Oct 13, 2010

'Close Encounters of The Welsh Kind'

AmeriCymru spoke to Darren Bowker Powis and Richard W. Finlan about their new book 'Waliens' and their publishing venture Daric Books. Based just outside Pontypool they plan to champion sci-fi, fantasy and horror fiction with Welsh themes and settings. We will be offering a copy of 'Waliens' in a forthcoming competition on the site. Meanwhile read on....

waliens front cover detail by darren bowker powis and richard w finlan published by daric books

1. What is Daric Books mission statement? Why did you set up the company?

DBP: "Daric Books, has been set up to primarily champion sci-fi, fantasy and horror fiction with a Welsh themes and settings. In time we want to eventually offer opportunities for new writers and other creative people involved with book production, such as illustrators, photographers, graphic designers, editors, etc. We also have plans to offer book design and editorial services."

RWF: "Our aim is to make Daric Books a community project and get new local writers published. Initially we will concentrate on writers of sci-fi/fantasy/horror with a Welsh flavour, but hope to expand into other genres like crime thrillers, romance and comedy."

2. How long has Daric been publishing. Care to tell us a little about your history?

"Richard and myself are both former journalists. We first worked together on the Pontypool Free Press and have been friends ever since. Our first book together, Weird Tales from Weird Wales, was a collection of spoof newspaper stories from a paper in a fictional Welsh town. We later expanded on the idea by writing a novel set in the same fictional Welsh town.

The idea for Waliens has been buzzing around my head for over twenty years, but I struggled for a long while to get in down on paper. I talked about it with Richard and with the addition of his ideas and suggestions, everything just clicked into place. We decided to write it jointly and drew on well documented Welsh UFO cases such as The Dyfed Triangle and The Berwyn Mountains incident, along with some less well known ones closer to home, in Cwmbran, Varteg and Trevethin. The panic and paranoia depicted about alien invaders in the story is something of comment about the prejudices and fears some people have about immigration, but overall, Waliens is meant to be an entertaining read and not a soap-box lecture.

It’s a sort of Welsh X Files, but with a sense of humour. I love the fictional concept of strange things happening in everyday places like the ones I grew up in.

The story and characters in the book are 100% fiction, but the settings for the story were very much influenced by - and indeed are a homage to - Gwent valley towns like Pontypool, Cwmbran, Newbridge, Ebbw Vale, Llanhilleth and Abertillery.

I'm not actually a believer in UFOs and little green men, but find the subject interesting. There's no conclusive evidence for their existence, but if there was I’d be delighted and thrilled. Like Special Agent Fox Mulder, I want to believe..."

: "It is basically a satire on current trends within the newspaper publishing industry and the running down of Welsh industry. There are a number of social issues which we address such as the paranoia of an alien race taking over. But it is intended to be a fun and light read."

Promotional video for Waliens produced by Rebelhed Productions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G946y2v5EIM

4. You recently published 'Return of The Kin'. Who are the Kin?

RWF: "The Kin is a collective of weapons and artifacts that are joined by a family tie. They are made manifest in human form by The Girl On The Green Horse and the Silver Knight. They were created 500 years ago to combat the evil of Corrus Agrippa. Their origins will be revealed in Vol. 5"

5. Would you say that Wales has a rich tradition of horror/fantasy or imaginative fiction? If so who would you recommend to our readers?

DBP: "Very much so. We have a story telling traditions going back to the bards, through myths and legends, and coming right up to date with best selling authors taking all three genres in new directions."

RWF: "There are many great writers in Welsh fantasy and we can recommend Arthur Machen, Kenneth Morris, Alistair Reynolds, and Tim Lebbon."

6. Are you currently looking for manuscripts or will you be in the near future?

DBP: "Not at the moment, as we have enough projects to keep us going until well into next year. We have to build up the company first in terms of it’s scale of operation and resources."

7. Who are you reading at the moment?

DBP: "Some non-fiction, Parallel Worlds by Fred Alan Wolf, which looks at quantum physics and discusses ideas such as time travel and alternative universes, etc. It’s an interesting subject for me and also ideal for research.

When I read fiction, I enjoy the work of Stephen King, Terry Pratchett and Robin Rankin. My favourite writer, however, is the late Douglas Adams, who’s wonderful, imaginative and inspirational work made we want to become a writer. I’d like to raise a glass and a towel in his memory."

RWF: "Terry Pratchett and H.P. Lovecraft"

8. Where can our readers go to get Daric titles?

RWF: "They can be obtained direct from our website. www.daricbooks.com."

9. Any final message for the readers and members of AmeriCymru?

DBP: "It’s great to know there’s an active Welsh community in the US, and being married to a New Yorker, I know there’s no better combination than Welsh/American!"

RWF: "It’s very nice to link up with our American friends and I can say that on both my visits to your great country have been wonderful and I’m hoping to return soon. If you do buy our books we hope you’ll enjoy them and continue to patronize our site."

darren bowker powis and richard w finlan of welsh horror publishing house daric books

Darren Bowker Powis and Richard W Finlan of Welsh horror publishing house Daric Books

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