Today I am interviewing Stephen Deas, author of the new fantasy novel, The Moonsteel Crown, first book in the Dominion series.
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DJ: Hi Stephen! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Stephen Deas: Well… male, early fifties but young at heart, good sense of humour… Oh, wait, you probably mean the books? Right. So, I’ve been publishing novels under various names in various different genres for… fifteen years I think. But what got me started writing was fantasy. It was reading fantasy that made me want to write stories of my own, the first stories I tried to write were fantasy and it was as a fantasy novelist that I was first published. I’ve been off doing SF and crime and historical stuff for the last few years… it’s seven years since The SIlver Kings came out. Wow. It doesn’t feel that long. Anyway, I’m really pleased to be writing fantasy again for Angry Robot, and particularly pleased that it’s The Moonsteel Crown.
DJ: What is The Moonsteel Crown about?
Stephen: Essentially, it’s a trio of misfits who hang out as part of a small-time crime gang calling themselves The Unrulys. The boss has ambitions and so he falls in with a shady character who wants to use the Unrulys to steal something special and just happens to know where and when it might be possible. So our heroes are roped into doing the job, which they do, only to discover that what they’ve stolen is far too hot to handle, and that, like or not, they’re now in the middle of something much, much bigger than them. Most of the rest of the story is about them trying to extricate themselves from this mess with their skins intact while everyone is out to get them, occasionally stabbing each other in the back, and also dealing with their own ongoing problems.
DJ: What were some of your influences for The Moonsteel Crown and the series?
Stephen: That’s hard. The Moonsteel Crown is quite contained in scope but the series is going to broaden out later. So when you look at the setting for the series as a whole, it’s basically the classics of epic fantasy: Tolkein, Moorcock, all those old names. It’s difficult to remember – the bones of this story were laid down twenty years ago. But when you get into the nitty-gritty… I wanted to write something where the characters weren’t particularly special, and were mostly just trying to survive. I hadn’t read any grimdark then (I want to say it didn’t really exist, but someone will immediately prove me wrong, so let’s say I hadn’t discovered it). There are definitely echoes of Scott Lynch, but again, he hadn’t been published either, back then. I guess there’s a streak of Pratchett’s Ankh-Morpork in the grubbiness of Varr. I sort of wanted a Fellowship of the Ring who were all ‘No! We don’t want that! Nothing to see here, move along! You take it!’ and tried their absolute damndest to spend the whole story getting drunk in The Prancing Pony while somebody else sorted out the whole saving-the-world business. Continue reading