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Monday, May 2, 2022

Blog Tour: NO GODS ONLY MONSTERS Q&A with Steve McHugh (interviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)


Read chapter one over HERE
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Crimes Against Magic

Today we have the pleasure of taking part in Steve McHugh's No Gods Only Monsters blog tour (organized by Graeme Williams Marketing). I was first introduced to Steve's writing when I came across his self-published debut. Since then he was picked up by 47North & became a best-selling hybrid author. His books have been full of terrific characters, lots of magic and action that makes for thrilling reads. 

With his recent release, NO GODS ONLY MONSTERS, Steve has started a new series set in the same world of Hellquin/Avalon/Rebellion books. We chat with Steve about the why of this book, who the main character is and what the readers can expect.

Plus checkout the rest of the blog tour schedule, so you can visit the next stops as well.

Q] Hi Steve, welcome to Fantasy Book Critic. How have you been?

SMcH: I’m good, thanks. Been busy writing, working on a lot of stuff, which is always nice as it’s better to stay busy. Hope all is good with you.

Q] In 2022, you are celebrating your decade as a published author. How do you look back upon the past decade?

SMcH: In a way, it’s gone quickly, like the blink of an eye, but in another it feels much longer. A lot has changed over ten years. I now write fulltime, I’ve sold over a million books, I’ve been nominated for awards. It all feels a little surreal.
I look back on it fondly and I’m hoping for more decades to come, but my brain doesn’t always compute what has happened.


Q] You began your journey as a self-published author with Crimes Against Magic and then quickly were picked up by 47 North. How did that swift transition go for you?

SMcH: It was very good. I was self-published for a year, and then I wasn’t. I was just happy to have other people sort out everything I didn’t enjoy doing. Finding an artist, getting an editor, sorting out some of the marketing. Writing is a hard job at the best of times, but having to do everything yourself can become a little overwhelming.

I’ve kept my hand in the self-publishing side of things, and I enjoy it a lot, but I can’t deny how hard it is to be a self-published author.

Q] You are done with Nate’s adventures in this world but what lead you to write more adventures vis-à-vis the Antiquity Chronicles?

SMcH: I knew I wanted to tell the stories of the supporting cast, and I’ve done a few novellas, which No Gods, Only Monsters was meant to be as well, but it turned into a novel and here we are.

I’ll go back to Nate one day, I still have stories to tell, but I’m happy filling out that universe with tales from characters who have interesting stories to tell.

Q] I love the title “ No Gods Only Monsters”. How did you come up with it?

SMcH: Honesty, it just came to me. I usually go through about a half dozen titles while writing a book, and swap them around all the time, and at some point something will come to me and I’ll think, “yes, that’s it,” and it usually works out. No Gods was no different. I think I was probably playing on the Playstation at the time.

(Cover design & typography by Shawn T. King)

Q] What made you focus the story through the mythological figure of Diana?

SMcH: Diana has been in most of the Hellquin/Avalon/Rebellion books, and I love writing her. I wanted to tell her story of when she wasn’t quite so together, quite so happy with who she was as a person. How did she get to that place? What did she have to go through? It’s a story that had been kicking around in my head for a while.

Q] You are very popular for writing action-packed stories with characters of all moral stripes. This has been your forte all throughout the past thirteen-plus novels. What makes you write stories in such a vivid cinematic fashion?

SMcH: I spent most of my childhood watching anime and Asian cinema, specifically Hong Kong action films. I grew up watching everything I could that had Golden Harvest involved, I picked up every anime I could find (sometimes with great regret). I devoured it all and I loved every second of that journey.

It was always going to be on the cards that what I still loved watching, and the way it’s presented, was going to make its way into the books. I want it to feel like while you’re reading a book, it’s being played out on the screen in front of you. That was always the intent with the action scenes, and it’s nice to know that for a lot of people it’s worked out.

Q] Which historical era is the book set in and what sort of research did you have to do to help make the world feel real?

SMcH: It’s set in 200 AD ish as the Roman Empire is still very much a thing. I’ve always loved reading about the Greek, Roman, Egyptian Empire’s, and find them fascinating, so the second I knew I was going to write Diana in a book, I knew it had to take place during that time.

I did research on the types of ships, where the Roman Empire was actually in control of, what types of lives people had lived on the fringes of that Empire. I like research, so I probably did a lot more than I needed to, but I’m sure I’ll use some of that information in future books. 

Q] What can readers expect from this book? What should they be looking forward to according to you?

SMcH: It’s a big, action-packed adventure book. It has monsters, and gods, and the good guys going after bad guys. It has swearing Norse dwarves, and angry gorgons. It’s everything people should have come to hopefully expect from the Hellequin stories but set in Ancient Rome.

Q] You plan to write three potential books in this series and each one will be focusing on a different main character. What lead you to imagine this series in this regards?

SMcH: I originally had the idea that after Diana, there would be two more goddesses, one main for each book, and that they’d be a sort of Charlie’s Angels but in Ancient Rome. I haven’t written book 2 yet, so that’s still the plan, but we’ll see if it works out that way when I’ve started working on it.

Q] Will there be an audio version, if yes can you reveal who might be narrating it?

SMcH: There will be as I just agreed a deal for it, but I have no idea when it will be out or who the narrator will be. I will let everyone know when I do though.

Q] Many thanks for your time and answers Steve; I look forward to the remaining books. Any parting words for your fans.

SMcH: Thanks for having me on. I just want to thank everyone who has stuck with me through thirteen novels, four novellas, and continues to read my work. I wouldn’t be here without you all, and really appreciate the time and money you spent on my work. I hope No Gods, Only Monsters, is something you all enjoy.



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