Interview with TL Greylock!
Lots to cover for this newsletter. I have an interview with TL Greylock, author of the wonderful Norse inspired, The Song of the Ash Tree on deck. But before we get to TL, I wanted to point that it’s been two weeks since the launch of A Testament of Steel, and what a fantastic launch it’s been! Thank you to everyone who has read the book. So many of you have reached out to me, and it’s been so gratifying reading the amazing praise the book has garnered. It also seems like a lot of folks are realizing all my books/series are interconnected, which is cool. It’s fun reading the notes they send me indicating their surprise.
So, if you haven’t had a chance, check it out on Amazon. In addition, it’s free for those who have a subscription to Kindle Unlimited!
And for those who listen to their books, Nick Podehl is still scheduled to do the narration and hopefully, the audiobook will available sometime in September.
I’m also hard at work on the sequel, Memories of Prophecies, and I hope to have it out in the first quarter of 2021.
And once again, here’s the blurb for the book:
A young man with no past must progress into a warrior out of legend.
Cinder Shade’s life begins on a fateful afternoon at the bottom of a well where he awakens, bruised, battered, and bereft of all memory. His only understanding is a driving imperative—to protect those who can’t defend themselves and become a warrior worthy of the name.
He discovers within himself a peculiar gift, one in which the codes of combat are made evident and the language of steel is made clear. When he earns a place at a prestigious elven warrior academy, Cinder fights to enhance his knowledge and perhaps even humble the proud elves who believe no human is their equal.
His hard-earned skills are put to the test when strange rumblings emanate from deep in the Dagger Mountains. Monsters out of myth emerge. And so does something far worse . . .
An ancient god. The world believes this deity long dead, but he is very much alive. And he remembers his enemies all too well. Even if they don’t remember themselves.
And now here’s the interview with TL Greylock.
TL or Taya (rhymes with Taya) to her friends is the author of the wonderful Norse inspired epic fantasy series, The Song of the Ash Tree. She also has a new book coming out, Shadows of Ivory, book one of the Godforged Chronicles, cowritten with the inimitable Bryce O’Connor (who 9/10 doctors recommend never imitating). So, let’s jump into things.
What inspired you to become a writer? I ask this of everyone because the path to a writer can be a winding one.
I guess there are two answers to this. The first is the fact that I couldn’t stop reading as a kid. I literally tried to refuse to get out of the car when my family visited the Grand Canyon because I wanted to keep reading my book. So I think wanting to write must have stemmed from that. The second, slightly more concrete answer, is that my uncle was at the forefront of self-publishing back in the early 2000s. Back in those wild west days when no one really knew what they were doing, he managed to build a solid audience and establish a career. By the time my mid-twenties rolled around and I began to seriously consider publishing, I had an example to follow and proof that it could be done.
Your uncle? Dare I ask who he is? I decide to dare not. He can get his own damn interview. What did you do before you became a writer? Or what are you doing in addition to writing?
I currently work at a small private high school in Boston. I have about 84 different roles there, but coaching girls’ hockey and lacrosse is my favorite part of that job.
Coach, writer, and master of 84 roles, and your hair still looks fabulous.
You’re known for the world of your bestselling Norse epic fantasy series, The Song of the Ash Tree. It’s such a gritty, real story. I really enjoyed this quite a lot, especially the descriptive elements. I could taste the snow, feel the cold, and hear the crows. What was the inspiration for the series?
I drew inspiration from a few places. Obviously the Norse myths themselves were a huge influence, but I also drew on my experiences reading Beowulf, Egil’s Saga, Arthurian legends, The Song of Roland—that sort of thing. Additionally, one of my favorite books of all time is The Iliad and it brings me a lot of joy when readers mention getting a Homeric feel from the trilogy. I would say that Homer probably lurked most prominently in the back of my mind while I was writing the books.
Ancient classics of the genre then, eh? I can see it now that you mention them.
You don’t pull any punches with the story. It’s gripping and hard to put down. I noticed immediately that the ‘good’ guys may not always get their way amid the brute force of politics. What can you tell us about it that’s not in the blurb?
I think first and foremost I wanted Raef to make mistakes. He makes some pretty bad decisions, especially in the first book. Some of those decisions are driven by anger, some by love for those who matter to him, but the result of many of them is that he ends up in a worse situation than he started—I wanted to show him learning and growing into a better version of himself. I also wanted—and this comes out mostly in the third book—to show that the ‘bad guy’ might have a point. The primary antagonist through the series is not necessarily wrong in his convictions; it’s his methods that make him and his goals intolerable.
Those kind of character traits or faults definitely make for more interesting and well-rounded characters.
You also don’t mind getting into the muck and mire. I assume this is intentional, but where did you get the insight to write so clearly about those matters? And what themes are you playing with in your writing? Never mind. Maybe I don’t want to know. What I mean is that you don’t take a bird’s eye view of carnage and death. It heightens the sense of place. However, it makes me think that if I ever see you with a sword, I should run.
Ha, I will definitely take all of that as a compliment. I think for me I really tried to take to heart what I knew about the workings of fighting in a shield wall. It’s an especially gritty, ugly form of battle and I wanted to convey that. Granted, we get plenty of heroic one on one moments, of course, but even with those I tried to carry over that sense of tunnel vision and reliance on instinct. It’s not pretty, but I hope it makes it realistic.
Raef is such an interesting character, with significant depths and strengths. Will there be more stories set in his universe?
I don’t currently have any plans to continue in the nine realms. I do think there’s room for it, and a short story I wrote that is set a significant amount of time before Raef’s story does have the potential to spawn something. But right now, no, I’m looking ahead to other things.
I think part of this is that I feel Raef’s story was the story I was meant to tell. Something about wading back into it now that I’ve finished doesn’t feel quite right.
There is also an omnibus edition with new cover art. On a personal level, I love it. I thought it so perfectly captured the series. Who did it, and is he/she still accepting commissions?
I love this art, too! The artist is Stefan Koidl and I really enjoyed working with him. As far as I know, Stefan is open to work!
And finally, what about your new project. What can you tell us about it? What’s it about?
The new book is called Shadows of Ivory and it’s the first in a series called The Godforged Chronicles. It’s a bit of a mashup between Indiana Jones and Renaissance Italy—think archaeologists, family rivalries, warring city-states, mysterious artifacts, and reincarnated kings. It’ll be out August 4th!
How about audiobooks? Will there be any audiobook versions of your new series?
Yes! I’m very excited to announce that Tantor will be producing the audio for Shadows and the immensely talented Kate Reading will be narrating. The audio will release the same day as the ebook.
Kate Reading? You have the Kate Reading of Wheel of Time and The Stormlight Archive fame? SOLD!
Anything else you want to tell us about you or your books?
Lol, a simple, succinct reply. Thank you for stopping by Taya!
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