Today I am interviewing Timothy C. Ward, author of the new, apocalyptic fantasy novel, Revolt, first book in the Godsknife series.
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DJ: Hey Tim! Thanks for stopping by (again!) to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, or read any our two previous interviews, could you tell us a little about yourself? What’s new since Scavenger: A.I.’s release?
Timothy C. Ward: I mean, how could someone not have heard of me? It sounds like I practically live here. To steal a line from my bio: I’ve been broke, lost and surfed with sharks on the other side of the world, but now dream up greater adventures from my keyboard in Des Moines, Iowa.
Scavenger: A.I. was my second and possibly last book in my post-apocalyptic scifi series set in Hugh Howey’s world of Sand. I published that in June, and am publishing my first fantasy novel August 22 through Evolved Publishing. It has been a crazy busy summer. I go to WorldCon in three days, where I will hopefully not let my nerves get the best of me as I stand behind a dealer’s table smiling and offering my card as I wait and pray for my stacks of books to steadily shrink into thin air.
DJ: What is Revolt about?
TCW: It is about people I think readers should love. People who have grown up in philosophical systems and imperfect family dynamics that have made them the imperfect heroes of their own story.
In more concrete terms, it’s the violent return of magic to a world like ours, set in Iowa and pieces of the Abyss inspired by my time in South Korea. Characters will fight giant praying mantises and darker corners in their hearts that make them wonder if they’re up for the battle to keep their world steady as it heaves itself end over end.
DJ: What were some of your influences for Revolt?
TCW: The Gunslinger and The Stand are the two main influences. I love how King used his Dark Tower books to just get crazy weird, while also having a memorable cast on the adventure toward becoming heroes. The Stand influenced Revolt because I’m just a sucker for seeing how characters react to the sudden drop of an apocalypse. There are some religious discussions in there that maintain character honesty without being preachy, and I try to have some of that in my story, too. One difference in my world, though is that it doesn’t have any of our religions, so my characters can discuss principles without me coming off as saying one religion is better than another. People hear religion and their ears close. I’m interested in theology and philosophy, so I like to see characters who are on different paths making choices based on their worldview.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
TCW: My female lead, Caroline, lost both of her parents, who were Makists. Caroline resents their faith because her mother was taken before Caroline was eighteen—how could the Maker do that?—and her father spent too much time on the road, even after that, evangelizing—how could the Maker motivate him to leave her alone so much? So, this story has Caroline encountering trials with backstory knowledge of people who chose faith in the Maker. She will examine why her parents had faith. She will examine if she can, too, if that would make them proud—which goes back to a base instinct and draws the reader in with empathy—and then when the crap hits the fan, she will need to decide what she believes, not based on what makes her parents proud, but what she sees as real, as powerful and as trustworthy.
My male lead, Anthon, had his parents try and force him and his brother into a cult of Chaos followers. His brother was taken while he escaped, and was eventually adopted by an Order priest. He is a recruiter for Order, a sect of magicians who manipulate non-human matter through the observation of scientific makeup of said objects. He is kind of OCD, but uses the collection of information to fuel the power of the worm that his indoctrination into Order placed within his stomach. Think Iron Man, but with magic instead of science. He meets Caroline while she is on a campus tour of Iowa State, and they hit it off, but only before he drags her into the mess that is his priestess bringing about the apocalypse.
Another lead is a Chaos doctor who uses his ability to swipe objects from Earth through the Void, into the Abyss to bail alcohol from his system in a losing attempt to gain the pleasures of drinking without the consequences that lead to his fiancé leaving him.
DJ: What is the universe/world for Revolt like?
TCW: In Godsknife: Revolt, the world is ours, but with a totally different religious history–religion has been outlawed since the 8th century—and because it’s my world, we’ve also had World War III and don’t own North America, to name a few differences. The religions are broken into three categories, Makists, Chaosers and Ordites. Makists follow the Maker, Chaosers pursue Chaos as a means of personal evolution with a survival of the fittest embrace to conflict, and Ordites pursue the fixing of the damage Chaos has done on a world left abandoned by the Maker.
The chaos doctor I mentioned above has an elevator into a Chaoser base that holds power over one of the entries into the Abyss. The Order priestess plans to overtake that entry and kill the god on the other side, all in her attempt to become one herself by creating Chaos on both sides and that her dominance over will prove her worthy of godhood.
DJ: I’m very curious about this “ursurped god” and “angry ghost!” Can you tell us more about them with out spoiling anything?
TCW: The Abyss has had gods pass like kingdoms have in our world. The only way to kill one is through use of the Godsknife, which also holds the power to make a god. The angry ghost is a young girl and daughter of a Russian our characters meet in the Abyss. She is stuck in a void puddle, kind of like quicksand in the Abyss, and lures our characters to let her out. Vengeance is all she cares about once they free her from her prison.
DJ: Revolt is now your third published novel – what are a couple of the most important things you have learned about your writing, or writing in general, since your first?
TCW: I’m a few years past the thought that my debut novel would make a name for me, by which I mean gain enough readers to show a steady growth of sales. I am more patient now as I see fellow authors burn out and even the more successful ones from seven years ago show the effects of our bubble marketplace. That patience has let me write what’s on my heart without caring that I’m so niche that I turn off people from both sides of the spectrum, by which I mean I’m not vulgar enough for some, but too much for others. Thankfully, I’ve found a possible career in my day job that will let my wife stay home with our children in a few years, so now the goal is just to not let the time away from family that writing requires hurt my relationship with her or my son (and newborn due in January). The length of time this kind of career takes, and takes from you, wears on both artist and family. I’m haunted by the people I’ve read who got divorced during their writing careers. As someone who saw his parents divorce when I was twelve, that’s my greatest fear is doing that to my spouse and children.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Revolt?
TCW: Showing characters who deserved to be loved. Over the drafts, I really grew comfortable in their skin and creating them into people with depth and a reason to live in spite of their weaknesses. Plus, the giant praying mantises and all the Abyss weirdness was fun from a creative side.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
TCW: I wonder if they’ll be arguing about which character was the best. I hope it will be a tough discussion, because I can’t pick one.
DJ: What is your goal in writing the Godsknife series? Revolt is only the first book, but is there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across to readers when it is finally told?
TCW: I imagine the main audience will be readers who have experienced very difficult home lives, and or had some other tragedy. I want them to read this, hopefully without pricking too vital a nerve, and then show them that no matter how bad it has been, they are strong enough and worthy enough of love to move on and show the world how special they are.
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 Revolt that you can share with us?
TCW: I really enjoy one of these lines, but I’ll include it in context. You can pick which line I’m talking about:
The noise upstairs broke its barrier of subtlety. She burst outside the back door and ran—hobbled—for the backyard. As she reached the grass beside the garage, the ground lifted under her feet and threw her high and fast enough to pass over the fence at the back.
This will hurt my survival chances.
She crashed into a small tree, broke through branches that cut her neck and arms and jabbed into her gut, and landed on her back unable to catch a breath.
Her body didn’t move fast enough. She was a sloth in a forest fire.
Another tidal wave of bowling earth ripped the fence out of the ground and knocked her off her back. As she spun in the air, she saw the house she flew toward burst apart from the crashing wave of soil. She rolled over her shoulder and slid through the upturned dirt to a stop.
DJ: Now that Revolt is released, what is next for you?
TCW: I held off writing the sequel until I had the book edited because I didn’t want to move on and then have a major change introduced through the editorial process. Now it’s off to the races to get the sequel done within a year.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Timothy-C-Ward/e/B00CWMRSQI/
Author Newsletter: http://www.timothycward.com/newsletter/
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about Revolt that we haven’t talked about yet?
TCW: Godsknife: Revolt is up for pre-order, and at a special sale of $2.99. If you buy it, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you two of my Kindle titles for free. But it and sign up to my newsletter and I’ll send you Godsknife: Revolt right away. If you review it by release week (August 22nd is release day), you’ll be entered for a signed paperback of your choice from my catalog.
DJ: Is there anything else you would like add?
TCW: That’s long enough. I hope people made it all the way to the end DJ. Thanks for having me back! I hope you annihilate your first semester of medical school…in a good way.
DJ: It would be extremely foolish of people to have skimmed through this interview! (So, if you are a skimmer, go back and read Lol)
It is always great having you on the blog, Tim! And thank you so much for the good luck in school too! 🙂
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*** Revolt is published by Evolved Publishing and is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
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An apocalyptic battle for godhood in the rift between Iowa and the Abyss…
A fleet of enlarged praying mantises have invaded Des Moines, Iowa. Swarms of cicadas are turning survivors into winged soldiers. Orchestrating the war zone is a priestess of Order, who’s pursuing godhood, and the nation of followers who’ll get her there.
Caroline’s new friendship parts the veil between reality and myth, as a recruiter of Order needs her to hide him from capture. In their escape, the boss she’s loved like a father reveals his elevator into the Abyss.
In this new world, Caroline finds a usurped god and an angry ghost eager to make her their gateway back to power. What if the person her friends will need is heartbeats away from becoming the real threat?
Timothy C. Ward is a Hugo nominated producer for Adventures in SciFi Publishing, who has been lost, broke and surfed with sharks on the other side of the world. He now dreams of greater adventures from his keyboard in Des Moines, Iowa. This summer he released two novels: his second Sand Divers book, Scavenger: A.I., where two parents use an ancient technology to fight a reproducing A.I. while trying to resurrect their deceased infant; and Godsknife: Revolt, an apocalyptic battle for godhood in the rift between Iowa and the Abyss.
Preorder Godsknife: Revolt and send him an email at email@example.com to request two of his Kindle ebooks, free!
Sign up for his newsletter for news, sales, giveaways and more: http://www.timothycward.com/newsletter/.
He can be found online at www.timothycward.com