*Clifton Hill was kind enough to provided two (2) free Kindle copies of Kip the Quick to go along with his interview! The link and details for the giveaway are located at the bottom of the post, following the interview 🙂
Today I am interviewing Clifton Hill, author of the new fantasy heist novel, Kip the Quick.
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DJ: Hey Clifton! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Clifton Hill: Absolutely. As a kid, I was always quiet and I took to comics, books and videogames early on. I read Asimov’s Robot Series in the 4th Grade, after I was given The Robots of Dawn by my grandmother. She wasn’t into sci-fi or fantasy, so this was a startling choice. I just wish I had been thoughtful enough to ask what spurred the purchase before she passed away. My love of reading was mostly spawned from that point, so if anyone likes my books, you can probably thank Grandma Dale.
DJ: What is Kip the Quick about?
CH: Kip is a witty rascal of a thief. Orphaned at an early age in the hard streets of Tander, in the midst of the Sparelands, he does what he must to survive. But all he wants to do is leave Tander behind and make a fresh start in Farland. First, he must save enough to pay for a ride on the only safe way out of the Sparelands: the iron wain.
DJ: What were some of your influences for Kip the Quick?
CH: For the setting, there are vicious winds that rip through with tornado force, causing terrible storms that may not exactly scour bone, but come close. My dad was amused to point out a connection to my residence in Texas at the time, near the end of Tornado Alley. While there, we had enough tornado warnings to keep my wife up all night staring at doppler maps. So, you could say that our time in Texas helped inspire the setting, as did my love of The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson. The windstorms of the Sparelands aren’t magical, but taking into consideration how a society would manage in their midst was a fun challenge.
Kip’s character is what the story is really about though, and for him, I’m hard pressed to find a specific influence. I wrote a 10,000 word short about a small part of his struggle back in 2012, and then returned to flesh it out over the last year. I loved Kip’s keen sense of humor, and daring, and wanted to see what else might unfold.
CH: Interesting question. One I want to clutch to myself and hide from public view. But I suppose it is fun to share…at least a little. The story takes place in a separate universe from the Hammerblood stories, and my code name for the world (and future novels that will open to a great, epic story) is the Rock God War Saga—take of that what you will. Kip is in a secondary world with middle-ages level of tech, feuding kingdoms, some oddities in the landscape and a set of myths lost to time.
Tander is hot and dry, but a contested trade stop as the only safe routes to cross the Sparelands. Currently ruled by Farland, the Renkiri in the south have also held sway. Built of sandstone in a dry ravine that protects it from much of the vicious storms, there is the mysterious form of the massive Stacks that no one knows who built, and is now home to a host of misfits and crime lords.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about Kip? Does he have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with him?
CH: Kip is a loner. He never met his father, his mother frittered away her life, and left Kip all alone to wander the streets. If it weren’t for Mistress Filelle taking him under her protection, giving him some guidance and tutelage when the boy needed them most, he would likely just be another casualty in the drowning rainstorms of Trench, or used up by the hard life of the Stacks. As it is, he found a love of the theatre, and through that he found a love of subterfuge, of disguise, and a way with words to wind his way out of most any trouble.
DJ: This being a fantasy story, I believe there is some magic?
CH: There is magic in the fabled Valley, far away, where pools of amethyst Essence lie in the mists that hide the bones and bodies of those less fortunate in their pursuit of power, healing, and longevity. But for a substance that grants the user nearly unfathomable powers, and for a Valley that slowly kills any that try to live in its borders, everyone that takes this power ends up a target.
The Essence is mysterious and few in Tander know much about the Valley, leaving it a thing of myth and legend.
DJ: I’ve also heard that there is a little bit of swash-buckling action! What do you think makes reader enjoy you fight scenes so much? What do you think makes a good fight scene?
CH: Like any good scene, I can set the ambience, provide some context, color in some details, but ultimately I’m not going to give a blow-by-blow. No one wants to read that. I read a fantasy novel once where the fight scenes involved a brief flurry of sounds. Sounds phonetically written to convey the action of the fight. It was terribly ineffective, each fight over too fast, and left me unfulfilled. You need to build the drama, show the hazard, and show the consequence. Each fight should leave a mark…even if Kip is unwilling to admit the damage.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Kip the Quick?
CH: Kip’s character. He’s pretentious, a bit smug, certainly self-centered, but there is heart to him, a love that was burned out by his past, and you can start to see that there may be a flicker of that flame that was left. He acts cold and flip—he uses people—but there is hope that he will find comfort, and embrace the goodness that is in his life.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
CH: About the daring heist, and wondering what might happen next when all the dice have stopped spinning.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from Kip the Quick that you can share with us?
CH: That’s a hard one. The best ones are probably those found at pivotal reveals, and I don’t like to spoil. But this one is short and evocative:
“I pressed a hand to my lips, stilling the burst of laughter struggling out like maggots on a corpse; shook my head and shoved the meat pie into my mouth.
‘Beh.’ Snake. Again. Man said it was pork. Ah, well. The crust seemed to have been dipped in real butter. Real cow butter.”
DJ: Now that Kip the Quick is released, what is next for you?
CH: There’s always too much on the plate to choose from, but I have a story that’s got over 100,000 words at present, takes place in the Hammerblood universe (though you won’t see the big lug in it) and centers around a young woman that lives in the forest. Her people are pacifistic, their neighbors are not, and Felling Abberfaun is a story of a woman growing up, learning responsibility for her budding powers, a kingdom with a distant threat and religious fanaticism that threatens to tear apart the capitol city. That one also started back in 2012 and needs some outlining to pull it all together. So, I plan to do some work on that, but will then jump back to Hammerblood and work on the 2nd novel. I’m remaining flexible, and may go back to Kip soonner for a second book, if interest is strong.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/Clifton-Hill/e/B00OHXMYLE
DJ: Is there anything else you would like add?
CH: Yes. The exciting fantasy adventure Seeking the Veil (all 3 parts total about 250 pages) is free to newsletter sign-ups (http://eepurl.com/SVhLr). Click over to sign up for the prequel adventure to the epic fantasy novel Veil of a Warrior. Seeking the Veil has been called thrilling and page-turning (but you can check the reviews for yourself, and it is on all major platforms). And if you like that, there is a lot more to read in the epic fantasy novel Veil of a Warrior—a book full of magic and big battles (on Amazon, more stores coming soon). Readers love the frenetic ending that builds to a great crescendo. Action and adventure with heart.
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
CH: Thank you for having me DJ.
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*** Kip the Quick is available to purchase TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | Goodreads | Kobo
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Please click on the Rafflecopter link below to enter to win one of two kindle copies of Kip the Quick by Clifton Hill! Good luck!
Runs through Jul7 13, 2016 (07/13/16)
*** RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY!!! ***
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About the Book:
Witty, fast-paced fantasy heist where morality is…debatable.
Kip is a young thief on the hard streets of Tander in the middle of the Sparelands — a dry, hot piece of hell, hit with frequent and terrible storms. All he wants to do is leave, but first he must save enough to cover fare for the only safe exit in town: the iron wain.
With six months to go, the job of a lifetime lands in his lap: To steal a vial of the Essence — a piece of myth and legend. He’ll do anything to pull it off, but the question is… Will he survive?
Clifton Hill discovered robots in the Fourth Grade when his grandmother handed him a book by Isaac Asimov. Science fiction absorbed him for the next couple years until a little piece called the Belgariad came along, bringing magic and an incredible new world.
Bouncing throughout speculative fiction, Clifton became absorbed by video games, comics and has a degree in Computer Animation. He has dabbled in various art forms, sought to design video games, co-created a web comic, chased after tornadoes, and fights moss whenever he can. After years of neglect, he picked up a story idea buried in a layer of dust, blew it off and has never looked back.
Clifton lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and two children, working in mortgage, his head thoroughly lodged in the clouds.