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Tuesday 8 December 2015

ℚ Dragon Apocalypse: The Berserker and the Pedant [2] - Josh Powell

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Dragon Apocalypse (, Josh Powell, 170,pages), a Humorous Epic Fantasy, book two of The Berserker and the Pedant series.

"Original, surprising and genuinely amusing. It's not many people's work I can say two of those things about. In this case I can say all three." - Scott Meyer, author: Off to Be the Wizard.

Author Q&A | Synopsis | Teaser | The Series | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

A very warm welcome to Josh Powell; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

What was the inspiration for Dragon Apocalypse?

"There are three clear inspirations for Dragon Apocalypse, the first is from many years spent role playing and is the prototypical min-maxed character.  For those who don’t role play, min-maxed means a character built to take advantage of the rules to make a more powerful character.   These kinds of characters often get “creative” with the rulesets and result in thematically improbable characters.  For Dragon Apocalypse, Maximina Nobility is an under-elven Jill of all trades.   She is a drow woman because drow are a favorite race to play for min-maxers, a woman because for whatever reasons the role players often choose female characters, and she has some powers of necromancy, psychic powers, magical abilities, and likes to experiment with weapons and tactics that are a bit abnormal.  Instead of writing her for the stat benefits, I explored what a three-dimensional person with thoughts and feelings would be like to turn out with that sort of skillset.  For me, that meant exploring the part of myself that learns things very quickly, yet also gets bored before true mastery of skill is obtained and imbue that into is Maximina Nobility.

A second inspiration is an experience I had at baycon watching a panel on cover design. Someone in the audience mentioned that the title was key for them in choosing a book, and they professed a bias towards any title with the word Dragon and an exciting battle like work such as Apocalypse and that any book combining those in the title would merit a look.   That reminded me of the third inspiration.

The third inspiration is a poem I wrote as an assignment in high school about a dragon that kidnapped princesses and the townsfolk who went to kill the dragon, only to discover the true reason the dragon was terrorizing the town.   It was a heart felt poem in high school, at least an attempt at one and has found a much better home in my funny fantasy adventures."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"I think different aspects of my personality are represented in each of the characters, but that none of the characters reflect me.  Gurken Stonebiter is a stubborn, angry berserker dwarf.  He probably represents me when I’m hungry.   Pellonia is an inquisitive, snarky little girl who is a loyal friend to have and learns how to be a true leader in Dragon Apocalypse.  Maximina represents the part of me that learns quickly, but never quite many skills because I tend to get bored too easily.  Arthur Gimble, wizard of the tenth rank, is my pedantic author side."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your cover for Dragon Apocalypse - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"The artist is a Romanian who goes by the name alerim on 99 designs.   I chose this cover because 1) it won the cover contest I ran with my readers, but I believe it won because it features Maximina as a strong woman and it entices you win with promises of a magic orb and dragons.  What more could you want out of fantasy?"
Why should we read Dragon Apocalypse and what sets it apart from the rest? 
"I’ve been referred to as the American Terry Pratchett, an honor I don’t feel I yet deserve.  I’ve written two funny fantasy novels and he’s written, well, many, many... maaaannnyyy more. The reason I think my books draw this comparison so often is because funny fantasy is such a small genre and he’s the undisputed king of it.   I think his books have a far more british sense of humour and mine a far more American sense of humor.  One could do far worth for comparisons though, so I’ll take it."
Can you tell us something quirky about Dragon Apocalypse, its story and characters?
"That would be Maximina Nobility, inspired by the drow elf min-maxer trope.  Her name is literally a derivative of min-maxer... Maximina, though it works because it sounds like a feminization of Maximillian.  After naming the character, I watched the movie Home, whose main human character is Gratuity Tucci.  They remind me of each other."
Who would you recommend Dragon Apocalypse to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"I would recommend this book to anyone who thinks that a funny fantasy book sounds interesting.  You don’t have to like Terry Pratchett to like this book, though it is a good indicator.  Also sharing a sense of humor in the same vein is The Princess Bride, in fact that book and movie align with how I see my sense of humor even more closely than Pratchett, though nobody has called me the American William Goldman, maybe because he’s an American so that wouldn’t make any sense, and maybe because he’s most often referred to as that guy that wrote the book The Princess Bride.  If I’m ever known as that guy who wrote that book Dragon Apocalypse, I’ll consider the entire endeavor a success."
What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"I enjoy writing in multiple genres, I don’t know that I’ll stick to funny fantasy forever.  The first book I started was actually a sci-fi thriller that got derailed by this series.  I actually enjoy mashing up genres, fantasy horror, sci-fi thriller, romantic comedy... no wait, not that last one. At least, not yet.  Sci-fi romantic comedy... hey... maybe!"
What is your writing process?
"My writing process involves starting a story, writing half the book, discover that instead of the sci-fi thriller I’m in the midst of, a funny fantasy would prefer to be written first, switching to that, writing a chapter, outlining the book, then ignoring most of the outline except for the broad strokes and writing along until the books done somewhere vaguely where I had intended it to go.  I also involve an editor early on, while their feedback is invaluable, of importance to me is when they spark ideas by asking questions about the book.  I’ve gotten a lot of ideas from my editor, Marta Tanrikulu, who is an excellent editor you should use for your projects."
What is in store next?  Can you give us any hints on future developments in The Berserker and the Pedant series?
"Sure, why not. At the end of the next book of the series there is world peace.  By someone’s definition of the term. I guarantee that someone will be happy, maybe even you... maybe not.

Seriously though, I do intend to end this series after three books and then begin another trilogy in the same world.

The next trilogy will be stand alone, but with enough overlap with the original series for there to be lots of squeeing over fondly remembered characters and scenes.  If someone happens to read the second trilogy first, then the excited squeeing over remembered characters will come when the first trilogy is read.   I prefer this method over writing a series of 15-20 books and a never ending plotline, because I’ve read too many of those and am sitting around twiddling my thumbs waiting for said authors to FINISH THEIR SAID BOOKS! ... Sorry about that, just, erm.   Next question, please."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"I have no quirks, I’m quirkless.  Totally quirk free.  If something about me seems like a quirk, it’s best to assume that thing is completely normal and other people who do not share that attribute are the quirksters.  Quirkymart.  I also have no pets, not since Ruffy, my small gray furry cat with a propensity to play rough passed away when I was a child.  My parents told me he ran away.  I walked the fields around my house for hours yelling “Ruffy! Ruffy!”  You can find out what actually happened to Ruffy at my next blog stop.  Poor Ruffy.

Also, I like cliffhangers.  The only assigned reading I can remember from high school is The Lady or the Tiger.  But not the kind of cliffhangers where someone opens the door and... stay tuned for next week!  Those are cheap (poor Ruffy), but the ones where the entire story is already wrapped up but a new plotline is introduced that basically intros the next book for you.   I like those kind of cliffhangers, so to find out what happens to Ruffy... stay tuned."
Now you are getting me saying 'Poor Ruffy!' - no, seriously... what happened to him... you better be telling us at the next blog stop! ;-) (although I may have to get my little lot to cover their ears...)

Dragon Apocalypse
Available NOW!

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Josh Powell said...

This is a great posting. I love how you added all of the images of things I spoke about. Thanks for taking the time to add your own touch to everything!

BooksChatter said...

Hi Josh, thank you for popping by and apologies for the late reply (things have been a little hellish our way!)

Glad you liked the post, it's our pleasure :-) and we hope you are having a great tour! And I look forward to the graphic novel!

All the best