Spotlight on … Dave DeBurgh

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 …

DaveDeBurgh meWhen 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spotlight on … Phillip Reeve

I believe that some of the very best speculative fiction can be found on the shelves of the Young Adult section in bookshops and libraries. A case in point is the marvellous work of British author Phillip Reeve, in his Mortal Engines Quartet. If you were to ask me what speculative fiction books we should be shoving into eager readers’ hands, these books would come first. Rumour has it that Peter Jackson is interested in adapting the books for film, but after The Hobbit trilogy, who knows? Handled by the right people I’d certainly love to see this story on the big screen.

Here’s why …

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Spotlight on … Banshee

So, to celebrate the launch of Banshee‘s third season (in the US. With luck it will come to Foxtel. Otherwise I’ll have to wait for the dvd release. Sigh.) this blog post is about the show so far … just in case you’ve missed it, or passed on it. Hopefully after my burblings you’ll give it a go, because even though on the surface it might look like mindless high-violence tits-and-arse action, in fact the show is an interesting meditation on a whole lot of things.

But to be fair there is also sex and violence. Interest piqued? Then do read on …

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Spotlight on … Dominion

So by now you shouldn’t be surprised to hear I’ll give any fantasy/supernatural film or drama a go. Of late, the only time I showed reticence was with Guardians of the Galaxy. Didn’t see it at the movies, but have just watched it on a borrowed blu-ray. My instinct after the trailer was pretty spot-on with that one: not entirely my thing. Very well done, but I’m not really the target demographic. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it – I think the work on Groot is astonishing, and on the racoon. (I really really want a pet racoon!) But it’s just a bit too rompish for me. I much prefer the darker, grittier style of Marvel storytelling as shown in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Guardians is just a bit too popcorn for my angst-loving heart. But like I say – entirely entertaining.

Which preamble leads me to nattering today about a SyFy channel offering: Dominion.

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Spotlight on … Grey’s Anatomy

It’s hard to believe now that Shonda Rhimes, recent recipient of the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award at The Hollywood Reporter’s  Women in Entertainment Breakfast*, started off in showbiz as humbly and nerve-wrackingly as anyone else. Her debut drama and breakout smash hit, Grey’s Anatomy, was only given a mid-season introductory episode order of 9. Yup. ABC had so little faith in the project that it only ordered 9 episodes.

Grey’s Anatomy is currently airing its 11th season. And since its debut Rhimes has gone on to create the hits Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder, which started this year. However, my heart belongs to Grey’s.

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Spotlight on … JD Robb

The best thing about JD Robb’s In Death series is that she neatly combines two of my favourite genres: romantic suspense and science fiction. Robb, better known as international romance phenomenon Nora Roberts, introduced her classic protagonist Eve Dallas  to readers way back in 1995. The fiftieth novel in the series will release next year … and if that’s not an achievement, I don’t know what is!

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Spotlight on … Person of Interest

Person of Interest is one the smartest, sneakiest SF tv series around. For the longest time you don’t even realise you’re watching SF … that truth sneaks up on you, as stealthy as any of the series’ shadowy characters. At its core,  Person of Interest is a show about artificial intelligence, and what happens when you wake up one day to find that the future is here now … and it’s not as cool as you thought it would be.

I have a confession. The first time I tried to watch the show, it didn’t click for me. I don’t know why, it just happens sometimes. With books, on occasion, as well as tv. But a good friend encouraged me to give it a second go … and wow, I am so glad I did.

Here’s why I love this show to pieces …

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Spotlight on … Lois McMaster Bujold

When I think about my literary tastes with regards to science fiction (as opposed to fantasy) I realise that from the get-go I’ve always been attracted to more adventury, character focused, space-opera kind of stories. When I was at school I devoured all the Andre Norton I could lay my hands on – and I still have super fond memories of the Tom Swift novels in my high school library. The Norton was undeniably superior fare, but even so … for me it was all about the fun and the imagination and the characters. Hard science was never my thing. Ideas over people never floated my boat.

So I suppose that makes it pretty much inevitable that I would fall hook, line and sinker for Hugo and Nebula winner Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan saga novels.

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Spotlight on … Kage Baker

Probably what I miss most about being a bookseller is the chance to introduce readers to writers they don’t know, and might love. This Spotlight on … series is my way of remedying that. And because my passion for all things speculative fiction extends to film and tv too it’s not just books I’ll be recommending. So welcome to the first of my Spotlight on … raves.

Oddly enough, now that I come to think of it I can’t remember exactly when or how or why it was that I came across the late Kage Baker’s science fiction series, The Company. But I am so pleased I did.

Kage Baker was born in 1952 and died in 2010. While she lived she wrote short stories, novellas and novels in the genres of science fiction and fantasy. Her work was nominated for Nebula, World Fantasy, Theodore Sturgeon and Hugo Awards, and in 2009 The Women of Nell Gwynne’s won the Nebula for Best Novella – but for me she remains one of the most criminally under-rated and under-praised writers in speculative fiction.

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