James Austin McCormick is a college lecturer from Manchester, England and in his free time enjoys writing speculative fiction, mostly science fiction, horror and a little sword and sorcery fantasy. He is also a particular fan of classic Gothic and Victorian horror tales and is currently in the process of writing updated versions of these with a science fiction spin. Learn more about James and his books here.
I love travelling and the experience of being amongst a different culture. I first lived abroad in 1996 when I taught in Prague for six months. Before then I’d never tried to learn a language. My extremely shady employer just dropped me off on the outskirts of the city, at a hotel where no one spoke any English, gave me a cheap map of the city and several addresses where I’d be teaching and told me I started on Monday (I arrived Saturday afternoon). I had to learn some Czech pretty quickly as I couldn’t even ask for my mail at first. I spent a very anxious weekend trying to learn my way around the place and learning as much basic language as I could. At first, I just memorised lots of sentences from a travel guide, but the effort started to pay off.
After that experience I’ve always made an attempt to learn as much of the language as I could before going to another country. After the Czech Republic, I lived in Taiwan for two years where I taught at university, then five years in Japan where I was a teacher at a high school. I’ve been back in England now for twelve years, but the urge to take off again is very strong. If it were possible, I’d like to live somewhere new every couple of years, not so easy now, however, with two young daughters in school.
I think this is the reason I enjoy writing space opera so much. In my Dragon science fiction series, Sillow, the main character, is a restless, elf-like individual who spends most of his time off world, exploring strange planets and mysterious places. Every day is unpredictable, every day an adventure for him. A great deal of the enjoyment I get from writing these stories is the pure escapism it provides me personally. Cold, grey, rainy Monday mornings in Manchester tend to be best as the imaginative spur I need. The latest book, Dragon: The Prisoner of Valathia, will be out in June this year. There’s a stronger fantasy element this time around as Sillow investigates a mysterious and very ancient artifact discovered in a small mining system.
Dragon: The Tower of Tamerlane:
As a reluctant agent, Sillow is called upon to undertake his first mission, investigate the Tower, a high-tech prison complex along with the oligarch who runs it, a mysterious nobleman who calls himself Tamerlane.
Seeking evidence to prove Tamerlane is responsible for a series of terrorist attacks, Sillow quickly uncovers the sheer scale of his plans, a lethal military strike on all four humanoid home worlds. Caught and imprisoned however, the Sylvan finds himself helpless to warn the Alliance of the coming danger.
All the while, something has been evolving, growing stronger inside the Tower, something intangible yet far more dangerous than Tamerlane ever could be, a being implacably opposed to all life in the galaxy.