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Monday, April 12, 2021

Exclusive Cover Reveal Q&A: Whispers Of Ruin & Echoes Of Chaos by J.D.L. Rosell

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Preorder Whispers Of Ruin over HERE (on sale for $0.99 currently)
Preorder Echoes Of Chaos over HERE (on sale for $0.99 currently)
Download The Phantom Heist for FREE

Today it’s my pleasure to welcome J.D.L. Rosell on the blog and have him reveal the covers for the first two books in Greco-Roman inspired fantasy series The Famine Cycle. J.D. also chats about author branding and what inspired him to write this series. Read ahead to find out the wonderful covers and what comes next in this series
Q] Welcome to Fantasy Book Critic Josiah and thank you for your time. How have things been with you in 2020-21?

JDR: Thanks for having me! To be perfectly honest, things have been a strange mixture of ups and downs. Obviously there's been some major minuses from everything going on in the world, but in spite of that, I had a bit of a milestone year in 2020 — as I took the leap into being a full-time author. So it was nice that one good thing came out of it!

Q] I believe the first book of the Famine Cycle was previously released as City Of Whispers. Can you reveal some of your reasoning behind its current makeover and re-release?

JDR: City of Whispers was originally released a bit earlier in my indie author career — autumn 2019, I believe. At that time, I was still trying to figure out how exactly to brand and market books — which includes knowing what to do about covers. Because of this, I accidentally hamstrung the illustrator/designer I was working with at the time, and the cover that resulted wasn't quite what it needed to be. 

As the initial launch flopped, I moved on from the series for a while. But the reviews I had gotten were good, and I knew I eventually needed to finish the story — so I finally decided to pull the trigger and get a redo! Along with new covers, the books got fresh edits as well, just to make sure they were squeaky clean out of the gate.


Q] Let’s talk about the stunning cover for Whispers Of Ruin & Echoes Of Chaos. Please tell us how you and your cover designer worked together to create it?
JDR: René Aigner gets all the credit — he's truly a gifted illustrator. He's done just about six cover illustrations for me now and has nailed them every time. 
The process is pretty straightforward. I give him a briefing that includes the two or three main elements I'm looking for — in this case, the protagonist, the city, and the spirit dragon — the book genres we're trying to hit, the desired mood, and some reference images. René then goes away and does his magic, and I usually see just one rough before he wraps it up.
As for typography and the final cover touches — well, my dirty little secret is I do those elements myself! I have some experience with design from the old day job and other hobbies, and it's been fun taking the reins on that part of the cover.
Q] What was your first reaction when you saw it? How does it hold up (in your opinion) to what the main story is about?
JDR: Giddiness! It hits everything I was hoping for. Whispers of Ruin begins as a sort of murder mystery in an Ancient Greco-Roman setting, but evolves into a sort of Mistborn-esque epic. So all of the main elements — the thiefish protagonist, the city, and the dragon — needed to be present and work in harmony to evoke that feeling.
Q] Let’s talk about The Famine Cycle, a lot of authors have a lot of different experience writing a new series after their debut sagas? How was the experience for you? What were some of the differences you noticed during its writing?

JDR: Each book and series is always a different experience. I have a problem of beginning lots of new sagas (currently have two more first books waiting in the wings, in addition to my present series, and about five dozen more ideas...). I love the exploratory nature of building a new world, cast, and story. Each book I write differs slightly in tone and origin, and plays with different tropes, cultures, and elemental stories, which helps keep things fresh for me. 

In its original composition, Whispers of Ruin was really tough to write. I must have written double the number of pages that ended up in the final version. It took me about three and a half years to finally arrive at a place where I was happy with it.
Q] What was the inspiration for The Famine Cycle? Where did the idea come from and what compelled you to see it through to the end?

JDR: This has only happened to me with this series, but the idea literally came to me in my sleep. The day after I'd moved to Seattle, I woke up in my Airbnb and thought, "What if a private investigator existed in a medieval fantasy world?" From there, the protagonist, Airene, developed to the point that she would speak in my head during my commute. I don't go for woo-woo, but this was certainly more of an inspired series for me than an idea I worked hard to find, and I probably treasure it all the more for that.


Q] Can you tell us more about the world that The Famine Cycle is set in and some of the story’s major characters? What are the curiosities of this world?
JDR: As mentioned above, the primary setting is a city named Oedija, which is more or less an Ancient Rome/Athens analogue. I hadn't seen many instances of that sort of culture depicted in modern fantasy, and I've always been fascinated with Greek mythology. I was also interested in how a democratic republic would play out in a fantasy novel. Going along with diving deep into the political structure, I wanted this to have plenty of intrigue, so there are lots of conspiracies, players, motivations, and spheres of influence that, hopefully, come together in the story in an interesting way.

Airene "the Finch" is our main character. As alluded to, she has a sort of investigator role within this society. She and her companions hunt out secrets and either use them to blackmail those affected or sell them to other interested parties. While she set out with the noble goal of uncovering truth and spreading justice, the necessities of making a living have soured the original aims and made Airene fall into more unsavory lines of work. But the desire to do good always remains, as does the hunger to prove she can be more than she presently is. Ambition, however, can cut both ways, as she'll painfully learn...
As for curiosities, the magic is one fun part of the world. "Wardens" are the magicians of The Famine Cycle, and they're fairly uncommon — about 1 in 1000. They're also heavily regulated, due to the wardens of the past who seized hold of the realm for themselves. The sorcery is a fairly hard system, where the various forms of energy — light, heat, kinetic energy, electromagnetic energy, etc. — are manipulated to deadly effects. But, of course, things just grow more complicated from there!

Some of the other fantasy elements include a parallel spirit realm, a spirit moss that is used as the primary source of light, and gods that may be more than mere stories.

Q] How many books are you planning to write in this series?

JDR: The main story is a trilogy, but I've also written a prequel, Secret Seller, that folks can snag for free, as well as a "sidequel" called The Phantom Heist, which follows one of the main secondary characters in an adventure of his own.
Q] What are you reading currently? Are there any current authors or books which you would like to give a shout out to? 
JDR: I've been slowly reading through the last trilogy of Robin Hobb's Fitz books — slowly, to savor it and prolong when it must, inevitably end… 
But I'm also reading Sarah Chorn's Of Honey and Wildfires and "blazing" through it! She's a fantastic writer, and everyone should go check it out. It's a beautiful take on American West themes, with enthralling characters and voice, vivid language, and an emotional story — and with some interesting fantasy elements you're desperate to know more about!
Q] In closing, do you have any parting thoughts or comments you’d like to share with our readers?

JDR: People interested can check out the first two books in The Famine Cycle for $0.99 each (or equivalent) during the first five days of release, from April 19th through 23rd. They'll also be enrolled in Kindle Unlimited. And I'm committing to finishing out the trilogy within the next year by putting up a preorder, so I can assure you, I won't leave you hanging for long!

If you want to check out my other works, you can visit or look me up on Amazon (J.D.L. Rosell).

Thanks again for having me again, Fantasy Book Critic!

Every secret has its price. When a seller of secrets is caught in a deadly conspiracy, she'll discover how high a price she's willing to pay to uncover the truth...

Among the unsavory streets of Oedija, Airene and her unorthodox companions scrape a living as Finches, exposing lies and scandals for a scant profit.

When Oedija's monarch dies suspiciously, Airene sees her chance to earn more than the next meal. So she risks everything to learn the truth of his death, hoping to make her fame and fortune.

But the ruler's demise is just the first piece of the puzzle. Magic, long forbidden, reemerges in the face of revolution. War looms on the horizon. Ancient spirits awaken, hungry after their long slumber. And the secrets Airene reveals threaten to consume their world...

From the author of the bestselling Legend of Tal series comes an enthralling epic fantasy mystery filled with rumor hunters, secret societies, taboo magic, and a world-devouring god...

OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: Every war has its sacrifice. As her city falls into anarchy, Airene the Finch must find the mythical secret to defeating a daemon god — before he escapes his crumbling chains… 

Oedija is breaking. The Conclave, center of its government, lies in ruins.

The Manifest, the rebel movement of dangerous rogue sorcerers, extend their reach into the heart of the city.

And an ancient enemy, long believed to be myth, has reawakened at last.

Airene the Finch is one of the few who knows the truth. Amid the rising anarchy, she seeks the secret to defeating the rising daemon god.

But magic blossoms within her, erratic and deadly. Threats and treachery lurk in the shadows. Armies march toward Oedija’s walls. And the sacrifices Airene must make come with terrible consequences...

The story of political intrigue, mystery, and magic that began with Whispers of Ruin continues in Echoes of Chaos, Book 2 of The Famine Cycle.



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