ON THE BOOKSHELF: Dewi Hargreaves

Join me as we take a look through the bookshelves of our favourite writers, readers and book lovers - today we're talking all things books with Dewi Hargreaves.

Dewi is a writer and freelance illustrator, and is passionate about wine, cheese and books! He's drawn over 100 maps for authors releases, and his fiction has appeared in Etherea magazine as well as publications by Lost Boys Press, Magic and Moons press anf two independently-edited anthologies, Heads and Tales and Once Upon Another Time. His short fiction came 2nd in Grindstone Literary's Open Prose Competition 2017 and his self-published book, The Shield Road came out in 2021.

What are you reading now/last?

My current read is Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree. I saw it had over 4000 reviews on Amazon and not a single 2- or 1-star review. I knew I had to get it, if only to see what the fuss was about, and all I can say so far is that it lives up to the hype. I truly believe that low-stakes books are going to be very popular, and this one is at the forefront. Essentially the story is: old orc mercenary retires because she wants to find something more fulfilling than killing, so she uses her savings to start a coffee shop. It’s beautiful and I highly recommend it.

What are you reading next?

Currently sitting on my to-be-read pile are Helen Whistberry’s The Melody of Trees and Storyland by Amy Jeffs, though I don’t know which one I will be reading first. Melody is exactly my sort of thing - a collection of short stories that deal with forests and has a mystical vibe, and Storyland is essentially a series of retellings of the original myths about the origins of the British Isles. Both are beautifully illustrated, too.

What’s the first book you remember reading?

Hmm. I started reading early, and took to it avidly. I know I was reading Bernard Cornwell’s Arthurian books by the time I was 11. Looking back, I think those books were far too mature for my reading age, but hey, I also think that happens far, far more frequently than we realise, and I’m glad my parents wholeheartedly supported my reading no matter what the subject was.

What book made you love reading?

The fantasy series that truly changed me was The Edge Chronicles. I opened that first book, saw the iconic map of The Edge, and was instantly transported to another world. It’s a weird and quirky little series, clearly aimed at younger readers but it doesn’t shy away from the emotional punches and the violence, and it has a strange, otherworldly feel to it that I think all truly great fantasy does. It feels both weird and very real - like glimpsing into another world, and as a kid, that electrified my imagination.

What book can you always re-read?

This one will always be Gotrek and Felix: The First Omnibus. I read it many times as a kid and young teen, and still find myself coming back to it now. It’s the very best of simple, sword and sorcery storytelling - two heroes living rough, moving from place to place, killing monsters and saving people in a dark world full of people who don’t like them very much.

What book do you think is under-rated?

Honestly, there are so many I could put here. The indie scene at the moment is awash with absolutely beautiful books that don’t get the attention they deserve. It seems more and more that traditional publishers will only pick up a book if they think it has a chance of great mainstream success, which means the truly weird, experimental books are left at the bottom of the pile.

What book makes you cry?

The last one I cried at was Felicia Day’s memoir, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost). It was a beautiful dive into the early Wild West-style world of content creation on the internet in the early 2000s, and though for the most part it was an upbeat read, Day also delved into the mental struggles she experienced at the time, and those passages were difficult to read for me.

What book do you think everybody should read?

Ha, another Felicia Day rec here - Embrace Your Weird. It’s a fantastic book that I will always recommend to someone who is struggling with their creativity. It’s essentially a collection of exercises to help you let go of expectation and just create for yourself, interspersed with some life lessons delivered in Day’s characteristically cheerful manner.

What’s the last book you wrote?

My last book was The Shield Road, a collection of 14 short stories that take place chronologically in the same world. It straddles the line between short story collection and novella; most of the stories could stand on their own if published separately, but together it also forms one cohesive narrative. If you enjoy wintery settings, witchy vibes, memory magic, stoic main characters, and rogue magic-users who are hell-bent on seizing power, pick it up!

What are you writing next?

There are many projects. I’m not ready to talk about them at the moment, sadly, mostly because they’re collaborative, but there are more things coming from me soon. Stay tuned.

Find more from Dewi at: https://dewihargreaves.com/

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