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Interview with Brian McClellan, author of Promise of Blood (The Powder Mage Trilogy 1) - May 16, 2013


Please welcome Brian McClellan to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews.  Promise of Blood (The Powder Mage Trilogy 1) was published on April 16, , 2013.






TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.  When and why did you start writing?

Brian:  I entered a writing contest in the third grade. It was a two-page story about being kidnapped and escaping from my attacker. I ended up winning the class contest, but losing the grade-wide one.

In retrospect, that story may have freaked out my mother a little bit.

I didn't start writing as a real hobby until my mid-teens when I discovered internet forums and fanfiction and realized that lots of people were doing this kind of thing for fun.



TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Brian:  I'll sometimes play computer games while I'm writing. I'll play a turn-based strategy game or something else that can be easily stopped and I'll jump between writing and played over the course of the day. It helps me work my way through difficult scenes.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Brian:  A mix. I start a book with a very general outline and then plot my chapters as I go. I try to keep a detailed outline of the next four or five chapter from wherever I am in the book.



TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Brian:  Making myself sit down and do it. If a scene is not flowing well, or I'm not sure what happens next, I get all tripped up over myself and give up for a week at a time. This can result in a lot of hair-pulling frustration, but I've also gotten some of my best ideas by mulling on the plot for a while.



TQ:  Describe Promise of Blood (Powder Mage Trilogy 1) in 140 characters or less.

Brian:  Promise of Blood is an epic fantasy where a magical world has advanced into the Industrial Age. The people rise, kings fall, and nations clash.



TQ:  What inspired you to write Promise of Blood?

Brian:  Several things. I wanted something different, but I still wanted to write "epic fantasy." I had already decided that I wanted to create a magic system around gunpowder, and then I saw the show Sharpe with Sean Bean and I fell in love with the idea of a Napoleonic epic fantasy.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Promise of Blood?

Brian:  Books. Lots of books. I spent tons of time on Wikipedia. One of my good friends is a gun enthusiast and I talked to him a lot about flintlock rifles and the development of gunpowder. In fact, the Hrusch Rifle in the book is named after him.



TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Brian:  The easiest character to write was Olem. His dialogue flowed well, and he has a relaxed approach to life that's not unlike my own.

The hardest character was probably Mihali. I had to walk a bit of a line with him: I wanted him to be over-the-top, but not in a way that the reader would find off-putting. And, as the reader will discover, there are things about him that make him very... strange.



TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Promise of Blood?

Brian:  It's gotta be the climax. When [REDACTED] does that thing with the [REDACTED] and then [REDACTED] the [REDACTED], it was so much fun to write!

In all seriousness, though, Tamas gives a short speech near the beginning of the book where he talks about his intentions for the coup. It reveals a lot about him as a character and was a scene I had in mind from the very earliest iterations of the book.



TQ:  What's next?

Brian:  Well, book two of The Powder Mage Trilogy, The Crimson Campaign, is set to come out in February of 2014, followed by book three in September of the same year. Other than that I have a few projects I'm working on behind the scenes, but we'll see how quickly I can finish those.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Brian:  No problem! Thank you for having me on.






The Powder Mage Trilogy

Promise of Blood
The Powder Mage Trilogy 1
Orbit, April 16, 2013
Hardcover and eBook, 560 pages

The Age of Kings is dead . . . and I have killed it.

It's a bloody business overthrowing a king...
Field Marshal Tamas' coup against his king sent corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine and brought bread to the starving. But it also provoked war with the Nine Nations, internal attacks by royalist fanatics, and the greedy to scramble for money and power by Tamas's supposed allies: the Church, workers unions, and mercenary forces.

It's up to a few...
Stretched to his limit, Tamas is relying heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be his estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty is being tested by blackmail.

But when gods are involved...
Now, as attacks batter them from within and without, the credulous are whispering about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods waking to walk the earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing. But they should...






The Crimson Campaign
The Powder Mage Trilogy 2
Orbit, February 18, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 592 pages







About Brian

Brian lives in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife, two dogs, a cat, and between 6,000 and 60,000 honey bees (depending on the time of year).

He began writing on Wheel of Time role playing websites at fifteen. Encouraged toward writing by his parents, he started working on short stories and novellas in his late teens. He went on to major in English with an emphasis on creative writing at Brigham Young University. It was here he met Brandon Sanderson, who encouraged Brian’s feeble attempts at plotting and characters more than he should have.

Brian continued to study writing not just as an art but as a business and was determined this would be his life-long career. He attended Orson Scott Card’s Literary Bootcamp in 2006. In 2008, he received honorable mention in the Writers of the Future Contest.

In November 2011, PROMISE OF BLOOD and two sequels sold at auction to Orbit Books. It is due out in April of 2013.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Google+  ~  The Powder Mage Trilogy FB Page

The View From Monday - April 15, 2013

Happy Tax Day in the US or perhaps it's Happy Filing an Extension Day. I'm not even sure I should use Happy and Tax in the same phrase. Let's stick with Happy Monday. I hope that everyone had a good weekend and will have a good week.


There is one debut out this week:

Promise of Blood (The Powder Mage Trilogy 1) by Brian McClellan.



The View From Monday - April 15, 2013



April 15, 2013
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Valor of the Healer (e) Angela Highland F - Rebels of Adalonia 1




April 16, 2013
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Lone Wolf (e) Jennifer Ashley PNR - Shifters Unbound
The Assassination of Orange (e) Joseph Brassey F - A Foreworld SideQuest
London Falling Paul Cornell UF
A Maze of Death (ri) Philip K. Dick SF/M
Clans of the Alphane Moon (ri) Philip K. Dick SF
Deus Irae (ri) Philip K. Dick SF
Doctor Futurity (ri) Philip K. Dick SF
Our Friends from Frolix 8 (ri) Philip K. Dick SF
Galactic Pot-Healer (ri) Philip K. Dick SF
Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick Philip K. Dick SF - Collection
You Austin Grossman TTh/Gh/M
The Night Land: A Love Tale William Hope Hodgson SF - Radium Age Science Fiction Series 6
Suspect Zero: A Short Story (e) Richard Kadrey H
Promise of Blood (D) Brian McClellan F - The Powder Mage Trilogy 1
Hemlock Grove (ri) Brian McGreevy F/Go - Movie tie-in edition
Joe Golem and the Drowning City: An Illustrated Novel (h2tp) Mike Mignola SP
The Land Leviathan (ri) Michael Moorcock SP - Oswald Bastable 2
Videssos Cycle: Volume Two: Legion of Videssos and Swords of the Legion (ri) Harry Turtledove AH - Videssos Cycle
Carved in Flesh Tim Waggoner UF - Supernatural
The Book of Sith Daniel Wallace SF - Star Wars
Wicked Cravings Suzanne Wright PNR - Phoenix Pack 2




April 17, 2013
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Sing: A Tor.Com Original Karin Tidbeck SF




April 18, 2013
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Red Spectres: Russian Gothic Tales from the Twentieth Century Muireann Maguire Go - Anthology
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume Seven Jonathan Strahan (ed) SF/F - Anthology



D - Debut
e - eBook
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
ri - reissue or reprint


AH - Alternate History
F - Fantasy
Gh - Ghosts
Go - Gothic
H - Horror
M - Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
SF - Science Fiction
SP - Steampunk
TTh - TechnoThriller
Th - Thriller
UF - Urban Fantasy


Guest Blog by Brian McClellan, author of Promise of Blood - March 18, 2013


Please welcome Brian McClellan to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs.  Promise of Blood (The Powder Mage Trilogy 1) will be published on April 16, 2013.



Guest Blog by Brian McClellan, author of Promise of Blood - March 18, 2013



Sidekicks and Companions: An Author's Perspective

Samwise Gamgee. Tonto. Dr. Watson. Chewbacca.

Everybody loves a good sidekick. Not only are they funny, useful, and interesting, but they are important to the narrative. Sidekicks and companions serve a very pronounced role in fiction as a foil to the main characters, and as a relatable figure that helps the reader immerse themselves in the world.

We see sidekicks in every kind of story. As a concept, the "companion" is such a vital part of the Doctor Who series that there's a rather long Wikipedia entry dedicated just to them. Why is that? Why are so many heroes accompanied by a stalwart, trustworthy, and loyal fellow? I mean, other than to have someone that can save them when they get in over their heads?

They're used as a foil, for one. Someone to provide contrast against which we may see the protagonist's strengths and weaknesses. They may point out the hero's flaws directly within the narrative itself, or indirectly through their actions and opinions. Horatio, from HAMLET, is a fantastic example of this. He, like us, sees the madness at the Danish court and, like us, can do nothing to stop it. Which leads to the next point: sidekicks have the potential to be an everyman. He is a direct connection between the reader and the narrative and is often swept along by it just as helplessly as we are.

Often times our heroes are someone remarkable. They rise above and beyond the rest of the ruffians through brawn or brain or access to technology or magic. Their sidekick, more often than not, is a regular guy (or girl) and this makes them relatable. When the hero has to be brave, the companion can be scared. It gives us, as readers, a relatable proxy for what we'd likely be doing in their shoes. And again, it provides contrast. The hero goes on when the regular person gives up.

Which is, by the way, a fantastic argument for why Samwise Gamgee is the actual hero of the Lord of the Rings series.

Companions are also a wonderful channel through which an author can introduce their world to the reader. This is especially important for writing epic fantasy. The reader begins the book by knowing absolutely nothing about an entirely new universe and the author has to explain it to them. Enter the sidekick; a constant companion that the main character can talk to about worries, troubles, and plot points.

Each of the three main characters of PROMISE OF BLOOD has a companion for at least some of the book. Field Marshal Tamas has a new bodyguard named Olem. Taniel Two-shot brought his spotter, Ka-poel, back with him from a foreign war. Inspector Adamat hires his old friend SouSmith help watch his back while he investigates. While these characters weren't created explicitly for the purpose I mentioned above, it sure came in handy.

I think that sidekicks are often a great deal more fun to write even than main characters. They aren't the ones driving the plot, so you can give them character traits that might distract from the narrative if given to a main character. Olem, for instance, is a cheeky bastard. He chain-smokes his way through the day even though Tamas can't abide the smell, and he wears a beard against army regulation. And he's under orders to be blunt so that Tamas has at least one person around that isn't afraid to speak plainly.

Olem serves many purposes. Relatability and contrast, like mentioned above. He gives Tamas someone to bounce ideas off verbally, so that I don't have to write his thoughts into the narrative too often. Olem provides humor that comes across naturally, rather than forced, and he has particular traits that give the world depth.

I use companions to a different extent with each of my main characters. Olem almost never leaves Tamas' side. Ka-poel is with Taniel for most of the book, but she also has her own things to do, and SouSmith makes time to accompany Adamat when the latter is doing something particularly dangerous. I think this variety helps keep the idea of companions fresh, and keep it from being too obvious to the readers just what role those people are playing in the eyes of the author.





The Powder Mage Trilogy

Promise of Blood
The Powder Mage Trilogy 1
Orbit, April 16, 2013
Hardcover and eBook, 560 pages

Guest Blog by Brian McClellan, author of Promise of Blood - March 18, 2013
The Age of Kings is dead . . . and I have killed it.

It's a bloody business overthrowing a king...
Field Marshal Tamas' coup against his king sent corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine and brought bread to the starving. But it also provoked war with the Nine Nations, internal attacks by royalist fanatics, and the greedy to scramble for money and power by Tamas's supposed allies: the Church, workers unions, and mercenary forces.

It's up to a few...
Stretched to his limit, Tamas is relying heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be his estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty is being tested by blackmail.

But when gods are involved...
Now, as attacks batter them from within and without, the credulous are whispering about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods waking to walk the earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing. But they should...



The cover for the second novel in The Powder Mage Trilogy, which is slated for publication in February 2014.

Guest Blog by Brian McClellan, author of Promise of Blood - March 18, 2013

Photo-Illustration by Michael Frost and Gene Mollica
Design by Lauren Panepinto





About Brian

Guest Blog by Brian McClellan, author of Promise of Blood - March 18, 2013
Brian lives in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife, two dogs, a cat, and between 6,000 and 60,000 honey bees (depending on the time of year).

He began writing on Wheel of Time role playing websites at fifteen. Encouraged toward writing by his parents, he started working on short stories and novellas in his late teens. He went on to major in English with an emphasis on creative writing at Brigham Young University. It was here he met Brandon Sanderson, who encouraged Brian’s feeble attempts at plotting and characters more than he should have.

Brian continued to study writing not just as an art but as a business and was determined this would be his life-long career. He attended Orson Scott Card’s Literary Bootcamp in 2006. In 2008, he recieved honorable mention in the Writers of the Future Contest.

In November 2011, PROMISE OF BLOOD and two sequels sold at auction to Orbit Books. It is due out in April of 2013.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Google+  ~  The Powder Mage Trilogy FB Page


 

Cover Revealed - The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan - March 8, 2013


Brian McClellan revealed today the cover for the second novel in his Powder Mage Trilogy:


Cover Revealed - The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan - March 8, 2013

Photo-Illustration by Michael Frost and Gene Mollica
Design by Lauren Panepinto


The Crimson Campaign is slated for publication in February 2014.





You will be able to read the first novel in The Powder Mage Trilogy on April 16, 2013:

Cover Revealed - The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan - March 8, 2013
The Age of Kings is dead . . . and I have killed it.

It's a bloody business overthrowing a king...
Field Marshal Tamas' coup against his king sent corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine and brought bread to the starving. But it also provoked war with the Nine Nations, internal attacks by royalist fanatics, and the greedy to scramble for money and power by Tamas's supposed allies: the Church, workers unions, and mercenary forces.

It's up to a few...
Stretched to his limit, Tamas is relying heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be his estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty is being tested by blackmail.

But when gods are involved...
Now, as attacks batter them from within and without, the credulous are whispering about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods waking to walk the earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing. But they should...





Look for a Guest Blog by and Interview with Brian as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge.


Interview with Brian McClellan, author of The Powder Mage Trilogy, and Giveaway - May 28, 2014Interview with Brian McClellan, author of Promise of Blood (The Powder Mage Trilogy 1) - May 16, 2013The View From Monday - April 15, 2013Guest Blog by Brian McClellan, author of Promise of Blood - March 18, 2013Cover Revealed - The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan - March 8, 2013

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