As I mentioned in my blog yesterday, I have three short interviews with writers included in the current Speculative Fiction Giveaway to share with you. I think you’ll find them interesting as your learn a little more about the writers and the thoughts behind the books.
I’m starting off with Joshua Robertson. He hails from Kingman, Kansas and graduated from Wichita State University where he received his Masters in Social Work with minors in Psychology and Sociology. He is the CEO of Crimson Edge Press, the Goblin King from the Goblin Horde on YouTube, and a bestselling author in dark fantasy.
LW: You’ve got quite a few books and some short stories out. Tell us about them.
JR: I have written several things over the past several years, but I am most well known for the Thrice Nine Legends Saga. The saga consists of short stories, standalone novels, and trilogies in the fantastical world of Aenar, and the books will continue to grow in the future. Currently, readers can find several short stories on Amazon, including Strong Armed, When Blood Falls, and The Name of Death. The Name of Death has been on the short reads bestseller list for Science Fiction & Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, and Literature and Fiction for almost two months, frequently holding the number one spot.
Anaerfell is the first book in The Blood of Dragons series, and is typically the book I will direct readers to read before delving into the other stories. The Kaelandur Series chronologically takes place after Anaerfell, but readers may choose to start with the bestselling novel, Melkorka, too.
Melkorka, Dyndaer, and Maharia (Coming March 2017) are the three novels that make up The Kaelandur Series, telling the tale of a slave trying to save the Ash Tree by keeping a cursed dagger from demonic hands.
LW: That’s a very exciting body of work so far with stories that sound intriguing. You say they are dark fantasy. What can the reader expect from your novels?
JR: I often get asked why I categorize my books as dark fantasy instead of epic fantasy or high fantasy. Truth be told, you could use any of these genres interchangeably. Yet I would warn readers that my books do tend to lean toward some harsher, grittier scenes. Some have compared my themes to J.R.R. Tolkien but my tone to George R.R. Martin. My books are character-centered, eliminating the voice of an omniscient narrator. Readers should expect pained realities, strong moral lessons, epic wars, and theological undertones to keep them thinking when the last page has been turned.
LW: Some clever authors hide little bits in their books that their fans enjoy finding. Do you hide any secrets in your books that the more knowledgeable may find?
JR: I do like to trail little crumbs throughout my books to hint at larger truths, and then I sit back and wait for my e-mail box to overflow with fans guessing at what’s what. And then the next book is released, and I either receive exuberant, “I told you so’s”, or I get the flummoxed, “You clever bastard”. Melkorka was written so readers would receive one message, and after reading the sequel, Dyndaer, would find a second meaning in the tale, giving cause for a second reading. Maharia will toss them through another loop altogether. My intent is to write stories that readers would enjoy reading time and time again.
LW: I believe that writing is a continual learning process and writers grow with each piece they do. A first book is a milestone, so how did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
I learned how to write smarter. Melkorka took me over a year to edit, even though I wrote the story in less than 30 days. My overuse of adverbs, adjectives, passive sentences, etc. could have broken any writer from ever laying pen to paper again. The manuscript had the pieces of a great story, but I felt like Dr. Frankenstein trying to reanimate the dead when attempting to give the book some life. Even today, I will find areas in the first novel where I think I could word something better, or change syntax, or give more description. Since that time, I have taken advice of those more successful than me; I have learned to successfully write and edit simultaneously. This takes some restraint and balance, but if you correct the little things, like passivity, while writing, you can write a much cleaner first draft.
LW: As a writer, I believe we are all inspired by the authors we prefer to read. Who are your favorite authors and why do you enjoy them?
I have a long list of authors I particularly enjoy, and most are the typical greats of fantasy literature. I like J.R.R. Tolkien for his themes and his world-building. I appreciate George R.R. Martin for his expression of realism in fantasy fiction. I admire R.A. Salvatore for his humanness, morals, and flow of story. I have long been a fan of Robert Jordan for his ability to paint a scene and strategically incorporate symbolism into the duality of his series. In modern times, I find several up and coming fantasy authors who mirror these same skillsets, ever eager to share their own tales.
My thanks to Josh Robertson for this mini-interview. You can find his short storyThe Name of Death in the giveaway. Visit his web site at http://www.robertsonwrites.com/ to learn more.