Last week I reviewed Shadow’s Lure, the second installment in Jon Sprunk’s Shadow Saga series from Pyr. After finishing Lure I asked Sprunk to answer some questions for me, which he was kind enough to do. He’s also currently moving into a new house, so I’m even more appreciative that he found time to do this during that awful process (wish him luck!).
Also, Pyr has contributed a copy of both Shadow’s Lure and Shadow’s Son that I’m giving away this week (click here). Here’s the blurb from Shadow’s Son, Sprunk’s debut novel and first installment in the Shadow Saga:
In the holy city of Othir, treachery and corruption lurk at the end of every street, just the place for a freelance assassin with no loyalties and few scruples.
Caim makes his living on the edge of a blade, but when a routine job goes south, he is thrust into the middle of an insidious plot. Pitted against crooked lawmen, rival killers, and sorcery from the Other Side, his only allies are Josephine, the socialite daughter of his last victim, and Kit, a guardian spirit no one else can see. But in this fight for his life, Caim only trusts his knives and his instincts, but they won’t be enough when his quest for justice leads him from Othir’s hazardous back alleys to its shining corridors of power. To unmask a conspiracy at the heart of the empire, he must claim his birthright as the Shadow’s Son . . .
Justin: So, two books in Jon – congratulations. A lot of great response to both so far. Are you officially a professional writer?
Sprunk: Hey Justin, thanks a lot. I’m quite proud of the reception that first two books have gotten. Yes, I’m officially a professional writer.
Sprunk: Sure. I had just finished Joe Abercrombie’s First Law series (loved it) and I saw that Joe acknowledged this guy, Lou Anders at Pyr. On a lark, I shot Lou an email complimenting him on the series and mentioning that I had written a book in a similar vein and did he want to see it. I was actually shocked when he told me to send in a portion of the manuscript. He liked it and eventually bought it along with two more books in the series. He also introduced me to my agent. So, yeah, it was amazing. I’d been doing the writing/submitting thing for years, so to finally accomplish my dream was wonderful and a little scary.
Justin: Did you send Lou a box of chocolate or is he more of a roses guy?
Sprunk: Lou prefers beer (note from Justin: take notice queriers!)
Justin: The Shadow Saga is a dark, not-quite-Abercrombie-gritty, fantasy with an assassin/thief protagonist. Looking around the genre landscape this is a fairly well used ‘starting point’. What drew you to it?
Sprunk: I’ve always been drawn to the darker side of things, so an assassin protagonist was a natural fit. Basically, I like exploring how and why people do things which place them outside the normal parameters of society. How do they survive on the margin? What would they do if offered a chance to re-connect with the mainstream? Those kinds of questions.
Justin: Given how many publishers are putting dollars behind these kinds of stories, they’re clearly resonating with readers. Why do you think that is?
Sprunk: I think dark, or gritty, fantasy is a response to the traditional high fantasy. I love high fantasy, but after a while you get tired of reading about kings and queens and knights. I think there is a natural curiosity about what’s happening on the other side of the proverbial tracks.
Justin: Shadow’s Lure is significantly longer that Shadow’s Son and, as I commented in my review, it takes a little longer to get going. Was this a conscious decision? Did you try to bring new readers up to speed?
Sprunk: I try not to do that at all, but it inevitably slips in. Shadow’s Lure was a completely different style of novel for me. The journey into a character’s past while simultaneously moving them forward into the future. I hope readers didn’t expect me to keep up the break-neck pace of the first book all the way through the series. That kind of repetition doesn’t appeal to me. In fact, I’d much prefer it if every book I wrote had a different feel and style than all the rest.
Justin: Word on the street is that the final volume is titled Shadow’s Master. When’s it set to be released?
Sprunk: Yes, there is a definitive conclusion to the entire story, but that doesn’t mean I can’t return to this land and these characters. Well, the ones who survive.
Justin: Now that this trilogy is finished (for now), what’s next? Care to divulge any tidbits?
Justin: NFL season is in full swing. If I remember correctly you’re a Jags fan. Did you move to PA so you could see Jags games given they black out every weekend in Florida?
Sprunk: Ugh, yes, I’m a Jags fan, and this season has been brutal, but at least their defense is looking better. I’ve been living in PA since I was two or three. Don’t ask me how I got hooked on Jacksonville. Or better yet, find me at a convention and ask me over a beer.