After a collection of posts by dark fiction and horror writers, we move sideways, via steampunk, into fantasy and grimdark.
Author #42 also gives us the most authentic profile picture to date.
(And a stunning book cover for question 7.)
Good people of the Internet, writing out of Derbyshire, UK – Rob Hayes
Name one book:
1 – everyone should read
Retribution Falls (1st in the Tales of the Ketty Jay series) by Chris Wooding. Followed quickly by the Black Lung Captain, because you really need to read the 1st book first, but the 2nd book is better. Honestly, I just love the entire Ketty Jay series so very much. They have it all: gun fights, sword fights, dog fights, thrilling chases, epic swashbuckling action, demons, warlocks, golems, a fist fight with a cat, devious religions, ancient secrets, and so very much more, all wrapped up in Chris Wooding’s explosive style.
I first read the book one day when I came down with the flu and it might well be the fastest I’ve ever read a book. I zipped through it and couldn’t put it down. So yeah, everyone should read Retribution Falls so I can have endless conversations about it, and maybe one day we can all convince Chris to write more stories in that world.
2 – you would take with you if you were going to be marooned on Mars
How about I answer by pointing out that I was once marooned on an island in Fiji for 3 months… Well it wasn’t so much marooned as stationed there while researching coral reefs, but that’s beside the point. I actually took 2 books with me during my maroonment and they were Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton because I figured if I was going to live on a desert island for a bit I should probably dream of dinosaurs. And the other book I took was Game of Thrones by the GRRM Reaper himself. Actually that was the very first time I read anything by George and it was so very painful not having access to any of the later books. Of course now I realise that 3 months waiting in GRRM time is nothing.
3 – you took a chance on and were pleasantly surprised by
I’d go with Damoren (book 1 of the Valducan series) by Seth Skorkowsky. It’s an urban fantasy series where demons are hunted by templar knights who wield semi-sentient holy weapons. The hunters form bonds with their weapons which gives it a sort of dual peril aspect. It’s bloody and nail biting and gruesome and again it only gets better as the series goes on.
Now I’m not usually fan of urban fantasy, in fact I have never read another urban fantasy that I liked, but Seth’s stuff is brilliant. It reminds me of the Hellsing anime and has that same dark feel to it.
4 – you’ve written that is your favourite
I could cheat a little here and say City of Kings (coming 2018), but I’ll stick to the books I’ve already published. I’d go with The Fifth Empire of Man (Best Laid Plans Book 2). It’s actually my most recent release and continues the piratical story I started in Where Loyalties Lie.
I had an absolute blast writing about my pirates and the vulgar, dangerous world they inhabit. But for me I would say the 2nd book in the series is my favourite because it has so much more going on in it with crazy treasure hunts, massive naval battles, and a race to see who will get to sit on the pirate throne.
5 – that has influenced you most as a person
I think I’d say The Dark Portal (book 1 of The Deptford Mice) by Robin Jarvis. I’m a lifelong fan of the fantasy genre and I’m fairly certain it was this book that kicked it all off for me back when I was still but a child. I was a fairly sickly child and my mother and father both worked, so I often found myself alone during those sick days. Sometimes my mother would rent a video from Blockbuster for me, and sometimes she nip to the library to borrow a book or two. One such time she borrowed The Dark Portal and I devoured it as quickly as I was able. I may even have claimed I was ill for a little longer than I actually was just to finish the book. It was the very first fantasy book I can remember reading, and it set me down the path I’m on today
6 – that has influenced you most as a professional
On a professional level. I’d go with Aurian (book 1 of The Artefacts of Power) by Maggie Furey. This was the book, and the series, that made me want to give the whole writing thing a go. I’d always made up stories here and there in my head, but it wasn’t until reading Aurian that I started sitting down at a keyboard and trying to turn those dreams into coherent stories. I failed. Back then I failed so very hard. But it was a starting point for me. Twenty years (or so) later and here I am, a professional author. So I’d say Aurian was pretty influential.
7 – of yours that prospective readers should start with if they want to get to know your work and where they can get it.
I would start with The Heresy Within (The Ties that Bind Book 1). It’s the book that started my career and the first in the much longer First Earth Saga, which will eventually encompass multiple series. It’s a sort of fantasy spaghetti western where the Bad, the Worse, and the Ugly have to put aside trying to kill each other to face a common enemy. You can expect magic wielding witch hunters, legendary swordswomen, and a world that is trying its very best to kill them all. And you can find it on Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble
You can find Rob at www.robjhayes.co.uk
Rob J. Hayes is a UK based fantasy author of both Grimdark and Steampunk. His love of pirates, witch hunters, vikings, and cowboys has influenced his work far and wide and they can all be found in the pages of The Ties that Bind and Best Laid Plans.
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