I will continue to add questions here as/when they become “frequently asked.”
Where do I start reading?
I’ve gotten this quite a bit, and it’s true my library is… eclectic.
Hot Lead, Cold Iron is probably a good place to begin. It’s one of my best books, and while it’s the start of a new series, the story is mostly self-contained. You won’t be left with any major cliffhangers.
Maybe you’re in the mood for more traditional fantasy, though, rather than urban/gangland fantasy-noir. In that case, I suggest one of the following:
Thief’s Covenant, if you don’t mind Renaissance rather than Medieval fantasy. (It’s YA, but not really all that different from my non-YA stuff.)
The Goblin Corps, if you want something that looks at epic fantasy from the villains’ point of view. It’s a lot more sarcastic, bloody, and profane than the rest of my stuff.
And then there’s The Conqueror’s Shadow, which is probably the closest, of all my books, to “normal” fantasy.
Goblin is a completely stand-alone book. The other two have sequels, but are written to stand on their own; so again, you won’t be left with major cliffhangers.
Hope that narrows it down for you at least a bit…
Will you be writing any more Corvis Rebaine books?
I have other ideas for Corvis, and I’d like to get to them at some point. At the moment, though, there’s no interest from the publisher and I don’t know if there’s enough of a demand to make it worthwhile for me to write one for self-publishing.
What is the proper order for reading the Corvis Rebaine books?
The Conqueror’s Shadow first, then The Warlord’s Legacy.
Will you be writing a sequel to The Goblin Corps?
At the moment, I have no plans to do so. As you’re doubtless aware if you’ve read it, there’s a very specific feel and mood to that book–not just the events, but the writing itself. I will only ever write another one if I have an idea that really sings, and–this is important–I feel I can recapture enough of that voice/attitude. I’d much rather let that book stand alone than to try to shoehorn in a sequel that didn’t feel like it belonged.
Was The Goblin Corps based on a D&D campaign?
Yes, but perhaps not in the way you’re imagining.
It is never a good idea to try to translate a campaign directly to a written story. There are simply too many things that happen in a game that don’t make for good fiction: character decisions; plot points; the appearance of certain creatures; oh, my God, so many fights; and lots more. Even the pacing’s different. If you try to directly novelize a campaign, you’re going to wind up with a mess.
What I did with The Goblin Corps was to use the campaign as inspiration, but not a complete model. Lots of the plot points and characters were carried over, as was the general flow of the main plot, and even some specific events. That said, lots was also left out. Basically, they shared an “idea pool,” but branched out from there, as opposed to one being entirely based on the other.
If you’re curious, Katim, Gork, and Jhurpess were based on player characters from the campaign. Belrotha was a sometimes PC/sometimes NPC. Nearly all the other major characters were based on non-player characters.
A few–the most important one being Crâeosh–were created specifically for the book. (I needed a main character who would be entirely my own voice, as opposed to based, however roughly, on someone else’s.)
(The following question and answer contain spoilers for The Goblin Corps; highlight with your mouse to read them.)
Why did you just abruptly kill Crâeosh “off-screen” between the final chapter and the epilogue?
Well, after their interaction throughout the book, it was very clear that something had to eventually happen with Katim and Crâeosh. Especially once she thought the Charnel King was dead, there was no way Katim was going to hold off much longer on her efforts to claim him for the afterlife. One of them had to be gone by the epilogue.
That said, the flow of the story really worked so much better with the final chapter ending where it did. Cramming in an extra scene after they discovered the ruins of the Iron Keep, just for the sake of showing one killing the other? It didn’t work. It threw the narrative off something fierce.
So I had to make a choice: Either keep Crâeosh around for the epilogue, which would have been a betrayal of the characters; shoehorn in an extra scene, which would have been a betrayal of the dramatic flow; or do it off-screen, which would be unsatisfying for some people, I knew, but not nearly as much of a problem for most readers, or for me.
Thus, the choice I made.
(I must admit I also had a secondary motivation. By not showing Crâeosh’s death, and having it occur in such a way that no body was recovered, I leave myself the option of using him again in the future, if I wish to.
What is the proper order for reading the Widdershins series?
Thief’s Covenant, then False Covenant, then Lost Covenant, and finally (and perhaps obviously) Covenant’s End.
Do you plan to write a sequel for [Agents of Artifice/The Abomination Vault/In Thunder Forged]?
As of this moment, I’ve no plans to do so. If one of the relevant publishers should approach me to do one, it will of course depend on my situation and schedule at the time.
What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?