We continue our series profiling the progress of your favorite bestselling authors. This week: paranormal and epic fantasy bestseller Bruce Blake.
Tell us a little about your books, in chronological order: title, genre, a couple of words for each.
I currently have three series of books:
- Khirro’s Journey epic fantasy series: Blood of the King, Spirit of the King, and Heart of the King
A traditional quest fantasy, Khirro is cursed to find the necromancer or the kingdom will fall.
- The Icarus Fell urban fantasy series: On Unfaithful Wings, All Who Wander Are Lost, and Secrets of the Hanged Man
Icarus wasn’t very good at being alive and, when he dies and the archangel Michael offers him a job helping souls on their way to heaven, it turns out he’s not very good at being dead, either.
- The Books of the Small Gods epic fantasy series: When Shadows Fall, The Darkness Comes, And Night Descends, When Ravens Call, The Twilight Fades, and And Kingdoms End
An ancient prophecy, a headstrong prince, and banished gods seeking revenge.
Why did you decide to write a book?
I’ve been writing since I was in grade school. I made my first attempt at being published when I was in my teens. I wrote a few short stories that I sent out to magazines for publication, but had no luck, so my writing went on the back burner for a while. I picked it up again at the ideal time in life: when I had full-time job, a wife and two kids, and no time to add in a hobby. Perfect!
I had a couple of short stories published first, then self-published my first novel, Blood of the King, about 10 years ago. I’ve always wanted to write, so churning out a novel was just a matter of time.
Did you send it to agents or publishers, or did you publish independently?
I submitted to agents first and had a little interest, but nothing that panned out. I think it was when I came across JA Konrath’s blog about self-publishing that I decided to go that route.
How do you think your writing and your books have changed since then?
Writing is like anything else… the more you do it, the better you get at it. I always try to take something familiar and put a new spin on it. The scope of my books has certainly increased, from a couple of POV characters in my first series to eight or so for the Books of the Small Gods. I’m cutting that back a bit for my latest.
Tell us about your work in progress.
My current work-in-progress is the first book of a new series. The series is called Curse of the Unnamed. Magical creatures were enslaved by humans a thousand years ago, and Llyris Fildarae is one of the handlers trained to control them. When she is employed by a merchant and his mysterious advisor to recover and ancient tome, it turns out there is more going on than meets the eye. Sorry, I don’t have a proper blurb yet..—it’s first on my list once the writing is done.
What impacts, if any, has the pandemic had on your writing?
At first, it gave me more time. My job was reduced, so I finished the Small Gods series. In terms of the impact on themes and such, it hasn’t made much difference so far, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it starts to creep in.
Is there anything about your first book that you wish you had written, or done differently?
The only change I make about my writing would be to have stayed consistent with it all these years. I’ve had times when life has gotten in the way and I wish I had at least written a little each day during those times. The only other thing I’d change would have been to stay on top of promotion and advertising. Since I didn’t I’m having to put in a lot more effort now
What are some things about others’ books that you love?
I’m really about the writing. I’m currently reading the third book in Joe Abercrombie’s First Law trilogy, and I find myself in awe of his turn of phrase and how easily he differentiates voices between his POV characters.
What are some things about others’ books that you don’t like?
Exposition. There are some very famous and influential series I can’t read because they put me to sleep.
What advice do you have for new or aspiring authors today?
Like anything else you want to do and be successful at, you need to develop your muscles. Write every day, even if it’s for only a few minutes. Not only will you develop your skills, it also keeps you engaged in your story.
Thank you, Bruce.
Bruce Blake lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. When pressing issues like shovelling snow and building igloos don’t take up his spare time, Bruce can be found taking the dog sled to the nearest coffee shop to work on his short stories and novels.
Actually, snow isn’t really a pressing issue in Victoria, B.C. Bruce spends more time trying to remember to leave the “u” out of words like “colour” and “neighbour” than he does shovelling (and watch out for those pesky double l’s). The father of two amazing children, Bruce was once the trophy husband of a burlesque divae.
Bruce’s first short story, “Another Man’s Shoes” was published in the Winter 2008 edition of Cemetery Moon. Another short, “Yardwork,” was made into a podcast in Oct., 2011 by Pseudopod. Since then, he has concentrated on writing novels.