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The Perilisc Manifesto

 

 

 

Logan Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Spring, 2011. I’m in my minivan driving tomy sister-in-law’s house. I could tell you why, but I have forgotten that part. There is a man walking on the right sidewalk with a small dog. He is wearing a blue shirt. The car in front of me is a Honda with a faded Green Bay Packers bumper sticker on it. The license plate number, I remember clearly. This is the defining moment in my life. This is when it hits me.

It comes like a bolt, not of lightning, but just as blinding. More like a bolt of knowledge from the sky. I hear a voice say, “I am a terrible writer, but a fantastic storyteller.” The voice is my own. I have said it out loud, as if possessed by the thought and the idea.

I have written four books at this point, had my first book edited and it got crushed. She ripped it to shreds and said, “Yeah, start over.” I am now at a crossroads. This is where it is all decided. 

There are many other paths open to me, things I am good at, things I am interested in. When you get the truth set upon you that you are bad at something, you walk away. That is what you do. But this is the moment my career is born, because instead of shrugging and walking away, my first real thought beyond the bubbling of confusion and pain is, “I have to teach myself to do this. I need to stop trying to get published, and learn what I am doing. I need to admit to myself that no one should have to read what I write yet.” 

I need to get to work. 

I continue to write every day, 3,000 words a day. My one focus: getting better at this job, teaching myself to be a writer, because I know what most writers don’t: No one can teach you how to write a book. They can show you what works for them. They can talk for days, and they do, about outlines and character bios, but in the end, every writer who has made it will tell you that you have to figure it out for yourself. 

I wrote for twelve years before I published anything. Six years of every day, 3,000 words. I learned and I fought and I cried, and I screamed in frustration when I couldn't get it right. With every word I typed and every idea I brought forward, I meticulously crafted one world.

When I pulled off Logan Avenue, I started to put together Perilisc. I wrote five series. All five are standalone series, but when you take them apart and shuffle them together in chronological order, they tell one story. One long story. The story of a boy. The story of Peter Redfist.

My story started at a book called Onslaught of Madness. It is an 870-page epic that begins a war that ravages two nations. It is the beginning, however it is nearly 900 pages long. No one would read that big a book from a first-time author. I decided I had to prove myself before I could ask any reader to read such a thing. In preparation of Onslaught’s release, I set out a plan to do just that. 

I published Liefdom in 2016. I wanted to show to the world I could write a compelling story that was complete, imaginative, and new.

I published Legends of Perilisc in 2016. This is a collection of short stories that tells about the creation of my world and introduces the reader to my style and my subject matter. 

In 2016, I published Chaste, then Mestlven in 2017. These books take place in the same world and each crosses over into the other. I wanted to show the reader I could weave stories through standalone books while sticking to the story of the book as well. Crossovers and unifying threads. 

I began to publish The Manhunters books in 2017. My goal was to prove I could write a series. Prove to the reader I can publish a series in a timely fashion. Make them a promise they would not have to wait for me to come back to my work. 

In 2018, in Blackest Knights, an anthology with a collection of talented writers, I gave the reader the first glimpse of Peter Redfist in a short story called “The Land of Rott and Cur.”

In 2019, amid constant attacks that male writers could not write female characters of power and accuracy, I published Legends of the Exiles to show that my female characters are strong in a variety of different ways, and I can write them with grace and power.

It’s been two books a year, because I can publish every six months. I can do that because for 15 years, I have been writing books. I have a stockpile waiting to see the light of day, books I have been working on for over a decade, books that are already written. 

After proving all this to the attentive reader, I stand now on the precipice of my story, ready to begin. Every book I have published so far leads into this. The Manhunters trilogy, the shorts, Liefdom, Mestlven, and Chaste, they all tie in. I am done proving myself now. I have shown you I can do this job. 

With today’s release, I bring you Peter Redfist. I bring you Perilisc. Today, I take you to The Escape. The one event I have been talking about for three years. The event that defines the age. The critical moment, the B.C./A.D. point of my world. Today my timeline starts to make sense. Today all the pieces begin to fit into place. 

Today, October 5th, 2019 is the beginning of it all. 

Peter has come. As Peter says, “I lead you now into peril.”

Book Links:

  Amazon: mybook.to/Onslaught-Madness-Wars

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46659201-onslaught-of-madness


 About the Author:

Jesse Teller fell in love with fantasy when he was five years old and played his first game of Dungeons & Dragons. The game gave him the ability to create stories and characters from a young age. He started consuming fantasy in every form and, by nine, was obsessed with the genre. As a young adult, he knew he wanted to make his life about fantasy. From exploring the relationship between man and woman, to studying the qualities of a leader or a tyrant, Jesse Teller uses his stories and settings to study real-world themes and issues.

He lives with his supportive wife, Rebekah, and his two inspiring children, Rayph and Tobin.

 

 

Author Links:

 Website: https://jesseteller.com/

 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PathtoPerilisc/

 Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jesse.teller/

 Twitter: https://twitter.com/JesseTeller

 Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15269506.Jesse_Teller 

Participating in this years' SPFBO has been a blast. I've really enjoyed some of these stories, and would like to thank Mark Lawrence, and Petros, for the opportunity. I've read my five allotted books, and you can find a brief description of each and a link to my review. 

 

1) Children of the Dead City by Noor Al-Shanti - A young boy is taken from his home to be the adopted brother of a princess. 

2) Zaaz: Witch in Winter by Eli Selig - A young girl must fight for her freedom and friends against some dangerous enemies

3) In the Land of the Penny Gnomes by Wesley T Allen - A boy finds himself in a land where imagination comes to life.

4) Igniting Vengeance by Tom Hanson - A young woman comes home to find her village destroyed and her sisters missing

 

And last but not least... my choice for semifinalist:

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King Arthur is alive... and his enemy will stop at nothing to destroy him. Read the full review here. Congrats to Jacob Sannox, and good luck to the rest of the authors this year. 

 

To celebrate the preorder of The Flight of the Darkstar Dragon, the first in a new fantasy adventure series from Yarnsworld author Benedict Patrick, all this week some of the premier websites from the fantasy community are sharing extracts from the novel's first chapter, as well as revealing some exclusive character art from artist Juliana Wilhelm.

Cover Reveal: Chains of Blood by M.L. Spencer
18, Aug

A new novel by M.L Spencer, author of the fantastic Rhenwars Saga is coming soon!

Synopsis:

In Chains of Blood, Rylan Marshall’s entire life has been a lie. The heir of a magical legacy he never knew about, Rylan is pursued by a collective entity bent on turning him into a weapon. To avoid this fate, he begins a journey that spans continents and millennia to merge identities with an ancient mage who saved the world by destroying his own civilization. This transformation has the potential to either free Rylan from this fate—or ultimately enslave him to it.

Welcome to BookNest.eu! Can you tell us a few things about yourself?

Thank you! I'm Meg Cowley, USA Today bestselling fantasy author. I live in Yorkshire, England with my husband, son, and our two cats, Jet and Pixie. I love everything fantasy, magic, and dragons, and have been a writer and artist since I could pick up a pencil. I work best when fuelled by Earl Grey Tea, margherita pizza, and characters who won't do what they're told! I'm passionate about writing sweeping fantasies with characters that could step off the page, and worlds that could be as real as our own. My debut novel, The Tainted Crown, was a 2018 SPFBO semi-finalist, and the series now has over 1,500 Goodreads & Amazon reviews, with around 100,000 readers picking up copies worldwide. Heart of Dragons is the first instalment in a sister series I hope current and new readers will enjoy!

What book did you enter SPFBO with, and is it your debut?

Heart of Dragons. No, not my debut. :)

Tell us a few things about it. What should the Judge you'll be allocated to, expect from it?

I'm enjoying playing with themes of identity, belonging, and morality in this series. The judge will hopefully find well-rounded, complex, and morally grey characters, some running from pasts they'd rather not face, and others making some pretty big screw ups - but all having to find a way to find forgiveness and redemption from within and without, and forge unlikely and unwelcome alliances to try fix their messes. Despite the canvas of epic fantasy, these are issues we all face in our own lives, so I hope above all, the judge will be able to relate to many of the issues the characters face in a world where it's not as simple as "good vs. evil" and where the right thing is hard to do and doesn't necessarily solve the problems at hand.

You'll compete against 299 other books. Do you believe your book will stand out against the competition, and if yes, why?

Yes! My debut made semi-finalist, and this series is hands down a thousand times better. It's highly rated by my readers, so I have no doubt it's good enough to stand shoulder to shoulder with the other entries. This year, I want to win, or at least get one step closer and be a finalist.

WHERE DID YOU HIDE THE MONEY!??!?! 

I'll never tell!!!

Why did you decide to enter SPFBO in the first place?

Last year, because the worst thing that could happen was that no one liked my book, and I could slink back to obscurity knowing I had tried. Well, actually it got a really thoughtful, kind review, despite it being my debut, and in my eyes, now painfully amateur. But more than that, I met a ton of kickass people over the past year in SPFBO4, and the team spirit was really cool. This year, I have a better book, and I want to be involved with the same community of awesome people!

Are you working on a book right now? What should we expect from you next?

Yes! The third in the Chronicles of Pelenor series, which will be a quartet. Book two, Court of Shadows, is out now. Three, Order of Valxiron, will be out in September. And the concluding volume sometime in winter 2019. So expect more epic fantasy coming at you!

Anything else you would like to add? A message to the other contestants, the Judges, or Mark Lawrence himself?

Just a big thanks. This is a really cool thing! It gives a bigger voice to the indie community, it celebrates who we are, what we do, and the stories we write, and it brings us together in true indie spirit.

What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

What do you mean, an African or European Swallow?

Hello everyone, and welcome to BookNest!

We are excited to announce that we're once again part of the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off as one of the 10 Judging Teams, alongside some other popular and well-respected blogs such as Fantasy-Faction, Fantasy Book Critic & Fantasy Hive! Last year we were lucky enough to discover some amazing self-published novels, and send not one, but two different books to the Final Round, with one of them eventually winning the contest (Orconomics by Zachary J. Pike) and the other one coming up third (We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson). We hope this year will be equally good in terms of quality! 

The BookNest.eu Team will pick their Finalist in the same way we did last year, and the year before that. We've split our initial batch of 30 books into 6 different groups, with 5 books each. Keeping up the tradition of getting previous SPFBO winners on our Judging Team, this year we managed to convince Zachary J. Pike to join our very own Katerina Papasotiriou, C.T. Phipps, Janelle Garrett & John L. Scritchfield as well as our guest star, the ever-amusing Dyrk "The Sloth Lord" Ashton. Each one of them will read the 5 books assigned to them (this year we're allowing some DNFs), review all of them, and pick the one they liked the best as a Semi-Finalist. I (Petros Triantafyllou) will then proceed to read those 6 Semi-Finalists and pick the best one among them as the BookNest Finalist.

Filip Magnus, Daryl Grave & Andrew McVittie will join our team in the Second Round of the contest, reading and reviewing 3 Finalists each. 

 

Here's the aforiomentioned groups, and the Judges assigned to them:

Dyrk Zack Janelle
Spark City In Numina Witch in Winter
A Noble's Quest The Charismatics Igniting Vengeance
Pool of Knowledge Ghosts of the Sea Moon Children of the Dead City
The Golden Unseen The Thief and The Demon The Ravenmaster's Revenge
Sir Edric and the Plague The Six, and the Crystals of Ialana In The Land Of The Penny Gnomes
Katerina Charles John
The Silk Mind Since Never Throne
Shadow Hunter Tides of Mana Weird Theology
We Must Find Her The Emperor's Harvest The Winter of Swords
The Empress of Timbra The City of Locked Doors The Gossamer Globe
A Child of Great Promise The Dark Sea Beyond The Dragonslayer of Edgewhen

 

Best of luck to all contestants from the BookNest.eu Team!

Interview with Elisa Hansen (a.k.a The Maven of the Eventide)
11, Jun

1. Please tell us about The Company of Death. What's it's premise?

It’s high-concept, so…strap in. In the near-future, the zombie apocalypse apocalypses, and civilization falls. The vampires who have always secretly lived among humanity make themselves known to the world and offer protection for humans in nomadic communes in exchange for keeping them as blood slaves. In America, an organization called the Life Preservation Initiative believes that if humans are complacent slaves in communes, they will never work toward eliminating the zombie threat, so LPI task force teams are dispatched across the country to destroy the communes and liberate the humans as phase one of taking back the world from Undeath.

Meanwhile, the Grim Reaper, Death himself, isn’t doing so well; so many people are un-dying that hardly anyone left in the world is dying anymore. Greater Cosmic Powers are displeased with his performance, and when he fails to take LPI operative, Emily Campbell’s life, it is the last straw, and he is stripped of his powers. This means no one in the world can ever die again, only un-die, and Undeath will never be defeated. Humanity is doomed.

Due to Death’s intervention, Emily becomes the first talking, thinking zombie, and is stranded alone with him in the middle of the Mojave. She offers to help him get his powers back if he’ll help her cross the country to New York where she can get a cure to turn her human again. A buddy road trip ensues. Also, there are robots.

2. Could you tell us a bit about its protagonist, Emily? What makes her tick?

She is a 25 year old disaster bi from Southern California. When the zombie outbreak happened two years prior, she was living with her parents, mired in student loan debt and working a thankless IT job. She greatly admired her father, who was a happy-go-lucky but crooked used car salesman, often emulating his strategic methods of dealing with people and ironic sense of humor. She had an antagonistic relationship with her mother, who she often felt she had to take responsibility for. Her mother pressured Emily to believe her value came from how men saw her, pushing her to be “pretty” to be considered desirable.

As a result, Emily developed a complex of desperately needing complete control over her own body at all times, which, combined with her confusion about her biromantic asexual orientation as she grew up, led her to have trouble developing and keeping relationships. All of these issues manifest in an intense disgust for vampires when she learns how they use humans as blood slaves, and a judgmental attitude toward any humans who willingly choose that way of life. She eagerly joins the LPI, wanting to destroy the vampires and save the world from undeath. She has a lot of flaws and room to grow, and makes a big step toward becoming a better person by the end of Book 1.

3. The world has been taken over by vampires and zombies. How did that happen?

I know exactly how it happened, but I’m not sure the information will ever be revealed in the book. I’m not a fan of information exposition dumps in books that don’t emerge organically out of the interactions between the characters or to drive the plot. And no moment happens in books 2 or 3 where the History of How It All Began wound up fitting in. Both of those books are still in the editing phase, though, so there’s a chance it could be added in. I could insert a character who doesn’t know how it happened needing another character to tell them the story, but that’s often a terribly contrived form of information delivery. If I’m advised by my editor to include the backstory, I’d rather just slip in hints about the outbreak here and there so that the reader has to piece the whole thing together themselves.

Either way, though, I don’t think it’s actually important for the reader to know. It doesn’t matter exactly how it happened; what matters is how people deal with it. Obviously, I understand readers WANT to know because they’re curious, but that seems like a bonus feature special content sort of thing to me, not something that necessarily belongs in the text itself (Unless, of course, my publisher’s editor decides otherwise). I suppose this is a long way of saying that answering this question might be a spoiler, so I’m not going to tell you right now. But here’s one hint: It’s the vampires’ fault.

There is a line in Book 1 that does give you the information that vampires and zombies have “always existed,” but it wasn’t until two years prior to the book’s start that the zombies suddenly were able to take over the world. It’s also shown in Book 1 that the zombie outbreak was the reason the vampires revealed themselves to humanity in order to assist their mutual survival. To ease your frustration though, I will tell you that there is a “story time” scene in Book 2 where the characters do hear an origin of how the first zombie came to be in ancient history.

4. Death is a major character in this book. What inspired you to include them?

He is the whole reason this book exists. When I came up with the idea for the story, it was because I wanted a book that featured the Grim Reaper as a main character that wasn’t a comedy or parody, and I couldn’t think of any. One where he was the One and Only Death in existence, not one of several reapers in his world, or a human who had become Death somehow.

And also one where he was the classic skeleton in a cloak with a scythe, not some biblical-esque angel or other form of presentation. I came up with the story for my trilogy in 2010, and at that time, I could not find a single existing non-comedic novel that had this kind of Death as a main character. So I started thinking, if I were to write a story for this guy, what might that look like? What could happen to him that would be an interesting adventure? And the whole rest of the premise of the world and plot and other characters rolled out of that.

As for why I wanted a story about him in the first place… he is my favorite character concept of all time, and I adore stories that follow a “Death and the Maiden” motif. For instance: The Phantom of the Opera, my greatest love. Characters like the Phantom--or many of our favorite vampires, or even just the dark brooding gentlemen in all those other Gothic tales we love--they’re all just reinterpretations of that Death character representation. So of course I wanted to go for the Big One that inspired them all.

5. Are the vampires sexy or horrible in this world? Why do them that way?

I would say neither. They aren’t monstrous to look at like some more gruesome iterations of vampires (though there is no mistaking them for human), but they aren’t supernaturally alluring, either. Any sex appeal they have is due to their individual personalities, not any special vampire abilities. The fact that they are powerful and immortal is certainly seductive to many humans in this world, but that has nothing to do with how they look. I didn’t intentionally choose to do them this neutral way, but perhaps it came about because I am an asexual person who isn’t sexually attracted to anyone, so it wasn’t natural for me to write my vampires as intentionally sexy?

As a society, though, the vampires are presented as the antagonistic force in the book because of the way they use and abuse what’s left of humankind after the zombie outbreak, and that’s pretty horrible, attitude-wise at least. They are opportunistic and selfish, prioritizing their own need for blood and survival over what’s best for the rest of the world. There are only a few vampire exceptions who don’t subscribe to the widespread vampire way of life. These few are the ones willing to sacrifice their comfort and power in order to actively attempt to end the zombie threat. Vampire vs vampire conflict has always been one of the most interesting storytelling tropes to me.

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6. What inspired you to do a zombie apocalypse novel?

When I was trying to think up an interesting story for Death as a character to have an adventure in, the idea of him combating Undeath seemed like the perfect fit. What would be the absolute worst situation for Death to face? The end of dying, right? So if everyone in the world was un-dying, he’d be screwed.

Also, I’ve always had a huge aversion to zombies. I absolutely hated watching zombie movies. Zombies are so freaking scary and gross and horrible. They never stop, they just keep coming and coming and coming and they’ll get you eventually no matter how hard you fight; if the world is overrun by them, there’s ultimately no getting away. As a person with anxiety, it’s like my absolute worst nightmare. And they say write what scares you, right?

7. Could you tell us a bit about the secondary characters?

There are five central characters in the book, and three of them have point of view sections with the narration switching between them, but as the protagonist, Emily gets the largest portion. As her traveling companion, Death is mostly presented through her point of view.

The others two POV characters are the people who join up on her and Death’s road trip along the way. Someone once compared their traveling group dynamic to Wizard of Oz, and now I can’t unsee it. Scott is a 23 year old human dude, and Leif is a 450ish year old vampire dude (who looks 23ish). The fifth character is Scott’s traveling companion, Carol, a gynoid (which just means female-presenting android).

As a young middle class straight white man from SoCal, Scott’s lived his whole life in a sheltered privileged bubble. The zombie apocalypse thrusts him into a harsh reality where he is having to learn to question his priorities and outlook on the way he’s lived and interacted with people. He starts the book a bit behind the adjustment curve of the rest of the population because he’s been protected in a robotics plant until four days before the story starts. He’s an introverted academic who was used to thinking he was the smartest person in the room, looking down on most other people (including his own girlfriend), but is now suddenly in a situation where he finds himself useless in ways that most matter. He’s one of those young people who always subconsciously thought himself immortal until he needs to rely on others (mostly Carol) to preserve his life. In this five-man-band, he is the token mortal.

Carol is a robot that was modified by Scott’s sister from a military android model. The original model was developed as a super soldier and zombie killer, but were ultimately ineffective against the zombies. Carol still has many of the weapons and features from the battle android, but possesses an illegal AI that gives her a full range of human emotions and free will. Scott’s sister also rebuilt her body to be more aesthetically attractive in a feminine way and eliminated some of the features and functions that made her less-human. In my mind, she looks like a stockier version of a mix between the androids in the 2004 I Robot movie and the Svedka robot. She and Scott were left behind when his sister and her team flew to New York, and they are trying to cross the country to rejoin them.

Leif is one of those vampires I mentioned above who are the few exceptions to the general vampire society. He wants to put an end to the system most vampires follow where they treat humans like cattle. But his motivations for doing this are somewhat selfish; he wants the glory of being the one to save humanity (because he has Issues, which get revealed more in Books 2 and 3, but it’s shown in Book 1 that he has a frustrating pattern of feeling like a failure). Even though ending the vampire’s system is also Emily’s goal, Leif would rather use her and her friends in harmful ways to be the sole hero than work together with them. They don’t know this, though, and he spends the book trying to earn their trust for his own gain. He’s also pretty sassy and is probably my favorite character in the whole thing despite appearing the least. He’s the most fun to write because his voice is so distinctive; even though he has his dark moments, he’s such a jovial personality. He also (like most of my vampires) is bi. So are Death and Carol technically, for that matter. Or pan, to be more precise. Actually, pretty much every major character in this trilogy wound up being queer in some way except for Scott.

8. Would you say this is horror, fantasy, sci-fi, or a kind of mix?

Definitely a cross-genre mix of all of the above. I usually call it a “near-future apocalyptic dark fantasy.” It has so many horror elements, but I don’t know that it counts as A Horror Novel, because I think the definition of horror is that it scares you. My book has some horrific and tense moments, but the point of it is not to scare you, and I wouldn’t say it’s a scary book overall.

It’s a monster mash, and I wanted to include all my favorite things, so I have the paranormal monsters (zombies, vampires), the fantastical monsters (personifications of cosmic elements, horsemen of the apocalypse), and the sci-fi monsters (sentient robots). Of course, these are all monsters with feeeeeelings, and the main ones are all ostensibly good monsters. So if a monster is friendly, does that still make them horror? I’m shrugging as much as you are.

9. How has the fan response been so far?

Pretty great! It was the best-selling release of all time from my publisher, Falstaff Books. I’m just happy people are taking a chance on a book that’s so weird and niche. A lot of people who watch my Vampire Reviews webseries have picked up a copy just because they know me and want to support. But so many of those who have read it mention how they also love the monster mash concept and can relate so much to the characters. People have even made fanart, which is the absolute best thing, and I can now die a happy author!

10. What can we expect from you next as a writer? Do you have any goals?

Books 2 and 3 in this trilogy are in the pipeline and set to be released from Falstaff Books. I’m also working on revisions to an unrelated contemporary novel I wrote last year about a YouTuber dealing with online harassment. After that, I have a couple novels that have been fully outlined for ages that I just need the time to write. One is a scifi about robots with feelings and the other is a vampire murder mystery.

 

Opinion on the Game of Thrones finale
20, May

   One author's opinion, at least. So, eight seasons have wrapped up on the world's most successful fantasy project with the possible exception of The Lord of the Rings. Given that I am actually calling it a split decision between those two things, that's a pretty much statement right there. Game of Thrones is everywhere and completed the story George R.R. Martin may never finish. Indeed, now that we've seen what is probably an approximation of his ending--he may end up like Stephen King and wonder if his fans would appreciate it [I'm referring to the controversial ending to the Dark Tower].

Interview with Megan Mackie
18, May

Hey folks,

We have a wonderful interview with Megan Mackie, author of The Finder of the Lucky Devil series with new book Death and the Crone.

Tell us about Death and the Crone?

This book is a spinoff story from my main series, The Lucky Devil. It is a side story about a character I introduce in the second book of the series, The Saint of Liars, named Elias, a mysterious wizard who is the cousin of the main character, Rune Leveau.

Who are the two leads and what are they like?

The story is from Margaret’s point of view. Contrary to the convention, she is an old woman in her 60s, homeless and entirely undesirable by anyone in the world. The story follows her point of view. Because of her status in life, she is also feisty and takes no crap from anyone. Elias by contrast is an easy-going, accepting, while being young-looking and beautiful and it drives Margaret crazy, because she can’t figure him out or what he wants from her.

Why did you choose to make the main character an older woman?

The whole idea for the book came about when I was wondering why every book that has a immortal guy of some type in it, they are always going for someone between the ages of 16-25. Why would they want someone who is just starting life, when they themselves have lived so much of it.

Why did you choose to make her homeless?

I needed Margaret to be someone who came from a situation that it would be quickly understood why she would say yes to Elias’s proposition. Having nothing to lose allowed me to jump right in to the story.

What can you tell us about the setting?

The story takes place in the same world as my main series, which is an alternate Chicago where magic and technology are in competition with each other. This is a world where magic has always existed, including magical creatures who have normal, mundane jobs, such as a centaur actuary or a mermaid dog groomer. Technology and cyber enhancements are the new thing that is wowing this society.

How does this relate to your Finder of the Lucky Devil series?

Elias is very connected to the main story and going forward Margaret will appear in the main books as well.

What is the secret to writing a good urban fantasy romance?

Each of the characters needs to grow and develop from their relationship, the idea of better together than apart. But just to tell a good story in general, you need the relationship to state some sort of opinion, it has to mean something that you want to get across from these to characters being together. It’s the opinion you’re conveying that can makes the story truly unique, even if you have all the elements from the billions of stories that have come before it.

Do you have any criticisms of the genre?

I do think that UF is getting stuck in the same stories, badass women and beast-like men going on personal journey’s of badassery, which to be fair I do enjoy, but there’s been a lot of the same stories and the same journeys. I’ve been asking questions of this genre, like can a heroine be badass and unsure of herself too? What does she need to learn about herself? Can she simply be small and quiet, can she be vulnerable, can she be the smartest person in the room and undermine herself because she doesn’t know to trust that. Real questions that I wrestle with, can that be seen as heroic. Can just having a good, honest heart be enough?

What are the attractive and disturbing parts of Elias a.k.a Death?

Elias is charming, sweet and fairly unflappable, but he’s also disconnected from life, just cruising along in it, jumping from relationship to relationship. I don’t want to go into too much about why he’s called Death, but he is definitely avoiding something.

How has reception been for the Finder of the Lucky Devil series?

Very good. Most people who give the books a chance, love them and it is fun to hear from my fans about details and ideas that the got from the books.. The trick is just getting people to crack the covers. Most are often very surprised and it has been a thrill when they come back for the next books.

Any advice for indie writers?

You have to write a book that you like to read. Your taste in story is the only one that really matters.

What can we expect from you next?

There will be another spin-off book publishing soon that follows another character that disappeared into the mist from the first book and that story is about what happened to her. After that the audiobook version of Finder of the Lucky Devil should be out and I am currently working hard on the official third book of the main series.

Thanks for your time!

Interview with Matthew Davenport, David Hambling, David J. West, David Niall Wilson, and C.T. Phipps
29, Apr

Welcome to the Round Table for TALES OF THE AL-AZIF by myself, Matthew Davenport, David Niall Wilson, David Hambling, and David J. West. This is a discussion between the authors about what they thought while writing the book, what inspired them, and what they thought about everyone else's contributions.