I’m pleased to bring you this interview with S.J. Hartland, author of The Last Seer King (Book 2 in the Shadow Sword Series).
1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)?
S.J. Hartland. I’m an Aussie author and live on the Darling Downs, Queensland. Qld is the “Sunshine State,” but the Darling Downs is high up, cold in winter and one of those rare Australian places that really has four seasons. At the moment, it’s still winter and the drought is ongoing, so it’s a bit miserable. Bring on spring!
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
I’ve just brought out the second in my epic fantasy Shadow Sword series, The Last Seer King.
3) What is the book about?
The series follows a young warrior bonded to ancient gods who knows his fate is to die young in a malign battle against an inhuman foe. But fate has something far more lethal in mind.
The second book is a blend of dark magic, obsession, betrayal, dangerous prophecy, and the forgiveness found through friendship. It’s about how secrets give others power over us.
4) Where did you come up with the idea?
In The 19th Bladesman, the first in the series, the initial idea was, what if you had to kill a stranger to save someone you love, but the person you had to kill protected the realm. It moved on from there.
5) How long did it take you to write it?
I wrote the first three together over eight or so years. I wasn’t sure where I was “at” with them, or whether they were any good, or even if I could write, so I approached an amazing mentor, Dr Kathryn Heyman of the Australian Writers Mentoring Program. She was incredible. I’m a journalist, and Kathryn taught me what journalists don’t know about writing a novel – turns out, that’s quite a bit.
The third is about to be edited, so hopefully it is out early next year.
6) Did you learn anything from the project?
Where to start! Almost at once, I knew I wanted to go “indy.” That meant learning where to find an editor, a cover designer, how to market etc etc, or at least try to market! I’ve taken some of Mark Dawson’s courses and they’ve been really useful.
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog?
his duty is to die young, but fate has something far more lethal in mind… the 19th bladesman and the last seer king: first two books in a new epic fantasy series out now
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists?
I’ve been really happy with Red Adept for editing, love the covers Deranged Doctor does for the series, and I’d be lost without Jason and Marina of Polgarus Studio for formatting.
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
I love fantasy, obviously, but sometimes I just crave a thriller or a cozy mystery. I read less than I should these days; balancing a full-time job with writing after work is a bit crazy.
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?
I’m not sure I can pick one. I love Dune and Michael Moorcock’s Elric series, as well as Australian author CS Pacat’s Captive Prince series. I devoured Gregg Hurwitz’s Orphan X series. He managed to make me care what happened to the main character after two pages. There’s such a vulnerability to Evan (Orphan X) that I love being in that world.