Swift Six Character Interview – Rufus Redblade #Dragons #Fantasy

 

Name: Rufus Redblade

Which book/world do you live in?

I live in Ilmar, which I understand is featured in Of Blood and Scales – which itself is in Here Be Dragons Bundle and Heroika – Dragon Eaters. I suppose you could say it’s part of my chronicle – although I have never met the bard who sang the song, nor the scribe who penned it.

Tell us about yourself: (Name, race/species, etc.)

I am a Griffin-rider. We used to protect the Archduke and his household before he was murdered. One might say we failed, but a man may be killed in many ways which do not look like murder.

The Griffin-riders are, I suppose you would say, airborne cavalry. We have fought with monsters, men and sometimes magic, but since the new religion has swept the land we were disbanded, now we are scattered. I am now, officially, a mercenary. But I work for the Archduchess Silena if she requires me. I make my money where I can these days.

How do you see your world?

Before the Followers of Arun spread their lies it was a pleasant enough world for a warrior. Border skirmishes, battles with rival houses for the Ivory Throne. The late Archduke brought peace, hard won and hard fought. We maintained the peace, and kept the lands free of monsters, such as hydra. The old gods were more…understanding. Arun is a jealous god and his Followers zealots, one does not disparage Arun’s name in public. There have been a great many…purges.

I have a remarkable, strong and intelligent woman in the Archduchess, and one whom eclipses all other women. I have loyal companions and a fine, courageous griffin. I have money enough to live, and food in my belly. The world is not as bad as it might be for me. Even if I now have to live on the edges.

What part do you play in this tale?

The young princess – who is the last remaining heir – is dying. If she does not live there will be bloody civil war. Peace is worth the cost of my life if it maintains the throne in the correct hands. Silena is regent, and fair, but a woman has never ruled the land. Times must change, but many are loath to see it. I must find a cure for the malady, the curse on the young princess. The Archduchess rightly trusts few and prayers to the new god have brought no response. We must seek the old ways. We must kill a dragon to save a throne.

Do you consider yourself a good person/creature?

Define good. I have taken life in battle, that makes me a killer. I have turned away from the state religion and dabbled in forbidden magic, that makes me a heretic, I have brought about the downfall of a noble house – some would say that makes me a traitor. Good and bad are defined by who is asking, and where he is standing.

Do you follow any religion?

If anyone asks I pay homage to Arun, same as everyone else. In truth I hedge my bets. I have paid homage to the old ways and the old gods. When a man is a warrior and especially a Griffin-Rider one must murmur a prayer to whoever is listening and hope they look favourable on the unworthy such as myself. Religion can be dangerous.

What is your favourite colour/food/music (pick one)?

I have never really thought about my favourite colour. I like good ale and mead, soft bread, firm cheese and good meat. I have eaten far worse.

Here Be Dragons bundle

They stalk our myths and hunt our past—dragons—humankind’s greatest and oldest foe. Good, bad, legendary and deadly. Dare you enter the dragon’s lair?

Tales of dragons, their friends and their foes.

Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, I -books and Nook on the universal link

Universal Link https://books2read.com/HereBeDragonsBundle

Published by Kydala Publishing

 

Heroika: Dragon Eaters

Published by Perseid Press

Available on Amazon, Amazon print and audible.

Amazon.com http://amzn.to/2lRDLPf

Amazon.co.uk http://amzn.to/2lHCrN4

Amazon print UK http://amzn.to/2mpBNnn

Paperback US http://amzn.to/2mwZbhY

Audio – narrated by Rob Goll

Audible UK http://adbl.co/2bnbGu1

Audible.com http://adbl.co/2kXAQp2

Amazon audio http://amzn.to/2mpH6mC

 

Fantasy and Sci-Fi in our Society Guest Post – Thomas Barczak

I haven’t run one of these for a while so I’m delighted to post this so early in the year. Tom Barczak writes some great fantasy, and he knows what’s what in the realms of imagination, magic and monsters.  So welcome to the first guest post of 2017.

Welcome Thomas Barczak – Author of “Mouth of the Dragon – Prophecy of the Evarun” by Perseid Press.

Writing from my desk in Norman, Oklahoma

 It has been argued fantasy is full of ‘tropes’ – what are your views on this? I would agree. But I think some of that is unavoidable. Much of science fiction includes space travel, or at least reference to it. Fantasy has dwarves and elves. Where a fantasy author can get into trouble, is when they don’t try to expand the definition of it. Tolkien broke great ground with his work. It’s so easy to limit one-self to what he did. The publishing industry, even Amazon, has categories that, I think, it’s too easy not to stray away from.

 With “Mouth of the Dragon” and “Prophecy of the Evarun” as a whole, I didn’t want to do that. I have always tried to listen to the story, and let it tell me its own legends and its own myth. There are no dwarves. There are no elves. There are dragons and wizards, but again, they are something entirely unto themselves and unique to this mythology. Smaug has no place in it. Nor does Dumbeldore.

 So then the question becomes, how do you create the mystery without those elements we depend on so much? Like I said, it’s easy to be lazy. It’s not hard to convey mystery walking into an elvish kingdom. It’s a lot harder without them.

 With “Mouth of the Dragon”, I depend on language and culture to show mystery. Go to another country where you don’t speak the language. It will be an adventure. No elves required.

So I guess the question for the author should be, “What does fantasy mean to me?” For me it has always been the story, the hero’s journey. A good story doesn’t need anything else. Even Tolkien, if you took away the fantastic, the hero’s journey would still be there. Where fantasy gets a bad rap is when authors depend on the fantastic instead of the story.

How important are ‘facts’ in fantasy/science fiction – does something need to be plausible to be believable? Great question. Yes. Yes. Yes. And, no.

There is a great fantasy book by a wonderful author, set in a medieval fantasy world. In it, the young hero goes into his room and gets a pair of socks out of his dresser drawer. The author wrote what he knew and he killed it for me. In the real world, peasants didn’t have dresser drawers or probably even socks. Leggings in a wooden box would have been more accurate. Now maybe in this world they do, but that then becomes the responsibility of the author to say that to me. But he didn’t and it pulled me right out of the story.

Another thing that kills me is how everyone has 20/20 vision without any vision correction. Me, I wear glasses. I’d be eaten by a bear in a week. Then again, maybe that’s why there are only people with 20/20 left. I actually addressed that in a short story about a young, almost blind, girl, called “Forged”. The story is in a book called Heroika: Dragon Eaters, published by Perseid Press. The story challenged my writing, having to explain how she saw the world through a veil, and one that was completely normal one to her.

Fantasy and science fiction used to be seen as very male-oriented, do you think this is still the case. Do you have any experience of this? I’m glad to see it changing. I have several strong female characters leads in “Mouth of the Dragon”. The story required them. So I guess I hope that that’s be ok. It certainly is with me. The challenge as a writer, of course, is that it challenges just about every stereotype that you could possibly have. Makes me a better writer, and I daresay, I think it makes me a better man.

 What are some myths in YOUR society/cultural identity, how are they perceived and why are they important? Why have they endured? Well, it seems that much of what I write is about death and rebirth. I don’t know how much culture I have. I’m ½ Polish, ¼ English and ¼ Irish. I grew up in Oklahoma. I’m Catholic, which probably carries more weight than any of that. But probably my two greatest influences have been my own bottom and subsequent recovery, and the death of my daughter. I believe these two things have probably shaped who I am, and what I write, more than anything else. Double negative warning, but it can’t not affect what I write, and how I see what I write.

Death and rebirth. You can’t have one without the other. I can’t. It’s part of who I am.

“Mouth of the Dragon” is a dark, epic, and redemptive fantasy. It’s probably the darkest piece I’ve ever written, but the whole crux of the story depends on this one thing called hope, and faith, and trust. I really believe you have to have the redemptive part. You have to have the shadow too, but without the light. I mean really, what’s the point?

 The whole point of fantasy, I believe, is, and has always been, to give us a vision beyond our circumstances.

 Alex, thank you so much for having me on your blog.

 Mouth of the Dragon on Amazon

Tom Barczak Author Page for Veil of the Dragon

Author Interview – A.L. Butcher – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles, Tales of Erana, Shattered Mirror: A Poetry Collection & The Kitchen Imps and Other Dark Tales: A Fire-Side Tales Collection

My latest interview. #Fantasy #Lightbeyondthestorm

toofulltowrite (I've started so I'll finish)

Hello everyone.

The weekend starts here, so put on your party gear!

For today’s scintillating segment in the Author Interviews Series, may I present to you all the extremely talented author A.L. Butcher, as she delves deeper with us into her fantasy books, exquisite poetry and short story collections.

Come with us both on a magical journey that I am sure you will all enjoy and have a fantastic weekend, thank you for reading.

Hi there Alex, it is with the greatest of pleasure to have you here as our guest today.

Let’s begin with your Light Beyond The Storm Chronicles series. Tell us more about the genre, characters and world that this series inhabits, along with the challenges that our heroes face.

The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles is a fantasy series laced with steamy romance. One reviewer labelled it sex and sorcery 🙂 The land of Erana is…

View original post 3,622 more words

Get to Know Author A. L. Butcher @libraryoferana #fantasy #authorinterview #bookpromo

My latest interview!

2015 – A Writer’s Diary

Welcome back to the Library of Erana and the last day of 2015. So another year has dashed past and I’m sitting at the end of 2015 and wondering where it went. I have a theory – someone is siphoning time out of the weekend and holidays and sneaking it into the working day. That’s why days at work seem to go on longer than the same day on leave.

What has 2015 brought me? A house! We bought our first house in April and it’s great. Whilst the place isn’t perfect it’s a good deal better than renting a damp flat and my overall health is better. Also we now have a delightful doggy – she’s grown from a tiny puppy to almost adult and we adore her. Every day she makes us smile and she’s such a happy and joyful creature.

Work… still there. Still stressful and busy but at least I am working and thankful for that.

Writing wise I’ve not been as productive as I planned – mostly due to the factors above but I’ve not been idle.

Stolen Tower – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles Book III was published in March 2015. https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2015/03/04/new-release-the-stolen-tower-the-light-beyond-the-storm-chronicles-iii/

thestolentower500x800 (1)

The third edition of Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles Book I was published with quite a few revisions and a new cover for the paperback. http://www.amazon.com/Light-Beyond-Storm-Chronicles–ebook/dp/B0088DQO9C

Outside the Walls was revised and expanded and the audio book produced with narrator Melanie Fraser. It sounds great. There is something magical in hearing one’s book read aloud.

https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2015/08/25/outside-the-walls-fantasy-short-story-new-release/

https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2015/10/16/outside-the-walls-now-in-print/

Audio

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Outside-the-Walls/dp/B0189QHB12/

http://www.amazon.com/Outside-the-Walls/dp/B0189Q944E/

http://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Fiction/Outside-the-Walls-Audiobook/B0189QCHI4/

http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Outside-the-Walls-Audiobook/B0189Q95XO
Warrior’s Curse was produced in audio by narrator Rob Goll – who has also done Heroika: Dragon Eaters for Perseid Press and will be narrating Light Beyond the Storm and Shining Citadel in 2016.

http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Tales-of-Erana-The-Warriors-Curse-Audiobook/B00UG8AWU4/http://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Tales-of-Erana-The-Warriors-Curse-Audiobook/B00UG8I5SK
Heroika: Dragon Eaters was published – along with the accompanying audio book. Please check out the A Week with the Dragon Eaters posts for author and character interviews.

https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2015/12/19/heroika-dragon-eaters-audio/

https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2015/04/05/heroika-dragon-eaters-heroic-fictionfantasymyth-new-release/

11143231_897184103657050_5318210832294606375_o
I’ve done 17 guest interviews elsewhere including the latest with Melanie Fox here. https://mercedesfoxbooks.com/meet-author-a-l-butcher/ and four character interviews including Mirandra, Ephany, Dii’Athella and the Thiefmaster.

Oh and a course on Roman and Greek Mythology – which was really interesting. https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/greek-and-roman-mythology-course-review/
There have been over 160 blog posts – including another Week in Hell, a Week with the Dragon Eaters, character, editor and author interviews, and several fantasy based posts and reblogs.

10 tips and lessons

1) I’m rubbish at using Twitter! Does it help marketing? Not a bloody clue. Many people say it is a vital tool; personally I’m not convinced as I have never bought a book or product from a twitter link and it looks like many people shouting to me. That said I do follow a few authors and it is useful for sharing blog posts. I follow the history, nature an astronomy posts too.

2) There is never enough time or energy to write. This is, of course, mostly my fault. I work full time and often I don’t have enough energy or brain power to do much but poke about on Facebook.

3) Networking is vital. I knew this already but it’s good to have one’s knowledge reinforced. Indie authors are, generally, a supportive lot and I’ve traded interviews, found great books to read and got to know a wide variety of people through social media and networking. It’s a good way of getting support for new releases, blogging, Thunderclap and more.

4) There are some total asshats about and many more idiots. This too has been obvious for a while. Recent events have NOT made the world a safer place. Whilst I agree that terrorism is bad, and religion pernicious bombing the crap out of an area that is already a wasteland is not going to make things better. Humans have an amazing capacity to be total asshats to one another – I can’t think of any other animal which is so unpleasant to its own kind – of course not everyone is like that and certain groups have been labelled as terrorists when it is the actions of a minority. History tends to repeat itself – and in many ways humans have a short memory – or at least a selective one. Often people are quick to judge, especially when they don’t know all the facts. Ignorance leads to fear and fear to hatred, then the killing begins anew, or the ghetto, or the pogrom, or the genocide….

Facebook especially fuels both idiocy and vitriol. There are lots of calls from freedom of speech but – of course that depends on who is doing the speaking and what they are saying. There is either freedom to say what the hell you like – and that goes for everyone or there’s not – some limitations are put in place. But then where and when does that stop. Perhaps if people thought before they spoke (or typed) such limitations wouldn’t be needed. Just because you CAN say something doesn’t mean you SHOULD.
Anyway enough of the political talk…don’t get me started I spent 7 years studying politics, sociology, ethics and philosophy and it taught me not to get involved in debates with people who won’t listen and assume they are always right…

5) Marketing is a lottery. I’ve tried some new tactics this year – including Twitter and Thunderclap – results have been mixed. Both are free – at least at the basic level so although not particularly successful no outlay was lost. I’ve found a mix of things helps. Don’t rely on one strategy – vary your approach and keep things interesting.

tps://www.thunderclap.it

6) Write every day, even if it’s not working on a book or story. A blog post, a facebook post, a letter or email to someone – it all keeps the brain cells ticking. Write stories when you can and don’t force it. The world is NOT going to end if that story isn’t finished this week. That’s one of the many reasons I love indie publishing. With a few exceptions the person setting the deadlines is me and so if the book isn’t finished or life intervenes (which it does frequently) then it doesn’t matter as much.

7) Be nice to people. If you can’t be nice be quiet.

8) Vary what you write – if you’re struggling with a project then step away from it and work on something else. I’ve found that focusing on other things means my brain can be ticking away in the background sorting out the problems with the other project.

9) Some things can’t be fixed. It’s easy to spend a lot of time on a project or idea only to find it doesn’t work, or its crap. Yes I know this contradicts point 8 a bit but sometimes an idea simply won’t work – or at least not in the way you want. That’s fine. Sometimes shit happens (or doesn’t) don’t force it to be something it isn’t. Readers can spot a forced plot. If it doesn’t work then change it – look at your options. Can it be used for something else? What is causing the issue? Can it actually be fixed? Sometimes it can’t. Sometimes it becomes something else. That’s fine too.

10) Read more. Reading is great relaxation, great research and great enjoyment. The more you read the better writer you’ll become.

So what’s planned for 2016?

I have lots of plans for 2016 – most of which may never materialise but it’s still good to plan.

These are not in any order….
Hopefully a second Heroika volume will happen (for Perseid Press). Not going to mention too much of my WIP but the volume should be great, having seen a few snippets of draft stories. Hopefully my story will be up to scratch and I’m sure the book will feature on the blog when it’s published.

There will be at least one short Tales of Erana, possibly two. I’m planning to release Just One Mistake with a few revisions as a standalone. It’s already featured in Nine Heroes plus my own Tales of Erana Volume One but I have idea how it can be expanded. I think it would make a great audio short story.

Book II is currently being revised so there will be a new edition of that sometime early to mid 2016.

Book I in audio. Rob Goll is narrating that and we are hoping for spring 2016 release on that. I can’t wait to hear what he’s done.

Tales from the Golden Mask – this has been a WIP for a while. Hopefully the first part of the series will be released by the summer. It’s a co-authored erotic adventure set in an Erana of the past. We think it’s a lot of fun, with feisty women, sexy heroes and of course a goodly helping of nookie. This one doesn’t take itself or the world too seriously and is aimed at a slightly different audience.

The Kitchen Imps – a short book of fantasy tales for kids and the young at heart. I really need to work on these, as this is another project which has been around for a while.
I’m contemplating changing the blog – currently this is the free wordpress type but the upgraded version has a lot more features. I’m hoping to attach a website dedicated to just the books as well. I’ll let you know how that goes…

Also looking to participate in a blog tour – I’ve hosted people before but I’ve never done it myself. Will be an interesting experience and I’ll review it after.

Want to try and read more, and review more. I often stick to re-reads but I’m going to try and branch out for new authors. I’ll try and be better at posting reviews as well.
Looking for plenty more interviews – both giving and receiving – guest posts and articles.

Signed up for a course on medieval magic, one on Ancient Greece and also looking at ancient Egypt. Plus whatever else takes my fancy and I can manage with the other commitments.
I’ll look back in twelve months and see how many of these I’ve done.
Feel free to comment on ideas, suggestions for the blog and contacts about interviews.
Hoping 2016 is good for you, my followers, and you’ll keep viewing the blog.

Red and gold rose 2chronicles banner  Warriors Curse Final 1 - ebook

Heroika: Dragon Eaters – Audio

Dragon Eaters audioHeroika: Dragon Eaters – Seventeen tales of monsters, myth and mayhem where the outcomes are far from certain and the winners eat the losers. Hear the tales told by Shakespearean actor Rob Goll – very delicious it is too.

This is a wonderful collection of fantasy, heroes and brave deeds from some of the brightest writers of the genre and published by Perseid Press.

 

http://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Dragon-Eaters-Audiobook/B0193S0YUA/http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Dragon-Eaters-Audiobook/B0193RZ848/http://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Eaters-Heroika-Volume-1/dp/B0193RZ4XI/

Random Friday – Interview with Rufus Redblade – Heroika

Here’s a great interview with Rufus Redblade, hero and dragonslayer.

Barbara G.Tarn - writer

heroika revised 1Hi guys,

I’m Samantha and I come from another world – the original, old Silvery Earth, where people are immortal and never grow up. When I’m not switching bodies at will, I travel to other universes, especially books or movies. That’s how I met Rajveer the vampire, for example!

So, I’m taking over the interviews on this blog! And here I am, meeting people from other books/universes/whatever!

Hello handsome. Tell me a little about yourself.

I am Rufus Redblade. I was once Captain of the Royal Guard, but times have changed. Now I am a blade for hire. I’m a Griffin Rider. We used to be the elite, for it takes a certain sort to tame and ride a Griffin. Many try, few succeed, and fewer still survive it long.

Age? No idea. I don’t keep track of such things.

That’s fine, I don’t do either. Describe your appearance in…

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A Week with the Dragon Eaters – Tom Barczak

Yes, yes I know it’s been more than a week. There ARE seventeen authors so what did you expect?

Here’s today’s interview with Ton Barczak and his character Lucretia

Character questions:

Who are you? “My name is Lucretia. I’m the daughter of Erdot, the blacksmith.”

Why are you embarking on this quest? “I didn’t know I was, really. I was seduced by the spell of the village priest, or at least that’s what I thought he was.”

Where are you from? (Tell us about it) “We live, or at least we used to live, just outside the village of Cornwallace, all of my life. But I don’t think I can go back there now now.”

Tell us about dragons in your world. “Secretive. And very, very, dangerous. They  are to be left alone, unless they try to hurt someone you love. Then you kill them without mercy.”

Do you have a family? “Not anymore. My father raised me until the black dragon killed him. My mother, she died when I was very young.”

What is the best way to kill a dragon? “A hammer down it’s gullet.”

Do you see yourself as a hero? What is a hero? “No. But my mother and my father were. They were very brave, if that makes you a hero. They weren’t afraid to love. They weren’t afraid of anything.”

Are there other such monsters in your world? “Can I go?”

 

Author questions:

Who are you? Tom Barczak. I am an author, architect, and artist.

How do you define a hero? Someone who serves others without any thought of themselves.

How much research did you need for your story? Don’t know if this is research but I did have 2 odd personal goals for this story.

First was to describe a character with poor eyesight and no vision correction. You never see that in medieval fantasy. Everyone must have had 20/20 vision back then. I think I got to do that with this, describe an impairment without doing so from a modern point of view. My next story I’ll take on hearing. What?

The second was just my homage to my Dungeons and Dragons roots while still avoiding copyright infringement. That’s where the black and gold dragons come in.

Have you written for anthologies before? How does it differ from writing a novel? I love writing short stories. I tend to write in small pieces. Short stories are a bit more manageable, that way. They allow me to cover more ground.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? I’m a little bit of both. A structure must be had first to build off of. But beyond that, the story will write itself if you listen. Sometimes the hardest part is just listening.

What other novels/short stories have you written? Veil of the Dragon

http://www.amazon.com/Veil-Dragon-Tom-Barczak/dp/0985402202/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1432665995&sr=1-1&keywords=veil+of+the+dragon

Some of my shorter works are in the following:

Dreamers in Hell

http://www.amazon.com/Dreamers-Hell-Heroes-Book-16-ebook/dp/B00DEB1IJE/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1432666141&sr=1-1&keywords=Dreamers+in+Hell

Poets in Hell

http://www.amazon.com/Poets-Hell-Heroes-Book-17-ebook/dp/B00KWKNTTW/ref=pd_sim_351_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=12T37VYZGH6VYVKG1ZBX

Nine Heroes

http://www.amazon.com/Nine-Heroes-Tales-Heroic-Fantasy-ebook/dp/B00IMPCYQ8/ref=pd_sim_351_21?ie=UTF8&refRID=1KPN4A147VC3V10B7PMQ

Terror by Gaslight

http://www.amazon.com/Terror-Gaslight-Fantom-Enterprises-Production-ebook/dp/B00NHWBRZA/ref=pd_sim_351_20?ie=UTF8&refRID=1KPN4A147VC3V10B7PMQ

Tell us one unusual fact about yourself. I can sometimes see sounds and hear colors. I can even taste even smells. I think I have a mild case of synesthesia.

 

Author website/blog

Twitter: https://twitter.com/barczaktom

Facebook: www.facebook.com/thomas.barczak

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&query=Tom+Barczak

Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Tom-Barczak/e/B006SOKHMI/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1432735471&sr=8-1-fkmr1

 

Provide a tidbit:

Dragons taste like chicken.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heroika Dragon Eaters Anthology Interview with Joe Bonadonna

Joe’s interview for Heroika

Legends of Windemere

HEROIKA1 New banner heroika_TChirezpromo

Welcome to Joe Bonadonna and Vadreo. Hope everyone enjoys the questions and check out this new release.

Character Questions

Who are you?

My name is Vadreo. I am a Gluriahan warrior, a Warhand of Thoon Wolf. My blood is the blood of the Dragon Eaters of old.

Where are you from? (Tell us about it)

I was born in the Bloodland of K’Thoon Morai. This is the land to which my people, the Gluriah, fled hundreds of years ago when the Vuladraakoi, the Mountain Dragons, destroyed our ancestral homeland of K’Shar Wovay. The realm of my people is rich in forests and farmland, fresh water, hills, mountains, and to the south-east, a vast and barren desert. We are farmers and fishermen, craftsmen, artisans, and hunters. But first and above all, we are warriors.

Tell us about dragons in your world.

The last dragon was slain nearly five centuries ago. According…

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Cover Artist Interview Number Six – Roy Mauritsen

Hi and welcome to the Library of Erana, please tell us a little about yourself.

My Name is Roy Mauritsen and I’m a professional graphic artist with a career that spans over 20 years working for print houses and advertising companies.  I have a background in fine art from my days of crayons to college.  These days I do digital fantasy artwork and I work a lot in television commercial graphics. I also serve as an art director for some small press publishers. I’ve won several awards for my fantasy artwork, my television commercials and even for my book covers. I have worked for two years with a fan based science fiction convention as their Art/Marketing director. I also do photography.  As the Art Director for Perseid Press, it fell to me to create not only the book cover for Heroika, but also the supplementary promotional materials including the book trailer.

You are a cover designer, what made you decide to get into this line of work?

My own novel, actually. It was important for me when my novel “Shards of the Glass Slipper” was published that I maintain creative control including cover design. Padwolf Publishing was happy to work me and afterwards they offered to work with me if I continued own as an art director… and things snowballed from there.

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Can you tell us about some of the covers you’ve designed and authors you’ve worked with? (Name of books, authors you’ve worked with etc.)

I’ve done over 50 or so covers. ’ve worked with Padwolf Publishing, Perseid Press, Crazy 8 press, and Dark Quest Books. And many authors, Patrick Thomas, Ed Mcfadden III, Janet Morris, John L. French, Darin Kennedy, Russ Colchamiro, Andrew P. Weston, Brad Aiken and Matt Schiariti, to name a few and myself of course.  Some titles include “Heroika”, “With Great Power”, “The IX”, “Ghosts of Demons Past”, “Our Dying Land”, “Genius DeMilo”, “Apocalypse 13” and “Bartender of the Gods” (Which features my own hand modelling), and obviously “Shards of the Glass Slipper”. I’ve been working with Janet Morris for her upcoming re-release of her original Silistra Quartet series, and that has been very exciting!

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Can you tell us what is involved? (I have no clue so you can be as elaborate as you like!)

There are so many different flavours of books that it requires a little time to figure out the best path to proceed down.  I’ve worked in graphic design long enough that I can get something together that looks professional in a quick amount of time. Very few authors are like… do whatever, most have an idea and others already have some elements they want to incorporate. There are times when I’ll have to convince an author to let go of their idea in favour of something that would be better and not even something they would think of. After that I might utilize some stock imagery or some Photoshop and Illustrator work. More involved covers I’ve used 3D programs like Vue, which is a 3D landscape environment generator, Poser and render engines like Reality (which can create high-end photorealistic imagery) and I have even used After Effects (which is a graphic program used primarily for video) for other titles.  Though I’ve a strong background in fine art I don’t draw or paint much anymore, but that training in design theory, colour and composition for example, still apply. I have done a book cover over a lunch hour and some I can take weeks or even months of trial and error. The important thing is the end result; does it help sell the book?

Where does your inspiration come from? Do you read the book first, then come up with a design, or can you produce something from an author’s description?

The majority of the time it’s from an author description or perhaps something they’ve tried to do themselves. For a cover like Heroika, Janet Morris had a piece of art she wanted use which was the medallion of the man on the horse killing a dragon. I was able to work the art into more of a medallion feel and the rest of the design fell quickly into place. The cover was done months before the book interior was completed.

What are your thoughts on ‘generic’ covers – such as a sword or throne and skulls for fantasy, or interchangeable torsos for romance?

They are instantly recognizable and easily convey a feel for the story… almost to the point of cliché. But if you were to do something different with it, they still could be interesting.

When you buy a book do you look at the cover first? What else attracts you? What turns you off?

A good book cover is extremely important! You will judge a book by its cover. It’s a visual attractor and really the first impression… and you always want to make a good first impression. Of course I will look at covers first… for professional reasons, design ideas (or what not to do) how the typeface is handled, what styles and trends are out there, things like that. Probably the big turn off is a cover that was not done professionally… I’ve seen far too many books with covers obviously done by the author to save a couple of bucks; low-resolution images, choppy images, poor type handling, and no sense of design.

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What advice would you give to anyone starting out in this line of work or who might want to design a cover? 

For an artist starting out… it’s not easy- pay attention to designs everywhere. Inspiration can come from unlikely ideas… It will take a long time. Keep trying different things, as they are many different ways to approach a cover concept. Keep thinking out of the box. Learn the under-the-hood technical aspects of design, layout, printing, how to make pdfs correctly and pre-flighting, and the differences between creating for print or web.  Not everything has to be a masterpiece effort to achieve what is needed. Your work ultimately has to best serve the book, not your ego.

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What are your thoughts on sites like Fiverr where people can buy covers cheaply? Do you think they encourage substandard or very generic images?

I can buy a lot of things for $5 dollars… Coffee and a bagel, a ham sandwich with some chips and soda and a bunch of things things at the dollar store! My artistic knowledge my creative tools, my experience and skillset, my time are worth considerably more than a ham sandwich…especially if I am making your book look professional and marketable to your readers.  You get what your pay for. And if a generic design adequately describes your book, then that says something.  Or think of it this way… as an author you probably laboured for years to hone your craft and write your masterpiece; attending conferences, writing groups, blogging and query letters, tracking agencies you submitted to, and getting rejection letters. Blood sweat and tears, bad days and good days… edits and re-writes and now you are finally done-ready to publish.  All of that you go through, but then for your cover art you’ll spend five bucks on a generic “your title here” type cover? You do yourself such a disservice. You deserve an awesome cover for all of that work and time you invested.

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Do you have a genre you prefer? 

That’s a great thing about working with so many types of authors. You get to explore a variety of genres. Probably my preferred one is Fantasy… I grew up studying a lot of fantasy artists Like Roger Dean, Boris Vallerjo, Larry Elmore etc.  I like the challenge of trying different genres though… up to a point. I ‘ll draw the line at doing erotica covers; it’s really not my thing, though it is a widely popular genre. It’s not something I would want to have myself, as a professional brand, associated with.

Please tell us about your favourite image and the favourite cover you have worked on?

One of my personal favourites is the cover art for “With Great Power” a super hero anthology. The concept came together very quickly and early on. It was a year later before the book was finally published.   It was created almost entirely in After Effects (a rather uncommon use of this software that I hope to have opportunity to do more with.) But it was an image that for me really embraced the spirit of the book.   It was nice to hear from anthology contributors like Gail Z. Martin and Jonathan Maberry, who called it “a pretty damn cool cover!”

I’m also enjoying the challenge of reinventing all four covers for Janet Morris’ Silistra Quartet series. It incorporates and image across the cover of all four books in a rather striking way. It’s probably my most ambitious cover project to date.  For Apocalypse 13, I had to render over a dozen individual character elements and composite them in photoshop- quite a complicated endeavour!

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself?

I’m feeling generous! Here’s three:

My favourite book of all time is Alice in Wonderland.

As a child, I was inspired to draw after watching the original Land of the Lost on Saturday mornings.

My favourite animal is the Platypus.

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Blog/website links etc.

www.roymauritsen.com Both my digital fantasy artwork series Chess Pieces and information and artwork from my novel Shards of The Glass Slipper are here.

www.padwolf.com the majority of covers you’ll find here I’ve worked on…

Here’s an overview of book covers I’ve done ( via facebook) https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10205677896134136.1073741847.1456655061&type=1&l=d0cd2ba92c

Twitter: @roymauritsen