Today I am interviewing Mitchell Hogan, author of the new fantasy novel, A Shattered Empire, third and final book in the Sorcery Ascendant Sequence.
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DJ: Hey Mitchell! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Mitchell Hogan: Thank you for having me! I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings when I was eleven, and since then I’ve been an avid reader of both fantasy and science fiction. I have a science background — a degree in chemical engineering — which might explain why I love well thought out and detailed magic systems. Over the years I kept notes on ideas for characters and scenes that came to me, and one day I decided to write a novel or I’d regret not attempting it. So I quit my job and wrote A Crucible of Souls. I now write full time, and I’m eternally grateful to the readers who took a chance on an unknown author.
DJ: Before we get to talking about A Shattered Empire, in case anyone hasn’t started reading the Sorcery Ascendant Sequence, can you explain to us what the whole series is about?
Mitchell: It’s about a young man whose parents were murdered when he was young, and he was raised by monks and initiated into the mysteries of sorcery. With nothing to his name but a pair of mysterious heirlooms and a handful of coins, he must prove his talent to become apprenticed to a guild of sorcerers. But he is soon plunged into an age-old conflict that will bring the world to the edge of destruction, and realizes that his burgeoning powers may be more of a curse than a blessing.
DJ: What were some of your influences for the Sorcery Ascendant Sequence?
Mitchell: As this is my first series, I fell back on the stories I loved when I was young, such as coming of age tales where someone must come to grips with their growing power. I wouldn’t say there were specific influences, it was more a conglomeration of the hundreds of fantasy books I’ve read over the years!
DJ: Now, what is A Shattered Empire about?
Mitchell: I’ll try to avoid spoilers for the first two books in the series… In the final instalment we find our hero, Caldan, struggling to learn to control his fearsome and forbidden sorcery. As he does, he realizes that not all enemies are on the other side. He’s caught in the middle of a war between two empires, and to save his life, his friends, and his world, Caldan must risk all to defeat a sorcerer of immense power. However, failure will doom the world, and success will doom Caldan.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
Mitchell: The main character, Caldan, is quite naïve in the beginning, having had a sheltered upbringing. He makes mistakes because of this and has trouble adjusting to the big wide world, and I think this strikes a chord with many readers. Amerdan is basically a serial killer laboring under a few delusions, but he sometimes shows a tender side when it comes to children, and there’s always a hint that there’s a path for redemption for him. And Felicienne is a not-quite Sherlock Holmes type, who puts the wellbeing of the empire above all else. Even if it means putting herself in the firing line! She believes in something greater than herself, which can lead to trouble in the grand scheme of things.
DJ: What is the universe for the Sorcery Ascendant Sequence like?
Mitchell: There are many different cultures and climates in the world, but most of the action in my series takes place within the Mahruse Empire, which is ruled by an immortal sorcerer of immense power. And thousands of years ago there was a catastrophe which all but wiped out civilization, which they call The Shattering. I didn’t set out to include many social issues in my writing, but I did want to explore themes such as the abuse of power by the few, and the exploration of good and evil and the blurring of their boundaries. The empire I set up was partially modelled on the Qin dynasty, which although it introduced many reforms, had a great deal of inequality and problems. I touch on the empire’s social issues here and there, especially in the viewpoint of Lady Felicienne, who sees much that she disagrees with, but currently lacks the power to do anything about it.
DJ: I read quite a few good things about your magic-system, about how original and interesting it is. So, please tell me, (without spoiling anything) what did you create?
Mitchell: I’ve always liked working with metals, and even did a metallurgy course when I went to university. So I wanted a magic system where metallurgy was a big component, but there was also a cost. Sorcery is corrosive, so a physical object is required to harness and focus the forces, but it also degrades over time. The harder the material, the longer it lasts — which also means you can perform limited sorcery with weaker objects such as paper. Then of course you have to try to break your system! I came up with a way of changing the game completely one day while in the shower (my best ideas appear there). Without revealing too much, the science behind experimental fusion reactors and the Large Hadron Collider gave me a way to take my sorcery to the next level.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing A Shattered Empire?
Mitchell: Finishing! No, seriously, it was. Writing one epic fantasy novel was hard enough, but an entire series as the first thing you choose to write is madness. Because my series resonated with the majority of readers, finishing the third and final novel really felt special. It meant I’d completed the first phase of what I hope to be a long career. I’d gone through a period of extraordinary growth myself, both as a writer and with the business of writing, and when I finished A Shattered Empire it felt like I’d given myself the best start possible in an extremely tough industry.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
Mitchell: When I’ll release another book?! I’ve already seen a review that asks for more books in the series, and that’s heartening, to say the least. I hope readers aren’t disappointed with the ending, as that’s where any differences between an author’s vision and a reader’s collide.
DJ: What was your goal when you began writing the Sorcery Ascendant Sequence? Is there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across to readers when they finish it?
Mitchell: I really just wanted to write a series I’d like to read. No hidden messages about anything, just good entertainment and many twists and surprises, along with a complex magic system of course.
DJ: I’m always curious when authors finish a series, how close to the original course they stayed when it is finally completed or if it ended up evolving and changing. Did the plot stay the same as you had first imagined it? How about the ending?
Mitchell: I’m a discovery writer, so I did no outlining at all for any of the books. The ending was a surprise to me, as the characters and evolving story takes you places you never imagined.
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 A Shattered Empire that you can share with us?
Mitchell: It was hard to find one which wasn’t to spoilerish. But I really loved this when I wrote it: “They’d come here on a quest to prevent a second Shattering, but they had been confronted with the fact that, for all its supremacy, for all its accomplishments, a far greater civilization than theirs had succumbed to the very same forces they were to confront. They thought they had a chance to succeed. But this desolate, buried city told them otherwise.”
DJ: Now that A Shattered Empire is released, what is next for you?
Mitchell: I’ve just released a prequel novella set in the same universe, and already completed a novel set in a different universe, which I’m revising. I’d like to write a couple more novels in this new universe, then return to the Sorcery Ascendant Sequence world for another trilogy.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Mitchell-Hogan/e/B00E4OMIS0/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
Author Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/BTefL
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about A Shattered Empire and writing the Sorcery Ascendant Sequence that we haven’t talked about yet?
Mitchell: I’ve left a few threads hanging, to let readers imagine what happens after. I believe if there are still questions in the reader’s mind, it adds to the sense of realism. Which means there’s a lot more to explore and reveal in this world! I hope to return to it soon and publish another trilogy.
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
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*** A Shattered Empire is published by Harper Voyager and is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | Goodreads | Kobo
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In this gritty and breathtaking conclusion to the Sorcery Ascendant Sequence, the award-winning fantasy series, a young sorcerer must learn to wield his extraordinary powers to defeat two warring empires
In a battle of armies and sorcerers, empires will fall.
After young Caldan’s parents were slain, a group of monks raised the boy and initiated him into the arcane mysteries of sorcery. But when the Mahruse Empire was attacked, and the lives of his friends hung in the balance, he was forced to make a dangerous choice.
Now, as two mighty empires face off in a deadly game of supremacy, potent sorcery and creatures from legend have been unleashed. To turn the tide of war and prevent annihilation, Caldan must learn to harness his fearsome and forbidden magic. But as he grows into his powers, the young sorcerer realizes that not all the monsters are on the other side.
And though traps and pitfalls lie ahead, and countless lives are at stake, one thing is certain: to save his life, his friends, and his world, Caldan must risk all to defeat a sorcerer of immense power.
Failure will doom the world. Success will doom Caldan.
A Shattered Empire is the epic conclusion to the acclaimed Sorcery Ascendant Sequence, by Mitchell Hogan.
*** To sign up for Mitchell’s email list for release updates, please follow this link: http://www.mitchellhogan.com/new-release-mailing-list/ ***
When he was eleven, Mitchell Hogan was given the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to read, and a love of fantasy novels was born. He spent the next ten years reading, rolling dice, and playing computer games, with some school and university thrown in. Along the way he accumulated numerous bookcases’ worth of fantasy and sci-fi novels and doesn’t look to stop anytime soon.
His first attempt at writing fantasy was an abysmal failure and abandoned after only one page. But ideas for characters and scenes continued to come to him and he kept detailed notes of his thoughts, on the off chance that one day he might have time to write a novel. For a decade he put off his dream of writing until he couldn’t stand it anymore. He knew he would regret not having tried to write the novel percolating inside his head for the rest of his life. Mitchell quit his job and lived off dwindling savings, and the support of his fiancé, until he finished the first draft of A Crucible of Souls.
He now writes full time and is eternally grateful to the readers who took a chance on an unknown author.
A Crucible of Souls won the 2013 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel.
Mitchell lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife, Angela, and daughters, Isabelle and Charlotte.