A world of spies, invention, battles for power, and secret societies. A brilliant scientist, Christophe Creangle, is plagued by his inner struggle to not make any inventions that can be turned into weapons, unfortunately he is one of the greatest inventors of all time. Inventors are known as Conventioneer’s in this world and they are governed closely by whatever ruling body they happen to reside in. All inventions are turned over to the ruler in order to help protect and build their power base. After escaping from the king and his men, Christophe searches for his daughter. His daughter Christina inherited his sharp mind but after years of separation their relationship is strained. A young girl named Mounira acts as the go between for them and together the three of them reside in the Moufan compound. The Moufan however, is going through a power struggle and change; what use to be a neutral community is becoming a dominate power through force.
Adam Dreece has continued his saga of his created world, the Mondus Fumus, with a new series called The King’s Horse. While there is some character and history tie back to his original series, The Yellow Hoods, this novel stands alone and is ready to introduce readers to the world he has invented. Adam Dreece describes his world as a combination of steam punk and fairy tale. This novel sets up the series providing background to how key players got to be where they are.
Through back and forth timelines we get the history of Christophe Creangle, his inventions and how they have helped shape the world he lives in. We also learn why his relationship with his daughter Christina is so challenging. This is probably the one part of the book I dislike. There are multiple time lines following several story lines that all intertwine. Given the complex character development I would have preferred it to be chronological. Aside from that distraction of having to make sure you were reorienting yourself to the right time period, the separate story lines were well connected to make sense in how they all fit together so you don’t feel like you are reading a bunch of separate novels.
I really enjoy the world that Adam Dreece has built in this series. It is like reading about the industrial revolution with a fantasy twist taking place during medieval times. It is a bizarre and enticing mix of elements that draw you in and take you out of reality. While giving the reader this mix of elements, the characters are highly complex, and you learn more and more about them with each chapter. While some of the characters like Rumpere are easy to identify as the “bad guy,” others are much more discreet, and you are left wondering where their loyalties lay. The characters of Oskar and Petra, a brother and sister duo, at times feel like filler, but as the story progresses you see their importance coming into perspective.
Overall this novel is a great set up to the series. I look forward to reading the rest of the series and seeing how all the twists and turns change and to see what the real end game is. The characters come to life and draw the reader in, you almost think you know how some will respond and when they don’t you are left turning pages to find out what happens next.
Pages: 264 | ASIN: B07BHWG5HR
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In Hemlock vampires are returning with the intention of taking over all living creatures. What served as the inspiration for the theme of this novel?
Well, I was always going to do a vampire book. I think, as often as we see them, we still don’t understand them. Everybody that does vampires well reinvents them for their own world. This was my chance to do that, to create a vampire that was all mine. Vampires have been in my life through other genres as long as I can remember. I wanted to see what it would look like to have a vampire in a fantasy setting, wanted to see what the creature could do and how a wizard would go about fighting a vampire. I’m fascinated with other genres, but fantasy is my home. In the past, I’ve written fantasy adventure. I’ve written fantasy horror. I just am fascinated with other genres, but I know what’s in my wheelhouse. So I enjoy mixing other genres with the fantasy world to figure out how to make them one way or the other. How do you blend a fantasy and a western? Well, in a book I wrote not too long ago, but hasn’t been published yet, I write a fantasy western. In April of 2019, my fantasy romance will hit the market. Exploring other genres I think keeps a writer sharp. But the language I’ve always spoken has been fantasy. This was my chance to write a fantasy vampire book, and if you can, you should.
I always enjoy your characters, one stood out to me this time. Aaron the Marked was a fascinating character. How did you set about developing his character and how did it differ from other characters?
Well, this is the first time we’re seeing Aaron the Marked, but it was not the first book he was written in. Because of my method of writing, my books can’t be published in chronological order. If I tried to do that, I would have series spanning decades and decades. So I have to find another way to do it. Aaron the Marked’s origin story shows up in a book that will be published April 15th, 2026. We get more of his story than we have received so far in a book that will publish October 5th, 2019. It doesn’t back up to his origin, but it backs up quite a bit. Aaron is a character that really captured my imagination. I spent a lot of time in his skin, writing him as a point of view character. I fell in love with him. So far, as written, he spans five series. He’s a major facet of my world. Aaron the Marked is a character we’ll be seeing as long as I’m writing. One day, we will be able to take all of my books and line them up in chronological order, and at that time, we’ll realize that everything I have ever written in the end, boils down to the story of two men. One of them is Aaron the Marked.
I felt like we again get to explore the dark side of humanity in this book. Do you find that you are drawn to this theme, or is this where the story leads?
All of my books are about hope in some way or another. By the end of the story we find out that it was all built on hope. Because of the childhood I lived and my life as a young adult, I have a deep understanding of despair, of the darkness of the mind and the evil people are capable of. My work is about telling people that there is a way to rise above that horror. But in order to show the power of the light, we have to explore utter darkness. So my work ends up being very dark, very depraved at points, until we climb out of that and enter happiness and well, hope. A lot of people say that my work is really dark, but I hope when they think about it a second or third time, when they find themselves trapped in despair, that they think not of the horrible parts of Jesse Teller’s novel, but of the way people were able to overcome those things, meet their darkness head-on, and triumph over it.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
The next book of The Manhunters series is called Crown. It’s already been written. It’s currently with an editor. It’ll be ready to go very soon. I’m really excited about it because if you’ve read any of my work before, you’re most likely acquainted with a character who goes by the name Sob. In her last book, we find out her children were kidnapped and taken from her. In Crown, we get to see those children. We get a glimpse of how they overcame losing their mother and the effect it had on them. No event that intense occurs within a bubble. There are always going to be ramifications. In Crown, one of the stories we embark on is the telling of those consequences. So I’m very excited to be able to explore that section of my world. We get the final segment of the telling of the Manhunters, the things they suffer, the deaths within their numbers that they have to work past, and the challenges they have to overcome. We get to meet all new villains, and alongside Rayph, try to figure out how we can prevail over them.
The busiest pirate bay in Perilisc is newly infested with vampires. These monsters will soon overrun the world, but the Manhunters must try to stop them in secret. Agents of the king are hunting Rayph’s vigilante crew. With one false step, they could all end up at a royal execution.
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Two star-crossed lovers, one ancient curse…
The gods reigned in harmony until the birth of Eris. Her quest for chaos brought war among humans and feuds among immortals. In prophecy, only love could change one so evil, so mighty Zeus sought a marriage for her. Spiteful Eris agreed to wed, but only to her cousin’s betrothed, a mortal king named Matthaios. He and his true love, Sara, sacrificed their happiness to save mankind. Eris was unfaithful, dishonest and cruel. Matthaios sought comfort from the only woman he’d ever loved. Eris cursed them to remain star-crossed in every lifetime for infinity…
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The Prophet and The Witch continues the story of Israel Brewster who is now a disgraced outcast when King Philip’s War begins. This is an intriguing setup to a novel that is high in social commentary. What was your goal when writing this novel and do you feel you’ve achieved it?
Regarding my goal, I initially wanted to write an engaging, historically accurate novel that would highlight a fascinating era that the casual reader was not familiar with. I don’t think this era gets nearly the attention it deserves, and I hope that changes in the near future. Hopefully, the book educates its readers as well as entertains them. So, yes, I think I’ve achieved my goal.
Regarding the social commentary, I think different readers will derive different messages from the book, and that’s terrific. Ultimately, I hope the novel stands as a tale of courage, love, and friendship in the face of evil and violence.
Israel Brewster continues to be an exceptionally developed character. What was your inspiration for his emotional turmoil through the story?
Thank you for the compliment. I’m not sure there was any particular inspiration; I think there’s a little Israel Brewster in all of us. Whether it’s a question of religion, war, or alienation, I think everyone feels deeply conflicted at some point in their lives. What are the things, and who are the people that genuinely deserve our loyalty? More importantly, what makes us persevere in the face of unbearable pain, and what compels us to do the right thing? I guess, to paraphrase Faulkner, writers like to portray the human heart in conflict with itself.
As a reader, it is difficult to pick a side in this battle. How did you balance the story to offer a contrasting yet similar worldview for the characters?
It’s certainly not my intent that anyone pick sides in the conflict. I think the story is balanced by presenting the common elements inherent among both the English and the Wampanoag. There are virtues among both sides like faith, love, loyalty, courage, and family. Conversely, some characters on each side are prone to violence, hatred, and ignorance. So, I hope it is really a tale of love and brotherhood versus evil and wickedness.
Ultimately, I can only hope to present a factual novel and let the reader draw their own conclusions. King Philip’s War was one of the most astounding and tragic chapters in American history, and it doesn’t deserve to be ignored and forgotten.
I understand this is the second book in a possible trilogy. Where do you see the story going in book three?
I can see us moving about fifteen years into the future. There was yet another fascinating war in New England during that time, and the remarkable Benjamin Church played a major role in that conflict as well. And evidently, in 1692, there was some kind of kerfuffle in Salem that got everyone all excited.
If you thought New England was dull in the 1670s, get ready for a history lesson.
In the critically acclaimed “My Father’s Kingdom,” debut author James W. George transported his readers to 1671 New England, and the world of Reverend Israel Brewster. It was a world of faith, virtue, and love, but it was also a world of treachery, hatred, and murder.
Four years later, Brewster is a disgraced outcast, residing in Providence and working as a humble cooper. Despite his best efforts, war could not be averted, and now, “King Philip’s War” has begun.
The rebellion is led by Metacomet, known as “King Philip” to the English colonists. He is the tormented son of the great Massasoit, and leader of the Wampanoag nation. Once the most reliable of Plymouth Colony’s allies, they are now the bitterest of enemies. Meanwhile, Metacomet’s mysterious counselor, Linto, despises this war and will do anything to end the bloodshed.
Meticulously researched, “The Prophet and the Witch” is a tale of hope and brotherhood in the face of evil and violence. It features the remarkable cast of fictional and historical characters from book one, including Josiah Winslow, Linto, Increase Mather, Constance Wilder, and Jeremiah Barron. Additionally, new characters such as America’s first ranger, Captain Benjamin Church, bring this chapter of history to life like never before.
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A Chronicle of Rebirth, The Magus, begins when Nelina finds herself being taken to the slavers block by her ruthless uncle who was forced to take her in after her parents die. Now he’s looking for some easy money by selling Nelina into slavery. As fate would have it, Nelina is purchased by the even more ruthless Magus of Danthamore. The Magus is popular and powerful and equally dangerous, but oh so sexy. The chemistry between Nelina and Danthamore is sudden and palpable. Their lives are quickly intertwined and the Magus finds himself taken by this green eyed beauty that many consider to be nothing more than a lucky pauper. Nelina must navigate the resentment of the staff while attempting to be more than a pawn in a deadly political game. Can she survive her new life? What will the Magus have to sacrifice for her?
This book takes care in crafting it’s characters. The protagonist and antagonist are both meticulously developed before the story takes wild twists. The writing is often direct, but the beauty of the prose is found in the details. Do the characters fall ridiculously hard for each other a bit too quickly? Of course they do, because this is a love story that doesn’t focus on how they met, but how they will hold onto what they have. What will they do to keep one another?
We get a good sense of the characters before the story takes some wild turns. You’ll be flipping pages as the story switches between the political intrigue of the kingdom and the steamy romance between Nelina and the Magus. There was one thing that I felt would have improved the story and it’s that the author’s sometimes tell instead of show. There were a few events that I was simply told about when I wish (because I can see the authors have the talent) that I was shown.
What I enjoyed most about this story is the turmoil the characters undergo after they’ve fallen for one another. You keep asking yourself, ‘how far will they go’? I think stories are often character driven, but I think this book is a relationship driven story.
If your looking for a romance novel underlined with suspense and punctuated with adventure than A Chronicle of Rebirth: The Magus is for you. A well written novel that begs to be expanded upon.
Pages: 343 | ASIN: B072511ZWY
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Epiphany, written by Sonya Deanna Terry, is a two-part novel that explores the beginnings of currency through a magical adventure where the forgotten past collides with the future.
Book One: The Golding, introduces us to Rosetta, a woman of many talents, ranging from tarot reading to organizing book clubs and being a mother to a sultry teenage girl. The past is then uncovered through a novel Rosetta reads, bringing to life a world of elves, faerie clans, body kings, and potions. Soon it becomes evident that the elves have a message for the people of the future and from here begins an epic adventure where love, life, and fantasy come together for a modern day fairy tale.
Book Two: The Silvering, explores The Global Financial Crisis and the impact it has on the people of the future. Rosetta and her book club friends stumble into a quest for “The Silvering” where letters from the past give clues of the future. What is the Currency of Kindness and will it return in the lifetime of Rosetta and her friends?
Epiphany is a novel with an epic story line involving financial struggles, intimate relationships and a book filled with elves and mystery by a mysterious Lillibridge.
The book alternates between Rosetta’s current life and the novel she is reading, weaving the two stories together in a package of magic, elves, and fantasy. As you enter the world of prehistoric Norway, you can’t help but be entranced by the magical world portrayed through vibrant colours, beautiful oaked woods and most importantly, elves who are between reality and the Dream Sphere. The switch to the modern day brings about relatable issues such as family problems, relationship woes, and moody teenagers. The two worlds then collide, creating a modern-day fairy tale, filled with magic and consequence.
There are also letters which help establish clues and meaning to some of the characters. These letters are vital to the story line and give us an insight into people’s personalities and real-life problems. Some of the problems are eerily relatable, from financial stresses and relationship woes, leaving the plot line feeling almost as if it could genuinely be real life.
Pieter of the Brumlynds is an elf who ventures into the Dream Sphere to help someone in the future. Pieter is a deep thinker, analyzing his destiny while also getting frustrated at the simplicity of humans. Malieka, Pieters mother, ventures into the Dream Sphere, sometimes meeting strange and beautiful creatures who are determined to pass on important messages. Throughout the novel we watch the characters grow in both strength and courage, as they venture into the unknown world.
The imagery conjured by the author is both beautiful and enchanting. The colours, descriptions of nature and the Dream Sphere leave the reader imagining their world with a tinge of fairy dust and sparkle. Phrases such as “emerald tinged blackness” or “hair like lava, eyes of black stone” are just a few examples of the magic the words bring to life on the page.
I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a fantasy novel with a dash of romance, magic and a modern-day twist.
Pages: 1095 | ASIN: B01NCNFS6F
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Black Ink Pearl the screen play was adapted from your award winning novel Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest. What were some challenges you encountered while adapting your novel?
Well, first I had to learn something about screenplay writing, so so different from a novel. Hadn’t a clue!! But was passionate about doing it so signed up at more than I could afford (worth it) for a course with Voyage Media. It was brilliant. Though this one wasn’t the script I got mentored on then (by marvelous and incredibly patient – I really was clueless to start – Kathleen McLaughlin) they must have taught me the craft well as have just – wait for it – heard that my ‘Black Ink Pearl’ script (subtly changed title from the book, nothing clever or deep, just to differentiate it) the Genre Winner for scifi/fantasy in the internationally acclaimed (whew!) Capital Fund Screen Play Contest 2017. Doesn’t mean it gets produced, but its certainly a step closer. It will now – this is the process for the winners – get put in front of producers (who normally, don’t I know it, ignore any sent-in scripts) in the leading companies worldwide, including China. Still looking for other producers to consider it, so let me know if you know of any. It’s a great read, honest, fantastic in both senses, great actin and characters. Anyway hold your thumbs.
Am just finishing a second, this time based on a Walter Scott novel. If adapting a novel the trick, I now know, and it’s a good one, enjoyable, is to leave out two thirds of the scenes of the original and rewrite, perhaps utterly change, most of the rest but at the same time still be inspired by that original story that first caught and moved you. Also always always always – so hard for a novelist – to show, never to tell; show through actions words, and not adverbs or attributed (by you ) inner emotions (if it’s written properly the emotion comes through in the dialogue and the acting, leave it to them). Have had such fun learning all this and seeing the characters of the novels I love through new eyes.
Also to use that funny layout (‘Final draft’ it’s called) that is apparently the ‘industry standard’. And not too many pages – 100 seems to be about right for a full-length feature film.
And don’t expect anyone to be prepared to read it, do it just for love and passion. All the same keep trying and (essential) get as much much feedback and as many times as you can (I had really great fdvice from WEScreenplay judges, not too expensive) and don’t even think of entering contests till you’ve got a high mark from one of them (I learned that the hard way
Have been encouraged since then to read somewhere that if you’re successful in one genre people may tell you to stick to that, but actually you’re likely to be successful in another, so – but only if you really WANT to – don’t’t be afraid to try it.
Wow – how did I get into all this from one simple question …
Film rights are held by Garn Press. Where are you in the process of turning this screenplay into a movie?
Holding our thumbs that we get a deal. We just just might …
If we do get an option, we’d divide the proceeds between us in our agreed proportion, while the (lesser) amount for the screenplay, in which I hold the copyright, would come to me. The good thing about an option for, say, 3-6 months, is that even if they decide ot to proceed with the movie we get to keep that money and once the option time expires can try elsewhere..
The big hope to find a producer with funding and enthusiasm to actually make the movie (or just possibly, a television series, but would be best for the big screen). Both I and the publishers (Director is wonderful Denny Taylor, by now a real friend) would both love to see our mystic fantastic story disseminatedto wider audiences, I think it would really really work as a movie and that is inspirational sybolism – not pushed at them – would get through: but we’d ONLY want it if as a high-concept movie, we’re not in it just for some trashy commercial fix however lucrative.
Let’s say you’ve got the movie deal and you have to pick some actors for your film.Which actress/actors do you think would be perfect fits for your characters?
Emilia Clarke (fabulous in ‘Game of Thrones’ – also filmed in Ireland as this one could and should be) ) as the lead, Kate. She;’s interested I hear
Daphne Alexander (now gathering a great reputation in London and Broadway) as Deirdre, Kate’s mother (or as Kate if Emilia couldn’t), sh’ed be brilliant, and warms to the novel, I know she’d be prepared to be involved.
Idris Elba as the hero Christy – he’s such an intelligent as well as talented actor/person, and shares my feeling for Africa.
Judi Dench (I was at school with her, so know her and her commitments, she just might be persuaded) as the Queen of Heaven.
Rawiri Paratene as (the complex and difficult) character of) God. He’s less well known up here than in his native New Zealand but I thought he was the real star as the grandfather/tribal chief in ‘Whale Rider’
Do you have any other plans for your novel Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest?
Absolutely: an audio book is on the way with a brilliant illustrator, also a colouring book around the novel’s key themes. It’s already had a spin-off in its prize-winning fairytale prequel, ‘Pearl of the seas’ (that will soon be an audio book too, with musical background), and there will now be a whole series, taking children, gradually, through aspects of the story from age nought upwards in a series of (probably) five children’s books, text by me, fabulous illustrations again by amazing silk artist Rachel Backshall.
All these just arrived, no deliberate planning by me. Enjoy it.
Bye for now everyone, get back with any comments or questions.
An epic romance about the naive Irish girl Kate and her mysterious lover, whom she rejects in panic and then spends her life seeking. After the opening rejection, Kate recalls her Irish upbringing, her convent education, and her coolly-controlled professional success, before her tsunami-like realisation beside an African river of the emotions she had concealed from herself and that she passionately and consumingly loved the man she had rejected.
Searching for him she visits the kingdom of beasts, a London restaurant, an old people’s home, back to the misty Donegal Sea, the heavenly archives, Eden, and hell, where at agonising cost she saves her dying love. They walk together toward heaven, but at the gates he walks past leaving her behind in the dust. The gates close behind him. He in turn searches for her and at last finds her in the dust, but to his fury (and renewed hurt) he is not ecstatically recognised and thanked. And the gates are still shut.
On a secret back way to heaven guided by a little beetle, Kate repeatedly saves her still scornful love, but at the very last, despite Kate’s fatal inability with numbers and through an ultimate sacrifice, he saves her from the precipice and they reach heaven. Kate finally realises that although her quest for her love was not vain, in the end she had to find herself – the unexpected pearl.
The novel, born in dreams, is interlaced with the ambiguity between this world and another, and increasingly becomes more poetic, riddling and dreamlike as the story unfolds. The epilogue alludes to the key themes of the novel – the eternity of love and the ambiguity between dream and reality.
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In this novel; passion, danger, and the madness of King Kynneth are spreading across the land, and Christa’s legend is at the center of it all. What was one thing that got you excited about writing the 3rd book in your Atriian Trilogy?
I was anxious to see how Christine would fare against crazy Kynneth and his formidable infatuation. And I was especially curious to see how she would resolve her greatest dilemma of all, her forbidden desires for Hannen Fallier.
Christa stays true to her headstrong nature and is prone to ignoring advice she doesn’t want to hear while making risky decisions. How do you think her character has developed throughout the trilogy?
As a young woman, Christine felt the world was pitted against her. She was defiant and unruly, and prone to distancing herself from others to avoid further rejection. When she finally lets down her guard, her trust is brutally betrayed, and she is left bitter and broken. When she becomes a mother, I believe her focus shifts. It’s no longer herself she is trying to protect. She is fierce in her resolve to keep her children safe. I believe her headstrong nature, her grit and determination, are the very traits that keep her alive on Atriia, and that ultimately forge her into a legend.
The cover art for the Atriian Trilogy has been fantastic. What decisions went into the art direction?
I wanted to depict the characters as I envisioned them, to capture the image of the fierce fraigen dropper with his menacing mask and toothy tattoo, Christine with her ravishing red hair and piercing blue eyes, Lor Zeria with his sensuous mouth, and King Kynneth with a gloating glare in his eyes that could only mean trouble.
This being the third book in the Atriian Trilogy, how do you feel about the series coming to a close?
It’s been bittersweet. I’m afraid I’ve grown much too attached to many of the characters. It was a fantastic journey, and though there were horrific moments that broke my heart, I’m sorry to see it end.
Do you plan on continuing these characters in another series or are you working on something different?
Currently, I’m working on a completely different series, but one never knows. Mayhap somesol Becca and Bixten may have a tale to tell.
He is King Kynneth, hungry for power and bent on revenge. He means to rule the world of Atriia and to claim Christine as his own.
Will he conquer the world? Will he conquer Christine? Or does fate have other plans?
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The Reaper opens with the revelation that the King of Akala is missing, and the new Queen, Leah, is now in power. She meets with President Inaeus Janu of Shaweh to offer a peace treaty that brings their long war to an end. Janu suspects the Queen is a figurehead and focuses on the mysterious Lialthas who seems to have an undue influence over the Queen.
In the meantime, refugees from Akala reach the city-state of Shaweh seeking asylum. The group includes the missing King Darius, his half-sister Moriene with the child Hannah in tow, General Victor Ikharson, and Sefas, once called Meddiah when he was an Empty One. They are shadowed by the black-clad Zacharias who used his magic to help them escape from Lialthas. When the Akalan’s gestures of peace turn out to be empty promises, President Janu and the Akalan refugees are whisked to a secure location as war resumes.
This is the second book in the Fallen Conviction series, and it wasn’t hard to catch up when the asylum-seekers told their story to Janu. This gave me the chance to get up to speed on the plot if you haven’t read the first book.
The interplay between Darius’ group of refugees and the leadership of Shaweh are the primary drivers of the plot. Character-driven stories are a big draw for me, and the author has a knack for showing the complex, often antagonistic relationships between all of these strong-willed characters. My favorite characters in this book were Moriene and Sefas, who were once under Lialthas’ control. Both escaped his grasp and recovered from being “Empty,” yet both still seem to be fighting the battles of the past.
I also enjoyed the high-tension setting. Being locked in a bunker with people you don’t like but are forced to trust is hard enough, but if that trust is tested, things are going to get violent. The situation erodes when Zacharias reveals that there’s something even worse that Lialthas out there, and they may not be able to stop it.
The first thing that struck me about The Reaper was the unusual formatting. At first, I thought it was a typesetting error, but it became clear that the line numbering was meant to give it a scriptural feel. Some of these passages have archaic sentence structure with rhyming words at the end of sentences, but it’s not always consistent and that can be frustrating for those expecting poetic meter. However, the nod to scripture isn’t surprising because gods and religion play a major part in this story.
Don’t assume that because this is written in poetic language that it won’t be exciting. This is a place where magic and technology that we would recognize today are both present, where battles are fought with WMD strikes as well as mind-bending magical attacks. War is gruesome, and the author doesn’t pull his punches when it comes to violence and mayhem. In this world, magic is fueled by blood, fear, and suffering, so whoever wields this power must harm others in order to succeed.
If you’re looking for a novel that offers both a unique style and a reading experience that challenges and defies “the usual” in fantasy, give this book a try.
Pages: 340 | ASIN: B06XRS3SFD
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The Jinxed Pirate has a delightful cast of characters from the mercenary to the tragic warrior princess with a splash of other-worldly beings as well. How did you set about creating such a colorful cast of characters?
I enjoy playing with tropes and conventions usually found in genre stories, and I guess most of my characters came about from just asking questions. Not necessarily looking to deconstruct, but seeing what can happen if a story or character zigged where it might normally zag in a more traditional telling.
What happens if a hero, who’s been led to believe she is the Chosen One, ultimately discovers her destiny meant absolutely nothing? What if the proverbial “Hero’s Journey” ended, not with a great triumph or even a bang, but a fizzle? To exist in a world where there really is tangible, objective “pure evil” … for one thing, just how surreal would that be, but also how would people define their morality in the face of it? And in such a world, where demonic creatures just ARE evil, what if one somehow turned out to be a decent, kind-hearted person? We’ve seen plenty of roguish scoundrels who love a good fight … but wouldn’t something have to be severely wrong with such a person to get that much enjoyment from violence?
I also like mixing tropes or concepts from different genres and seeing how they gel or clash. For example, even though he doesn’t actually appear in The Jinxed Pirate, the Enforcer is essentially a slasher-movie villain thrown into a fantasy adventure. I like seeing what can happen when varying genres intermingle.
Once I start thinking about these question, several characters start to take shape, and then it’s a matter of throwing them all together and taking them to their logical—or absurd, or surreal, or horrific—conclusion.
Who was your favorite to write for?
I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise my three main leads—Katrina, Krutch, and Lily—are my favorites. I’m not sure I could pick one, especially as their arcs fluctuate with the story. Katrina is the most fun to write when she’s tormented about her past and trying to rein in her temper. Krutch is most fun when things get out of his control and he’s frantically trying to bluff or botch his way through trouble. And Lily when she’s conflicted about her own nature and trying to be a good person in spite of what she is.
I feel like the world you’ve created in The Jinxed Pirate is brimming with possibility. What was your inspiration for Graylands and how did it evolve as you wrote?
Most of my main protagonists were created separately, and I only had a vague notion they would exist in the same world. Since most of the archetypes and tropes I liked playing with—destiny, good & evil, etc.—were best suited to fantasy, I needed a sandbox for them. So Graylands began as a pretty stock Tolkien-esque world of medieval villages, knights, wizards, and demons.
When thinking about what I wanted my world to be, it occurred to me the standard fantasy setting is usually modeled after medieval Europe because that’s what Tolkien did. However, Tolkien based Middle-Earth on that for a specific reason. He wanted to create a distinctly European mythology that was based on Europe’s history and culture.
As an American, we don’t really have a medieval times in the United States. The closest we have is the frontier times and Wild West. So I decided to take the standard medieval country of knights, swords, and wizards and depict that through an American frontier/Wild West filter, and as a result, Graylands took shape as a land where people would flee their ‘old world’ for the new one—whether for freedom, escape, or to just disappear. A frontier with no kings or emperors and a loosely defined system of law, ideal for my cast of misfits, difters, and outlaws.
The pirate Krutch Leeroy is an intriguing character that is meticulously developed. What were some hurdles in the story that you felt were important to the characters development?
When I first began outlining the story, I thought Katrina would be the more active figure in Seba. I assumed she would pose as a mercenary and infiltrate Clock’s organization while trying to find Jagger, leaving Krutch as a more passive, almost comic relief character. Everyone would assume he was the mastermind behind everything, when in reality he’d be trying to mind his own business.
But after the first draft I realized that wasn’t going to work. Katrina didn’t reach Seba until the mid-point of the story, and our introduction to the city and its various players wound up through Krutch’s POV. He needed to be more engaged and active, otherwise we would’ve been left with a tedious series of scenes where Krutch meets someone, they talk at him, and he doesn’t react. It also created a question of why he doesn’t just leave if he doesn’t like these people bothering him.
So I needed Krutch to actually want to be in Seba and have a goal. It soon occurred to me that a logical question to address was, if everyone believes Krutch Leeroy is this dangerous bad-ass, why doesn’t he embrace it and enjoy himself? If his attempt at playing a hero in The Ghost Princess blew up in his face (literally), maybe he should try playing villain?
Audra and how he responded to her was also important. In the first draft, she was an unwanted companion tagging along against his wishes, and it was fairly obvious she might be trouble. So I adjusted her character to make her more appealing and have him more open to a relationship with her, which turned out fitting with the other protagonists being tempted by a seeming ally—Scifer for Katrina, and Dust for Lily.
Running with that, I was pleased to find Krutch developed a pretty solid arc through the story that fit thematically with the other characters’ efforts to find themselves and decide who they want to be—or, in Krutch’s case, what he isn’t.
The Jinxed Pirate seems like it’s ripe for series. Is there another book in the works?
Yes, definitely. As of right now, I’m debating whether to jump into the third book or to try something different, but the Graylands story will continue. We’ll see Vincent Dune and his army steamrolling around the country, which will lead to conflict with Trayze Kilnerova and war for control of Graylands.
Everyone’s going to get caught in the middle of this coming battle. Lily, by chance, finds herself a target of Trayze. Katrina and Krutch will both get caught up in this mess, and they will actually meet in the next book, finally. Lock is searching for Cassie, and as Dune was the one who kidnapped her, he’s going to end up going in that direction. Cassie, meanwhile, is trying to find her way home and along the way might find “help” from a certain scar-faced serial killer. And there’s the Elder Demon the Jackal unleashed flying around.
Within this unsettled country of drifters and outlaws is a city where the worst of the worst gather. A place of thieves, brigands, and murderers known as Seba. In Seba, law is an illusion and order is kept through cruelty and bloodshed.
On the run from Sentry Elite and bounty hunters, supposed pirate Krutch Leeroy finds himself in this bloody city where his infamous reputation garners him the attention of Seba’s various feuding powers. Despite his efforts to lay low, Krutch is soon caught in the center of backstabbing schemes and deadly plots.
Meanwhile, after the disaster on the Blind Cliffs, fallen princess Katrina Lamont finds herself nearing rock bottom. Her drinking and temper worse than ever, she sets out on a desperate quest to find what remains of her people. Her journey will also lead her to Seba, where she will tread the line between salvation and damnation.
Amidst this are the Synclaires–a family just moved to Graylands in the hope of a fresh start. However, chance of fate and rash decisions will draw the family into a sinister plot that threatens to bring tragedy and doom to their door
As Krutch, Katrina, and the Synclaires face threats from all sides, they will each unwittingly find themselves caught in a battle that may destroy the delicate balance keeping Seba from consuming itself in chaos.”
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