South African bookseller Dave DeBurgh, long time fan of all things speculative fiction, has recently seen the release of his debut epic fantasy novel. Here’s Dave in his own words, talking about his experiences as a first-time novelist …
When I began writing (and this may surprise you) it wasn’t because I wanted to write.
You see, there were two reasons I began writing – one was because I couldn’t draw or sketch well enough, and the second was because the only way I could truly try to explore the images and stories in my mind was by writing it all down.
Understand, it wasn’t what I was doing which was important or what drove me – it was what I was letting out.
And when I was trying to write what would eventually become “Betrayal’s Shadow” it was that push to release it all which still drove me. I was struggling – probably because I hadn’t made the decision to take what I was trying to do seriously; so I decided that taking a writing course was the next step, and it helped massively. I finished writing the first draft of the novel, which lead to that all important choice to take it seriously. And which also lead to me realising that I wanted to be a writer.
I’ve explained “Betrayal’s Shadow” in a lot of different ways to many different people over the years. One of these explanations was, “It’s an uncomplicated, less-dense combination of Lord of the Rings and A Song of Ice and Fire, in terms that it has more magic than GRRM’s work, is as brutal in some sections as his, but also tells a sprawling tale more akin to Tolkien’s exploration of his worlds.”
Is that ambitious of me? Certainly, but it’s also what I believe the novel (and the trilogy, when it’s done) will be – well, one of the things.
I’ve also said that the novel is (surprise-surprise) about betrayal, and how betrayal casts shadows on many different people (in this case, characters) and that betrayal can follow down through the years (along with the immediate effects).
The novel is also an exploration of slavery, abuse, the dangers and pitfalls of love, how very easy it is unknowingly abuse trust and usurp the few good aspects of religion… And I didn’t set out to ‘explore’ all these aspects of society and life – not intentionally. Every time I try to make a character conform to the idea in my head, the character balks and does something different. So I let them do what they wanted to do, while keeping the plot and the novel’s climax in my head. In other words, I let them work their way towards it.
The plot itself will probably surprise you. “Betrayal’s Shadow” is not the kind of Epic or Heroic or High Fantasy novel you might expect it to be. It has elements of SF and Horror in it, too, since those are the other two genres I love reading.
One of the most compelling and formative things I’ve ever read is when Steven Erikson wrote that editors had told him that ‘Garden’s of the Moon’ was too ambitious, and sure, I might not be as ambitious yet (a ten-book saga is in me, somewhere, but I’m not yet the kind of writer and storyteller who can pull that off), but some readers have compared my novel to Erikson’s Malazan saga. I’m still smiling because of that.
So, in it’s own way, my novel is ambitious, and perhaps even brave. It was damned fun to write, though it was also damned difficult. It represents the beginning of my career as a storyteller and writer. It’s my leap into space.
I hope you enjoy it enough to catch me. ;)
And here’s all of Dave’s contact and book info:
Kindle edition Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Betrayals-Shadow-Mahaelian-Chronicle-Book-ebook/dp/B018S2U4Z2/
Kindle edition Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B018S2U4Z2
Limited Edition hardcover releasing on the 13th of January – pre-order link: http://www.ticketyboopress.co.uk/dave-de-burghs-signed-hardback-now-available/
My official website: http://davedeburgh.weebly.com/
My Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/davedeburghwriter/
My Twitter profile: D-B de Burgh (@DaveSASFFAuthor) | Twitter