Richard M. Ankers
Richard M. Ankers was born a dreamer. From an early age, if Richard was not out in the fresh air playing sports, he was lost inside a good book or secretly writing his own. A lover of everything from Marvel comics to classic Fantasy and Science Fiction, he allowed his mind to wander to these fantastical places and never quite came back. Heavily influenced by authors ranging from Michael Moorcock and Gene Wolfe to such wonders as Haruki Murakami and Margaret Atwood, Richard enjoyed being entertained, whisked away to places unknown. Every book had something to offer, snippets of the unimaginable, twists of fate and spectacular universes and Richard soaked them up like a sponge. These were the makings of his mind.
Born and bred in rural Yorkshire, England, Richard squirreled his words away in shyness without showing them to anyone until plucking up the courage to place them online to be read and judged. Fortunately, that went better than he could ever have dreamed and hence decisions were made. Richard resigned his position as a Company Director and gave up everything he was to become the writer and person he wished to be. People have said it a brave decision but, in truth, it was the only decision he could ever have made. There would never be enough hours, minutes and seconds remaining in Richard’s lifetime to uncover all the words and worlds he had to unleash. Work began in earnest, and The Eternals came to life.
Three years in the making, The Eternals Trilogy was born from a vision of moonlight waltzes and a dying sun. Our distant future was to end and those who thought themselves immortal would be proved less so. This is the time and place that Jean is born to and wishes he wasn’t.
When Richard is not tapping out stories on his laptop, or adding poetry and writing to his own website, richardankers.com, which he nearly always is, you’ll find him running and taking in the scenery. Running has offered a sense of peace and relaxation only ever matched by writing. A lover of the great outdoors, he is lucky enough to have visited many of the world’s most beautiful countries such as Norway and Switzerland both of which he could happily have never left. If he could sit with a view of the mountains with a river flowing by and birdsong, a quite corner set aside in which to write with a view of the former, you’d probably never see Richard again.
Words and the stories formed from them have brought Richard much joy over his lifetime. Now, it is his turn to hopefully return the favour to others. Modern life is a hectic place and time is precious. Richard hopes those stolen moments with his words can bring some relief from the tedium as the authors he has read have done for him. There are few things that could make him happier.
Richard is a passionate believer in the natural world. Our Earth is a delicate place and everybody should do their bit to look after it. There is so much beauty to be seen if only people opened their eyes. He hopes that more and more are doing so these days, and prays that it’s not too late for those to come. He is also a strong advocate of never letting anyone tell you, you’re not good enough. If you want to do something with a passion you cannot explain, you should. Life is too short for regrets and everybody is good at something. As long as that person is happy and content, nothing else really matters. So, good luck with your own futures and Richard thanks you for being a part of his.
Interviews & media
Author's note: The Eternals
Why The Eternals?
Well, it started with a picture of the moon set in a blood-red sky. I saw this striking image and it set my mind to thinking: vampires; blood; a changed view; what, how and why?
The problem was, I don’t like, and don’t write, out-and-out horror, so how best to pay homage to an idea that had already formed? The answer came in being true to my Fantasy/Sci-Fi reading and writing roots.
No one is a stranger to vampires. The vampire genre has been attempted to greater and lessening degrees many hundreds of times over. Some of the world’s greatest stories concern the undead and will remain readers’ favourites forever. However, although many authors have examined and re-examined the subtleties of the subject, I felt one significant aspect had never been properly addressed: Time and lifespans that span it.
As with all my long-form writing, I knew exactly how I wanted The Eternals to start and end. The dilemma came with who best to service the issue of immortality and its effects on those concerned? Someone had to get my always treasured readers from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’? The answer came with Jean a melancholy, disenfranchised soul who ironically, or not, depending on your point of view, had absolutely no time for anyone but himself. Or so he’d have the reader believe.
I felt that using Jean as my main character would allow for the reader to see the realities of vampire kind unfurl at the same pace as the story’s lead. There was so much scope that although I filled three novels, I could’ve written much more. Time is a hard to grasp subject when we sample so little of it, but questions abounded. What would it do to a sane mind to know they’d live forever, persevere, grow weary? What would it do if the ennui was endless?
The beauty of addressing this issue with my characters was the fact they were vampires was almost incidental to the storyline and hence, (here’s hoping,) a reader could see the story through new eyes. Other than them living forever, which was what I wanted, I could’ve used any long-lived species. However, there is an inherent style about all things gothic that draws me and many others to its dark beauty. Let’s say it added scope.
And so the story of Jean and his distaste for all things, his family, his associates, his world, began. Couple that with the annoying lunacy of Sir Walter Merryweather, a Britannian fop, and a nice balance between dark and light was struck. Add some love, or a lot of love, Jean is a ladies’ man, and yet another twist became available.
I spent an awful lot of time (Time, do you get it?) on the who, where and when of the story. I hope the backdrop of a quiet apocalypse I settled on will find favour with those who seek answers to the mystery that is The Eternals.
As always, and most important of all, I hope you enjoy my fantastical vision.
Thank you for reading,
Author's note: Hunter Hunted
Deeper. Darker. Deadlier.
Having introduced my readers to the world of The Eternals, what next? For me, there could be only one place to go: where no other author ever had. I wanted a vampire caste unlike all others, so twisted, in a stuck-up sort of way, as to be detestable. Hence, the Nordic Royalty were formed.
A people beyond death, separated from those others in their dying world, the Nordics live under the Arctic ice where solitude is their goal and orcas their food. They are the pinnacle of vampire kind and all the more distasteful for it.
Now, one might think a cold, dark, miserable place would be right up Jean’s street. Not so. I wanted this cold, the very isolation Jean seeks, to form the beginnings of the exact opposite of everything he stands and has wished for. This is neither the place nor life, so to speak, that Jean wants. He hates it. Worse still, he detests the insular Nordics with a passion, a passion increased by their mutual distaste for him. Add in the fact he’s petrified of water and you have one very unhappy Eternal.
The trick came with making Jean as dejected as he could possibly be. I wanted Jean to suffer because only through his suffering would we as readers ever see inside a man who specialises in not being seen. Add some characters we already know and hopefully love, mix in a few of the Nordics and one rather special princess, Aurora, and we’re ready to let the action play out.
I love the winter, so as an author being able to write a story set in absolute winter was great. Throw in some extra nasty villains, past acquaintances and a couple of real sickos, and Hunter Hunted was off and running. Hooray!
No matter how many good guys you write about it’s still more fun to design a villain. A villain can be everything that we are not: evil, mostly. Raphael Santini is that man. Jean’s brother-in-law is the last vampire in the world he would want to collide with, yet he does. Sir Walter Merryweather is Jean’s bane; he’s back for more. Prince Ragnar is the big bully type that we all know Jean will hate before he even turns up; he does turn up. But perhaps best of all for me to write was Prince Grella. The next in line to the Nordic throne treats Jean with the same dismissive contempt that Jean has always treated others with, for good reason I might add. As we say these days, ‘You don’t like the boot on the other foot, do you?’ And Jean doesn’t.
I enjoyed writing Hunter Hunted most out of all three of The Eternals Series and I hope it shows in its dark narrative. It was nice to go to town in a way that only having books either side of a second enables a writer to do. And so it is with no little personal pleasure that I introduce you to Hunter Hunted.
Thank you for reading,
Author's note: Into Eternity
Everything has to come to an end.
They’re the questions mankind have been asking since they were first able to form cognitive thoughts: when will our time come and what happens after it?
I wanted to address ‘TIME’ — as stated in The Eternals author notes — and all its subsidiary aspects in this series. Into Eternity has this as its main objective from its title to its very last words.
As humans, we have a limited time on this earth. Dependant on our beliefs, there are many differing prospects for what will happen when we finally close our eyes for good without any actual proof. The vampires in The Eternals Series and especially in Into Eternity have this to address.
As a writer, it was wonderful to transpose our own fears of our future upon a people who, in truth, should never have had to contemplate such things. Imagine the terror an immortal must feel to be told they’ll die. They’ve had much, much longer to stew on such things, especially so by the end of this trilogy, whilst we have but the blinking of an eye.
Time is an aspect of our lives that only the super-intelligent seem able to explain and even then not in a way to such ordinary folk as myself to understand. Does this lessen our desire to know the facts or increase them? We’ll all have our views on this and Jean and the other Eternals do too.
Lies: it is said a child can form lies as soon as they understand they can get away with them. For the Eternals, it is lie upon lie upon heaped lie. You tell one lie without an apology and the next gets worse, deeper and eventually unexplainable. In fact, if a lie is left to fester it can grow so far from its original purpose as to have been forgotten. The unravelling of these forgotten lies becomes Jean’s purpose in what time he has left. But for once, it’s not just Jean who wants answers, as another shares his angst, (you’ll have to wait to find out who though) — Cheeky rascals, I can’t give too much away.
After years of writing, editing and creating a whole new world, it makes an author sad to have to draw a line under them. However, I wanted my line to be a very definite one. I hope it shows.
For all you wonderful people who have joined me in Jean’s journey, I thank you. I hope, as for me when writing these stories, you have been swept away into a place much different to our own and with people you would never have otherwise met, but feel like you have always known. If this has given you pleasure, then I’ve done my job well. I have never wanted anything other than for people to enjoy my words, so if you have, and I’m hoping so if you’ve made it to book three, for this, I thank you again. Fantasy is escapism, but never forget, it’s escapism with purpose.
Thank you for reading,