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Friday, October 2, 2020

Exclusive Cover Reveal and Q&A: Smuggler's Fortune by Angela Boord


Official Author Website
Preorder Smuggler’s Fortune over HERE (USA)  & HERE (UK)
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of Fortune’s Fool


Today we have the pleasure of hosting Angela Boord. Angela won the silver medal in the 2019 edition of SPFBO and got one of the highest scores in the competition ever. While she’s close to finishing the sequel to Fortune’s Fool. She’s also releasing a novella that will serve as a prequel as well a good entry point for folks who haven’t been introduced to Angela’s amazing writing.

Q] Hi Angela, welcome back to Fantasy Book Critic and thank you for this cover reveal. How are things with you in 2020?

AB:
Thanks for having me! Considering it’s 2020, I think things are going about as well as they can. We’re quarantining a bit more because of my youngest daughter who has Down Syndrome, but since we homeschool, we haven’t had to make big adjustments to everyone being at home. Although it probably has been an adjustment for my husband, who is now working out of the pink bedroom.
Q] Firstly thank you for continuing on with the team of John Anthony De Giovanni & Shawn T. King. Secondly what an incredible cover this is? Can you tell us about it?

AB: I absolutely love the cover! The only thing I told John was, “There’s a big, mysterious cabinet in the story, and I think that should go on the cover.” Then he did the rest, and Shawn worked his magic with the typography. (I really love the typography Shawn chose for the series; I feel like it captures that sort of Renaissance fantasy feel so well.) What I find amazing about working with John is that he reads as much of the story as he can, and so this cover really contains a lot of elements from the novella. My favorite part is seeing Razi there with his two swords, and Kyrra in silhouette on the other side. There’s just something incredible about actually seeing these people who have only lived in your head; it’s like suddenly they’re real, and now it’s an actual book. 

Q] How did this novella come to be? What made you write this prequel story?

AB:
I wanted to write a short story to give away with my newsletter, and there were a few places in Fortune’s Fool that I felt probably had stories attached to them. I tossed around a few ideas, but I kept coming back to Razi, Kyrra’s mercenary companion. Razi walked on stage about two weeks before I sent the book to my copy editor as if he had been there from the beginning. Diana Gabaldon calls characters like him “mushrooms”—they pop up out of nowhere and take over. I really liked Razi and I wanted to know more about him, so I decided to write a story about how Kyrra met him. I did most of the basic plotting and wrote the first part of the novella on a road-trip (sixteen hours each way) to see my oldest son graduate from college, but the story quickly grew past the confines of a “short” story. It took me about a month to finish the first draft.

Q] What can readers expect from the novella?

AB:
Since it’s a novella, Smuggler’s is faster-paced than Fortune’s Fool, its plot more action-focused. You’ll get a deeper peek at Razi and Nibas, a glimpse of Liera right after the wars ended, more magic and gods, and one of the major characters is from Saien, so the worldbuilding also expands a bit in this one, to take in more cultures. The story is set in between the past and present narrative of Fortune’s Fool, and if you’ve read Fortune’s Fool, there are a few Easter eggs… but if you haven’t read Fortune’s Fool, that’s also fine. I wrote it to be a stand-alone without spoilers.

Q] Can you tell us what’s happening with Fool’s Promise, when are you planning to release it?

AB:
I’m trying very hard to get Fool’s Promise ready to release in early 2021. It’s been a difficult book from the beginning, mainly because it started out as two books that I combined. Originally, I was going to release the story of how Arsenault met Jon as Book 1.5. But after talking about it with some friends, I realized that I was unhappy with the idea of it being an “extra” book, because the narrative contained important information for Book 2. So, I decided to start Book 2 earlier—very soon after Fortune’s Fool ends—and include Arsenault and Jon’s backstory inside it. Like Fortune’s Fool, Fool’s Promise tells a past and present story, but the past story is Arsenault’s, and the present is told from three points of view: Arsenault and Mikelo in third person, and Kyrra in first person.

As you might imagine, this made the book a little hard to juggle and it grew just a bit. Right now, it stands at 250,000 words, which is 30,000 words longer than Fortune’s Fool. 2020 has also thrown a few wrenches into the process in the form of extra time, but I think everything is moving in the right direction now. I have all the feedback from my editor, my beta readers, and my sensitivity readers, so I’m about to be knee-deep in revisions.
Q] You had posted some interesting news about a portal fantasy that you recently finished? I recall from your previous interview it had a working title of “Storm Clouds”. How long is this draft and can you give your fans a teaser about this new world and potential series?

AB: I just sent Storm Clouds off to my first readers at 220,000 words—the same length as Fortune’s Fool. The word count of my books tends to bounce around a bit with revision as I cut and add, though, so we’ll see how it ends up. (I actually cut a very long draft in two to get the core of this book, which is another one I pulled out of my closet.) The story is kind of like an urban fantasy stuffed inside an epic fantasy; it starts out in the 80’s with a Cold War espionage feeling to it, and then adds a magic system I based on quantum physics and an alternate world with a North American setting. So, there are mammoths and swords and spirits and gods that used to rule an empire, and warring cultures in a very precarious stand-off with each other.  

But at its heart, it’s a book about family and friendship. Sergei, my main character, sets everything in motion because he doesn’t believe his mother is dead and won’t stop trying to find out what’s really happened to her, and the most important relationship in the book is Sergei’s friendship with his roommate Cam. In many ways, it’s a gritty, dark, emotional book, but I also wanted to make it about love and humor and devotion, and loyalty and forgiveness. Sergei and Cam banter back and forth a lot, but there’s also a strong core to their friendship that has been fascinating to explore. I’m hoping to release it later in 2021.

Q] Have you been reading anything good lately? Any particular titles or authors that you would like to give a shout out to?

AB:
I have actually been doing a lot of beta reading lately, and two books I’m really excited about are Bjorn Larssen’s dark literary fantasy retelling of Norse myth, Children, out October 3, and Krystle Matar’s Legacy of the Brightwash, which is basically a Victorian crime drama crossed with a gritty romantic fantasy, planned for release in February 2021. Both of these books are so good—character-driven, emotional fantasy, dark and brutal in places, but with humor and a lot of heart, and masterfully written. I feel really fortunate that I’ve gotten to read these books before everybody else!

Q] Thank you for taking the time to answer all the questions. In closing, do you have any parting thoughts or comments you would like to share with our readers?

AB:
Thank you for having me on FBC! I’d just really like to thank everyone who’s read Fortune’s Fool and is waiting patiently for more books in the series. Y’all are the ones that make it possible for me to do this, and your support means a lot to me.
Preorder Smuggler's Fortune over HERE (USA) & HERE (UK)

Official Book Blurb: I’d been ridiculed, rejected, robbed, and almost dismembered, and I’d only been in Liera a week.

Mercenary Kyrra d’Aliente’s homecoming is not as triumphant as she hoped. Her family is dead, her pockets empty, the man she loves missing, and a bunch of out-of-work sellswords want to steal her metal arm. So, when an encounter with an old friend leads to a smuggling job, she’s more than willing to hop on board in exchange for a bag of coins and a little revenge.

But will this mysterious cargo be worth the firestorm it ignites?

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