Liverpool author creates epic fantasy world for his first novel
In his day job on City Council, Philip Breen is tasked with keeping Liverpool safe, overseeing security from large-scale events like River of Light to the hundreds of CCTV cameras that help protect the city around the clock. .
But once disconnected, Philip disappears into the alternate world of his alter ego, author Quillem McBreen.
For his first fantasy novel, Tenets of Truth, Philip created an entire kingdom with his own religious system, magical system, and a group of characters who all live there.
“It’s not as gruesome and graphic as Game Of Thrones but it’s not as full of elves as Lord of the Rings,” he laughs, “so I would say it’s more like a mix. in between: no wardrobe, no dragons, no elves – it’s more of a political fantasy because it’s all about power structures and power struggles and the underhand nature of the people who hold the to be able to.
“How people think of the truth can change when you have an overbearing elite trying to change the narrative.” It seems very appropriate for today… ”
The novel, which is published by Heroic Books, is the first in a four-part series. He started working there in 2018, tearing odd hours here and there between his role as head of department for City Watch.
“One of the reasons it took a long time to write was because I finished work at the normal time, then disengaged from the real world and entered a fantasy world.”
For Philip, who lives in the city center, writing a novel is an ambition he has nurtured since his childhood.
“When I was in college, I decided to write a book,” he recalls. “I didn’t really know what it was or how I was going to do it, so it was rubbish, but I remember using a calligraphy pen someone gave me, so at least it looked nice!
“After that, I kind of put the idea aside because I figured that in order to write a story you had to know absolutely everything about it – how it starts, what happens on each page, and you can’t write until you have it all.
“It wasn’t until about 10 years ago that I started to audiobooks and fell in love with reading again. From there, that feeling that I would like to start writing came back to me. I still wasn’t sure this was something people like me were actually doing, but it got me thinking.
As a fantasy fan himself, when he decided to go for it, it was the genre that appealed to him the most.
Then it was about choosing the style of writing based on the ideas he had.
“I wanted to write three independent books, located in the same world, which happened at the same time but to different people, then there would be a fourth book which would be like a pyramid that would bring them all together,” he said. declared. Explain.
“From the books I had read myself, I knew I had to create a structure and there were really two main options – either very structured, so there are rules about how magic works, or where there is more mysticism so that magic is spoken in an otherworldly way. I looked at the structure and the rules.
When there is so much to follow, however, you need a plan.
“At the very beginning, I was highlighting words, names or places to make them stand out from me,” says Philip. “And then I came back and put them in an Excel spreadsheet so that I ended up with an encyclopedia of this world that I could use as a reference.”
Once completed, Philip began the editing process to bring it to the stage where he could approach literary agents.
“Then someone mentioned a publishing house that was coming up, Heroic Books, and I saw that they specialize in fantasy and science fiction.
“I sent it to Helen Blakeman, the co-founder, and she came back and said she really enjoyed it even though it wasn’t her usual type.
“I was in town one night and got a message from Chris Arnold, the other founder, saying ‘we love your book and we want to be your editors.” I was just beaming and wanted to shop around. bar saying “the beers are on me!”.
This all happened before Covid, so Philip admits that the extended timescale often made it seem like the whole experience was happening to someone else.
“It wasn’t until I got an appointment to pick up the books and do a dedication and picked up some cute pens to sign with that it started to feel real.
“But everything was amazing, from the blurb to the artwork that Heroic did to the amazing looking cover and the audiobook. Now, I just need Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO to start fighting for screen rights – as long as that doesn’t distract me from writing Book 2!
The Tenets of Truth by Quillem McBreen is available for pre-order here and at Waterstones, and releases October 26.
Article written by Dawn Collinson