Jamie Marriage

Jamie Marriage is an internationally published Australian cyberpunk author with a taste for the dangerous and obscene aspects of life. His work ranges from the sarcastic to the satirical. Links to his work can be found at https://jamiemarriage.wordpress.com/

 

Hoagn-shatteredPicking up from where Blood of Innocents left off Mitchell Hogan returns us to his chaotic realm of sorcery and subterfuge in book three of the Sorcery Ascendant Sequence; A Shattered Empire.

Familiar protagonists return in this blood-fueled third volume of Caldan’s life as he seeks to find a cure for his beloved Miranda; to free himself from the nefarious plans of the corrupt and sorcerous Emperor; and maybe even save the world from Kelhak, the man who brought destruction and death down upon the world in the most apocalyptic game imaginable.

The narrative is, like the previous volumes, split between protagonists and antagonists alike: Caldan, the once regal but now destitute Lady Felice, honourable and misjudged Aidan, homicidally insane Amerdan and more getting to tell their sides of the story. It reveals that in times of war and great confusion things are rarely black or white; in the end people will do what is necessary in order to survive or help those they care about. While others are using the time to accumulate power or practice their craft on a panicked populus.

All the elements of the game are now revealed to our young protagonist. Sorcerous warlocks demand his blood to extend their lives, violent Touched demand his loyalty unto death, and the creatures that seek to overrun humanity see him as little more as a distraction towards their ultimate victory.

A Shattered Empire is a master-crafted piece of world building, going deeply into historical backstory, character arcs and both technical and philosophical discussion as to how such a land and people develop. In doing so Hogan has answered so many questions that remain lodged in our minds since the A Crucible of Souls, such as what happened to Caldan’s parents? What is the purpose of the mysterious trinkets he carries? Can anyone truly be trusted? And is there any way he can save the world so that he and Miranda will be left in peace?

In this, the most deadly of games, all rules are going to be broken. The pieces are arranged, schemes and strategies plotted, each possible move a risky gamble that could lead to supremacy or disastrous defeat. In the game of Dominion there can only be one winner; but what if winning comes at too great a cost? Only Caldan can make that decision.

If he fails all that will be left is A Shattered Empire.

 

Jamie Marriage

Jamie Marriage is an internationally published Australian cyberpunk author with a taste for the dangerous and obscene aspects of life. His work ranges from the sarcastic to the satirical. Links to his work can be found at www.JamieMarriage.com

Mitchell HoganHi Mitchell. It’s a pleasure getting the chance to interview you in time for the official release of your novel A Crucible of Souls.

Thank you for the opportunity! Being interviewed is a new thing for me; so, hopefully, I can provide some insights into my process and the path my writing career has taken so far.

First off I’d like to start with a couple of basic questions to warm up before we start talking about this novel. Which authors inspired your earliest works?

This is a tough one… I’d like to say the prose of Patrick Rothfuss inspired me, or the epicness of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series drove me to put words down on paper. But the truth is, I don’t think I’ll ever write to Rothfuss’s standard, or write a gigantic 10+ novel epic fantasy series. I’d read for decades before I decided to write my own novel, so I had a good idea about what I liked in fantasy and what didn’t work for me. I’d always been drawn to books where characters progressed, where they went from humble beginnings and ended up overcoming great odds or making a difference in their world. An author who springs to mind is Anne McCaffery, especially her books Dragonsong and Dragonsinger. I’ve read them many times, and they show just how a characters plight can affect a reader without sword fighting and battles and magic. Although I love those too!

Hogan-Crucibleof-Souls_3D_smallversion-1A Crucible of Souls won the prestigious Aurealis Award in 2013 in the Best Fantasy Novel category, and is now being released by one of the largest publishing houses in the world. How did first Crucible come into this world and did you ever think it would achieve such success?

I’d always wanted to write a fantasy novel, and one day I decided if I didn’t do it soon I never would. That prospect filled me with dread. I didn’t want to regret not trying. So I quit my job and started writing, and eventually self published A Crucible of Souls in July 2013. Although I thought I had a decent novel, and I’d received some professional feedback that it was good, I knew that the reality was most books don’t get published. So, I thought I’d put it out there and see what readers thought of it. I honestly believed it wouldn’t sell many copies, and I’d have to go back to working in the industry I was in previously. I think a good part of the book’s success was due to the fact I approached everything professionally. I tried to make my book indistinguishable from a traditionally published novel.

Tell me about your process. What sparks the conception of a new piece?

I usually have ideas for characters and certain scenes, along with a magic system I’ve invented and want to use. Then I like to write those scenes, and by the end they’ve usually taken me somewhere I didn’t expect. I’m what is usually called a “discovery writer”, or a “pantser”. Sometimes that doesn’t work out, but usually I can adjust what’s happening so everything gels. However, it does mean my first drafts are very rough. And by the end of the novel there could be a whole lot happening in the beginning that now doesn’t make sense.

hogan_Inquisitor-3DAre there any recurring themes or character types in your work as a whole?

It’s funny you should ask this! My editor mentioned something when he was going through my first sci-fi novel, Inquisitor, and I hadn’t realised it myself. Both A Crucible of Souls and Inquisitor have inanimate constructs (or automatons). In my fantasy novels they’re similar to mechanical and/or sorcery driven golems, while with SF they’re robots. I also enjoy writing characters who develop their skills or powers, whether they start out as young and naive, or with a good deal of world experience.

Your works have until this time been mostly self published; what important lessons have you learned through the years of publishing and promoting your own work?

Whether you self publish, or you’re looking for a traditional deal, you need to understand the business of writing. Some authors focus on the craft of writing and ignore the business side, and I think that’s a big mistake. Write for yourself, but look at publishing as a business. Understand the business you’re in, and you’ll be able to make better, more informed decisions.

How many pieces are you currently working on at the moment?

Technically, three. I’ve just handed book 3 of my fantasy series (the Sorcery Ascendant Sequence) to Harper Voyager, and I’ve started work on a new fantasy series. So I’m writing a new book, while I’m waiting for the structural edit of book 3 to come back, and book 2 is still in the works and I expect the copy edit soon. I also have ideas for a sequel to my SF novel, and for a new series in the world A Crucible of Souls is set in, but ideas and brief outlines don’t count, right?!

If you can give one piece of advice to aspiring authors what would it be?

Finish writing that manuscript! Seriously. You can’t fix something that isn’t written. And you can’t publish or submit something that hasn’t been fixed.

Thanks for your time, Mitchell. I wish you all the success you deserve and look forward to more of your work in the future.”

Jamie Marriage

Jamie Marriage is an internationally published Australian cyberpunk author with a taste for the dangerous and obscene aspects of life. His work ranges from the sarcastic to the satirical. Links to his work can be found at www.JamieMarriage.com

Hogan-Crucibleof-Souls_3D_smallversion-1Once in an age a novel comes around that stirs up such excitement that even before it reaches a publishing house the author grows a following that many writers can only dream of. A Crucible of Souls by Mitchell Hogan is one of these astounding novels.

Originally self published by Hogan in 2013, A Crucible of Souls quickly attracted followers drawn to his enthralling storytelling style and complex characters. With more than thirty thousand ebook sales under his belt Hogan was approached by the speculative fiction arm of HarperCollins, Harper Voyager, and now this great series has a new home between physical covers. And as many bibliophiles will attest, it isn’t Sword and Sorcery unless you get to feel the pages beneath your fingers as you read.

And Sword and Sorcery this series is, but it’s thankfully far removed from the classical epic styles and with plenty of twists to provide distinction from the old tropes that usually permeate the genre.

A Crucible of Souls follows the complex and event plagued life of Caldan, a young man orphaned in his youth under mysterious circumstances and raised by sorcerer monks in a monastery that is part refuge, part school for the wealthy and magically gifted. After an incident in the monastery results in Caldan’s exile from everything he knows, he is quickly thrown into the real world with little more than a collection of half-trained skills, a pair of enigmatic rings, and a burning need to find out what happened to his family.

What follows is both far and familiar to readers of the Fantasy genre. This is still a tale of magic and swordplay in a pre-industrial revolution setting, and there are the classic themes of heroism and epic struggle redolent since the golden age of Fantasy, where Hogan differs from most authors is how he crafts his characters. For when a writer creates a world, it’s the characters that define what it becomes.

Hogan’s characters are some of the most human to be found on paper in many years. Deep and flawed, ambivalent, conflicted between self-interest and doing the right thing, every character in A Crucible of Souls is sculpted from raw emotion into something real and shocking enough that even though many only last a few pages the reader nevertheless is drawn to every story they might have to tell.

And it’s not just the characters that work so hard to make this novel a success. Hogan has built a world unique in its treatment of the subject of sorcery, of the desperation of mankind, of the atrocities committed in the name of “doing good”. And while this is primarily Caldan’s tale, Hogan does not shy away from giving brief glimpses into the minds of other characters that make this novel such an enthralling experience.

Any fan of the Fantasy genre will love this novel, as will anyone who enjoys epic storytelling, complex characters, or just getting the chance to read something that stands far above the norm.

 

Awards

davitt-award  aurealis-award   logo-curtin-university

Peacemaker - Aurealis Award
Best Science Fiction Novel 2014

Curtin University Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Transformation Space - Aurealis Award
 Best Science Fiction Novel 2010

Sharp Shooter - Davitt Award
Best Crime Novel 2009 (Sisters in Crime Australia) 

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