I lie all the time. I’m a writer, it’s my job to make things up. I’ve lied at least seventeen times in the questions answered so far (not really).

British author, James Fahy, writes adult dystopian paranormal fantasy amongst other things and is also working on two other top-secret projects…shh! Maybe James should not have agreed to answer my 20 Questions Authors Should Never Answer…

1. What’s your favourite cocktail to drink?

I’m a sucker for a good Bloody Mary (gin, not vodka) – pulped tomato juice, booze, pepper and Tabasco and celery to stir. It’s my go-to brunch drink, and a great (and often necessary) hangover cure. Plus, even when I’m detoxing, I can lie to myself and say that even though it’s a cocktail, with the tomatoes and celery, technically it’s two of my five a day. I’m a big fan of brunch cocktails, and brunch in general. I also just like saying the word. Brunch, brunch, brunch…

2. Do you really have a six-pack? (C’mon you all wanted to know, plus I’m asking the questions)

Depending on the time of the year. At Christmas I tend to have more of a ‘keg’. I’m not getting any younger and I try to stay in shape, not for any noble health reasons, but simply because I’m quite vain, and very hard on myself.

I like that people are all shapes and sizes. I’ve always been a skinny whippet, and I have a nuclear reactor instead of a metabolism, so I have to eat pretty much constantly in order not to lose weight and end up looking like one of those desiccated skeletal corpses which fall out of closets in the ‘ring’ movies.

  1. Do you get your brows worked on?

Ha! No, my brows are wild and free as forest stags. I do occasionally get one randomly long eyebrow-lash (if that’s a term) which seemingly appears overnight like an ant’s feeler and has to be mercilessly plucked out with fingertips, but that’s about as close to facial topiary maintenance as I get.

  1. How do you prefer to get around? (It’s relevant peeps – I’ve seen this man sulking on the bus)

I prefer to be driven (I’m a very good passenger). I can be a good map-guy and am excellent at handing the driver jelly-babies or other road-trip necessities. I’m quite a nosy person, so I prefer driving at night when houses are lit up and you can spy into people’s rooms and see these little slices of other lives going past. I find that oddly comforting. I love driving at night best, preferably on motorways without strip lighting, when you feel you could be anywhere. I very much enjoy the feeling of being between two places in transit and no-one knowing where you are.

  1. What is the naughtiest thing you did as a kid?

I was an insufferable goody-two shoes as a child. I probably irritated everyone. Doing homework on time, never missing school. It does makes me retch slightly looking back –I’ve made up for it since. I did once kidnap my next-door neighbours Barbie and Cindy dolls and held them hostage for a few days. I can’t remember my demands but I do recall sending back a severed doll leg through the letterbox to show how serious I was.

  1. What are your plans for Christmas? (It’s April, I’m hoping to throw James with this one)

I always have a big Ole family Christmas, with lots of baking and other Nigella Lawson inspired doings, such as homemade decorations and Christmas carol concerts. It’s one of my favourite times of year once the lights go up in all my windows. This year (like the Christmas just gone) I will be feverishly publishing a book. (Last December it was Changeling Book one.) This December it will be Changeling Book three. No rest for the wicked I’m afraid.

  1. Tell me more about this rugby calendar… (I really, really want one…)

No. I only ever mentioned that in passing because it terrified me, and I’ve still not agreed to it! We should do a writers version. January: Stephen King, February, George Martin….hmm, maybe not.

  1. What’s the deal with your Japan fascination? (I’m trying to work out if it’s the same for James as it is for me)

I’ve always been in love with Japan, I find it very hard to find any aspect of the country that is not completely fascinating; the culture, the language, the history, the food (of course) and the diversity. I grew up on a lot of Manga fiction, and later Anime.

Anime and Manga geekiness aside, I find the structure of the Japanese way of life very endearing. The sense of balance, of respect for history and traditions juxtaposed against the most fast moving and forward thinking technology. It’s a wonderful contradiction, which somehow works seamlessly. I’m learning Japanese at the moment (very haltingly) and finding the speaking a lot easier than the writing – there’s so much variation. I can make myself understood most of the time, though I probably have a horrible accent!

I’d love to spend a full year there and go native at some point (I will go and live at a hot spring ryokan thank you). At least half of the meals I eat are Japanese, (omurice is sinfully good) and of course the main reason to love Japan is that every single Japanese person is lovely.

  1. Would you ever write erotic romantic fiction?

I have done actually. (And no, you can’t read it, it was long ago and in retrospect, hilarious.) I don’t really like the compartmentalising of ‘erotic’ romance. I think if I have romance in any book I write, there’s going to naturally be eroticism anyway, or there should be.

Sex is so hard to write well. I’ve always been much more a fan of tension building in romance/erotic situations in stories. The will they –won’t they angst and subtexts are far more appealing than a chapter which reads like a biology lesson. In Hell’s Teeth, my main character Phoebe has a relationship ‘of sorts’ with another main character, but I’m very deliberately making it slow burn. To me I’m more drawn in by forbidden lips brushing earlobes than an orgy.

Having said that, I think if you’re going to include sexual tension in your story, it’s not fair to tease the reader endlessly, that’s just cruel, so all I will say is that things step up in book two.

  1. What is your favourite item of clothing, real or imagined, and why?

My favourite item of clothing is my Batman converse, (because I clearly have a mental age of around seven and am an unashamed Batman fan-boy).

  1. Why can’t you sleep at night?

Because I don’t have time. There’s too much to do and I’d much rather do anything else other than sleep at night. I have tried going to bed earlier, but it’s an exercise in futility, as I just lie there frowning at the ceiling and usually inventing detailed arguments with people in my head. I’m usually in the gym in my house from 11-12pm, then watching a family guy marathon, reading or writing until about 2am.

Conversely, or perhaps as a direct result of this, one of my talents is that during the day, I can fall asleep on command. Sleeping in the daytime is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Especially if it’s sunny outside and the house is quiet. If I could get away with being completely nocturnal, I think I would jump at the chance.

  1. Do you think life’s easier with a pretty face?

I don’t have one, so you’d be better directing that question at Monica Bellucci, who is undisputedly the most beautiful person to ever walk the planet (and becomes more so each year) or Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who comes a close second. I think in the interests of science we should put them in a zoo enclosure together and see if they produce some amazing offspring. I on the other hand have a nose that slants off to one side, and my face is mainly consisting of forehead.

In general, I think people believe that having a pretty face makes life easier, but I secretly doubt very much it’s true. People judge attractive people more on their appearance than their ability, which is a shame, as I’m always far more interested in what people are thinking about than what they look like. I think people sometimes make the assumption that ‘pretty’ people are happy, but you never really know what’s going on inside another person’s head from the face they show the world.

The plus side of course is that it is easier to flag taxis and get into VIP sections at clubs.

  1. What’s the best night you ever had?

I couldn’t possibly say without inducing law suits and slander, but I will say it involved a stolen case of cigars, a trampoline, shaved eyebrows and three bottles of shampoo mixed into an indoor pool to disastrous but hilarious results.

  1. What’s your favourite thing to do at literary festivals?

Get paid, (or drink the complimentary mini-bar dry). No, seriously though I like poking my nose into whatever else is going on, tracking down anyone of interest and forcing them into a selfie or to sign a body part, and usually spending an obscene amount of money on books and book merch.

  1. What’s your favourite sport? To watch, to play….

Rugby, for both. I’m fairly softly spoken usually, but put a match in front of me and you will never hear anyone scream and swear at the TV more. It was the only sport I was ever any good at during school, because I was fast as a whippet and inherently violent. The rest of the school year I was a shunned and laughable pariah. I can’t kick a football to save my life.

  1. Can I be in your next book? (Sorry I don’t know how this snuck in and can I not be killed or haunted or anything bad happen to me?)

I’ll see what I can do. (There have been two ‘real’ people in my books so far) I’m not saying who or where, but they both got killed horribly, so I wouldn’t hold out much hope for surviving as a cameo in my Urban Gothic series. I might put you in my Fantasy series instead. You stand a (slightly) higher chance of living to the epilogue then.

  1. Will you ever shave off your beard?

I did this last year actually, it was for a costume party. I went as a character from Neko Zamurai) which is a Japanese TV show about a samurai and his cat Tamanojo. It’s a wonderful show, and if you haven’t seen it, you should check it out immediately. I had a handmade black samurai outfit made in the traditional style, which was quite complicated to get in and out of, but incredibly comfortable once I was in it. I use it now as house clothes like a comfy robe. You can keep loose change in the sleeves in traditional Ronin fashion (or jelly babies). The character was clean shaven, so I had to be to. Without my face fuzz, I look like a very angry woman.

  1. Where is the craziest place you have ever holidayed?

I don’t know about crazy, but I’ve been to quite a lot of places. Probably one of the most immersive holidays was when I went to Prague in the Czech Republic with a good friend for two weeks. She was Czech, and we stayed with her family, all of whom spoke Czech the whole time and I was lost and clueless, and loved every minute of it. I was a tie-dyed hippy teen at the time, with my hair long and in multi-coloured braids, and had some amazing experiences in one of the most gorgeous cities I’ve ever been to. During my time in Prague, I was chased through a city maze by a bloodthirsty albino peacock, got extremely ‘spiritual’ on absinthe and ended up running through the streets with friends in the largest and most dramatic thunderstorm I’ve ever been in, (the sky was blood red and filled with lightning) and enjoyed doing tai chi at dawn in the morning mist on a tiny island under the Charles bridge. It was a fun trip.

  1. When was the last time you lied?

I lie all the time. I’m a writer, it’s my job to make things up. I’ve lied at least seventeen times in the questions answered so far (not really).

I don’t really lie much, or if I do, it’s about little, inconsequential things like telling people that yes, teal is their colour when in actuality it makes them look like washed up corpses that have been dragged along the underside of a fishing boat. Or extremely random things for no reason. I lie to hairdressers. I always feel under pressure to make small talk when you’re stuck in the chair for an hour, so I end up spinning elaborate yarns about being one of octuplets, or having a fake leg, or being the bastard son of minor royalty. Just to see how much nonsense I can get away with. The danger is getting the same hairdresser the next time and trying to remember all the tall tales I’d invented last time. Perhaps I should keep a hairdressers notebook.

  1. What advice about anything would you give to anyone out there?

I’m not a guru, but some simple life rules I try (but often fail) to live by:

Don’t ever give the slightest thought to what people think. If you want something, get it, if you like something, love it. We all spend far too much time worrying about ‘what people are thinking about you’ when in actuality the truth is, people are not. Most people don’t have time. They’re too busy with their own problems and hang ups and other nonsense to worry about you or gossip about you, so never let fear of being judged stop you being who you are or doing what you want to do. If people don’t like you, that isn’t any of your business, and you don’t have to give it a moment’s thought. Also I would say don’t ‘hate’ on things. It’s a cancerous behaviour. Why waste time belittling or ridiculing something you hate when you could spend the time shouting out and celebrating something you love instead? It’s a big enough world for differences of opinion, and you are never going to please everybody. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.

Also, be kind. If you have a choice in any situation to be kind or mean, go for kindness, even if it’s small. You have no way of knowing what kind of a day/week/month or life the other person might be having, and your small and costless act or word of kindness can make a difference you have no idea about.

And on that note, thanks Nadia, It’s been lovely not talking to you about books. We must not talk about books together again sometime.


James Fahy is the author of the Changeling fantasy series (Venture Press), following the adventures of Robin, a seemingly unremarkable boy who is swept up into a war between our realm and the Netherworlde. The first book, Isle of Winds, will soon be followed by The Drowned Tomb and The Chains of Gaia.

James also writes paranormal fantasy. Hell’s Teeth, the first of a series featuring para-toxicologist Phoebe Harkness (Venture Press) will be followed by Crescent Moon.