Sunday, October 27, 2013

AUTHORized: Anthony Ryan

 AUTHORized is a new segment on this blog that features Authors
 in an interview or guest post

If you were thinking that I didn't plan to revive this blog of mine, well, you’re obviously wrong because my first interviewee on my new segment is someone epic. I mean, someone who writes Epic fantasy books. Yes, an author. But take note, he’s one of my favorite authors currently. So open your eyes and enjoy my conversation with Mr. Anthony Ryan, who authored the book Blood Song.


How did you come up with the Blood Song story?

AR:           I don't generally get flashes of inspiration, just a germ of an idea that gestates over a long period of time until it becomes something worth writing down. Blood Song emerged from a combination of influences including my studies for a part-time history degree, contemporary politics and various musings on the nature of religion. 

How do you build your characters and world?

AR:            I didn't do all that much note taking or pre-writing for Blood Song, for the most part the world and the characters emerged during the course of writing. I tend to see story and character as much the same thing, since one continually informs the other. For me, one of the keys to writing convincing characters is consistency, you have to ensure you don't have them doing things they would never do or saying things they would never say. I find world-building largely a matter of providing enough detail to illustrate those elements that impact the story without piling on so much information the reader gets bored.

Who is your favorite character in your book?

AR:            At the risk of being predictable, Vaelin has done a lot for my career so I'll probably always put him first.

Who do you think is the character in your books who's Anthony Ryan in disguise?

AR:              Frankly none. The only writer in the book is Verniers and I like to think I'm nowhere near as pompous as him. If I was to appear in the story I'd almost certainly perish in the first battle scene. 

Read or Write?

AR:               Read, it's easier.

Given that you're a big fan of Gemmell, what single book of his you want to book push to other readers?

AR:             Wolf in Shadow, on of his earliest books and still his best in my opinion, though they're all great and anyone who likes my work will almost certainly like his. 

What did you feel the first time you knew someone bought your book? How about when the publisher offered to traditionally publish your work?

AR:         I'll always be grateful for that first single digit on my sales report, the fact that someone thought something I'd written was worth their money remains a source of delight and surprise. The approach from Ace which led to my publishing deal was more of a shock, since I honestly wasn't expecting it. Once I'd calmed down though, I found the process of being published a fairly straightforward one, even oddly anti-climactic since my day to day life hardly changed, until I gave up my day job of course. I certainly don't regret it though.

Why chose Science Fiction and Fantasy? 

AR:          I think it chose me. I do read other genres, primarily crime and historical fiction, but science fiction and fantasy remain my first loves. I think I'm drawn most to the infinite possibilities offered by speculative fiction, it can be both escapist and nightmarish, beautiful and brutal, all in the same story.

How do you feel that you book is being compared to other published books?

AR:          It's extremely flattering to be mentioned in the same breath as George RR Martin and Robin Hobb. I also get compared to Patrick Rothfuss a lot, even though I still haven't read him.

What is next to expect from you?

AR:        Foreign language rights for Blood Song have been sold to 17 countries so far, though I think only the Italian version has actually been published. So anyone who doesn't speak English as a first language and wants a copy in their own tongue should keep a close eye on the Amazon new release listings over the next few months. Tower Lord, Book 2 of the Raven's Shadow trilogy, is currently with my editor at Ace and should be published in summer of 2014. I'm currently working on book 3, tentatively entitled Queen of Fire, and hope to deliver it by the end of the year. After that I have a couple of short story anthology invites to meet and I'll be returning to my Slab City Blues stories, which I'm continuing to self-publish. In addition to all that I'll need to start plotting out my next fantasy series, but it'll probably be a couple of years before that sees the light of day.


To know more about Anthony Ryan, you can freely visit him over at his website.

Book Review: Blood Song by Anthony Ryan

Title:         Blood Song
Author:   Anthony Ryan
Genre:      Epic Fantasy
Rating:     ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


I’m taking Maria’s introductory remark: I Highly Recommend Blood Song.

Apparently, I’m having this High Fantasy read-a-thon recently thus my taste on the said genre has just come back, albeit, my purpose was for preparation for our Book Club’s Monthly read which, unfortunately, I failed finishing reading it before the discussion. Anyway, it cannot be denied that I feel so fortunate stumbling upon this book.

Vaelin Al Sorna, Son of the King’s Battle Lord, at the age of ten, he is left by his father at the Sixth Order to be trained to fight and is only provided by his father with his “Loyalty is our strength” belief. But to what point shall he stand his loyalty to his family if entering the Order means leaving and forgetting everything he has?

Mad at his father’s confusing decision, he faces the Order with all it requires even it implies wiping out his past. Upon training he faces trials, gains friends, and even earns recognition but threats to his life linger. How can he be a fully Brother of Sixth Order and servant of Faith if hindrance aren’t just the difficult Order’s tests but emanating death attempts on him brought by assassins. But the question is, who wants him dead?

IF Science Fiction has a military SF novel Ender’s Game, I would like to think this is High Fantasy’s answer to its call. Blood Song – one of the best Epic Fantasy books, in fact Best Military Fantasy piece so far, this century has ever created. It starts with Vernier’s Account. Disorienting at first since it always happen to new books, but once Vaelin’s life story started, you’d be able to spell out UNPUTABLEDOWN.

It is hard for me to shrug off the apparent fact that Mr. Anthony Ryan is a great story teller. He knows when to pull the reader with evocative emotions. He started the story with innocence of a boy and gradually leads me to complex, yet wonderful world. Moreover, he knows where and when the reader regards and disregards what he reads and so he make advantage out of it by giving off very subtle motives and clues that eventually blows out at the very end of the book. Thus, after reading the book, a realization may come that the whole story is just delicately stitched from the very beginning to give way for its explosive ending.

The world building may not as exceptional as it should seem but its contents such beliefs, religions and cultures are nonetheless, flawless and concrete. The countries are strongly discerned and tied with their respective religion and beliefs that could be seen in real world. This is quite of a few books that successfully convert depiction of real situation to the fictitious Fantasy one. The names of the characters may sound odd but distinction among respected people is distinguished through the earned additional name on its Family name. It is one of the unique ways of the book that caught my attention.

The story rotates around brotherhood. Truly, I am impressed by how the word brother exploited without the bond of blood of those who used it. Every time I read the said word among the five main characters, trials, bonds and concern to each other flashbacks. The book indeed not just focuses on World building development but more on Character development. Vaelin Al Sorna is not a genius character but he’s clever enough to be likable. Lastly, Blood Song possesses strong meaning of friendship that seldom books could do.

Yes, this book is no other than an Epic Fantasy. It is a coming-of-age story like other works being compared to it. But one thing I am certain and I can assure you, Blood Song can stand on its own and Blood Song is unique on its own way. It is indeed the next Epic Fantasy book everybody should read.