What is the working title of your next book?
I am always working on more than one project, but since this question stipulates my “next” book, I’ll jump ahead a little. I am currently finishing up the final edits on the long-awaited sequel to Weapon of Flesh, a fantasy novel I published in 2005. Always our best-seller at conventions, Weapon of Flesh took off like gangbusters this year on Kindle, giving me incentive to finally write the sequel, Weapon of Blood, which should be ready for release in July. We were very lucky to get Noah Stacey to do another wonderful cover for the book.
I’m also working on the sequel to the critically acclaimed Pathfinder Tales novel Pirate’s Honor. The tentative title of this book is Pirate’s Promise, and it is due out from Paizo Publishing some time in 2014.
What genre does your book fall under?
Weapon of Blood is firmly set in the realm of medieval urban fantasy, a story of assassins, magic, intrigue, love, and betrayal.
Pirate’s Honor and the upcoming sequel are both RPG-related nautical fantasies set in the Pathfinder world of Golarion. It’s been a lot of fun writing in this world, as the setting is so rich and full, though the publisher won’t let us writers break the toys…
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I was recently asked this question on a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) online Q&A, so I’ll give the same answers I gave for Pirate’s Honor. Also, Paizo was cool enough to contract some great artists to do character sketches, so let’s see if you agree with my choices.
Torius Vin: Jeremy Renner, Hawkeye in The Avengers. He’s got that grace and good looks. Longer hair and a goatee and you’ve got Torius.
Celeste: Zoe Salanda, from the new Star Trek, if she could wear pale makeup and do without arms and legs… Ahem…
Snick: No idea there… Someone cute and snarky. Any suggestions?
Grogul: Adam Baldwin, but he’d have to shave his head and paint himself grey/green.
Vreva: No doubt: Catherine Zeta Jones… Oh…my…god…please.
Benrahi: George Clooney, suave and evil.
Peter Weir for direction, because he really did an awesome job in Master and Commander with the nautical scenes.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
When pirate captain, Torius Vin, and the crew of the Stargazer are double-crossed, he takes it as a point of honor to get even, and get rich in the process.
Who is publishing your book?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
For Pirate’s Honor, I was inspired. I signed the contract in early February of 2012 with a chapter-by-chapter outline approved by the publisher. Here’s the tally:
29 days (that’s 3,576 words per day)
101.5 cups of coffee (average 3.5 cups per day, and that’s 1,021.9 words per cup, or 16,350 words per gallon)
~ 60 oz of rum
~ 12 cases of insomnia (Writers do not suffer from insomnia, they are blessed with it.)
5 days off (though most days off included some writing)
That was the first draft, and I don’t generally produce that quickly. There were mistakes, of course, and editing took an additional three months. We had a five-month deadline from start to finish, and turned in the manuscript a month early.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
There is not a lot of nautical fantasy out there, although Robin Hobb and a few others have done it very well. There is even less in the RPG-related sub-genre. I know of two that have been published by RPG publishers, other than mine, in the last ten years. I was told by one reviewer that Pirate’s Honor reminded him of a cross between the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie and Ocean’s Eleven. That made me smile…a lot.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I had just finished a four-book series of nautical fiction, the Scimitar Seas novels, published by Dragon Moon Press, which won me three consecutive gold medals from ForeWord Reviews for best fantasy novel of the year. (The fourth in the series, Scimitar War, is a finalist, but we won’t know if it has won for three more days, June 28th.) I’d been doing conventions for years, and was asked by my editor at Dragon Moon Press, Gabrielle Harbowy, to attend GenCon. Several authors I knew were attending, so I booked it. GenCon is a gaming convention, and I have been playing table-top RPGs since 1977, so this seemed like a good venue. Also, the convention has an Author Alley in their vendor room where writers can sell their wares. This really helps to offset the cost of attending a convention.
Paizo Publishing has a big presence at GenCon, and I had been playing their Pathfinder game for years, so I approached Paizo’s editor, James Sutter, told him of my credentials, and pitched an open plot “nautical fantasy” idea. I knew they were in the process of publishing the Skulls and Shackles pirate-oriented adventure path, and thought it would fit. James asked me for a writing sample, which I sent.
About six months later I got an e-mail back from James requesting a few story pitches for Paizo’s Pathfinder Tales Web Fiction. This is a paying market, so I jumped at the chance to show him what I could do. I gave him an 8,000 word short story in about a week. He must have liked it, because the next e-mail I got from James had “Paizo Novel?” as the subject line. I’ve always wanted to write an RPG-related novel, so I promptly said “Yes!”
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
I touch on a lot of subjects in Pirate’s Honor that are not usually delved into in an RPG-related novel, and James Sutter liked that. Paizo is trying very hard to take RPG fiction to the next level, and is succeeding wonderfully. The story is not a simple swords-and-sorcery hack, but looks deeply into the emotional, physical, and relationship issues of the characters. Pirate’s Honor is not a romance, but the relationship between Captain Torius Vin and his navigator, Celeste, is a centerpiece of the story. They have a challenging relationship in that she is not human. Not even close. So much “not human” in fact, that she has to use magic to transform into human form for them to be intimate. This, understandably, causes a little tension.
There is also an underlying plot that deals with Torius Vin’s addiction to a very unlikely substance, his lover’s venom. This puts even more stress on their relationship, and in the midst of pulling off a scam that puts all their lives at risk, the last thing the crew of the Stargazer needs is a captain and navigator who are, quite literally, at each other’s throats.
The next “Next Big Thing”: Leah Petersen
I met Leah Petersen last year at ReaderCon. Since we shared a publisher (Dragon Moon Press), I picked up her debut novel, Fighting Gravity. When I finally put it down, I had been quite impressed by her writing.
Cascade Effect, the sequel to Fighting Gravity, was recently released by Dragon Moon Press, with a third installment due out soon. And you don’t have to just take my word as to their quality, because the novels have received high praise from reviewers.
Leah Petersen lives in North Carolina. She does the day-job, wife, and mother thing, much like everyone else. She prides herself on being able to hold a book with her feet so she can knit while reading. She’s still working on knitting while writing.