This week we got to know Zane Newitt a little better. One of our beloved 'Repeat-Rowanvalers', American and passionate Cambrophile, Zane has a brilliant 'origin story' himself (as a writer!) and still has a great deal in store for us, in the Arthuriad saga - rydyn ni'n gyffrous!
Who are you? Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m an American who feels more at home having a cider in Caerleon than at a restaurant in Chicago, or a boardroom in Denver…
A renaissance man at heart, I am radically passionate about many things including: Welsh and old world cider and cuisine, constitutional republicanism, conspiracist research, Theology, ancient cosmology and history and the band Blue October.
Under the precept of “writing what you know, writing what you love”, I try and infuse a little of each of my passions into the canvas that is The Arthuriad.
I also love being a dad to three equally eccentric, brilliant and fun children (15, 16 and 20) and continuously supporting their next adventure(s).
What first inspired you to start writing?
The first R-Rated movie I watched was John Boorman’s 1981 Excalibur. My father let me sneak into the living room late one night (I was 8) and watch about ten minutes of it on HBO. At that very moment Arthur, Gwenhywfar, Merlin and Lancelot became one with my core DNA, which makes sense as my father hinted, as he was shewing me off to bed (the film was dark, violent and beautiful, but too intense for a lad), that the movie had something to do with our heritage…
At that very moment I knew I would be an Arthurian writer one day.
What made you want to work with Rowanvale and be published?
33% of Wales is impoverished. Taxes are too high, regulations are draconian and the kingdom is constantly misrepresented (or not represented at all) by Westminster. Therefore, I want to do anything possible to drive revenue and opportunity to my beloved Wales! Moreover, the team at Rowanvale is professional and fun.
The work culture is a great fit and I’m thankful I was lucky enough to have found you!
When you’re not writing, what are you reading?
I love this question because I am experiencing an interesting phenomenon since the “Arthuriad journey” began in 2017. I cannot read outside the genre currently.
I suffer from a rare form of “reader’s block” and struggle to put any additional data into my ‘computer’ (brain) that isn’t germane to the Matter of Britain. Prior to becoming a writer, I was an addictive reader and enjoyed the full spectrum, from Theology and Ancient History to Current Events and GeoPolitics.
Tolkien, Iolo Morganwg and Dayfdd ap Gwilym are amongst my favourite writers…
Which work are you most proud of?
I like The Misery of Morgaine the most as the title character continues to develop as the 'actual subject matter’ of the saga. However, I am most proud of The Mystery of Merlin because this first book 'lived in me' for some three decades and it was so difficult, and rewarding, to ‘get it out’!
What’s your best advice for handling writer's block?
I recommend writing in small segments of 500-1000 words per day maximum. Find your ‘peaks’ from a performance perspective (I write best in the very early morning, and conversely, very late at night and am worthless for writing betwixt and between) and then 'owe yourself' the 500 words, daily.
What’s one thing you always have with you when you’re writing?
I don’t have a ritualistic accompaniment (like a lucky pen, or hat etc.) but I often pen the books laying on my stomach, in bed. My ornate home office is seldom used for actual writing.
What is the one book you would take with you if you were stuck on a desert island?
The King James Bible. You can’t get enough Scripture and spiritual ‘feeding’, especially if deserted or alone.
Additionally, it would be The Mists of Avalon (the personal issues with the deceased author notwithstanding) or anything written by my friend Terry Breverton.
What is the best part about being an independently published author?
It’s really about control of the manuscript and my ‘art’. The Rowanvale team guides and recommends but does not control, and that’s huge for a writer or any artist.
What’s next for you?
The Arthuriad saga will continue! I’m very excited about a Morgaine spin-off trilogy and am also in pre-production on a non-Arthurian work about combatting the “jack of many trades, master of none” mindset, and sharing my experiences on how to “be master of many trades” through segmentation and understanding the law of diminishing returns.
I would also like to write some political 'fiction' and contribute my own thoughts to the proto-apocalypse happening currently in our world.