Anthony Ryan is the New York Times bestselling author of the Raven’s Shadow series, A fantastic epic fantasy with more than a hint of Grimdark. The Slab City Blues science fiction series. And his new series The Draconis Memoria …a Dragon Flavored Steampunk series. Book Two The Legion of Flame –– was released today in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of The Legion of Flame (Available NOW HERE) If you haven’t read book 1 yet, take a minute or two and examine the choices you have made in life. After that you can pick up a copy of it here. Then feel free to read my review of book 2. Don’t worry it is spoiler free.
In Celebration of this new release a few of my goblin minions and I, with the help of Alexis Nixon at Berkley Publishing, were able catch Mr. Ryan (He can move fast when he wants to) so we could ask him a few of my Famously stupid questions, and believe it or not he answered them! So, my thanks to Anthony Ryan for taking the time to do this interview.
1. If you could do it all over again, would you change anything in your FIRST book?
Yes, I’d do more to eliminate the typos. Other than that, probably nothing. I’m not claiming it’s a perfect book, but I think once something’s done and published I think it’s best just to leave it alone. If I wrote Blood Song now it would certainly be a different book, for the simple reason that I’m a different person these days.
2. Have you ever judged a book by its cover?
All the time. Everyone does, even if we don’t admit it. There’s a reason why publishers spend so much time and money on covers.
3. Who designed your cover/covers? Where you able to work with the artist or is it all the publisher/artist/God?
For my self-published work, I’ve commissioned various freelancers over the years. I’m currently working with an artist in Germany, Kevin Goeke, who did the cover for my novella ‘A Duel of Evils’ (see more of his work here). For my traditionally published work the publisher takes care of commissioning artists / designers, although they do consult with me as part of the process. –
4. Have you ever had a side character Try to steal the show? Would you like to go back and make a spin off series or something for them? Or is there a theme or idea you’d love to be able to explore in more depth?
Sometimes characters become much more important than I was expecting, whilst others have a shorter lifespan than I intended. In terms of spin-offs I tend to use my shorter works to explore characters who I liked but didn’t get very much screen time in the full length novels. In my novella ‘The Lady of Crows’ I enlisted a character at an earlier point in her life as a means of exploring the criminal underworld of the Raven’s Shadow setting.
5. If you could read any book again for the first-time, what book would it be?
Probably ‘The Book of Three’ by Lloyd Alexander, which set me on the road to a lifelong obsession with fantasy.
6. What was the best thing before sliced bread?
7. How many books have you written, how many have you tried to publish, and how many are in print?
With the ‘Legion of Flame’ I now have five traditionally published books in print, with a sixth, the collected edition of my ‘Slab City Blues’ sci-fi noir series, self published as print-on-demand. Back in my twenties I tried to publish a very bad crime novel which was rightly rejected by every agent I sent it to.
8. Have you found any occupational hazards to being a novelist?
My hands hurt if I type too long without a break. The main actual risk is that it’s a sedentary occupation and you need to remember to go for a walk every now and then. Other than that, there’s always the chance that someone who didn’t like my last book might send me a weirdly passive aggressive email.
9. What is your favorite word? Least Favorite?
My favourite word changes by the day, at the moment I find myself most taken with ‘gargantuan’. My least favourite: ‘puce’.
10. How many people have you killed over the course of your career? Real people first, then fictional.
As for the real people, nobody squealed and the coppers were never able to pin nuttin’ on me, y’hear! As for fictional people, let’s just say I’m probably a mass murderer.
11. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? Did it end up helping? Or did we just count that person in question 10?
Criticism is only useful if it’s considered and not just someone slinging abuse. I think the best criticism I received was being encouraged to concentrate on clarity rather than lyricism when it comes to my prose.
12. What has been the best compliment?
I always like to hear from people who’ve gotten something positive from one of my books, especially during difficult circumstances. I occasionally get emails from veterans or active service military people who seem to get a lot out of them, which is nice to hear.
13. Do you have any advice to give a new writer?
Learning not to give up is a skill you have to acquire along with everything else. Other than that, read as much and as widely as you can and finish what you start.
14. What was the last book you read? Was it any good?
The last book I read was ‘Blackwing’ by Ed McDonald and it was terrific.
15. What one question do you think I should have asked you, but didn’t?
Would you like a million dollars?
Yes. Yes I would love a million dollars….. Oh, I was supposed to ask you that. Well never mind then. That’s all of the questions I have. Thanks once again to Mr. Ryan for spending the time to talk with me. To you, my loyal Goblins I say you really should check out this great series. It is Steampunk with friking Dragons! What more could you want?
Don’t ask me why the dragon above has goggles on his hat and his eyes. Who am I to judge a Steampunk Dragon? Seriously though this dragon was drawn by my Daughter I added the hat and goggles.