walks Among You.
If you’d like to connect with Adrian direct check him out on Facebook.
Dean M. Drinkel