Chapters 1-9 of ‘Closeburn Crossing’ are now available for free on Wattpad!

That’s around half of the book posted there.

Chapter 10 will be published next Tuesday.

Thank you to my fellow Wattpadders for your reads, votes and comments so far!

Also, as always, a big thank you to my paperback and e-book readers and audiobook listeners. Your support is much appreciated.

Photo: ‘The Jungle of Chiapas’ by Bere von Awstburg from Pixabay.

Jungles and rainforests have always fascinated me. I think ever since watching Raiders of the Lost Ark as a child, and probably even before.

They inspired me to write about Iria.

Iria is the largest jungle on Altinor, the faraway planet the main character, Daniel Mearns, travels to in my Altinor books.

Iria is home to many beings, including spider-trees, singing voriez plants and the Phibs.

Phibs are bipedal, talking frogs the height of humans who have a warrior culture.

I’d love to visit more jungles and rainforests.

Have you been to a jungle or rainforest you’d recommend?

Or is there one you’ve always wanted to visit?

I recently wrote a chapter of Edge of the Wild, the third book in the Altinor trilogy, from the point of view of Tarban, a young soldier in the Delvidran army.

During it, he’s with the Commander of the army, Laton.

He is both frightened and intrigued by her and what they speak about.

Laton is the central antagonist of the books, other than Ordran.

An exceptional warrior, she is intelligent, ambitious, tortured, stern, loyal, at once strong and brittle – Laton has a very human alchemy of qualities that make her a fearsome antagonist to Daniel.

Do you have a favourite antagonist/villain in literature?

One of mine is Long John Silver, from Treasure Island.

He first appears one way to Jim Hawkins, the story’s protagonist.

Then due to each of John Silver’s choices later in the book, Jim finds his view of him often changing.

Whether an out-and-out evil villain or an ambiguous antagonist you sometimes found yourself empathising with or even rooting for, which adversaries did you enjoy reading about?

‘Jim, Long John Silver and his Parrot’ by N.C. Wyeth for a 1911 edition of Treasure Island.

My wife and I were in Poland visiting family and friends recently.

Travelling around the countryside there, am always reminded of The Witcher stories (Wiedźmin in Polish) by Andrzej Sapkowski.

Started the first book, The Last Wish, a while back but got distracted by reading other books like Harry Potter. Really want to finish it and read more.

I like the characters, particularly Geralt of Rivia/the Witcher. He’s a great protagonist. Makes me think of a medieval Philip Marlowe, but with cool magical powers.

Also, the creatures he hunts and the people who ask the Witcher to hunt them are all intriguing characters.

The descriptions of the medieval, fantastical world Sapkowski’s characters live in are marvellous.

The games inspired by the books are really good, too.

There’s a new TV series coming out this year based on the adventures of Geralt of Rivia.

The Witcher has permeated international popular culture, and that’s all for the good in my opinion.

Have you read any of The Witcher stories, played the games or watched the old Polish TV show, and did you enjoy them?

Alpona strolled around the tree trunk, which contained deep grooves. It looked very old.

On the other side sat a man, propped up between two thick roots at the base of the tree. He had short, dark brown hair and looked around forty years old. He wore a long hooded jacket that was worn but had been mended in places with patches of many greens and browns. The man’s boots were caked in mud and moss. His belt had a metal ring on one side from which an old pistol hung suspended, like one Daniel had seen in a museum in Dumfries he had visited with his mum and sister.

This is an extract from Closeburn Crossing by Giles J.M. Blackley, the first book in the Altinor trilogy.

It’s just before Daniel first meets Ketch, a flintlock pistol-wielding Collector.

‘Collector’ is an Altinorean term describing a mix between an inventor and an engineer.

Ketch is another major character in the novels.