Today’s interview is with Peter W. Blaisdell, author of The Lords of Powder.
1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)?
My author (and actual) name is: Peter W Blaisdell. I live in California.
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
Title: The Lords of Powder.
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy, Supernatural Suspense
3) What is the book about?
THE LORDS OF POWDER is a fast-paced, blend of modern fantasy, historical fiction and suspense.
In the story, Bradan is a 1500 year old magician, but only looks 30 years of age. Fifteen centuries has been plenty of time to get into trouble and he’s at various times fled Vikings and joined court-life in medieval Andalusia while trying avoid being strangled in the Caliph’s dungeon. Things haven’t improved much in 1978 Miami where he drives a haunted Volvo station wagon, keeps a high-strung wolf, and tries to woo a gifted musician. However, he needs money for his lifestyle. Lots of money. Bradan uses his magical talents to organize a lucrative smuggling ring, but success brings him to the attention of violent rivals as well as narcotics detectives, and the DEA. Will his modest enchantment skills and sardonic sense of humor save him? And can he balance the profitability of smuggling with its consequences for his romantic relationship, humanity, and survival?
As one Goodreads reviewer noted about THE LORDS OF POWDER, “Peter Blaisdell’s second novel – a prequel to his first (THE LORDS OF OBLIVION) – is a fast paced and exciting read. The dialog is realistic and often humorous. Even if one hasn’t read the first novel, it would be easy to become invested in his characters. And who doesn’t secretly want a pet wolf?”
Another reviewer stated, “This was very good. Very good dialog and entertaining plot. The author has obvious talent, and I’ll check out his other book. I hope he has more in for us.”
THE LORDS OF POWDER is the second work in this urban, noir fantasy series, which includes the previously published THE LORDS OF OBLIVION. Each book can be read as a stand-alone story, but they work really well together.
4) Where did you come up with the idea?
Themes are always what comes to me first even before character, setting and plot. So…for THE LORDS OF POWDER, besides wanting to write a really fun read, I wanted to touch on borders including geographic, psychological and emotional boundaries. People move around a lot in this story – either willingly or not – so it was interesting as an author to think about all the internal and external frontiers that they’re forced to cross. On a related point, I also wanted to write about compromises, My story starts in 1978 Miami and Bradan, the main character, has aspirations about gaining a lavish life-style. However, just what is he willing to give up to achieve the life that he thinks he wants? Along these same lines, my main character has led a very long life (the story has flashbacks to Viking-era England and medieval Spain) and he’s made any number of choices and compromises along the way and I wanted to touch on how shaped what he did in Miami. Plus, it’s just a cool thing to be able to set part of my story in Andalusia and Lindisfarne!
5) How long did it take you to write it?
I’d thought about the themes, plot, and characters for the book for quite a while before putting fingers on keyboard, but once I started writing, it only took about four months to complete a 100,000 word draft manuscript. However, I’m a careful editor and I also hired an outside copy editor and proof-reader. That added another two months – I wanted to do a high-quality job at this ‘cleanup’ stage and catch all the continuity and syntactical errors long before the final book was published and got to the reader.
6) Did you learn anything from the project?
Great question! I could write another whole book on lessons learned in authoring THE LORDS OF POWDER and THE LORDS OF OBLIVION (my first book). My website has postings on some of this, but briefly, here are some key lessons that apply whether you get an agent and traditionally publish or self-publish your book: 1) Finish your book! Without that, nothing else can happen. 2) Be supper thoughtful in the editing/proofing process. Almost every aspiring writer has great ideas and can slap together a first draft, but what separates mediocre writers from good ones is how carefully their work has been edited. 3) Plan your marketing. If you traditionally publish, don’t just assume that the publisher will magically do this all for you. No one knows your work better than you so develop a marketing plan that considers: who’s your audience? how will they know about your book? what platform(s) will sell your book? should you advertise? how will you get quality reviewers? what will make your book stand out from the literally thousands of other titles in your genre that hit the markets every year?
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog?
On my site, of course I have the usual links to my books, but I also try to share thoughts about the writing process and book marketing. I’d love to have folks stop by!
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists?
Per my responses above, my success tips include editing your work carefully and being prepared to expend effort on marketing your work. I had a great cover designer: Heidi North.
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
I have very broad tastes in reading in both fiction and non-fiction and, as Stephen King noted, the best way to improve yourself as a writer is to read other writers – and think about what you liked and didn’t like about their work – that is, don’t just read for entertainment, critique what you’re reading. ! I do read new authors, though unfortunately, I have little time to do formal reviews of their work – I’m writing my own stuff! In the Science Fiction and Fantasy space, I get a lot of my recommendations for new writers from Locus magazine.
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. It’s got really interesting themes, conflicted, complex characters – almost anti-heroes – and a post-war setting in Spain and Paris. This was his first famous book and it was early enough in his career so that it has an edge of self-mockery which his later stuff lacked.
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