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Monday, 17 August 2015

Blog Tour Interview & Giveaway - Of Gods and Madness: The Faithful by Justin D. Herd

Of Gods and Madness: The Faithful
Author: Justin D. Herd
Genre: Fantasy Noir
Date Published: 7/21/2015

Book Description:
A mobster learns he's becoming a god, only to discover they die too.

The right hand of the dominant mob family, Raine Morgan is tasked with hunting down two miscreants messing with the bottom line. He finds them on the docks, but, in the confusion of the fight, accidentally kills their victim and lets them escape. Horrified at what he's done, Raine seeks redemption as well as revenge.

Things spiral out of control when a greedy middleman overthrows Raine's mob organization. It's only with the help of a friend inside the crumbling mob as well as a streetwise artist that Raine remains undetected as he searches for the men who started this all. Raine doesn’t realize, however, he has caught the attention of a disparate conclave of gods in the process.

As the pantheon returns to the city they'd abandoned, old conflicts re-emerge, causing divine civil war. Both sides try to pull Raine to their side, expecting to find a naive god for them to manipulate. Instead, they find a man stripped of everything, intent on playing both sides as they learn an awful reality - even gods can die.

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Author Interview

1. Tell a little about yourself. What you do when you’re not writing? What are your aspirations for the future?
I’ve been writing novels for ten years now. I vacillate between watching movies, binge watching television shows, reading, and gaming. I also do graphic design and, occasionally, play the guitar. Honestly, when it comes to my career, I just hope to write and have people read my stuff. I tend to play around with weird ideas, so to me their more interesting than anything else, and if I can find a dedicated readership that likes what I’m putting down – I’ll be a happy camper.

2. When and why did you start writing?
I started writing in the Fall of 2005. I’d been going to college and just really wasn’t feeling it. I’d started majoring in Letters, then Creative Writing, and, after a year of it, decided to take a semester off and just try to write. I found that my local VoTech had classes by Mel Odom and I jumped in. Three months later I had my first completed draft. I’ve been hooked ever since.

3. Have any particular novels or writers influenced your writing?
I’d say that Neil Gaiman’s American Gods has influenced me more than I’d like to admit. For me, it’s an almost perfect novel, with the exception of Sam’s introduction, but I absolutely loved the way he drew these gods and their mythologies into the modern world. Clive Barker is also a huge influence, especially his Great and Secret Show.

4. Give us some backstory behind Of Gods and Madness: The Faithful. Where and when did you write it?
I started writing it in 2007. I decided to do a bunch more research for the book, including name meanings and different locations. In the original story, it was a world that worshiped the gods, with parades and demonstrations in the streets. Only, they didn’t know the gods lived with them. The rub came when I introduced a detective character who couldn’t put together that the gods were still alive, so I changed it to decades later, where the society had stopped believing, all except for the dominant mob family.

5. What was your favourite part of writing Of Gods and Madness: The Faithful?
Well, I’ve kind of put it on front street with the title, but I absolutely loved the interactions between the gods. When they come into the story, there’s a lot of vehemence between them. They clearly do not like each other and wish they didn’t have to deal with the situation, then things change when they find out they can die too.

6. What does your writing schedule look like?
I write when I can, in my off hours. I have two small children under three, so when I’m watching them. I wait until they go to bed to get in my writing time. If it’s an off-day from work, then I’m sitting at my local Starbucks for eight to ten hours and just losing myself in whatever music I find inspiring.

7. Which fictional character would you like to take to dinner and why?
At this point, I’m not really sure. Most of the characters I really enjoy are murderers, psychopaths, and liars. My favorite characters are Geralt from the Witcher, Hannibal Lector from the show Hannibal, Kvothe from the Kingkiller Chronicles . . . when it comes down to it, Hannibal. I have a feeling he’d find me distasteful, but I’d like to think I’d have the same cynical viewpoint as Dr. Abel Gideon’s when he met his ultimate fate.

8. Besides your lead, do you have a favourite character in the story?
I have several favourites, though I’ll settle on Theon, the Trickster. With any character that is a trickster at heart, you’re going to have more fun with his scenes. What I like so much about him is that he does whatever suits him, damn the consequences. Even after he finds that the gods can die, he still pushes the envelope.

9. What is one of the most surprising things you've learned as a writer?
I’m not sure if anything has ever surprised me. I guess it would be that there’s an idea out there that ideas are precious. Or that there are no original ideas. I’m not really sure where I land with all that, but I can say that I give ideas away freely. I’ve found that we could discuss an idea and, at the end of the day, we’ll come up with entirely different stories told in vastly different styles. A base idea does not tell the whole story, so to speak.

10. Any advice for aspiring authors?
I’ve been throwing this around a lot on the tour, but I’ll say it again: Don’t edit while you’re writing. This is essential in long form fiction. The trouble with this advice is that no one believes it. Unfortunately, I’ve seen promising writer after writer fall prey to editing their chapters as they go, only to get bogged down in everything being perfect, rather than just getting it on the page, then worrying about cleaning it up.

I guess, if you’ll take it a step further, the other advice would be that you do have to give up on your darlings at some point. Don’t spend years editing a project just so it’ll be perfect. Get the main idea out there, clean it up, and then set it free. Yes, you can always make it better, but there are other stories to tell as well. This is one I’m still struggling with myself.

About the Author
Justin D. Herd is a Fantasy Noir author, who has been writing novels for ten years. He absolutely loves dark, twisted stories that take readers into unexpected places. Horror movies are his passion and he often takes stories to task for not logically thinking out their concepts. His home has been invaded by three eccentric cats, one of which is obsessed with all things digital. He is married with two children.

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  1. Great interview! I love reading how authors get and develop their ideas :)

  2. this sounds a great read - I love the idea of infighting among the gods and the reality that a god can die too!

  3. What made you start writing in this genre?

  4. I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

  5. Great interview~thank you for sharing!

  6. I enjoyed the author interview! Thanks!!

  7. I enjoyed the interview thank you.

  8. I loved the interview. Thank you for the post and the giveaway!