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Monday 30 January 2017

ℚ♫ The Singer and the Charlatan: The Wicked Instruments [1] - D.C. Fergerson

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about his debut novel The Singer and the Charlatan (, D.C. Fergerson, 188 pages), a Fantasy Comedy, book one of The Wicked Instruments series.

If you're a fan of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Dungeons and Dragons, legends and lore of bizarre deities, or wizards, you'll love the fun, lighthearted fantasy world of The Singer and the Charlatan.

|| Synopsis || Trailer || Teaser: KCR Preview || Author Q&A || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||

A very warm welcome to D.C. Fergerson; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

This is the part I love the most, as D.C. has shared with us his music playlist for The Singer and the Charlatan - enjoy!
What was the inspiration for The Singer and the Charlatan?
"I’ve been a tabletop roleplayer most of my adult life. I had the luxury of playing with my wife, sister, and brother-in-law in the campaign from which this story is based. I consider myself very lucky to have been able to watch them shape these characters and this world, even though it was basically letting the inmates run the insane asylum. It was the chaotic nature of this story that made me doubt this story could even be written, but here it is."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"Well, I can’t take credit for any of the main characters, as my wife created and embodied Leanna Moonbody for several years, as did my sister playing Priestess Trixi. My brother-in-law swapped between Cort and Tear as he fancied.

The lovable man-mountain Sante and the charming Jonathan Twilight are both my characters and very much aspects of my personality. Pulled back from the table, my voice is in the sometimes-cheeky narrator, as well.

So, not only is a great deal of me in there, but so are the people that mean the most in the world to me."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for The Singer and the Charlatan - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"In this day and age, some of the best fantasy artists out there are just a click away. So many of them were just so far out of my price range, I opted to make the cover myself.

It’s got the classic fantasy font style and I went with an aged leather book texture to add to its appeal.

The image on the cover is Leanna sitting on a bar stool in Top’s Inn, and we can see Priestess Trixi has crossed out her ‘Tips Appreciated’ sign in her guitar case to read ‘Tithes Appreciated’, what I thought was a playful nod to the relationship they have in the book - Leanna sets up the crowds and Trixi brings them to ‘Our Lord’."
Why should we read The Singer and the Charlatan and what sets it apart from the rest? 
"Being a sci-fi fan first (fantasy was introduced when I was an adult), I loved the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, and I think Douglas Adams was brilliant. Fantasy hasn’t had much of that - a series that enjoys a spectacular plot while poking fun at its own genre. I want to change that.

In a world where fantasy tropes are somewhat commonplace, what are the real-world, common sense reactions to this stuff? In The Singer and the Charlatan, I wanted to explore the humorous side of magic spells going wrong, of undeath in the hands of a madman, and the miraculous cure to a plague being as bad as the disease."
Can you tell us something quirky about The Singer and the Charlatan, its story and characters?
"I named the chapters well after The Singer and the Charlatan was finished. Wherever possible, I tried to use those chapter titles as a chance for another joke you’d only get after reading the chapter. It makes for a fun re-read.

Also, as bizarre as Trixi’s religion is, and as swarmed with bureaucracy as it is, every ritual and rule is steeped in some kind of parable that relates to the chapter you’re about to read. I really loved diving into those parts of her strange belief system. It’s even more prevalent in book two, The Princess and the Holy Juggernaut, as we follow Priestess Trixi’s pilgrimage to the fabled Magic City."
Who would you recommend The Singer and the Charlatan to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"Fans of fantasy or comedy, people who love strong female leads, or anyone who wants a good laugh. I go into this world as a first timer, and I want you to be, as well. I don’t want to start the book with geography or genealogy lessons. As such, it’s not a daunting or highbrow read, while still being set in a world of magic.

As for warnings, there’s two things I’ve always felt were handled better with subtlety - sexual and bathroom humor. Less is always more with those, and it’s too easy to be blunt. I’d like to think both of them are handled in the book with some grace while still being funny, perhaps even moreso because it’s understated."
If you could / wished to turn The Singer and the Charlatan and The Wicked Instruments series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"If they don’t mind playing girls in their early 20’s, I think Jayma Mays would be a great Leanna Moonbody. She’s already got the red hair, beauty, and singing voice, so we’d just need to grow her hair out and make her look like a noble.

Kate McKinnon would be awesome as Priestess Trixi. So that would just leave our lovesick Lord Venegrass, played by Ryan Phillippe."
What has been your greatest challenge as a writer?
"I genuinely thought it would be writing this story. I thought it was impossible. So much, in fact, I was just starting this story as an exercise of ‘if I wrote it, this is how I would do it’, but after a week I found myself at 250 pages, well into book two.

Since then, the hardest part of being a writer is all of the non-writing things I’ve had to do - formatting, making my own cover, publicizing myself, getting a social media presence together, etc."
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
"I actually have to thank my toughest critic. In my first round of beta-readers, one person told me my book would never work, primarily because it lacked any threat or climax. Though his critique was harshly worded, he was right. I ended up rewriting the final two chapters of the book and adding three more.

After that, one of the best compliments I received was ‘funniest book I’ve read in a while’, which felt great. I love making people laugh."
What is your writing process?
"With these first two books, The Singer and the Charlatan and The Princess and the Holy Juggernaut (which is coming late February/early March), my only rule was to sit down and write. I know the story, I know the voices of the characters, so making it fit was never hard. I do like structure, though, so book three has gone through some outlining to prepare.

Once finished, I let it sit for a week or two before I touch it. I want fresh eyes on it, eyes that can be critical and even brutal. If I’m only half-enthusiastic about a joke, punchline, or a phrase, that’s just not good enough. I do this process probably 2-3 times before it goes to my editor, then beta-readers, then I start touching it again and do the cycle over one last time."
What is in store next?
"The Princess and the Holy Juggernaut is releasing a little over a month from now. Priestess Trixi and Leanna continue their adventure all the way to the fabled Magic City, friends become enemies, enemies try to kill our heroes with a Juggernaut, and a lot of people die. It’s going to be great."
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?
"This is me as a baby. I was a hairy fellow."
Laughing out loud...

The Singer and the Charlatan
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