The Martyr’s Blade received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.
Following find an interview with author Joel Manners.
What is the name of the book and when was it published?
The Martyr’s Blade, published in February, 2016
What’s the book’s first line?
A deep Voice stirred in the vast space of the room. “I am glad to see you safely returned.”
What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.
A group of heroes are brought together by friendship, love, and honor as they journey to confront an ancient evil reborn, while the struggle engulfs the land around them with plots, betrayals, triumphs, tragedies, desires, and despair.
What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?
I love telling stories, and the characters and world of The Martyr’s Blade had been living in my heart and mind for, in some cases, decades. But I had never tried writing a novel. I had written a few short bits and pieces, but it was like pulling teeth. Then, spring break 2015, my wife organized a writing marathon. The kids were on vacation, so the house was empty for a week, and I wrote and she read, and suddenly all the bits and pieces were one flowing story. What had been so difficult was suddenly enjoyable! Not easy, but satisfying and addictive. So it is thanks to my wife, who urged me to write for years and years, then finally made me do it.
What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?
More than anything, I enjoyed bringing these characters into being. They started life as rough characterizations, simple tools for the plot’s nefarious purposes. But they have grown into friends and lovers and heroes who I think about all the time.
I have always believed that characters create their world. Yes, the world must be a fascinating place for them, but it is their struggles with the challenges the world throws at them that defines the story itself. The Martyr’s Blade became “character-driven” in the most literal sense: the characters themselves were the ones creating the story, and that, for me, was the most amazing thing that happened as I wrote. As these characters grew, their choices, their desires, their fears, their needs, became the thing that drove the plot. I just wrote down what they did.
That’s why I still enjoy reading this story, even though I have read it many times, and it’s why I am frantically writing the next book, because I cannot stand to be away from these characters… I have to know more about their journey.
And as the characterizations evolved and became the characters they are now, they changed the world. They demanded something as real as they were. How else could their hopes and struggles and triumphs and failures possibly resonate? It’s a fantasy world, but it had to be as real as they were, and the world’s verisimilitude grew along with the characters, and it became richer and deeper and grittier than I ever expected (and we’re talking about a place I have thought about for almost two decades now). I found myself doing research into things that I never expected to know, especially for a fantasy book! Don’t I just get to make things up? Magic! Nope… get busy.
I can’t wait for you to meet these people, and to explore this world. I hope you enjoy reading the book and that you come to love the characters as much as I do.