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Thursday 17 December 2015

ℚ Whisper of Death: The Necromancer Saga [1] - Paul Barrett

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Whisper of Death (, Fiery Seas Publishing, LLC, 345 pages), a Young Adult Dark Fantasy, book one of The Necromancer Saga.

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

Hello Paul, thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

What was the inspiration for Whisper of Death?

"The initial idea sprang up in the 1990’s, when some friends and I were playing a session of Rolemaster (our favourite RPG system at the time and still one of my all-time favourites) and we got to talking about Necromancers, and would it be possible for them to ever be “good”, and if they were, would people accept that they were good, despite the somewhat icky things they do.

It sort of developed from there, with the town that dwelled below the Necromancer’s manor despising him, but knowing he was the only way they could get rid of their vampire problem.  So they approached him, and he agreed to help them, if he could court one of the local town girls he had his eye on.

It started as a 30-page short story and from there, over the passing years, it has gone through many iterations.  The original story was much more light-hearted and sort of silly, and over time it has taken on a darker, more serious tone (but still with its share of humour).  Elements of the short story still survive in the first three chapters, but many things (including our hero’s motivations) have expanded from that initial story written so long ago."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"Well, I resurrect a body at least once a month, so I think I know what I’m talking about when it comes to necromancy.

Seriously, the main thing this book reflects is my odd fascination with the undead.  Zombies, ghouls, liches.  If it no longer breathes but still moves, I’m interested. I’m also interested in the idea of changing tropes in fantasy if I can.  I mean, Necromancers are evil, evil, evil.  So I thought it was time to make one who was good.

There’s a bit in me in some of the characters, too. The description of Erick was basically me when I was 17 (Erick’s age) and I’d like to think his kind spirit is reflected from me. His companion Blink and the thief Marcus both have my snarky, sarcastic sense of humour."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your cover for Whisper of Death - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"Because this is my first traditionally published book (I self-published a coming of age drama called Godchild), I had very little say in the cover.  All that falls upon my publisher, so all praise (or blame) must go to them.  I did have say in the final look, and the skeletal hand resting on Erick’s shoulder was my idea, which they graciously added after my suggestion.

The artist is a gentleman named Jess Small.  He has done a lot of covers for Fiery Seas."
Why should we read Whisper of Death and what sets it apart from the rest?
"Boy, that’s a tough one, because so much has been done that it’s hard to be truly unique.  I think having a benevolent necromancer is a good start.  As far as I know, I’m the first book to ever have a stampede of undead pigs, so that’s fun.

Really, the book is my version of the hero’s journey.  We start with a young boy who, almost against his will, has to save his world, even though the majority of people who live in it would be just as happy to see him dead.

The journey is the interesting thing, how he grows from an isolated, socially awkward person with little concept of the wide world, into someone who experiences loss, love, and all the other emotions that make us whole people.

Oh, and he has a badass homunculus familiar to help him along the way.  If nothing else, people should read the book so they can experience the glory that is Blink."
Got to love the familiar ;-)

Can you tell us something quirky about Whisper of Death, its story and characters?

"The character of Gert, an innkeeper the group encounters, is totally based on my friend Pam. She saw it immediately when she read the first draft, so I was able to capture her personality.

The magic system is based on the use of plants, which isn’t that quirky, but trying to actually research what medicinal properties plants supposedly have in the real world and then translating it into what they would do for dead bodies has been fun.

And the language Necromancers use to cast their incantations is based on Enochian, which is supposedly the language of angels . So I’m subverting the angels to my own purpose.  I may be more evil than my main character."
*gets the pom-poms out for the inclusion of Enochian*

Who would you recommend Whisper of Death to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?

"I would recommend A Whisper of Death to everyone and every person alive should buy at least one copy.

Okay, maybe not. Whisper is classified as either Young Adult or Near Adult, I’m not sure which, but anyone from the age of 13 up will enjoy it.

It has a likable hero, a strong female companion, a twisted sense of humour, zombies, sword fights, burning buildings, and all sorts of action.  Did I mention there were undead pigs?

If I were rating the book like movies are rated, it would be a 12A, although perhaps a bit hard edged for the 12-year-olds.  Some of the descriptions of undead get a bit icky.  There is some nascent sexuality at play, but nothing graphic.  And blood is spilled, sometimes in large quantities."
If you could / wished to turn Whisper of Death and the The Necromancer Saga series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"Having produced a couple of low budget films (Cold Storage and Night Feeders.  Check them out!) I know how difficult that would be, but it’s always a fun game to play.

Peter Jackson would be my choice for director, mainly because I’d love to work with him.

The main party of heroes would be unknown actors and being in my movie would make them instant overnight sensations.

The role of Fathen, the priest who hates Erick, would be a perfect role for Tom Hiddleston.

And Andy Serkis would have to do the motion capture for animating the part of Blink, since Andy is the motion capture king.

And I would do a cameo as one of the main zombies at the beginning confrontation."
I really loved that answer, appreciating some great pics of Tom Hiddleston, and then I looked up Andy Serkis and discovered that he comes from Ruislip Manor, Greater London... which is practically where we are!   That made me laugh  :-)  The things you learn...

What do you like to write and read about?  Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?

"My wheelhouse seems to have fallen firmly into fantasy.  Even my sci-fi book is a space opera, which is just fantasy on different planets.  I did one drama (Godchild) and enjoyed it, but there’s something about creating my own world and making puppets dance in it that appeals to the control freak side of me."
What is your writing process?
"I actually wrote a blog post about this a while back, and you can see it at, but I’ll paraphrase here.

My process is slow. I’ll write a bit, then goof around online, then write some more.

I listen only to soundtrack music, because anything with words distracts me.  Conan the Barbarian is one of my favourites.  Also World War Z, Poltergeist, and anything by John Williams.  I also listen to a lot of Cinemix, which is an iTunes channel on internet radio.

So in short, it takes me a while to get things on the page, and if I manage 1000 words a day, I’m a happy camper."
What is in store next?
"I have several projects in development, and Fiery Seas (my publisher) is taking a look at a couple of them.

Obviously there’s the second book of Erick’s adventures, which has the working title A Shout of Decay.  He and his band of companions have some tough choices ahead of them.

I’ve also got a pilot script based on a great novel by another writer than I’m shopping around to various networks, and I’m looking to get another movie under production sometime in 2016.

As for books, I have a comedy about a Dwarf detective, which is along the line of Robert Asprin’s MYTH series, and I have an idea I’m slowly developing about a war between three different branches of magic.  It’s going to be epic, if I can ever actually figure out how to pull it off.

2016 is going to be a fun year."
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 three cats, which I fondly refer to as Editor Cat (Skittles), Assistant Editor Cat (Trixie) and LSD Cat (Marble). Marble got his name because of a picture we have where his eyes are as wide as saucers, and he just completely looks like he’s tripping on acid."
It's always good to see working kitties, lending us a hand!
Thank you for sharing them with us!  It was a pleasure having you with us today!

Whisper of Death
Available for pre-order NOW!
Out on 22 December 2015

UK: purchase from purchase from Nook UK purchase from Kobo UK find on Goodreads
US: purchase from purchase from Barnes & Noble purchase from Kobo

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