Today we welcome back an author I had previously interviewed; Andy Peloquin. We haven’t spoken much in the months following our last interview, so I’m very happy to hear from him again. Andy has been very busy with his current series, and is getting ready to release another book this month; Thief of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves Book 2).
Where you can find Andy:
- Website: http://andypeloquin.com
- Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/andyqpeloquin/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndyPeloquin
- Newsletter Sign-Up: http://andypeloquin.com/join-the-club/
- Fantasy Fiends Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheFantasyFiends/
- Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/andypeloquin/
Link to previous interviews:
So I have the pleasure to bombard Andy, yet again, with a series of questions, both old and new. I’m very grateful for his participation, as it allows those of us with no experience to have some insight in the writing process. We will also get to know a few more personal things about Andy.
I am, first and foremost, a storyteller and an artist--words are my palette. Fantasy is my genre of choice, and I love to explore the darker side of human nature through the filter of fantasy heroes, villains, and everything in between. I'm also a freelance writer, a book lover, and a guy who just loves to meet new people and spend hours talking about my fascination for the worlds I encounter in the pages of fantasy novels.
Fantasy provides us with an escape, a way to forget about our mundane problems and step into worlds where anything is possible. It transcends age, gender, religion, race, or lifestyle--it is our way of believing what cannot be, delving into the unknowable, and discovering hidden truths about ourselves and our world in a brand new way. Fiction at its very best!
10 Things You Need to Know About Andy Peloquin:
- Hot wings, ALWAYS!
- I never forget a face, but rarely remember a name.
- I'm a head taller than the average person (I'm 6' 6")
- Marvel > DC
- I was born in Japan, and lived there until the age of 14.
- Selena Gomez, Skrillex, Simon & Garfunkel, Celine Dion, and Five Finger Death Punch are all in my writing playlist.
- Aliens are real, but it's self-centered of us to believe that they would come to visit Earth.
- Watching sports: suck. Playing sports: EPIC!
- I earned a purple belt in Karate/Hapkido/Taekwondo.
- I dislike most Christmas music, aside from Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
- Favorite Books: The Gentlemen Bastards by Scott Lynch, The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson, Sherlock Holmes by A.C. Doyle, Warlord of Mars by E.R. Burroughs
- Favorite Songs: Wrong Side of Heaven by Five Finger Death Punch, Prayer by Disturbed, I'm an Albatraoz by AronChupa, Look Down from Les Miserables, Shatter Me by Lindsay Sterling and Lizzi Hale
- Favorite Movies: 300, Red Cliff, Shoot Em Up, Love Actually, Princess Bride
- Favorite Comics: Anything with Deadpool, Wolverine or Doop in it
- Favorite Foods: Hot Wings, Meat-Lover's Salad, A good sandwich (made by me), Yaki Soba, Sushi
- Favorite TV Shows: The Flash, Daredevil, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Hawaii Five-0, Brooklyn 99, Firefly (too soon!), The Last Ship, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones
What have you been working on lately?
Oh so much! To sum it up, since our last chat, I:
- Released Child of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves Book 1), with Thief of the Night Guild (Book 2) on the way July 18th (pre-order is at $0.99).
- Released The Last Bucelarii (Book 3): Gateway to the Past in March 2017.
- Finished writing six short stories featuring mental/emotional/physical/psychological disorders in a fantasy world, to be released (Oct 2017) in a collection titled "Different, Not Damaged".
- Started putting together an anthology "Ragged Heroes", coming March 2018.
- Submitted a short story "One Last Time" to the It's a Bird! It's a Plane! Superhero Anthology (coming end of June 2017).
- Started The Fantasy Fiends Podcast (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8KnIEoUDWRJkAhJ16CN5Dw)
- And a lot more that is yet to come!
Did you set any goals for yourself, and did you meet them?
I did set the goal of finishing up The Last Bucelarii Book 3, and I was glad to have it released at the end of March 2018.
Did you encounter any unexpected hurdles/limitations? (deadlines, budget, etc)
Unfortunately, I'm encountering a bit of a setback with The Last Bucelarii Book 4, in that it needs a bit of rewriting to make it good. I had wanted to submit it for publishing before the end of the year, but I may not be able to meet that goal.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently, and why?
Overall, I'd have to say I'm happy with how my year has gone thus far. It's been busy, but I'm happy with the work I've done and the progress I've made—both as a writer and in my marketing efforts.
Has your work process changed/evolved since our last interview?
It has. Since our last interview, I've increased my daily writing output by 30 to 50%, give or take a few hundred words. I'm also doing more marketing and focusing on my reader group, and my mailing list has grown to 7,500 subscribers!
Did the results of your work meet your expectations? (If so, how? If not, why?)
A lot of the progress I've seen has been the result of implementing new lessons I learn in the moment I learn them. It's helped me to grow my mailing list, reach more people, and be more confident in my writing. I didn't set out to make these big changes, they just happen as I adapt to each new challenge.
Did your work cross any new milestones?
I've officially published over 500,000 words, so that's very exciting for me!
Given your recent experiences, do you have any new advice for other writers?
Spend as much time learning the craft of marketing and promoting your work as you do writing. No matter how good of a writer you are, your chances of success are very slim if you aren't well-rounded and able to promote your work as well.
Andy was kind enough to send me excerpts, a cover image, and other information on his new book to share. Thank you for the privilege Andy, and I trust my audience will enjoy it! Seeing your progress is always inspiring. It reminds the rest of us that, though the road to success is not easy, it is still possible. We wish you the best of luck on your next release. Keep in touch!
Until Next time,
Child of the Night Guild Media fan Kit
Title: Thief of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves Book 2)
Author: Andy Peloquin
Publication Date: July 18, 2017
Digital Price: 2.99
Amazon Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071J9HCHM/
Ruthless criminals are made, not born. Queen of Thieves—an insight into the transformation from innocent child to thief and killer willing to do anything to save the ones she loves.
Thief of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves Book 2)
"I am Ilanna, Journeyman of House Hawk. I do the impossible."
A cunning thief of unrivaled ingenuity, Ilanna is determined to secure her freedom. Nothing will prevent her escape from the Night Guild's callous cruelty, not even the most powerful man in Praamis, Duke Phonnis.
Commanding a crew of pickpockets, bounty hunters, poisoners, and assassins, Ilanna schemes to disgrace the Duke. She must survive blackmail, a bloodthirsty rival syndicate, and enemies within her own House to claim her spoils: vengeance for the deaths of her friends and gold to buy independence.
But all Ilanna's skill may not suffice to protect the one person who matters most: her son.
Fans of Sarah J. Maas and Scott Lynch will love Queen of Thieves…
Child of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves Book 1)
"They killed my parents. They took my name. They imprisoned me in darkness. I would not be broken."
Viola, a child sold to pay her father's debts, has lost everything: her mother, her home, and her identity. Thrown into a life among criminals, she has no time for grief as she endures the brutal training of an apprentice thief. The Night Guild molds an innocent waif into a cunning, agile outlaw skilled in the thieves' trade. She has only one choice: steal enough to pay her debts.
The cutthroat streets of Praamis will test her mettle, and she must learn to dodge the City Guards or swing from a hangman's rope. But a more dangerous foe lurks within the guild walls. A sadistic rival apprentice, threatened by her strength, is out for blood.
What hope does one girl have in a world of ruthless men?
Fans of Sarah J. Maas, Scott Lynch, and Brent Weeks will love Queen of Thieves…
- Title: Child of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves Book 1)
- Author: Andy Peloquin
- Publication Date: Jan 17, 2017
- Paperback Price:
- Digital Price: 2.99
- Pages: 401
- ASIN: B01N1TC3VW
Thief of the Night Guild Excerpts
A click sounded behind her. She whirled, drawing her dagger. The room spun and she staggered.
She caught herself on the stone wall. "I'm fine," she growled.
Concern furrowed Allon's brow. "I can see that." He wrinkled his nose at the liquor bottle. "Smell of that stuff makes it perfectly clear how 'fine' you are." His eyes darted to her dagger. "Want to put that thing away?"
Ilanna slipped the blade into its sheath on the third try. She collapsed onto the bed, not even feeling the thunk of her head hitting the wall. "What d'you want?" She glared at him. "S'not really a good time for me right now."
Allon sat on the bed beside her. "I didn't come for that." He gripped her hand. "I came to check on you. It's not easy to lose friends."
Ilanna sneered. "I don't need friends!" The liquor made her head whirl, her movements clumsy. The last thing she wanted was for anyone—especially Allon—to see her in her current state. "Leave me alone."
"I'm not leaving, Ilanna." He pried the bottle from her fingers. "Not while you're trying to drown your pain in drink."
"What do you care?" She pushed him away. "You're a Hound! They meant nothing to you."
"Fair." He shrugged. "But my House lost a Journeyman today, too. And he's not the first one we've lost. Duke Phonnis has increased his efforts to suppress the Night Guild ever since the Black Spire." He didn't meet her eyes.
The Duke's words swam through her drink-benumbed mind. "You know who you are. You know what you have done. You will not escape me. You will not escape justice. I will find you."
Duke Phonnis knew the Night Guild had breached the Black Spire and this was his response. He'd have his vengeance—if not on her, the thief who had humiliated him, he would make her friends suffer. If only he knew how close the blow had struck.
Worst of all, she could do nothing to stop it. He disguised retribution as carrying out the law. The Chief Justiciar of Praamis, highest authority after King Ohilmos, retaliated by killing her friends before her eyes. The Field of Mercy made a mockery of the “Watcher's justice”, as he called it. No one had ever survived the crossing.
The Duke had declared war on the Night Guild, declared war on her when he took her friends. She would not let it stand.
"You've got that look, Ilanna." Allon's eyebrows drew together. "The one where someone dies."
Ilanna balled a fist. "You're damned right. I'm going to make him pay. I'm going to kill the Duke."
Allon shook his head. "You can't."
"Can't?" Ilanna whirled on him, heat flaring in her chest. "You think I'm not—"
"No!" Allon held up his hands. "What I mean is you can't go after the Duke, not directly."
She bared her teeth. "Why not? He'll die just as easily as…" She caught herself before she spoke Sabat's name. "…anyone else."
"Yes, but remember, he's the King's brother. Kill him, and you'll start a war."
"Not good." He spoke in a measured tone. "Think about it first. King Ohilmos has the Praamian Guard. There're more of them than there are of us. Even if every Guild member stood against the Praamian Guard, we'd lose. We can't wage war on the King. Which means you can't harm the Duke."
Ilanna threw herself to her feet. "Don't presume to tell me what I can and can't do, Allon!" She thrust a finger at the door. "If I want the Duke dead, I'll bloody well put the dagger in him myself."
The Guild Master steepled his fingers and leaned forward. "What brings you before the Guild Council, Journeyman Ilanna of House Hawk?"
Ilanna resisted the urge to draw a breath to calm the fluttering in her stomach. These fifteen people held her life in their hands. She bowed and tightened her grip on the little hawk figurine she'd purchased on her way back from Count Chatham's mansion. "Master Gold, House Masters, esteemed members of the Guild Council. I come before you with an…unusual request."
Master Hawk's eyes narrowed. She hadn't said anything to him, a fact he clearly disliked.
She turned to Bryden. "Tell me, Journeyman Bryden, you are the bookkeeper for House Hawk, are you not?"
Bryden stiffened. "I am. What of it?"
"Do you have record of my total earnings since becoming a full Journeyman?"
He gave a jerky nod. "I do."
When he offered no further answer, she inclined her head. "Could you read out the sum total for the entire Council?"
Bryden's face reddened and Master Hawk's jaw muscles worked. The House records weren't strictly secret, but each House preferred to keep their income private. Only Master Gold saw all the accounts—and Entar, the Guild bookkeeper, of course.
Master Hawk gave a slight nod of his grizzled head and Bryden cleared his throat. "To date, Journeyman Ilanna of House Hawk has earned the sum of ninety-eight thousand, four hundred and ten imperials."
Master Grubber and Master Fox gasped, and the color drained from Master Bloodbear's ruddy face. Ilanna knew from her time spent among the Foxes that these three Houses were fortunate to earn that in a year. The Masters of the remaining three Houses gave no response, but their aides had less self-control. Journeyman Erys, the bookkeeper of House Serpent, peered down at her ledger. Anorria's slim, scarred hands tightened around the black leather tome holding House Scorpion's finances, and Eburgen of House Hound fixed his eyes firmly on the table before him.
Ilanna fought back a smile. "And what, Journeyman Bryden, is the amount I am owed by House Hawk?"
Bryden squinted down at the ledger. "After expenses—food, board, Guild fees, the cost of equipment, and such—Ilanna of House Hawk is owed four thousand, six hundred and fifty imperials."
She let the number hang in the air. The House Masters exchanged glances with their aides. Their personal fortunes far surpassed hers, but they had saved up for decades. They didn't need an abacus to calculate how long it would take her to eclipse them.
"I fail to see the relevance in all this, Journeyman Ilanna," Bryden snapped. "If you insist on wasting the Council's time—"
Master Gold's glare silenced the Hawk. The Guild Master leaned back in his chair, eyes fixed intently on her. "I, too, find myself curious as to the direction of your thoughts. You say you have a question. Ask it."
Ilanna drew herself up to her full height. "I wish to buy my freedom from the Guild."
A stunned silence filled the room. The Masters of House Fox, Grubber, Scorpion, and Bloodbear stared at her with uncomprehending eyes. A smile tickled at Master Serpent's lips. Master Hawk's face could have been carved from stone, but his dark eyes held the chill of disapproval.
Master Gold tapped his thumbs together. "Intriguing." He turned to the others seated beside him. "An unusual request, indeed."
Ilanna spoke before he could deny her. "But not unheard of." She stepped forward. "Precedent has been set, has it not?"
Entar whispered into Master Gold's ear and the Guild Master nodded. "You speak the truth. The previous Master Gold did permit a Journeyman to purchase his freedom. Journeyman Mallen of House Serpent."
Ilanna straightened. "I only ask for the same chance Journeyman Mallen was given." She pointed to Bryden. "As my House Master and fellow Journeymen will attest, there is none in House Hawk to match or surpass my earnings." She turned to the Masters of House Serpent, Scorpion, and Hound. "Perhaps there are a few in your Houses who can claim the same profits I have delivered to the Night Guild, but not in the time that I have." The way their eyes slid away from hers increased her confidence.
Master Gold fingered an ornamental brooch pinned to his vest. "None here can dispute your claims, Journeyman Ilanna. Indeed, the success of your Undertaking has increased the reputation of the Night Guild not only within Praamis, but even as far as Voramis." He picked at a fingernail. "But that begs the question: why would the Night Guild want to pass up such a valuable resource? After all, we would be fools to relinquish our claim to your future earnings."
Ilanna's shoulders tightened. "I have one answer for that." She'd expected the question. "Because it is in your best interest to do so."
Bryden's eyes narrowed, but it was Master Hound who spoke. "Explain your reasoning." His voice, rich and deep, held a note of contempt.
"I hold no illusions that my freedom can be purchased with a mere four thousand imperials." She held Master Gold's gaze. "The Guild has never hesitated to remind me of its investment in me. To purchase my freedom, I must repay that investment." She held up a hand as Entar opened his mouth. "And," she hurried on, "I will make it more worthwhile to release me than to hold me to my Journeyman's oath."
Master Gold quirked an eyebrow. "Oh?"
Ilanna gestured to the sixteen figures seated behind the table. "Can any of you calculate what I will owe to the Guild for the next, say, twenty years? Say I was to barely earn the minimum required to cover my room, board, and Guild fees."
The aides scribbled on their papers furiously, and Journeyman Isseck, the bookkeeper for House Fox drew out an abacus.
"I have it!" Bryden shouted. The other aides shot him glares but he met their spite with haughty disdain. "You will owe the Guild a sum total of one hundred and fifty-six thousand imperials."
"Fifty-six thousand, four hundred and thirty," Anorria added.
"Thank you." Bryden nodded to the Scorpion bookkeeper, an acidic edge to his words.
Ilanna's stomach tightened. That's a bloody lot of money! She steeled her expression. "One hundred and fifty thousand imperials. Not a paltry sum." With what she had in mind, she could pay that off with ease. "Enough to buy my freedom?"
Master Gold and Journeyman Entar carried out a whispered conversation. After a minute, Master Gold turned to the House Masters. "How many of you were present when Journeyman Mallen stood before the Guild Council with the same request?"
Only Master Hound spoke. "I."
Master Gold folded his hands over the paunchy remnants of what had once been solid chest muscle. "Many of you remember my predecessor. He was not a cruel man, simply a pragmatic one. He knew the value of Journeyman Mallen's services. In all of Praamis, none could match Mallen with a blade. His services commanded prices to rival the Hunter of Voramis himself. Do you know how much Mallen paid to secure his freedom?" He paused for effect, then spoke in a measured tone. "One million imperials."
Ilanna's stomach bottomed out. Bloody fucking hell!
Master Gold drew out the words. "One. Million. Imperials." He held Ilanna's gaze. "It took Journeyman Mallen ten years to buy his freedom. But you are younger than he and, as you say, you outearn any other in the Night Guild." He turned to Master Hawk. "What say you, House Master? Is that a fair price?"
Tension lined Master Hawk's face, but he nodded. "It is."
"And you are all in agreement?"
Ilanna studied the Council. The Masters of House Fox and Grubber seemed in shock, as if they couldn't comprehend such vast sums. Master Serpent's finger traced the scar across his forehead, nose, and cheek.
Master Bloodbear leered, delight staining his huge, red face. Since she humiliated Sabat all those years ago, the hairy master of House Bloodbear had hated her. She looked away, stomach churning. His ugly, brutish face reminded her too much of Sabat.
Bryden's expression held a combination of disdain and mockery. The corners of his lips tugged upward, as if he struggled to hide a smile. Master Scorpion's eyes held a hint of pity. A mix of surprise, resignation, and scorn showed on the other faces.
Master Scorpion nodded to Master Gold. "I believe I speak for the other Houses. We are in agreement." His dark eyes fell on Ilanna. "One million imperials, Journeyman."
Though Ilanna's fists clenched behind her back, she forced a smile. The solid feeling of the ebony figurine in her hand brought her comfort. "Done."
Nursing a steaming cup of tea, Ilanna listened to Joost and Veslund's report.
"…guards stayed put the night through. Four squads of three: here, here, and here."
Darreth slapped Veslund's grimy finger away from the temple blueprints, as if completely unaware that the Fox stood almost a full head taller and far broader in the shoulders.
Scowling, Veslund continued. "As I was saying, they got all ways in covered. A patrol goes 'round the outside 'bout once every hour."
"Forty-five minutes, by my count," Joost drawled.
Veslund flushed and opened his mouth to retort, but Ilanna held up a hand. "Close enough. Anything else?"
Veslund dug his fingers into his bushy beard, scratching his cheek. "Nothing I can be thinking of."
Joost scratched the hair on his head, dropping flakes onto the map. "Maybe this helps, but I saw lights come on up here." Under Darreth's glare, his pointing finger stopped just short of touching the map. "Northwest corner, lookin’ out over the plaza, there are windows on the third floor."
"Any idea what's up there?"
Joost shook his head.
"Speaking of…" Veslund's forehead scrunched. "Right about midnight, the temple got a visitor. Hood, cloak, the works. When he came out, I coulda sworn he was Lord Vorrel."
Joost snorted. "And how in the frozen hell d'you know what a nobleman looks like?"
"I seen 'im around town. Ye know, I may not have yer poncy skill with numbers, but I've got a good head for faces. I don't—"
Ilanna snapped her fingers. "Joost. What time did the lights go on in that window?"
"Right 'bout midnight, says I."
"Interesting." Ilanna leaned over the blueprints. "Right here, northwest corner?"
"Lord Vorrel pays a late night visit to the Coin Counters. I'd wager the lights came on after he showed up. Means he, like Lord Munder, probably went up to see the Grand Reckoner."
Darreth finished her thought. "The Grand Reckoner's office, you think?"
"Makes sense. The temple's built like a fortress, yet there's a bloody great window on one corner? Seems reasonable the Grand Reckoner's got the pull to claim that for his office."
She tensed at a knock. The tightness faded at the familiar voice. "It's Errik."
At Ilanna's nod, Veslund pulled the door open. Errik's expressionless face revealed nothing but his eyes sparkled.
"You've found a way in!" Excitement set Ilanna's heart thumping.
"I did. And a way to get you in, too."
Triumphant laughter burst from Ilanna's throat. "Excellent!" She smacked the Serpent's back. "How do we do this?"
Errik shouldered his way up to the table and stabbed a finger at the northeastern wall. "There's a second-floor window, right about here. Two hours before midnight, I'll open it for you. Be ready."
"I'll be there." She'd have Jarl set up the anchor under cover of the midday bells. Tight, but it would work. "How're you getting in?"
He gave her a sly grin. "Serpent's secret."
Ilanna wanted to pry but knew better. Every House had secrets of tradecraft they guarded with fierce zeal. She respected Errik enough to restrain her questions.
"Joost, Veslund, be outside the temple before sunset. I'll want you close at hand in case of trouble."
The bearded Fox nodded. "Gotcha."
"Darreth, you got as many details from Allon as you could?"
The Scorpion nodded. "It won't get any more complete."
"Good. Then you're done for now. But don't get busy. If all goes well, I'll be back with the blueprints tonight. We're going to need you for the second job, too."
"As you say."
Ilanna rubbed her hands together, excitement setting her pulse racing. "Gentlemen, tonight is the night!"
"Creative, gritty, and beautifully dark...fantasy addicts will love it!" -- Peter Story, author of Things Grak Hates -- http://peterjstory.com/
"The fantasy world has a compelling new antihero…the Hunter will terrify and captivate you." - Eve A Floriste, author of Fresh Cut
"From the first words on the page this fantasy holds the reader spellbound even after the book is finished…his character is very well-defined even if his past is a mystery. Root for an assassin? Oh, yes, one must!" -- Carol Conley, for InDTale Magazine
"Oh the carnage! Fantastic bloodthirsty carnage! The fight scenes in this book were fast-paced, detailed and thrilling. I love a good sword fight and there is plenty of that here." -- Ami L. Hart
"One could get lost in this novel for its twisting plots, seemingly endless imagination, dark yet irresistible characters, or the mind-numbing paradox of its simultaneously dark and romantic world. One could follow the long and winding road of the dusky, fierce protagonist and fight tooth and nail not to sympathize with him. One could dance in the dizzying, intricate circles of Peloquin's neo-mythology, or even basque in the black sunlight of a well-crafted gothic novel that both entertains and enlightens." -- Jesse G. Christiansen