Today we are excited to share an interview with Marc Turner, author of The Chronicles of Exile. The second book in the series, Dragon Hunters, released yesterday February 9th, 2016. If you missed it, be sure to check out our review.
Marc Turner is the author of the epic fantasy series, The Chronicles of the Exile.
Book three, Red Tide, will follow in September 2016.
Q: Thanks for taking the time to stop by today, Marc. For those readers who have yet to discover the awesomeness that is The Chronicles of the Exile, please feel free to introduce yourself.
A: Thanks for having me.
I’m Marc Turner, and I write epic fantasy novels with a dark edge, of which When the Heavens Fall was my first. The second book, Dragon Hunters, has just been published by Tor in the US and Titan in the UK, and it features Chameleon priests, dimension-hopping assassins, and sea dragons being hunted for sport.
When I’m not writing, I’m doing more writing, reading, playing computer games, or trying in vain to keep up with my six-year-old son. He’s as excited as I am about the release of Dragon Hunters, incidentally, though he was disappointed to learn there were no Moshi Monsters on the cover.
Q: Okay, to start with the obvious, how does an ex-Canuck with a law degree come to be a full-time writer in the shadows of Durham Castle?
A: To be honest, I’m not even sure I qualify as an ex-Canuck, because I moved to England when I was very young. After university, I lived and worked in London and Leeds before finally coming to Durham, in part because that is where my wife is from. Also, in the UK we have a tongue-in-cheek expression that says, “It’s grim up north”. So obviously I thought that by moving to Durham I could add that extra layer of grimdark to my writing. Imagine my disappointment when I found out it’s actually a charming place.
As for the lawyer-to-writer progression, I’m surprised more people don’t make it. I really liked the people I worked with as a lawyer, but it quickly became apparent that being in the legal profession was inconsistent with simple pleasures such as having a life. Ironically, I probably work longer hours now than I did in those days, but I don’t mind that because I’m doing something I love.
For a while, I worked part-time as a lawyer so I could concentrate on my writing. I even did some freelance journalism, the highlight of which was an interview of a man who wrote a book about reading people’s personalities in their toes. When I was offered my first book contract for WtHF, I started writing full-time.
Q: When the Heavens Fall launched a series that is already being compared to everything from Game of Thrones, to Lord of the Rings, to The Malazan Book of the Fallen. How much do those kinds of comparisons weigh upon you as an author?
A: On the contrary, when someone compares my books to one of those series, I take it as a huge compliment!
Comparisons are funny things. Over the past year, I’ve been compared to so many different authors, I’ve lost count. One reviewer compared me to nine in a single sentence – and five of those I’d never read before!
Q: You’ve mentioned Steven Erikson and Joe Abercrombie as influences on your work, but I also see something of a throwback to the epic fantasies of Weis & Hickman, Brooks, Eddings, and Tad Williams. How far back does your own love of fantasy go?
A: The first fantasy book I read was Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings. It was unlike anything I’d read before, and after finishing it I devoured everything I could find by the popular authors of the time, including the ones you’ve listed. I’d say my writing is more influenced by modern authors such as Erikson and Abercrombie, though it wouldn’t be surprising if some of those earlier influences had also crept in. Also, I think my writing “voice” is still evolving. When the Heavens Fall was the first book I ever wrote, so it’ll be interesting to see if people notice the same influences in Dragon Hunters.
Q: Speaking of Erikson and his Malazan Book of the Fallen, Dragon Hunters takes a similar approach, expanding your world/mythology with an entirely new set of characters. Without giving too much away, can we expect a point at which the characters will begin to mingle?
A: Absolutely! I enjoyed working with the new characters in Dragon Hunters, but I did kind of miss the cast from When the Heavens Fall, and their personal stories still have a long way to run. From book three onwards, there will be some returning characters, but also some new ones. Ultimately all of the characters from all of the books will come together for the series finale.
At least, the ones that survive that long will.
Q: With a sequel that’s already garnering its share of advance reviews, what are some of the strangest or weirdest reactions you’ve had from readers over the past year?
A: Well, you’re not going to believe this, but there are actually people out there who think that When the Heavens Fall is not the finest work of literature ever to be written in this or any other language. I mean, that’s just weird, right?
Q: If we can borrow a question from your own series of interviews, what’s one thing about yourself that you’d least like the rest of the world to know? (and, unlike you, we make no promises about secrets)
A: Ouch. That medicine sure tastes bitter when it’s served back to you.
For those of you who don’t know, I’ve interviewed some other authors on my blog, and I like to throw in an “easy” first question that in reality is anything but. The one above was originally asked to Brian Staveley. I’ve had some cracking responses. Michael Fletcher in particular turned the tables on me in an original and unexpected way.
To answer your (my?) question, I’m not sure what I’d least like the rest of the world to know about me, but I am clear on the most embarrassing thing: I still haven’t watched the new Star Wars film. Shameful, isn’t it?
Q: You have book 3 in the series, Red Tide, scheduled for September – an aggressive schedule that’s sure to have a certain winter-loving author sitting a little less comfortably upon his throne. How long have you been writing The Chronicles of the Exile, and how many books did you have drafted or plotted out before selling When the Heavens Fall?
A: I’d be surprised if he’s sitting at all comfortably, considering that his throne is made out of swords. But I’d be the last person to suggest that George RR Martin should write faster. I know some prolific writers, and I’d love to be able to match their output. When I try to speed up, though, the quality of what I produce invariably goes down. Everyone writes at their own pace. Having said that, if anyone is wondering what to do while they wait for the next instalment of Game of Thrones, I think reading When the Heavens Fall and Dragon Hunters would be an excellent way to pass the time.
I’ve been working on The Chronicles of the Exile for around ten years. Writing started out as a hobby, and I wrote WtHF in the evenings to get away from my day job. For reasons beyond my control, there was a large gap between signing my first book deal and seeing the novel in print. I was able to write another book in that time. On the plus side, though, the delay means that you now get the first three books in the series over just fifteen months. I’m spoiling you, I know.
Q: Looking forward, what’s up for you next? Are there more books planned for The Chronicles of the Exile, or is there something completely different.
A: Currently, I’m writing the fourth book in the series (there will be six in total). I’ll also soon be writing a short story to feature in Fantasy Faction’s Guns and Dragons anthology.
Many thanks to Marc Turner for taking the time to answer our questions today!
About the Author
MARC TURNER was born in Toronto, Canada, but grew up in England. He graduated from Lincoln College, Oxford University, in 1996 with a BA (Hons) in Law, and subsequently worked at a top-ten law firm in London. After more than ten years in the legal profession he gave in to his lifelong writing addiction and now works full time as a writer. Dragon Hunters is his newest novel.
About the Books
Dragon Hunters (The Chronicle of the Exile, #2) by Marc Turner
Published by Tor Books on February 9th 2016
Our reviews of this author: Dragon Hunters, Red Tide
Once a year on Dragon Day the fabled Dragon Gate is raised to let a sea dragon pass from the Southern Wastes into the Sabian Sea. There, it will be hunted by the Storm Lords, a fellowship of powerful water-mages who rule an empire called the Storm Isles. Alas, this year someone forgot to tell the dragon which is the hunter and which the hunted.
Emira Imerle Polivar is coming to the end of her tenure as leader of the Storm Lords. She has no intention of standing down graciously. She instructs an order of priests called the Chameleons to infiltrate a citadel housing the mechanism that controls the Dragon Gate to prevent the gate from being lowered after it has been raised on Dragon Day. Imerle hopes the dozens of dragons thus unleashed on the Sabian Sea will eliminate her rivals while she launches an attack on the Storm Lord capital, Olaire, to secure her grip on power.
But Imerle is not the only one intent on destroying the Storm Lord dynasty. As the Storm Lords assemble in Olaire in answer to a mysterious summons, they become the targets of assassins working for an unknown enemy. When Imerle initiates her coup, that enemy makes use of the chaos created to show its hand.
When the Heavens Fall (The Chronicle of the Exile, #1) by Marc Turner
Published by Tor Books on May 19th 2015
Our reviews of this author: Dragon Hunters, Red Tide
The first of an epic swords & sorcery fantasy series for fans of Steven Erikson, When the Heavens Fall features gritty characters, deadly magic, and meddlesome gods.
If you pick a fight with Shroud, the Lord of the Dead, you had better make sure you end up on the winning side, else death will mark only the beginning of your suffering.
A book that gives its wielder power over the dead has been stolen from a fellowship of mages that has kept the powerful relic dormant for centuries. The thief, a crafty, power-hungry necromancer, intends to use the Book of Lost Souls to resurrect an ancient race and challenge Shroud for dominion of the underworld. Shroud counters by sending his most formidable servants to seize the artifact at all cost.
However, the god is not the only one interested in the Book, and a host of other forces converge, drawn by the powerful magic that has been unleashed. Among them is a reluctant Guardian who is commissioned by the Emperor to find the stolen Book, a troubled prince who battles enemies both personal and political, and a young girl of great power, whose past uniquely prepares her for an encounter with Shroud. The greatest threat to each of their quests lies not in the horror of an undead army but in the risk of betrayal from those closest to them. Each of their decisions comes at a personal cost and will not only affect them, but also determine the fate of their entire empire.