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Category: Guests, Gatherings, and Giveaways

Guest Post: On the Shoulders of Jötnar by Ian Stuart Sharpe

Guest Post: On the Shoulders of Jötnar by Ian Stuart Sharpe

Hi y’all! Today we have a guest post by Ian Stuart Sharpe regarding his reasons for choosing Norse mythology as the main inspiration behind his Vikingverse series. Check it out, it’s a great read! Thank you Outland Entertainment for approaching us, it’s an honor and we look forward to working with you in the future!


On the Shoulders of Jötnar

Ian Stuart Sharpe

“A myth or legend is simply not made up out of a vacuum. Nothing is -or can be. Somehow there is a kernel of truth behind it, however distorted that might be.”

ISAAC ASIMOV, Foundation’s Edge

I read Asimov’s Foundation series long after they were published: the original trilogy of novels was originally a series of eight short stories published in Astounding Magazine between May 1942 and January 1950. According to Asimov, the premise was based on ideas set forth in Edward Gibbon’s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and was invented spontaneously on his way to meet with editor John W. Campbell.

But that central notion – that all myth is just a distorted version of the truth – stuck with me for years afterwards. History is written by the victors, and we demonize the vanquished. And given that thought, I always wanted to write stories with Norse mythology as my own foundation, if you’ll excuse the pun  –  to tell the stories of an imagined world where the Vikings won.

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Interview with M. L. Wang

Interview with M. L. Wang

Hi everyone, Petrik from Novel Notions here. Today I’m bringing you an interview with M. L. Wang, the author behind Theonite series and the recently released standalone, The Sword of Kaigen. If you somehow missed it, I have read and reviewed The Sword of Kaigen with extremely high praises. To simplify my praises, The Sword of Kaigen hits a lot of new milestones for me:

  • Number one favorite self-published book.
  • Number one favorite standalone fantasy book.
  • One of my favorite books of all time
  • It’s literally the only standalone fantasy novel I would rate 6 out of 5 stars if possible.

Yes, that’s how much I loved it! You can check out my review of The Sword of Kaigen on the blog or Goodreads and I hope it will convince you to order and read it as soon as possible. Now, without further ado, here is my interview with M. L. Wang!


  1. Hi, M. L.  Wang! Thank you for doing this interview with me. Please tell us a bit about yourself, your newest book, and the main inspirations behind your work.

Thank you for having me!

I got started in self-publishing with my Theonite Series (now two books long), which combines some of my favorite genres, including magic school, alternate history, and superheroes. Growing up biracial in the weird tangle of racial tensions that make up the USA, I was always morbidly fascinated by racism, prejudice, and the mechanisms behind oppression. This gave rise to what is probably the most distinct feature of the Theonite universe: the planet’s inverted racial hierarchy, with a West African empire having dominated the globe and Europe being the most devastated of its many former colonies. Readers of Theonite, whatever their background, are intended to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

My newest book, The Sword of Kaigen, is a military fantasy that takes place in the Japanese-inspired corner of the Theonite universe, thirteen years before the events of the main series. The Sword of Kaigen spawned from the few-sentence-long backstory I provided to explain the Matsuda family’s anti-Ranganese tendencies and to inject some WW2-esque tragedy into Duna’s history. The middle two Matsuda brothers’ names, Hiroshi and Nagasa, are extensions of that idea, implying national trauma (heavy-handed, I know, but I was in high school when I came up with it, okay? My metaphor game was in its adolescence).

In its original form, The Sword of Kaigen was a serialized story that I released to my newsletter subscribers in monthly installments beginning in 2017. When I realized that my little ‘novella’ had exceeded 100,000 words, I decided to complete the story and publish it as a proper novel. Part of the reason I got so carried away with The Sword of Kaigen was that it presented a convenient excuse to play with a lot of things that had a place in my heart but not in the already very busy Theonite series—Japanese martial arts, Chinese martial arts, complex adult characters, Buddhist and pre-Buddhist Japanese religious symbolism, big battles, and a more personal inverted history.

I’m alive to write this story because, in 1937, in a Jiangsu Province village outside Nanjing, a Japanese bullet missed my great grandmother when she bent down to get a cooking pot. Certain events in The Sword of Kaigen harken back to the Nanjing Massacre, holding true to the guiding principle behind the Theonite universe: the mile walked in another’s shoes. What if you had been on the other side? What if it had been your family?

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Interview with Justin Call

Interview with Justin Call

Hello everyone, this is TS from Novel Notions.  It gives me great pleasure to host this interview with Justin Call following the release of his fantastic debut, Master of Sorrows.  I was intrigued when I first saw the book’s tagline – what if you were destined to be a villain?  To my utter delight as I read it, I also discovered that the story had a lot of influences from classic epic fantasy, but felt different and modern with a grittier and darker tone.  It was like that breath of fresh air that carried a scent of nostalgia. 

I should not ramble any further as you can read my review for Master of Sorrows on the blog.  Our special guest had quite a lot to share with us, so let’s get the show on the road.

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Guest post: Seraphina’s Lament Influences by Sarah Chorn

Guest post: Seraphina’s Lament Influences by Sarah Chorn

Hi, everyone! Petrik here. I hope all of you are having a great day! Today, we have our first guest post to ever appear on Novel Notions. Please welcome Sarah Chorn, the author behind the recently released debut: Seraphina’s Lament. I’ve read this book almost two months ago and I will say that if you’re a grimdark fantasy reader, you have to give this book a go. You can find my full spoiler-free review on the blog. Without further ado, Sarah Chorn will be talking about the main inspirations behind her debut!

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Interview with Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

Interview with Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

Hi everyone, Petrik from Novel Notions here. Today I’m bringing you an interview with Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, the author behind the recently released debut, The Gutter Prayer. I have read and reviewed The Gutter Prayer since last year and upon finishing it, I immediately claim that it will be the best fantasy debut of 2019 and I’m sticking by my words. It was really that good if you stick through it. I decided then that I simply have to interview the author so here we are.

You can check out my review of The Gutter Prayer on the blog and I hope it will convince you to order it if you haven’t already done so. Now, without further ado, here is my interview with Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan.

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Interview with Ben Galley

Interview with Ben Galley

Hello everyone, this is Haïfa and today I have a special guest at Novel Notions. 

On the occasion of the release of his unique and dark tale of bound ghosts, unsanctioned murderers and dead gods, we are hosting Ben Galley on the blog today to chat about Chasing Graves, his inspirations, self-publishing and his future projects. After deeply enjoying Task’s original and gripping story in The Heart of Stone, and after hearing Chasing Graves, was an Egyptian mythology-inspired fantasy, I knew I had to read it as soon as possible. I’m very glad I did because Chasing Graves was atmospheric, unique and both dark and funny! I can’t wait to explore more of the Far Reaches and see what fate Ben is planning for his characters.

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Cover Reveal: A Time of Blood (Of Blood and Bone, #2) by John Gwynne

Cover Reveal: A Time of Blood (Of Blood and Bone, #2) by John Gwynne

Hi everyone! Petrik from Novel Notions here. I’ll keep this introduction brief. John Gwynne is one of my top favorite authors of all time. Ever since I finished The Faithful and the Fallen series by him, it has become one of my top three most favorite series of all time. This January, Gwynne released A Time of Dread, the first book in his newest trilogy, Of Blood and Bone. Today, I want to bring you guys a cover reveal of the second book in Of Blood and Bone trilogy. Seriously, if you love epic fantasy and haven’t read any of Gwynne’s books, you’re missing out on one of the greatest fantasy series to grace our world. Without further ado, time to bless your eyes with this glorious cover reveal of A Time of Blood!

Cover art by Paul Young

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Interview with Alicia Wanstall-Burke

Interview with Alicia Wanstall-Burke

Hi everyone, Petrik from Novel Notions here! Today, I’m bringing you an interview with Alicia Wanstall-Burke, the author behind the recently released debut, Blood of Heirs. Blood of Heirs is easily one of the biggest surprises of the year for me. It was a book that I decided to read simply based on instincts without knowing anything about it. If you’re still not sure about the book, you can check out my review of the book on the blog by clicking this link. Done? Yeah, suffice to say that I was deeply impressed and I highly enjoyed reading the novel. I hope my review and this interview will spark your interest to give the debut a read. Without further ado, here is my interview with Alicia Wanstall-Burke.

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Interview with Nicholas Eames

Interview with Nicholas Eames

Hi everyone, Petrik here! I won’t bother you with long introduction. Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames ended up being not only my favorite debut of last year but also one of my favorite fantasy debut of all time. I’ve read and reviewed (which is currently available on Goodreads. I will post it on the blog during the book’s publication day.) its sequel, Bloody Rose, which comes out in two weeks managed to live up to the high quality that the first book set, maybe even better! It’s one of those series where I practically became a walking advertisement for. Ever since I finished KotW last year, I knew that that it will proceed to win awards and Nicholas Eames did it. KotW won David Gemmell Morningstar Award for the best fantasy debut category and now, without further ado, here’s my interview with Nicholas Eames about his upcoming book, Bloody Rose.

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Interview with Devin Madson

Interview with Devin Madson

Hi everyone, Petrik from Novel Notions here. Today I’m bringing you an interview with Devin Madson, the author behind The Vengeance Trilogy, the Aurealis award-winning In Shadows We Fall, and the recently released We Ride the Storm. All her books completely captivated me, with We Ride the Storm being included into one of the two best indie works I’ve ever read. Right after I finished reading and reviewing her books, I decided immediately that I simply have to interview her so here we are.

 

You can check out my review of her books on the blog and I hope it will convince you to order it if you haven’t already done so. Now, without further ado, here is my interview with Devin Madson.

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