I'm delighted to have a very special guest on my Blog today - DAVE SIVERS, a friend and fellow member of the Chiltern Writers Group. Dave is a writer of 'crime fantasy' and here he is to tell us more about this 'genre blending' and his new release, ' A Sorcerer Slain.'
Crime Fantasy: Genre Blending and the e-Book Revolution
There’s a revolution taking place, and its name is e-books. Trends in book publishing over recent years have meant a much harder ride for the newcomers. Most publishing houses have abandoned their ‘slush piles’, preferring submissions to come through agents, and agents in turn only take on one or two new authors a year.
In the present financial climate, with times exceptionally hard, the industry is more cautious than ever about taking risks. Little wonder that, as an increasing number of book fans discover the joys of Kindle and other e-reading devices, so more and more writers are bypassing those barriers and simply publishing their work direct into bookstores.
For me, one of the interesting aspects of e-publishing is that authors no longer have to worry so much about genre. Look around any physical bookstore and you’ll see fiction titles carefully pigeon-holed - crime, horror, sci-fi, romance and so on. This undoubtedly helps readers to find titles they might enjoy. But it makes for complications when somebody writes something that doesn’t fit exactly into just one of those categories. You will find John Connolly, who writes the Charlie Parker thrillers, which have healthy doses of supernatural and horror thrown in, is to be found under ‘Crime’. Stephen King, whose work is often in the same territory, is invariably under ‘Horror’, including his epic ‘Dark Tower’ fantasy series. It means that readers can miss out on something they might enjoy because they are looking in the wrong place.
A few years back, I wrote a short story about a private investigator who is duped by a femme fatale. So far, so Raymond Chandler. Except that this PI, Lowmar Dashiel, exists in a world of sorcerers, swords, dwarfs and demons. I liked Dashiel and his world and set about writing a full-length novel, but I was conscious that the concept straddled a line between heroic fantasy and crime thriller. I call it crime fantasy for that reason, but what I am really doing is genre blending. With e-publishing, all the worries about genres disappear. I have tagged A Sorcerer Slain, the first full-length Lowmar Dashiel mystery, as both ‘crime’ and ’fantasy’ in the Kindle store, so that both sets of fans can check it out.
The novel should be available for purchase to most e-reading devices soon, and a sequel, Inquisitor Royal, will be out in time for Christmas. Not all crime fans will be comfortable with a world they can’t root in a gritty reality, but reviews so far suggest that more eclectic readers simply find it a satisfying read. The e-publishing revolution is allowing writers to do something a little different and still have their stories read. Genre blending offers the reading public a sort of two for the price of one package in a single volume. That has to be good .
Thanks so much Dave - that was fascinating, and in a way I suppose it's what we romance writers have been doing for a while - combining the romance genre with another! I have to admit I'd never thought of it quite like that before, but 'genre blending' is a really intriguing concept.
Over the years, he gained a First Class Honours degree from the Open University and moonlighted as, among other things, a night club bouncer and a bookmaker’s clerk and a freelance writer.
Since taking early retirement, he has devoted more time to his writing, which includes writes crime fantasy and mainstream crime fiction. His short mainstream crime can be sampled on his website at www.davesivers.co.uk and his first crime novel, A Sorcerer Slain, introducing personal inquisitor Lowmar Dashiel, is available as an e-book for purchase to Kindle and Kindle apps. In whatever spare time he can find, Dave can be found writing, directing or performing in amateur theatre productions, trying to keep on top of his allotment, supporting Queen’s Park Rangers Football Club, or attempting to play guitar just a little more like Mark Knopfler.
Follow Dave on Twitter at http://twitter.com/davesivers
Visit him at http://www.davesivers.co.uk/
A Sorcerer Slain
In the kingdom of Balimar, the Sorcerers’ Guild has maintained an uneasy peace for 900 years. But, with the murder of the Guild’s leader, Carnen, all that could change.
Carnen’s named successor, the sorceress Zarna, is the prime suspect. If she is convicted, the result could be a terrifying conflict that will tear the kingdom apart. With everyone seeming to have an alibi, the King decides to seek help outside the usual channels and commissions Lowmar Dashiel, a personal inquisitor, to investigate. What the King does not know is that Dashiel was Zarna’s lover before she put her ambition before their relationship. Now Dashiel finds himself in a race against time to solve a crime, prevent a war, and save the life of the woman he loves.
A Sorcerer Slain is a gripping fusion of crime thriller and sword and sorcery for anyone who enjoys a good read.
Extract: I had seen somebody killed by magic once before. A sorcerer had killed my old friend Jaraan, after he had sniffed around in the wrong place for information to sell, and I still remembered the clean, metallic aftertang. The odour that now assaulted my nostrils was somehow rawer, with a... a soiled quality to it. I hunkered down beside the body. The sight did not improve on closer inspection. The flesh of half Carnen’s face had been burned away, revealing deeply charred skull-bones. Ragged, overcooked-meat skin marked the boundary between this damage and what little remained of the face, pink spots peeking through the black. The beard and hair had caught alight, so that only the odd tattered wisp of dark floss remained, looking pasted to the blackened scalp and chin. The white diamond in his forehead should have glinted in the streaming sunlight, but instead looked as cold and dead as its wearer.
I scrutinised the remains of the face for a long moment, intrigued. When Jaraan had been killed, his face had been singed, but nothing like this. I had learned later that sorcerer’s fire did not need to burn to kill. An intense enough strike would do something that stopped the heart in an instant. Carnen looked as if merely killing him had not been enough. A shadow fell upon me and I looked up to see the brown-robed sorcerer standing over me. Stooped as he was, he vaguely resembled a heron. His face was grim.
“We warned him, you know. We all warned him, and now look.” His voice was silk over steel. He gestured at the corpse as if no further words were needed. I wondered exactly what he meant, but now was not the time to ask. I rose slowly, turning to Boxen, who stood silent at my elbow.
“Who is this?”
“Uh, Bezenar. Sorcerer of the First -”
“I can see what he is. And I’ve heard the name. The question is, why does he apparently have the freedom of the place?” For the most fleeting of instants, like a faint ripple on a pond’s surface, anger seemed to flicker in the sorcerer’s eyes, and then he seemed to compose himself with an effort.
“As I said,” Boxen’s unlovely features flushed, “you try...”
“Telling a First Grader he can’t come in,” I finished for him. “Right.”
“As a matter of fact,” Bezenar interrupted, “I was one of the first on the scene here.”
“Were you now?”
“Ysette - that’s Carnen’s housekeeper - came to the Tower as soon as she discovered the body.” He shrugged. “I took charge until the Militia arrived.”
I pushed a hank of hair back from my face. “I don’t understand. Zarna’s Carnen’s heir, isn’t she? Why wasn’t she summoned?”
He gave another shrug. “I suppose Ysette came to me because I am – was” – a shadow seemed to flit across his face – “one of Carnen’s closest friends. And then I didn’t think bringing Zarna was a very good idea. It was obvious she’d be suspected.”
I gave him a hard look. “Why obvious?
“ He spread his palms. “She’s the only one with the means and the motive to have done this.”
A Sorcerer Slain - The spellbinding crime fantasy novel from Dave Sivers,
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Also available on Kindle