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Friday, May 3, 2013

Mini Q&A with Sean Benham and worldwide giveaway of Blope

Official Author Website
Order Blope HERE

Fantasy Book Critic is glad to present a small Q&A with Sean Benham in which he talks about his debut BLOPE and the all the various things that went into the make up of this story. So without further adieu, here's Sean:

Q] Why the title Blope?

SB: Blope is a portmanteau of the protagonist's name, Billy Lopez and of the antagonist's title, Black Pope. It's fitting, as Billy becomes a living portmanteau, a bizarre combination of both men.

It's also got a good, weird sound to it, can't be easily misspelled and it hopefully conjures the notion of 'Huh, I wonder what that's about'.

Q] What inspired you to write this story?

SB: Believe it or not, it was initially a story about my failing to break into Toronto's Film Industry. I graduated from Film School right as SARS struck, which kicked the industry square in the ass for a couple years and kept people from hiring recent grads like me. (Remember SARS? Talk about a lame pandemic. Lame as it was, it got people with movie money good and scared).

My initial frustration with taking menial jobs to pay the rent somehow blossomed into a story about a boy with mixed divine and profane blood stuck in an experiment in colonial segregation. Looking back, I'm not really sure how the hell Point A connected with Point B! 

Q] Tell us a little bit about the book’s cover art. Who designed it, and why do you think this image represents the book better than anything else?

SB: I designed the cover myself, please temper your criticism / praise accordingly!

The two major focal points of the cover - the modified American flag and the 13 color coded Prefectures overlaid atop Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico - let the reader know that the story might take place in America, but it's certainly not the America they know. The backdrop of cracked earth helps reinforce the novel's desert setting, while also resembling an extreme close up of skin texture.

I feel the cover sets the stage for the mysterious elements of Blope. It hints at things to come without giving anything away. It also has a map, and who doesn't love plotting a character's journey on a map? Dorks, that's who.

Q] If you could change one thing about Blope, what would it be and why? Or would you change anything at all?

SB: I'm still too close to the project to pick out anything I would change about the novel itself. I'm immensely satisfied with the characters, setting and overall story. However, if given the power to do so, I would have changed when Blope was released. We live in a great age for self publishing, which I find to be both a blessing and a curse.

I'm appreciative that I can create, sell and market my work without relying on a publisher to back me (don't get me wrong - I'd LOVE to be backed by a publisher, but even without that support, Blope is out there thriving in the marketplace). At the same time, with the relative ease of self publishing today, the number of inferior quality works available for purchase is on the rise. Singling out an awesome self published novel like Blope in a sea of not-awesome self published novels isn't easy. The purchasing public tend to be dismissive of art that isn't vetted by the 'gatekeepers of good enough' - the agents, publishers and booksellers of the world. Frankly, I can't blame them. There is a ton of crap out there these days.

Which brings me back to when I would have released Blope, if I could choose any date. It was the spring of 1439 and a young Johnny Gutenberg just put the finishing touches on his movable type printing press...

Q] Give us an interesting or fun fact about Blope that no one apart from your closest friends and family would know.

SB: Blope has a few fun trivia answers sprinkled throughout. Here are two:

First, I blatantly stole the name of Satan's minions, the Knights in Satan's Service. In the 1970s, parents who like to freak out were led to believe that the name of the rock band KISS was in fact an acronym for, you guessed it, Knights in Satan's Service. The name is killer and the story is apocryphal, so I figured I was free to appropriate the name to use as my own. 

Secondly, and I won't go into detail to avoid giving too much away, one of the characters' names is directly related to the Konami code (there's no shame in Googling it, I know not everyone is a videogame dweeb like me). Let the confused head scratching and speculation begin!

BOOK BLURB: Son of Satan and Grandson of the Messiah, Billy Lopez was born with a sordid lineage, an ancestry that has been veiled since birth. Now, he's a wanted man, forced into a harrowing world of extreme plastic surgery, black market pornography and organized religion gone horribly awry. Blope is the classic 'Coming of Age' story turned on its ear and shoved to the ground.

Now onto the giveaway, Sean Benham and Fantasy Book Critic are giving away ONE PAPERBACK COPY of “Blope”!!! To enter, please send an email to with your Name, Mailing Address, and the subject: BLOPE.

Giveaway will end on 15th May, 11:59 AM PST and is open to Everyone WORLDWIDE. Thank you for entering and Good Luck!

 1) Open To Anyone WORLDWIDE
 2) Only One Entry Per Household (Multiple Entries Will Be Disqualified)
 3) Must Enter Valid Email Address, Mailing Address + Name
 4) No Purchase Necessary
 5) Giveaway will end on 15th May, 11:59 AM PST
 6) Winners Will Be Randomly Selected and Notified By Email
 7) Personal Information Will Only Be Used In Mailing Out the Prizes to the Winners

NOTE: Our thanks to Sarah Miniaci for her help in setting up this giveaway and for the interview.



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