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Thursday, October 1, 2020

New Cover Reveal: Fires Of The Dead by Jed Herne

Official Author Website
Order The Fires Of The Dead over HERE (US) and HERE (UK)
Order the audiobook over HERE ($1.99 only)

We have been very lucky to have so many indie & traditionally published authors allow us to reveal their gorgeous covers. We at Fantasy Book Critic have and will always support authors no matter which avenue they take to publication. With that being said, today is a bit of a different type of cover reveal. With this book, Jed Herne is doing things a bit different. This isn’t a cover reveal as much as a cover refresher. So here’s Jed to explain things and also let you know that the book is on sale as well 😃

Q] Welcome back to Fantasy Book Critic Jed, how have you been?

I've been really excellent! Getting lots of writing done – including working on a computer game for a company that I really admire (Choice of Games) – and also working on the Wizards, Warriors & Words podcast with some fellow amazing fantasy authors. Certainly keeps me busy, but it's made the second half of 2020 very productive and educational.

Q] I have been enjoying your Wizards, Warriors & Words video podcasts alongside Dyrk Ashton, Michael R. Fletcher, & Rob J. Hayes. How did this amazing video podcast come about to be?

I've always been a big fan of podcasts. As with most things I really enjoy, I generally get a tendency to try and produce some of my own. (This is what led to me becoming a writer in the first place).

I created my first pod in mid-2019, called the Novel Analyst Podcast. Each episode, I analysed my favourite books to help me figure out why I liked them so much. Along with improving my own understanding of craft, it gave me an open doorway into interviewing lots of great authors, and one of those was a bloke called Rob J. Hayes.

At the time when I interviewed Rob, his book Never Die was one of the first self-published books that I read. Now, this might sound a little hypocritical, but even though I was a self-published author, in the back of my head I’d always had that little stigma left over from the world of traditional publishing which says self-published books cannot possibly be as good as traditionally published ones.

Never Die proved me extremely wrong. It’s an amazing book, filled with great action, amazing characters, and a gripping plot. I really enjoyed talking to Rob on the podcast because I felt that his self-publishing pathway was something I would like to emulate in my own career.

Following up from that interview, I had a lot of opportunities to chat with Rob off the record, asking advice about the more technical and marketing sides of self-publishing. This led me to realise that while there are a lot of podcasts about writing craft or indie book marketing, there are few pods that do both – and with a fantasy focus.

Around the time that I was having these thoughts, myself and a couple of other authors did some live streams in the Grimdark Fantasy Fiction Readers and Writers group on Facebook. These authors included Michael R. Fletcher and Dyrk Ashton. I really enjoyed listening to them. They seemed to have unique opinions on the craft of writing, were very well respected within the community, and seemed fun to hang out with.

I reached out to Rob, Mike, and Dyrk, and they were all extremely keen to do a podcast together. We did a few test sessions, found a good chemistry, and since then we’ve been putting out episodes every Monday.

With about 25 fantasy books published between the four of us, I think we have some unique writing tips to offer. And even if no one listens, I certainly get a lot out of just creating the episodes in the first place. It is really special to be able to pick the brains of authors who have done things that I would like to achieve, in terms of both critical and commercial success.

Q] Please tell us about the recent cover refresher to Fires Of The Dead (the first novella in the Pyromancer series). What lead you to consider this?

It's hard to believe it, but my debut fantasy book, Fires of the Dead, was published almost exactly a year ago. When it released, I was fairly happy with the cover, which I made myself.

But then a calamity occurred.

A calamity named ... Ramón Ignacio Bunge.

A few months back, I hired Ramón to design the cover for The Thunder Heist. (Thanks for hosting the reveal on FBC, by the way). He did an amazing job. Suspiciously amazing. Probably possessed by the soul of da Vinci or something, but who am I to judge?

Unfortunately, after he made The Thunder Heist cover, Fires of the Dead looked crappy by comparison. My hand was forced. I had no choice but to immediately hire him again to redesign Fires of the Dead.

Curse him and his demon-granted talents!

Q] So what lead you to write this novella? What was the inspiration for this story?

When I visited Japan in 2018, seeing their family shrines made me curious. What if the care you put into your shrine influenced your real-life power?

This led to the idea of a fantasy world where families had huge ancestral bonfires – imagine a cavern filled with flames. Magicians from that family would draw from this energy source to use their flame magic, which creates a world of families trying to make their fires bigger and stronger, leading to all sorts of competition and machinations and conflict.

To me, magic is one of the most interesting parts of fantasy, and through Fires of the Dead I wanted to explore a unique take on fire-based sorcery. As I wrote, the story did the usual thing of becoming much more about the characters, the plot, and the suspense – but the seed was the magic, and a graveyard in Tokyo.

Q] Can you tell us more about the world and the characters that the story is set in?

Fires of the Dead follows Wisp, a thieving sorcerer who makes one last grasp for glory. See, Wisp is getting old. Too old for a thief, too old for a sorcerer, and too old to heal all the scars he’s torn in the world. He needs to retire, and he needs it soon.

Rumours have spread that a sorcerer’s skull is hidden in a desolate, haunted forest. And when Wisp hears that there’s big money on the line for finding that skull, he leads his misfit thieving crew into the forest, hoping to win the riches he so badly deserves. But when rivals descend upon the forest and nightmares come to life, he’ll need all his old tricks to survive – and some new ones, too.

Q] Will there be a sequel to the novella?

Fires of the Dead is very much an exploration of the world of pyromancy. I certainly intend to return to it sometime in the future, and I've outlined a few story ideas that could take place in the world. But for the moment I'm focusing most of my energy on developing the Twisted Seas series. Book one of this (The Thunder Heist) comes out on October 19, and I plan to spend most of my time in this series for the foreseeable future.

On writing Fires of the Dead sequels, however, I would very much like to return to this world sometime in the future. Saying that, you should know that Fires of the Dead is a self-contained story with no annoying cliff-hanger at the end.

Q] What are you working on currently? Which book will you be releasing next? JH: I'm working on an interactive fiction game for Choice of Games. It's a text-based fantasy adventure story called The Siege of Treboulain. You are the ruler of this medieval-style fantasy city that is under siege, and it’s your job to make wise decisions to prevent the city from being overrun, while also dealing with all the internal politics and chaos that comes from the city being attacked. It’s a lot of fun!

Like I mentioned, it’s purely text based. No graphics or sound effects, so it’s effectively like reading a novel that you have the power to control. It’s taught me a lot of useful writing lessons that can't wait to apply for when I get back to writing novels. We’re still very early in the development process, but it is my understanding that it should be releasing sometime in the middle of 2021.

My next book release, though, is The Thunder Heist (Twisted Seas #1), which Fantasy Book Critic kindly revealed the cover for a while ago. It releases on October 19th, 2020. Hopefully, the sequel should follow in late 2021.

Q] Many thanks for your time, do you have any parting thoughts for our readers?

Thank you again for hosting this interview! I really like this blog and appreciate what you've done for so many authors, including myself.

To celebrate the new book cover, the eBook and audiobook of Fires of the Dead is on sale from September 29th - October 5th, so if you’re keen to check it out, now’s your chance! 

NOTE: Thanks to Jed for the author picture and all the covers.


Fletch said...

"...and they were all extremely keen to do a podcast together..."

LIES! He threatened us! Even now he holds us hostage in his basement! HELP!!!!

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