Interview with Darrell Drake Author of A Star-Reckoner’s Lot

I am happy to have SPFBO author Darrell Drake in the hot seat today answering a few questions. He was also nice enough to send me a autographed copy of his book  A Star-Reckoner’s Lot for a giveaway. To enter just comment below on this post. The giveaway will end on September 22 when I will randomly select a name from the comments.

Thanks for having me, Hob! I’m glad we could put all those goblins slain in games and tabletop sessions behind us. Adventurers don’t often give much value to the lives of fodder, and we should strive for the change we want to see in others. So here we are, discussing books rather than exchanging blows.

 

If you could do it all over again, would you change anything in your FIRST book?

As far as my first book is concerned . . . well, frankly, I wouldn’t have released it. I feel so much more comfortable in historical fantasy (even if that means years of research to get it right). As such, I would have been better served by a historical fantasy debut.

Have you ever judged a book by its cover?

Oh, man. More often than not. This probably makes me a terrible reader, but there’s a reason why your cover matters. That’s what sells a book, or gets someone to read into it. I think this is especially relevant where self-published authors are concerned, and it’s always disheartening to see one that was put together with clipart and Papyrus.

What FRAKING side are you on of the fictional curse debate? Any in your books?

Fictional curse debate? Yeah, let me tell you, that fictional curse debate is sad, sad, sad. Who would side with the opposition when the incumbents are patently superior—I haven’t the faintest clue what’s going on in the fictional curse debate! So like many other political and social scenarios, I’m on the fence.

Curses aren’t common in my books, but they’ve made an appearance or two. A Star-Reckoner’s Lot begins with my interpretation of a Mandaic curse that involves inscribing the curse on an egg, then burying that egg beneath a gate. As the egg rots, so too will the victim of the curse.

{ By Grabthar’s hammer  That was not the kind of curse I was talking about, but it sounds messy}

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?

Hah! Try? Succeed, more like! Waray is a secondary character in A Star-Reckoner’s Lot who has been almost exclusively praised as the best character in the book. She’s an eccentric half-div (demon of sorts) with peculiar idiosyncrasies: wandering speech, pranks, delusions, inappropriate and contradictory nature, odd body language—the list goes on. All that and a dark, storied past. The A Star-Reckoner’s Legacy trilogy will feature her as the protagonist of the third novel, so I guess a spin-off isn’t necessary.

As far as themes are concerned, the effects of loss and memories and how we deal with them are central to my tales. They shape us as people, and stick with us until our last. How we interpret those memories changes over time, and in turn how they affect us. We’re defined by our past in more ways than we can grasp at any one point in our lives, and I hope to further explore that in my characters.

{Wow that is deep}

If you could read any book again for the first-time, what book would it be?

Guy Gavriel Kay’s Under Heaven. It was such a pleasure the first time around, and it’s the book that finally convinced me that historical fantasy was my wheelhouse.

{That was the first book of his that I read. I loved it.}

 

Four children have small toys. The first child has 1/10 of the toys, the second child has 12 more toys than the first and is looking at him and going nananannaanna, the third child has one less toy then the first child has, so is crying at the top of their lungs. And the fourth child has double the toys of the third child then takes 5 from the first child. No question here just a flash back to when I ran a daycare…

To the side, the fifth child has no toys—no trucks or baubles—only its gas mask. He watches and waits, hands in his lap, knowing the sleeping gas is imminent. His peers never learn, and that’s why his rise to the top will be swift and uncontested.

{Thanks for that insight in to your childhood}

How many books have you written, how many have you tried to publish, and how many are in print?

Probably three or four books that have been tossed in the latrine where they belong. Even took the time to dig a latrine for it. Currently have four released with three of them in print, but A Star-Reckoner’s Lot gets 100% of my focus nowadays. Historical fantasy moving forward and all.

Have you found any occupational hazards to being a novelist?

Well, it’s more a case of the liver problems finding me. But I’ve been pretty elusive up to now. Don’t expect that to last.

{You can always just steal a new liver from one of your vanquished enemies.}

What was the hardest thing about self-publishing that you didn’t expect?

At this point in the game I’m not sure what I didn’t expect from the beginning. That isn’t to say that I wasn’t blundering around in my inexperience, just that most of it is commonplace now.

More than anything, it’s maintaining any sort of interest. Reddit has been incredibly supportive, but it’s one community—a powerful community, but still isolated. Without the spread, visibility, and legitimacy of traditional publishing, it’s a crapshoot. Every triumph is short-lived. You have to constantly push, network, try to find new ways to keep it in the minds of readers without badgering them over it.

{ Well I am glad that I may be able to help in some small way}

How many people have you killed over the course of your career?  Real people first, then fictional.

Real people is a tough one, because who knows how many my lifestyle in a first-world country has claimed? I’m sure many of us have had a hand in one death or another.

Fictional . . . hmm. Millions. I’d say I’ve lost count, but that would imply I ever started counting. And was it me killing them or their decisions that brought them there? Let’s not free them of their responsibility just because I had a hand in their deaths. So hey, I haven’t killed anyone. All those characters killed themselves.

{The old Butterfly Effect defense for murder. I should have seen it coming.}

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 the previous question?

Probably something along the lines of, “I don’t support burning books or murder but yours should be used to fuel the pyre you’re tied to, you uncultured swine.” All things considered, it’s not untrue. Did help, though, because now I write just to spite them.

{Spite one of the most powerful forces on earth.}

What has been the best compliment?

Oh, this is an easy one. Some kind r/Fantasy user once said A Star-Reckoner’s Lot “wasn’t terrible”. Also mention of bad puns elsewhere.

Do you have any advice to give a new writer?

Don’t. Stop. Just . . . don’t.

What was the last book you read? Was it any good?

I think it was Valley of Embers by the redoubtable Steven Kelliher. Loved it. Imaginative, action-packed, enough mystery to keep me going, and a hell of an ending.

{ I agree it was a great book. My review of it can be found here Valley of Embers (The Landkist Saga Book 1) by Steven Kelliher}

What one question do you think I should have asked you, but didn’t?

If I’ve ever written any goblin fan fiction. I haven’t, but I think you should canvass all authors you interview for that one.

{I will have to keep that in mind}

Do you have any questions for me?

Have you had a chance to play the Styx games at all? You control a goblin assassin, which as I’m sure you know is a pretty rare protagonist.

Awfully fond of your Hobgoblin Photoshops—hard to miss those in my feeds or on Reddit! Appreciate the opportunity to drop by. Finally, a chance with the Hob!

{I love hearing that! So glad you like my little corner of the internet. Thanks once again for your time, and the great answers to my questions. And I had not heard of the game until this, but have now played around 40 hours.}

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/MarvyMagpies

Website: http://www.astarreckonerslot.com

Don’t forget to comment below for your chance to win.

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