Mark conducted an e-mail interview with Jeff Salyards, whose debut novel Scourge of the Betrayer publishes next Tuesday (May 1, 2012) from Night Shade Books. I think Mark has read (or is reading) the book, I’ve got it queued up on my Kindle as my next read. Justin (whose blog everybody reading mine should read) had some good things to say about the novel. Anyway, here’s the interview link and a snapshot of what Mark and Jeff discussed:
Your first book, Scourge of the Betrayer, is due out soon (as we type.) I would say that it is dark heroic Fantasy, but what can you tell us about it?
It might fall under that tag/label, but then again, it might resist it, too. I suppose it depends how we’re using it—we’d have to unpack the term a bit more, maybe. In Scourge, there are no huge sweeping conflicts between good and evil. In fact, the scale of this first book in the series is pretty small and tight. I was shooting more for intimate and character-driven than epic and far-reaching. Which isn’t to say it’s Scourge and Prejudice—there’s plenty of bloodletting. It’s not all clever banter or meditative reflection. So, the cast of characters is small, the story doesn’t traverse huge kingdoms/lands, and the world definitely has a hard-boiled feel to it. In some ways, the book shares more in common with film noir than a lot of traditional fantasy. The term “gritty” has lost a lot of the punch it might have had, simply due to oversaturation. Same dealio with “grey characters.” Some readers take that to mean that there is no good or evil in the fictional world focusing on grey characters, or that all the characters gravitate to the centre where there are no real delineations, just various subtle shades of self-serving, mercenary impulse. There are plenty of “grey” characters in Scourge, but I’m using that in the sense that their motivations aren’t known or laid bare, and that even in those instances where they are, the characters often prove complicated or conflicted, full of contradictions and tension lines that cross each other.