The Day-today Demands of Reaping

Jon Smith Author Interview

The Fifth Horseman follows two people who are caught between living and death and are given the role of reapers to try and prevent the End Times. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Despite the prevalence of imagery that depicts Death as fearsome horseman with a singular determination to end lives, I always wondered what he might do at the weekend, or if he went on holiday… that initial idea spawned into, ‘what if Death suddenly couldn’t keep up with the day-to-day demands of reaping’? Enter Mark and Emma, two people who should be dead, but aren’t… which ultimately led to the narrative dynamo of the novel – what happens when Death takes on two human assistants?

Emma and Mark are unexpectedly cast into the role of reapers and have to come to terms with their new role in the world. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I think fish out of water stories are an interesting way to explore the human condition. In the case of Emma and Mark they’re suddenly faced with a new, and frightening, reality – the afterlife – and I wanted to see how they might fare.

Emma and Mark are diametrically opposed in terms of what they want to achieve. I wanted to explore how they might learn to work together to benefit themselves, each other and ultimately the world.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I think the theme of death is still quite taboo and therefore, in my opinion, lends itself to comic fantasy.

Whilst the book doesn’t shy away from themes surrounding life and death, as the story progresses it reveals itself to really be about friendship and love through the central relationship between the two lead characters.

Their journey is not just one of survival against the odds, but a means of testing and tempering this central friendship.

At its core it’s a celebration of life dressed up as fantasy adventure about death.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m just putting the finishing touches to my debut YA gothic horror/fantasy novel entitled THE ARB which will be published by Balkon Media in May.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Internationally published bestselling author Jon Smith makes his adult debut with The Fifth Horseman, a modern light-hearted fantasy that rides roughshod over established mythology and the rules of life… and death.

The Fifth Horseman is a darkly comic tale of two thirty-somethings caught between our world and the afterlife, who must embrace their role as reapers to prevent the End Times. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meets Father Ted, perfect for fans of Ben Aaronovitch, Terry Pratchett, and Neil Gaiman.

Death is just a day job you can’t quit…

Emma and Mark had a bad day. The worst part of it was dying. But, according to Death, the Rider on the Pale Horse and first horseman of the apocalypse, things aren’t that simple. Turns out the sand in their hourglass is stuck in place. Somewhere between life and death, they’re put to work as Death’s assistants, reaping the souls of the living until it’s time for their final clock out…

To compound matters, despite their omnipotence, the four horsemen are facing an existential threat – one they’re ill-equipped and ill-prepared to combat. They’re suddenly getting old, weak, and succumbing to illness. What has brought on this uncharacteristic frailty? Does Charon, the ferryman of the River Styx, have more up his sleeve than just the coins proffered by the dead to secure passage to the afterlife? And why do you never see baby pigeons?

Emma and Mark must reap like their afterlives depend on it, to help prevent the End Times – even if it means scuppering the one opportunity they have at being granted a second chance at life.

Filled with humour, romantic tension, and suspense, Jon Smith utilises a witty, lightly sarcastic ensemble of flawed but loveable characters. It will appeal to mainstream fantasy readers and hopeless romantics, as well as those who enjoy a good story, a good laugh, a few tears, and a happy ending.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on January 10, 2023, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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