Today I am interviewing Dexter Herron, author of the new humorous, sword & sorcery novel, Shard’s Thugs.
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DJ: Hey Dexter! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Dexter Herron: Thanks for having me, DJ. I am from Brooklyn New York, now a Connecticut resident. I’m a former Marine stationed in Eastern Europe and North Africa. I’m a recently retired Police Lieutenant. I’m a Boy Scout Leader and Eagle Scout. I own a ’74 VW Super Beetle. I’m a goody two shoes to the point of being annoying. I am also a member of a Medieval Recreation Group, the Society for Creative Anachronism.
DJ: What is Shard’s Thugs about?
Dexter: Shard is a goblin. After his unit is crushed by human forces, he scrambles together what’s left of other goblin units and launches a desperate counter attack which unknowingly garners the wrath of a vengeful dragon and hilarity ensues.
DJ: What were some of your influences for Shard’s Thugs?
Dexter: Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe’s Rifles. The hero, like Shard, finds himself in charge of a unruly bunch of soldiers and has to keep them alive against the invincible Napoleon army. Unlike Shard, hilarity doesn’t ensue.
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?
Dexter: Shard gets his point across by kicking people in the junk. His second in command, Smiley, is bright, eager, hopeful, and sadly, dim. His senior enlisted officer, Ribsplitter-Jones is the classic drill sergeant, lovable in his brutal training techniques and enjoys killing stupid goblin officers, which happens more than not. Captain Momoo, Shard’s contemporary, believes the more goblins he looses in battle improves his chances of getting laid. Finally, the Princess: intelligent, powerful, and addicted to battle lust, has a castration machine and a marked propensity to use it.
DJ: What is the world and setting of Shard’s Thugs like?
Dexter: It is a world of Humans, Dwarves, Elves and Dragons. They don’t necessarily like each other which makes being a Goblin raider a little easier. The story is fast paced. So fast no one bothers to look at a map. A real map anyway. The Goblins live on the frozen wastes of Britanich which isn’t a very nice place but a great motivator to invade other nicer places.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Shard’s Thugs?
Dexter: I was laughing my butt off. Shard is liberating. He has a problem, he kicks it in the junk and moves on. He isn’t politically correct either. Must be nice. It’s not that we in society are actually offensive, but we’re afraid we might be offensive. The answer is to not talk to anyone about anything. That’s really offensive.
DJ: A common theme I have seen among reviews is the love for your humor.
Humor can be hit or miss depending on the person, so what type of humor do you write?
What do you think the benefits of adding that humor to a story are?
Dexter: All the aspects of humor are there except puns. While I love puns Goblins just don’t get it. Dark humor is the best because that’s real humor. That laugh you get at the ridiculousness of the situation. When I was in the Marines it was so hard to keep a straight face. A story MUST have comedy or the alternative is tragedy. See, that’s a joke right there, free of charge, spring it on your friends. A man slips on a banana peel. We see it and laugh but he’s in agony because he’s broken his coccyx. We laugh again because coccyx is funny. Sure we’re cruel, but at least we can all have a good laugh, except the guy with the broken coccyx.
DJ: This is also a sword & sorcery novel, so tell us about your fight scenes! What do believe make a good sword fight and what do readers like most about yours?
Dexter: Shard’s Thugs is battle after battle and the trick is to make every sword strike, every blast of magic, unique and amazing. They must be moving, dynamic and intricate. I’ve visited many battlefields, (some still have battles on them) and in the movies they seem very flat and 2 dimensional but in reality the terrain is like a rough ocean suddenly frozen, with dips and dents and valleys and hills. Trust me, when someone is shooting at you, you’ll find whatever space is available to hide behind, a teacup if necessary. I use that dynamic play in Shard’s Thugs although no teacups were harmed.
DJ: Did you have a goal when you began writing Shard’s Thug? Is there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?
Dexter: I was doing a writing technique of randomly putting down words emotionally. Imagine a jazz singer going, dobee do dowah. Not real words, I think, but conveying some feeling using voice as an instrument. It wasn’t until the third paragraph that I realized my protagonist was a Goblin. I wrote it as a short story, done. My friends, however, demanded more and then more. I have very demanding friends. There was, however, a theme to get across and I’ve been kicking this idea around for quite sometime; we portray Goblins as a two dimensional creature with the only hope in life to kill all humans. Why? Because. But in truth the antagonist always has a motive and sometimes it isn’t all that bad. I’m a big fan of Kurt Vonnegut Jr. His stories don’t have bad guys and the heroes aren’t very good either. Sorta like real life, mostly. I wrote a sort story years ago called Goblin, where I hinted that Goblins have the same worries that humans have; return library books on time, always face the doors when riding in an elevator, and always, always, always wear deodorant.
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 Shard’s Thugs that you can share with us?
Dexter: Shard’s Thugs is interplay of characters building on one line to the next. There aren’t any real one-liners just lighting fast back and forth.
“This is a perfectly good castle, empty of Humans. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Where are the people who live here?”
Smiley smiled. “Perhaps they’re on holiday?”
Shard smiled brightly. “And they left the fucking door open so they could get back in, right? You stupid twit! There is something wrong with this castle and we’ve got to get out of here. Are there any other doors?”
Smiley thought. “There’s a garbage chute in the kitchen. I think we could squeeze through, that I do.”
Shard sincerely brightened. “Excellent! Where does it lead?”
Smiley frowned as he concentrated, trying to remember. “Uh, off a cliff.”
Shard’s mono-brow raised. “A cliff?” His mind reeled with the harsh memory of dragging his wounded men up the long-ass, narrow, rocky, winding trail to the castle. He could only conclude the cliff was both shear and a long, way down. “And what’s at the bottom, water?”
“Yeah, and rocks!” Smiley smiled.
“Sharp, jagged rocks?”
Shard smiled warmly. “Well done! I’ll send everyone off a cliff onto some sharp, jagged rocks. That way, their big pile of bodies will break my fall and I can counter-attack the enemy by my frigging self!”
“That’s very brave of you, sir.”
Shard cuffed him in the side of the head. “I’m being facetious, you dolt!”
“Excuse me, Captain Facetious?” The Goblin Shard sent down the west wing ran up. “I’m looking for Lieutenant Shard.”
Shard spun hotly. “I am Lieutenant Shard!” He winced, correcting himself. “Captain Shard!”
“Oh, I thought you looked like him.”
DJ: Now that Shard’s Thugs is released, what is next for you?
Dexter: Wrapping up work on Law of Shadows, a futuristic, cyberpunk adventure.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Dexter: Other than stalking? Facebook. Dexter Herron
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about Shard’s Thugs that we haven’t talked about yet?
Dexter: It has surprising depth, charming characters, a riveting story line. I’ve had many people who have said they were surprised they could cheer for the bad guy. Also, it’s guaranteed to make you laugh or your money back.
DJ: Is there anything else you would like add? (Or add your own question).
Dexter: $2.99 on Kindle. The audio version should be out next year. I’m very excited.
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
Dexter: Thanks for having me!
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*** Shard’s Thug is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
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Wiggletooth Shard started off the campaign as a lowly goblin corporal, but when his unit is decimated by the human forces, he steals a captain’s rank and musters the goblins for a desperate counterattack, not knowing his actions will plunge his new Black Dragon Company into the heart of the Goblin War!
Shard’s Thugs is laugh out loud funny and an action packed thrill ride from first page to last. Armed with a big sword, he must save a princess, outsmart elves, and dodge the lurking shadow of a dragon. Shard must succeeded at all costs!
Dexter Herron was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and began writing his first stories on an Underwood typewriter salvaged from a World War Two submarine. Updating to the high tech computer, The Commodore 64, he wrote his first novel, Knight of Chaos, a sword and sorcery adventure.
Joining the Marines after High School he served as an Embassy Guard in North Africa and Eastern Europe. After his enlistment, he finished his college degree in Criminology at the University of Connecticut and currently works as a Police Sergeant in Mystic Connecticut.
He is married and has three cats, two which like him, and lives in a beautiful home nicked named ‘The Shire’ by all who visit. When he isn’t writing he tinkers with his 1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle named ‘Gen’. He is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism and is a Master of Arms. He is an Eagle Scout, a Boy Scout Venture Crew Advisor, Explorer Post Associate Advisor and a Boy Scout Committee Member. His favorite authors are Kurt Vonnegut Jr, Anne McCaffrey, J.R.R. Tolkien, Bernard Cornwell, and Frank Miller.
His first novel, Knight of Chaos, is available where books are sold.