<<Entrevistamos a Steven A Mc Kay es un autor escocés cuya primera obra Wolf’s Head, ambientada en la Inglaterra medieval, es un retelling de la leyenda de Robin Hood, tema que le apasiona. Es muy activo en las redes sociales y está muy dedicado a sus seguidores: como él mismo dice, aún sigue, como hombre de clase obrera de un pequeño pueblo escocés que es, honradamente sorprendido de la gran acogida de su obra, y por ello está en permanente contacto con sus lectores y siempre disponible para interactuar con bloggers, podcasters y youtubers sobre libros, heavy metal, guitarras, Robin Hood, druidas y lo que se tercie.>>
Who’s Steven A McKay for who doesn’t know his pen?
Steven A Mc Kay: I’m a 44 year old Scottish writer, with a love for history and exciting action stories. I also love playing guitar and listening to rock and metal like Iron Maiden, Behemoth and Jethro Tull. My favourite thing to do is spend time with my two children and my wife.
He has written in English the trilogy of The Druid How do you see that the first part was translated into Spanish?
Steven A Mc Kay: Well, The Druid has sold quite well in the UK and USA so I guess the Spanish publishers, Ediciones Pamies, saw this and thought historical fiction fans in Spain might like a translation. I really love the new cover art they commissioned, and I hope readers enjoy the story.
The Druid is my first book to be translated into Spanish, so far the only other language my books have appeared in is German although that’s a different series to the Warrior Druid of Britain Chronicles. I’ve read only good reviews of El Druida so far, so I’m sure the translation is good and I’m really proud to share the same publisher as writers like Bernard Cornwell and Adrian Goldsworthy.
Write about the historic literary What new genre would you like to explore?
Steven A Mc Kay: I’m not sure! I enjoy listening to true crime podcasts so I might do a mystery thriller one day, but, honestly, I love the historical settings so, for my latest book, Sworn to God, I just took a modern mystery and put it into a medieval setting with the characters from my Forest Lord books. Perhaps one day I’ll write science fiction as I was always a huge fan of Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and Philip K. Dick. For now, however, I just love writing about history, it’s so much fun!
What can you tell us about the village of Dun Buic?
Steven A Mc Kay: Well, The Druid starts in Dun Buic and it’s based on a real village called Milton, where I spent the first few years of my life. The wider area in the book is Dun Breatann, modern day Dumbarton, and, in Roman times this was quite an important area as there were forts and of course the Antonine Wall nearby. So there were always powerful kings and exciting times in these areas and, since I know it so well it seemed a good place to base my historical tale.
In this first part we enter the year 430 D. C How has been the documentation process?
Steven A Mc Kay: This period is called the “dark ages” because there’s nothing really written down about it, so it makes researching it quite hard. However, that also means someone like me can invent their own things and no-one can say I’m wrong! So I do as much research as I can, learning about things like what weaponry was being used then, what foods they ate, what their religious beliefs were, what tactics they used in battle and so on, and then I try to come up with an exciting story with the historical facts as a backdrop.
Some historical fiction writers do not do enough research and so they’ll have their characters eating potatoes in fifth century Britain which would, obviously, have never happened as we didn’t have potatoes in this country back then! So I take research very seriously because, if you get something wrong, it throws the reader out of the story and that’s the last thing a writer wants to do. My books should be exciting and fun to read, but also well researched.
How has the journey been with the druids, gods and everything related to it?
Steven A Mc Kay: Well, to my mind, a lot of historical religious figures who used ‘magic’ must have been good at sleight-of-hand tricks and things like that. So, at the end of The Druid there’s a scene at Stonehenge where it seems like magical spells are being used and demons or ghosts are attacking the Saxons. In those times people believed in the power of the gods more and I find it really interesting to try and come up with ways to use these powers without straying into fantasy.
My books do not have magic rings that make people invisible like in Lord of the Rings or wizards who can shoot blue fire out of their fingers like in Sword of Shannara, but the real druids in Britannia and Gaul were seen as having great powers so I like trying to find ways to explain that. What powers could they have which would SEEM magical to the people of the AD 430 without being supernatural or paranormal? Bernard Cornwell’s books about King Arthur did something similar and it really intrigued me.
What is your opinion about the Druids, Gods, Dreams, Powers and this sort of thing?
Steven A Mc Kay: Well, I do not follow a particular religion but I do believe there is a power throughout the universe that can sometimes be called upon. I mean, I know from my own experience that feeling depressed all the time can lead to bad things happening to you – but if you are a really positive person and give thanks for the good things in your life, it can sometimes make even more good things come to you. This is why my favourite word is “Hope”.
I’ve also had times in my life where I’ve felt like something is wrong and had a phone call to tell me my daughter was unwell at school – as if I could sense it somehow, from miles away. And once I had a dream about a deer – probably the only time ever – and my daughter told me as soon as she woke up that she’d just had a dream about a deer. Little things like that tell me that something more than just science is controlling our lives, and that is really kind of magical, isn’t it?
Why have you chosen Britain as the stage, which you can tell us about it?
Steven A Mc Kay: Well, I love the nature – the many trees and green hills and flowing rivers – that we have here in Britain. I grew up near it all and it’s where I feel happiest. We also have some interesting historical or mythological characters like Robin Hood and King Arthur so that’s the kind of thing that inspired me to set my own books in those places and times. I mean, I’ve been to Spain a few times and I love it – I was amazed by, for example, Tarragona with its old Roman ruins. But Britain is where I live and I know it best – the weather, the animals, plants and so on so it makes sense for me to write about this country.
What character would stay from the story of The Druid?
Steven A Mc Kay: I think my favourite character is Bellicus, because he can do so much. Not only is he tall and strong, but he can fight as well as any swordsman and knows a lot of things since he trained with the druids for many years. As a writer, it’s just a lot of fun to have someone like that in your story, he gets into plenty of exciting situations and, since he also has two big dogs to help him, well, it’s enjoyable to write! I am also a fan of Aldred, the Saxon. It can be easy to write about “baddies” but I like to try and make my characters more realistic, so it’s not always black and white, and I think Aldred is a good example of that. He’s a Saxon, and an enemy to Bellicus, but he’s a good man not an evil monster.
In Spain the translation of the second part has not come out What can you anticipate us?
Steven A Mc Kay: I don’t know anything about that yet, hopefully the first book sells thousands and thousands of copies in Spain and the publisher want to do the next one, Song of the Centurion! I really hope that, once this COVID pandemic is over, I can visit Spain on holiday again and maybe see a copy of El Druida and the others in a book shop over there.
He has written other titles like Lucia, The Forest Lord Book What can you tell us about it?
Steven A Mc Kay: The Forest Lord series were my first books, starting with Wolf’s Head, and they are about the Robin Hood myths and legends but in a style more like Bernard Cornwell than the old movies. I enjoyed writing about those characters, and I still use some of them like Friar Tuck and Little John in my historical thriller novellas Faces of Darkness and Sworn to God. They are all fun characters and I loved writing about a well-known myth and making it fresh and exciting for a modern audience.
Lucia is not part of any series, it is about a little girl taken as a slave by the Romans to live in a villa in Brittania. The novel tells the story of her life and what a slave would have had to deal with in those times. I am extremely proud of the book and one day it would be great to see it made into a movie – I can dream, right? There’s been plenty of books and movies about male slaves – gladiators or whatever – but nothing about women. Lucia does that and it was a story that just had to be told.
I also wrote all the stories and lore for the Xbox/Playstation game Hood: Outlaws and Legends which came out recently. That was such a thrill, to write things for a videogame, as I’ve always been a gamer since I first owned an Atari 2600 and then a Commodore 64 in the 1980’s!
Finally Steve What can you tell us about your upcoming projects?
Steven A Mc Kay: I am finishing off book 4 in the Warrior Druid of Britain Chronicles, this follows The Druid, Song of the Centurion and The Northern Throne. It will be called Bear of Britain and Bellicus, Duro and Cai are helping out Arthur and Merlin in this adventure, trying to defeat the Saxons once and for all. It should be published around September this year, I hope. After that…I’m not sure, probably another mystery for Tuck, Little John and Will Scaflock to solve around Christmas, but I haven’t planned anything for it so far. Then, onto book 5 for Bellicus and Duro!
<<Para finalizar la entrevista, desde AfondaresCultura damos las gracias a «Steven A Mc Kay» por su tiempo y dedicación y estaremos atentos a esa publicación de su nuevo libro que será la cuarta parte de El Druida y esperando la segunda parte en España y también estaremos atentos a sus próximos proyectos.>>