Hi, Awesome Readers, and thanks for joining us today for another edition of Genre Talk. Today, we have DSP Publications author Andrew Q. Gordon here to tell us about his upcoming Fantasy release, Kings of Lore and Legend, the latest addition to the Champion of the Gods series.
But first, let’s have a look at what we’re in for:
Kings of Lore and Legend
Dumbarten should have been the end of Farrell’s efforts to find his distant ancestor Kel, but the Six have other plans. Farrell is told to continue his search for answers in Agloth, the temple city to Seritia. Forced by the Goddess to ride across the vast continent of Lourdria, Farrell and his companion learn that Meglar’s reach extends well beyond the borders of Ardus. And Agloth, despite being dedicated to the Goddess of Love, is also home to a millennia-old curse that Farrell must end if he wants to complete his task.
Answers don’t come easily, and Farrell determines he must travel to the Dwarf Kingdom of Colograd to continue his quest. When an ally of Meglar’s threatens Agloth, Farrell cuts short his time in Colograd and rushes back to defend Seritia’s home. The attack seems doomed to fail, but the death of one of his companions distracts Farrell at a critical moment. Battling against his crushing grief, Farrell struggles to save Agloth, his friends, and himself. And even if he survives, he still hasn’t found Kel or his answers.
Carole: Some of us have been following you and this series since the beginning, Andrew, and some are just now discovering you and this fascinating world. So let’s start with the basics: tell us about your genre.
AQG: Kings of Lore and Legend (KOLAL) is fantasy. Depending on your view of the genre and how much of a purist you are, it’s either High Fantasy or Epic. I tend to think of it as High Epic Fantasy though there is no ‘official’ subgenre by that name. Still, I’m going to stick with that for the purposes of this answer.
High Epic Fantasy at its core has a grand journey, struggle, or quest that drives the plot. Often the journey spans the whole world—or at least places where the protagonist has never been—as he or she searches for their answers. That’s the “epic” part. Generally these are hard to write in one book and all the books need to be read in order.
The “High” part is the traditional sword and sorcery stuff. These are often medievalesque in their feel, except magic is added to the mix. Arrows fly, swords ring and dragons fly. Technology is supplanted by magic (at least in my mind it is) though it is possible to have technology sprinkled among your wizardry.
Carole: What I like to call Old School Fantasy. :fist bump: Okay, so now that we know what to expect in general, tell us about Kings of Lore and Legend.
AQG: This being the third book in the series it’s hard to say too much without giving away spoilers from books one and two. What I can say is KOLAL brings the overarching plot into better focus and sets the stage for what will ultimately be the final confrontation. It also continues the trend of taking us to the different lands of Nendor. The Last Grand Master (TLGM) took place on the continent of Ardus. The Eye and the Arm (TEATA) spent its more important parts on Dumbarten, Kel’s birthplace. KOLAL is going to take place on the vast continent of Lourdria. (There are maps and an index to help folks find their feet)
Like the other books, we’ll meet new characters who will play a role in the story’s conclusion. They each have their own roles and I’ve tried to give them their own ‘niche.’ KOLAL introduces some of my favorite characters in the series. We’ll get to see more of the dwarf realms mentioned in prior books. The peregrines will have a more prominent role, something that began at the end of TEATA. And although Meglar doesn’t make an appearance, we learn more about him and his inner circle. We’re not done meeting new players, but each new piece adds a bit more depth to the world as a whole.
Carole: It sounds like a far-ranging cast of characters and a big, wide world full of diverse inhabitants. So tell us how you define “diversity” in your writing, and how you explored it in this book.
AQG: Because this is fantasy, I get to write the societal rules anyway I want. I tried to avoid a lot of gender, race, or sexual orientation bias. Ruling isn’t limited to men, there are diverse peoples in the story and beings (unicorns, peregrines, and others) who are every bit as important as humans in the scheme of the world. There are same sex couples and opposite sex ones. Although the unicorns and peregrines are as intelligent or more than the humans, I don’t plan to include any cross species romances. The only issue with same sex couples in the books is that among the nobility it presents dynastic issues. Other than that, no one really cares.
Carole: Kings of Lore and Legend is being published through DSP Publications, Dreamspinner Press’s imprint for genre novels where romance is not the main focus or even a requirement. Tell us about the relationship in Kings of Lore and Legend and why it doesn’t fit the accepted definition of Romance in the M/M genre.
AQG: Kings of Lore and Legend is not, a romance or even a romance genre story. All the books in the series, including KOLAL are epic fantasy. There is a tiny bit of romance, predominately in book one—The Last Grand Master¬—but that plays a very minor role in the over all story. Think Garion and Ce’Nedra (the male/female love interest) in The Belegariad and The Malloreon by David Eddings; or Elspeth and Darkwind (the male/female love interest) in Mercedes Lackey’s Mage Winds. Those stories could have survived the lack of romance, but the romance couldn’t survive without the fantasy plot bunnies.
Carole: You’ve been writing this world for quite a while now, with the 1st edition of book one having been published several years ago now. If you were only just starting it today, is there something you’d change or do differently?
AQG: If I were starting all over, I’d have waited a couple years to get further ahead. My biggest regret is the lag time between books. I would love to have them out every six months, but that’s not practical given my work and family. Had I to do over, I’d have waited until the first three were completed before I put out the first one, then used the time to complete the rest of the series.
Carole: What’s your favorite part of writing fantasy stories?
AQG: There are many parts of the genre I love, both as a reader and a writer, but my favorite, hands down, is the magic. World building is up there, I mean who doesn’t like to play god and create entire worlds (and other gods as well). But I still love the magic best. The fun part is the need to constantly create new ‘stuff.’ If my characters used the same spells over and over, the reader would get tired. “Oh yeah, there he goes doing that spell again.” But practically speaking repetitiveness would be dangerous for the wizard.
In Harry Potter, one of the ways the enemy knew it was him was his excessive use of ‘expelliarmus.’ They anticipated his ‘signature’ move and used it against him. Similarly, in the last of the Highlander movies, Connor MacLeod taught his cousin Duncan MacLeod the ‘indefensible’ sword move. When it came time for Duncan to use it in battle, his opponent, Jacob Kell, had a defense. The point being, use something over and over, and the other side will figure out a defense.
That’s not to say a few of my favorites won’t get reused or won’t make an appearance in the ‘final epic showdown,’ but for most of the books, I try to mix things up and introduce new things when it comes time to show magic.
Carole: We’re all looking forward to carrying on the magic in your upcoming release, Andrew, and thanks so much for coming to chat with us today.
And thank you, Awesome Readers, for hanging out with us for a bit. It’s far from over, and we’ve got lots of stuff to give away this time, so don’t go anywhere just yet! But first, please enjoy the following excerpt from Andrew Q. Gordon’s upcoming Fantasy novel, Kings of Lore and Legend:
“How soon can we leave?”
“I’ll send word to King Werthan that we would like permission for Penelope and her honor guard to leave from Jerdas on her pilgrimage to Agloth immediately.” He looked at his aunt and motioned toward the map. “You should be able to leave in the next couple of days. All we’re waiting on is Werthan’s approval. He’ll agree, of course, but he’ll want something in exchange for Auntie using his fair city as a starting point. Especially since you won’t be staying for a state dinner.”
“That pompous windbag.” Penelope flicked her wrist and the chart neatly rolled up. “He’d sooner eat his liver than invite me for a state visit.”
“Wait.” Farrell paused as the others turned toward him. “If you’re on such bad terms with Jerdam, why don’t we use a different country?”
Markus smirked and picked up the pointer. Nodding to Penelope, he moved around the large table while the map unrolled.
“Politics makes for strange allies.” Directing Farrell’s attention to a gold shape on the paper, the king tapped it several times with the metal tip. “Jerdam is small kingdom with dreams of grandeur that will never materialize. It’s stuck between its two larger, warring neighbors, Utremth to the north and Najan to the south.”
He touched the pointer to the countries for emphasis. “Utremth is larger and more prosperous, but Najan has always had the greater population. Since Hevnor’s rule, Utremth and Najan have either been at open war with each other, been moving toward a new war, or licking their wounds and plotting their next war.”
“And Jerdam is stuck in the middle.” Miceral leaned back against the wall across from the chart. “It’s a wonder they haven’t been conquered.”
“They well might, except Jerdam and Dumbarten are allies,” Penelope answered. “You’d think they’d be a bit more appreciative that we’re the only thing between them and being split between the two.”
“Now be fair, Auntie. Jerdam has always been grateful for our aid—in public, at least.” Markus returned everyone’s attention to the map with a gesture. “Though we are allies, we’re also seafaring rivals. Jerdam’s capitol city, Jerdas, has the best harbor along the entire west coast of Lourdria. But its precarious position between two bitter rivals has scared off more than a few merchants. Most of those have diverted to Yalk, on Dumbarten’s eastern coast. Although across the Kentish Sea, Yalk’s harbor is larger, deeper, and safer than Jerdas.”
“But if Dumbarten is its ally, doesn’t that give Jerdas the same protection as Yalk?” Miceral asked.
“In some measure, yes, but Jerdam is an ally, not a province.” Markus turned and leaned against the table. “Neither Utremth or Najan would dare board a Dumbarten-flagged ship for fear of drawing us into their war, but Jerdish ships? Jerdam can send its own complaint in those instances.”
Farrell laughed despite himself. “No wonder Jerdam resents you. If I were them, I’d feel used too.”
“Used?” Miceral asked. “How is Dumbarten using them by protecting Jerdam?”
“Cousin?” Markus raised an eyebrow toward Farrell. “Would you care to explain?”
Snorting, Farrell shook his head. “Testing me to see if I have a firm grasp of politics?”
“Of course.” He smirked. “You’re going to be king of Yar-del and Zargon soon. I need to be sure your education isn’t lacking.”
At least his cousin was honest. “Preserving Jerdam’s independence ensured that Yalk was the destination of choice for most foreign merchants who wanted to deal with either of the warring countries. It’s not significantly farther from Utremthian or Najanite ports, and it has the full strength of Dumbarten protecting its merchants. So long as the war between the neighbors persisted, Jerdish ships remained at risk of being boarded any time they approached either country.”
“Oh.” Miceral seemed unsure. “And how is that Dumbarten’s fault? It’s better than being conquered.”
“Because Dumbarten could have ended this conflict any number of times over the centuries.” Farrell turned toward the king. “As powerful as Dumbarten is, they could impose a peace by force of arms. I’d wager a wagon of gold that Dumbarten has remained neutral in the conflict until one side or the other gained the upper hand. Then you sided with the losing side.”
“I’d not take your wager, cousin.” The smirk dissolved into a smile.
“And you have no desire to see a large, powerful country off your eastern coast. One that could potentially overrun Jerdam and take control of Jerdas.” Farrell tried to hold back a grin but failed. “Dumbarten preserved the status quo and prevented either kingdom from conquering the other. Devious, self-serving, but outwardly what each side professed they wanted.”
“Glad you agree.”
“More like I appreciate how it’s in Dumbarten’s best interest.” Farrell glanced at the map one last time. “But how will we pass through Utremth lands to the east of Jerdam?”
“My diplomats will handle that.” Markus’s body language told Farrell the meeting was over. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go see about drafting a suitable letter to Werthan.”
In the run up to the release, you can get an ecopy of book one, The Last Grand Master for free. Yep, that’s right, DSP Publications is giving away book one free.
To get a free eCopy of the Last Grand Master you can sign up for my monthly updates:
Or you can download it directly from DSP Publications:
Book two, The Eye and the Arm, is now just .99 cents. The sale is only until May 1, 2016.
He currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his partner of twenty years, their young daughter and dog. In addition to dodging some very self-important D.C. ‘insiders’, Andrew uses his commute to catch up on his reading. When not working or writing, he enjoys soccer, high fantasy, baseball and seeing how much coffee he can drink in a day.
Now, if all of that wasn’t enough for you, Andrew is giving away yet more stuff! All you have to do is comment to this post and click the Rafflecopter widget to enter. (Fair warning, though—if you neglect to leave your email address in your Rafflecopter entry, we’ll have to move on to the next name drawn.) The prizes are as follows:
1st Prize – (One Winner) Signed Copy of Book One – The Last Grand Master; or Book Two, The Eye and the Arm (Winner’s choice) Note – I’ll ship it anywhere, so not just open to US Residents.
2nd Prizes – (Three Winners) eCopy of The Eye and the Arm.
Whew! That’s a lot of stuff, and we wish Andrew the best of luck with his upcoming release. We’ll choose a winner next week and contact you if you’ve won.
Thanks for joining us, everyone, and happy reading!