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Monday, August 13, 2018

Interview with Rob J. Hayes (Interviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

Official Author Website
Order City Of  Kings over HERE (USA) and HERE (UK)
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of City Of Kings
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Where Loyalties Lie
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Fifth Empire Of Man
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Heresy Within
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Colour Of Vengeance
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Price Of Faith
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of It Takes A Thief To Catch A Sunrise
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of It Takes A Thief To Start A Fire
Read Fantasy Book Critic interview with Rob J. Hayes
Read Fantasy Book Critic trilogy completion interview with Rob J. Hayes
Read Fantasy Book Critic's Best Laid Plans Series Interview with Rob J. Hayes
Read Fantasy Book Critic's SPFBO Aftermath Q&A with Rob J. Hayes
Read A Game of ̶T̶h̶r̶o̶n̶e̶s̶ Death by Rob J. Hayes (guest post)

Q] Welcome back Rob and thank you for your time. How has your launch for City Of Kings been? 

RJH: Thanks for having me again. The launch has been somewhat stressful (as all launches are), but it's going really well. Books have been sold and are being read, so I generally consider that a win.

Q] Since your SPFBO win, you have had an SF release and now this book which is a tie-in to your debut saga. How has the reader feedback been for both those releases?

RJH: Extremely positive. I'll admit I was a little worried about both releases. DRONES is a huge departure from my normal stuff for a number of reasons. It's sci-fi, it's spec fic, it's all written in 1st person present tense (which is a nightmare to write in), so it was a daunting release. Luckily most people have really taken to it.

 For City Of Kings, it's again a little different as it's my first standalone set in the world of First Earth, and it deals with some quite dark themes. Again, most readers seem to be digging the brutality of it.

I'm still waiting for the 1 stars though, I'm sure they're coming.

Q] With Drones being your SF genre debut, it was an interesting read and a different read from your usual fantasy fare. What lead you to write a SF-thriller dealing with harvesting and packaging of human emotions?

RJH: I just had the concept idea rolling around in my head, this ability to harvest and sell emotions in a way that drains the memory of all emotional connection and then passes the pure emotion on to the buyer. At the time of coming up with it I had no setting or story surrounding it. It took me a good six months to decide it would work best in a science fiction future sort of like Total Recall or Bladerunner. I do love a good cyperpunk future setting. The real headache was that I decided it should be written in 1st person present tense... never again. It took me about a year of editing to get rid of all the past tense inconsistencies.

Q] Let’s talk about CITY OF KINGS. It’s your first standalone fantasy book and also a proper sequel to some of the events and characters of your first trilogy (especially The Colour Of Vengeance) and the your short story Pre-Emptive Vengeance. What lead to its inception?

RJH: It was pretty much always there. I went into my fantasy saga of First Earth with a plan, a 12 book plan. That plan turned out to be quite fluid. Some stories have grown from nothing, demanding to be written, others have sunk into the murky waters of just not working out. But the 12 book plan remains intact with a number of key points that have to happen along the way. City Of Kings is the midway point, as the sixth book in the saga, and it's an important one. It introduces a couple of key pieces of information that will become very relevant later on in the saga, and introduces a new character.

Q] As a sequel to The Colour Of Vengeance, all of the POV characters except Rose had been POV characters in The Colour Of Vengeance. What was the impetus for Rose to get her own POV in this book?

RJH: It's her book. Rose is the driving force behind everything that happens in City Of Kings. She has a vision for the Wilds that she is determined to bring about, no matter how much a monster it makes her. And she's fully aware that she's running out of time to make it happen. It would have been a crime for me to write it without Rose's point of view.

Q] Anders is the only other person besides Henry who has appeared in all of your First Earth books. However he knows much, more about what's happening than Henry has any idea about. Would you say that's a fair approximation? Will the latter books reveal all of Anders' mysteries?

RJH: Yes. :D

Q] Chronologically it’s set alongside the Best Laid Plans duology and I believe CITY OF KINGS runs parallel the events of THE FIFTH EMPIRE OF MAN. Was that an intentional move? Another trilogy of sorts by combining a duology and a standalone?

RJH: Not really. Believe it or not, the timing of everything that happens is because of one particular character. I pay a lot of attention to where my characters are at what time, and I try my best to keep a consistent timeline running. So it really all boils down to City Of Kings had to happen when it happened because of Anders. It's all his fault, and most of my characters agree.

Q] From our talks before you have mentioned that the next book and trilogy will be skipping a few years (after the events of City Of Kings & the Best Laid Plans duology) and will be set in Acanthia. Can you tell us more about it?

RJH: Yes. There is actually roughly a fifteen year time skip between City Of Kings and the next series. I can't give away too much right now, but I will say that the series will reveal a lot more about First Earth's secondary race, the Drurr, and how they fit into the larger plot of the saga. The series will also tell readers more about the rise of necromancy as an ongoing threat.

Q] You currently have a quite a few short stories set at different timepoints and places in the First Earth World whilst featuring many different characters. Which short stor(y)ies will be tying in to the new trilogy?

RJH: There's already a couple. There's two short stories in The Bound Folio called, The Merchant of Truridge and By My Life and Bloodline, both of which feature characters who feature strongly in the next series. There might be a few more shorts on the way as well, but I can't say for certain. Too much of my time is being taken up with writing full length novels at the moment.

Q] I never have asked you about this, but the grand title of your saga is the First Earth. What does it mean and why did you choose to call it as such?

RJH: Well if there's a First Earth, it would suggest there might be a Second Earth... and maybe a Third and Fourth Earth as well.

Q] What’s next on the horizon for you? Are you writing a sequel to one of your earlier works or will you be releasing something brand new?

RJH: My next release is a book called NEVER DIE, and it's a standalone fantasy book set in its very own world. I've taken a lot of inspiration from eastern martial art films and anime with it. It follows a young boy called Ein who is given a quest by a shinigami (god of death) to kill the emperor. To do this, Ein is given the power to bring heroes back to life to fight for him. The only problem is, to bring them back to life and bind them to his cause, first those heroes have to die. NEVER DIE will be releasing early next year.

And beyond that my next project is a trilogy set in a new world where magic is granted to Sourcerers by swallowing crystals. It's a bit more high fantasy than I've written before with a few other races, and lots of big magic, and it's another one I've written in first person from the perspective of young woman called Eska. Book 1, Along the Razor's Edge, will be releasing next year (this is the first time I've revealed that), with books 2 and 3 following the year after.

Q] Never Die sounds amazing and I'm sure your fans will love to hear more about it. The other trilogy you reference sounds even cooler, will this be your turn to dabble in the YA genre?

RJH: Apparently so. I certainly didn't intend it to be YA when I started it, and in my mind it isn't, but some of my early readers have said it has YA elements to it. I've also been told it's what would happen if you put Faithless and Red Sister in a blender. I'm not sure I agree with either statements personally.

Q] Thank you for your time and answers, I’ll look forward to Never Die when it releases next year. In parting, it there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

RJH: Just to say thank you for reading. I love sharing stories with people, and I couldn't do that without readers. You are all awesome!


Nick Borrelli said...

Great interview Mihir! I'm a huge fan of Rob's books and he's a real "up and comer" in the fantasy genre. I truly believe he is destined for more and more success.

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