The Next Big Thing? If You Say So…

You may have heard or seen another entry in this fun blog post that’s making the rounds, called The Next Big Thing. As writers, we are picked out by someone who’s read our work and nominates us to write up our latest for all and sundry. Then the new author also nominates someone and Lather-Rinse-Repeat. I hope this doesn’t turn out like all those chain-letters clogging my in-box…

Since my good friend, fellow author and dedicated beta-reader Katharina Gerlach tapped me, I am honor bound- and frankly, tickled pink- to carry on. The difficulty is choosing which book to write about. The next project likely to publish is a short book of tales, but for a number of reasons that’s not a standard “fit” for this kind of blog. So I will use this opportunity to write for the first time in some detail about my unpublished monsterpiece, and the character who really started it all. I hope you enjoy!

1. What is the title of the book?

“Judgement’s Tale” is a novel-length story of the Lands of Hope, clocking in at a bit over 200k words. Or, in epic fantasy, a fair-sized beginning.

2. Where did the idea for the book come from?

I cannot tell a lie: he told me. Well, Solemn Judgement doesn’t talk much- but he showed me his half of the tale on his own, in bits and pieces starting around thirty years ago. What I didn’t realize until just a few years back was that this OTHER tale, with a different set of characters in a somewhat different place, was connected to the first like the back of a coin. That’s all the rage today- lots of characters, separated across the kingdoms and unaware of each other- but back in the early 80’s when I was first seeing all this, it didn’t occur to me. Then again, I didn’t think I’d ever end up writing about the Lands of Hope anyway.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

It’s straight-up epic fantasy, with the usual flavors of mystery and horror to it. My previous stories have leaned more towards heroic fantasy, and the shortest is really a sword-and-sorcery tale. But the Lands are wide and there’s room for lots of shades of… well, purple to tell the truth. My writing can dip into many genres, but it’s still nearly ultraviolet.

4. What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Tough call. The main character Judgement is so adult inside, but just sixteen outside. He needs a gunslinger’s game-face, the ability to convey disapproval without speaking, and has to look like he’s not old enough to drink (not that he would anyway). Richard Harris would have been perfect for the scribe Valenthur, perhaps William Goldman for the sage Cedrith (but it would be a BIG departure for him). The other main characters are also young-ish men, around 17-20, so I suppose we could raid the casts of Twilight and Supernatural- but no biting, and wear some more colorful clothing on set please. One large middle-aged woman with a pleasant smile but capable of gritty self-sacrifice for Natasha the healer; Nicolas Cage could play Alendic the actor-adventurer. And a slender young female for Linya, the mage. Many others still TBA!

5. What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?

To save an adopted world where he can find no place, Solemn Judgement must become a hero, or he won’t live to become a man.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Definitely, one of those two. It was the first publication-ready tale I composed, back at the end of 2010. For some strange reason, an unknown author querying unsolicited on a 200 k monsterpiece of epic fantasy didn’t garner much attention… after compiling a 200% rejection rate (one pile of form rejections, one pile of no responses), I decided to write some shorter stuff, and to self-publish it. Every so often I pull out the draft and polish, and wonder- and I also have submitted it several times to publishing houses who have actually called for this kind of stuff (along with thousands of other folks, naturally). So- we’ll see.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I translate this as- when did Judgement’s incessant pressure to write his story become a din I could not ignore. I always knew the story, at least most of it, but I never believed I could get it all on paper. But he broke me down sometime around the start of 2009, and I had the draft done (polished since, but nothing too major) by the end of 2010. Two years, where does the time go?

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

“Judgement’s Tale” is just like GRRM’s Game of Thrones or Tad Williams’ Shadowmarch series. Except there are slightly fewer characters and not everyone is a jerk.
This business where “realism” means you have evil in your soul has got to stop. Fair warning readers, this extends to all my writing- the Lands of Hope are a place where the good guys kicked out the bad ones 2,000 years ago. Are there criminals? The occasional greedy noble? Yes. But the people you meet everyday are all basically GOOD. Sheesh. There’s plenty of adventure, but this is not “The Godfather” in chain mail. I focus on what heroes do, not how bad guys interact.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The heroes themselves- “inspired” probably isn’t the right word, more like kept beating on me. I know, you’re thinking get the long-sleeved coat; but it’s not just an internal struggle here. I’m talking about REAL people who urged me… OK, it’s complicated, but the bottom line for you is that I am not a writer. I am a chronicler, and this world everyone calls mine has witnesses. So, I don’t make things up, I just look at what happens and then jot it down. You might meet one of the heroes someday yourself, just ask them. The point is, there are a ton of these heroes and I’m quite sure there’s enough material already to keep me busy the rest of my days. Even though the good die young, if you take my meaning.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Well, I’m sure it would be interesting to know that it’s going to get published. And someday it will! I think I have to decide if I’m ever going to be “discovered”- if yes, then it makes sense to preserve “Judgement’s Tale” as the entre’act of my canon. The events of the tale come early on in the Age of Heroes (1995 ADR, only one tale online is from an earlier year), so it’s a good “origins” tale. I always figured as I gained success- here’s where the REAL fantasy starts- that my online sales would reach a point where I’d be tempted to release the book- but then again I’d be attracting attention from agents and publishers too. Nice, happy problem! And then, I wake up. Stay tuned.

I’ve answered the questions and now it’s time to tap other authors who I think deserve your attention. I can have five, and I’m going to burn one on Katharina Gerlach who tagged me in the first place. Back at you, woman! Seriously, her writing is wide-ranging and prolific and fun, whatever your taste she either has or is translating a book for you– in German or English, no less!

I will also single out Tracy Falbe, who writes just the sort of epic fantasy I admire. I’ve read the first book of her Rys Rising series- holy smoke, it’s free! And I think you would enjoy it as I did. I can tell she’s worked hard for her success, and it looks like she’s got a hot tour going on now, so check her out.

Finally, I want to shine a small light into the dark corners of the online author world, and single out Antonio Diggs. Here’s a man who is quietly writing, working on an enormous set of tales the likes of which any fantasy author can appreciate. I’ve beta-read a lot of it, and in turn, he’s read just about all of mine. He’s not bringing them out yet, but I have confidence- actually, high hopes- that he will. You won’t be disappointed by the “Bound” series. So just keep the name Antonio Diggs in your memory, and then in the future you’ll see it online or in a store and think “oh yeah, I know this name. He’s a great author, I know because… whatever the hell that guy was, said so. Before they took him off with the long-sleeved coat… whatever his name was.”

These people are The Next Big Thing. Because I say so!


About Will

I'm the chronicler of the Lands of Hope tales, available at all the major online retailers.

Posted on October 28, 2012, in about writing, Authors - Will Hahn, Genre - Fantasy Stories, or browse all books and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great answers, and thanks for tagging me again. Still, that doesn’t mean I’m going to answer the same questions again. 😉

    P.S:: I agree on Antonio.

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