The Infernal Battalion is the last book in the Shadow Campaigns series by Django Wexler. It will be hitting stores January 9th 2018 published by Ace. But since I am a Time Traveler I actually gave it an award last year in the Second Annual Goblin Awards .
We still have 5 days till the book is out so I am not posting my review yet. No, my wonderful readers when Django stopped in to say thanks at the awards I tossed him in the dungeon for a bit so I could ask him a few questions.
Let me start by saying thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions. Before we get to the difficult part can you tell my readers a bit about your books?
- Happy to be here! I have two series at the moment. The Shadow Campaigns, starting with The Thousand Names, is a military fantasy set at the tech level of the Napoleonic Wars, with muskets and cannon and cavalry charges. It follows the spectacular rise to power of a young officer, the men and women who follow him, and their enemies both conventional and supernatural.
- The Forbidden Library is a middle grade fantasy about a girl named Alice who is sent to live with her uncle after her father’s disappearance. She quickly discovers he has a magical library, and after she breaks in ends up involved in the dangerous world of magical Readers and their apprentices.
- I also have a couple of novellas in the John Golden series, which are humorous urban fantasy with a fantasy/cyberpunk flair. I recently put them back up for sales, take a look: http://djangowexler.com/stories/
We have actually met in person a few times at Elevengeddon/ Phoenix Comic-con. You might actually even remember me. I am the guy that had printouts of book covers to be signed for books that I had EBooks or on audio. Now I have a whole wall covered in framed autographed book covers but yours are some of my favorites. Who designed your covers? Where you able to work with the artist or is it all the publisher/artist?
- Yes! So many fun events. It varies pretty widely, depending on the publisher and the artist. The Shadow Campaigns covers have been designed by Paul Youll, but I’ve mostly worked with my editors to figure out what should be on there in a general way. The Forbidden Library has both covers and internal art by Alexander Jansson, and I’ve gotten to work pretty closely with him to get the look right. It’s been a lot of fun!
It has become more common the last few years thankfully, but when I picked up the Thousand Names it was one of the first times I can remember seeing a lesbian main character. Did you face any difficulties or were you afraid you might when first trying to get the series published?
- Honestly, I can’t say that it worried me all that much. Winter’s sexuality is a pretty minor element of The Thousand Names, more a part of her backstory than the plot, so it didn’t seem like it was going to cause problems. It becomes a lot more important as the series goes on, of course! And in the actual event my editor loved that aspect and was excited to do it.
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?
- Honestly, that’s kind of the story of Winter herself! The original version of The Thousand Names focused more on Marcus, and Winter was a somewhat late addition to the story when I knew I needed another POV. Obviously that changed as I went through the drafts, to the point where she’s probably the main character of the series!
If you could read any book again for the first-time, what book would it be?
- Hmm, there are so many good ones. Probably a comedy — rereading drama is always satisfying even if it’s not the first time. Maybe The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or Hogfather?
Do you know if you will be able to make Phoenix Comic-con again next year?
- I’m hoping to, actually! With the releases in December and January instead of earlier in the year, I skipped last year, but I love the con and would like to come back this year.
Have you found any occupational hazards to being a novelist?
- It’s important not to turn into a crazy recluse. When I left my office job, I told my friends to check periodically and make sure I hadn’t, like, acquired a hundred cats or something.
What is your favorite word? Least Favorite?
- I’m quite fond of “actinic”. Not sure I have a least favorite, probably whatever I overused and have to try and find synonyms for this week…
How many books have you written, how many have you tried to publish, and how many are in print?
- It depends a little bit on how you count unfinished works. Counting only completed books, I’ve written:
Two “trunk” novels that will probably not reemerge.
Three fanfiction novels.
Memories of Empire and Shinigami, both from Medallion Press and now out of print.
Five Shadow Campiagns books, starting with The Thousand Names.
Four Forbidden Library books, starting with The Forbidden Library.
One YA novel (currently titled “Deepwalker” but that will probably change) to be published 2019.
So that makes a total of seventeen? Plus short fiction and quite a few that I never finished.
How many people have you killed over the course of your career? Real people first, then fictional.
- Real people, none that I know of. Fictional people, who knows! It’s hard, do you count all the nameless randos who die in the battles?
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 last question?
- Hard to say. I’ve got plenty of constructive criticism from beta readers, friends, editors, etc, but none of it felt “tough” to me. Conversely, the people who are most angry at me generally tell me things I already know and am comfortable with. I’ve gotten a few nasty letters about gay characters, too much swearing, and so on, but I don’t sweat it particularly. Some of my author friends catch a lot more flak!
What has been the best compliment?
- S.M. Stirling, who was one of the inspirations for The Thousand Names and a favorite writer of mine, wrote to say that he liked the book and was even nice enough to write a blurb. Getting to chat with him has been great!
Do you have any advice to give a new writer?
- 1. Writing process is personal. What works for one person won’t always work for someone else. Don’t take any advice as holy writ, find the process that works for you.
2. The only constant is you have to write a lot in order to get better. It’s a skill like any another, you improve by doing it. So don’t fret and just get started!
Do you have plans to do anything else in this world or are you moving on to other projects?
- I’ve got all kinds of new writing projects in the works! See http://djangowexler.com/2017/08/02/next-year-django/ for a summary of what I’m up to. Other than that, there’s cool stuff that I’d love to do, but who knows what will actually become reality and what won’t!
What was the last book you read? Was it any good?
- I just finished The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso, which I enjoyed quite a lot!
And that’s it! I suppose I will have to release him from the dungeon now. Thanks for the interview Mr. Wexler and for the great books!.
The Infernal Battalion is available for presale now and will be hitting stores on January 9th. The same day my review will be hitting all of you!
THE INFERNAL BATTALION
By Django Wexler
Ace Hardcover Original
$28.00 / 512 pages
January 9, 2018
Praise for the Shadow Campaigns series:
“Wexler has written another excellently entertaining novel, filled with battles and politics and personalities….It subverts, interrogates, or outright inverts a good few tropes associated with epic fantasy.” —Tor.com
“Succeeding volumes may end up doing for the Napoleonic Wars what George R. R. Martin did for the Wars of the Roses. Highly recommended.”—Anthony Ryan, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Raven’s Shadow Novels
ABOUT DJANGO WEXLER
Django Wexler is the author of the Shadow Campaigns novels, including The Infernal Battalion, The Guns of Empire, The Price of Valor, The Shadow Throne, and The Thousand Names. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh with degrees in creative writing and computer science, and worked for the university in artificial intelligence research. When not planning Shadow Campaigns, he wrangles computers, paints tiny soldiers, and plays games of all sorts. He is also the author of the middle-grade fantasy novels The Forbidden Library, The Mad Apprentice, and The Palace of Glass.