I was joined by B.K Bass, author of the Ravencrest Chronicles and Editorial Manager at Kyanite Publishing, this week. Omnibus One of the Ravencrest Chronicles comes out on the 15th February. We chatted about his up coming book, how he worldbuilds, and some of his favourite reads.
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You have one minute to pitch the Ravencrest Chronicles to someone, what would you say?
The Ravencrest Chronicles is a collection of dark fantasy adventures set in the gritty port city of Seahaven, a place full of threats from shadowy cults, necromancers, and vampires where thieves, scoundrels, and pirates are the heroes. It is inspired by and in a similar style to the Swords series by Fritz Leiber.
What would you consider a successful end result of publishing the Ravencrest Chronicles?
I simply want a lot of people to read it and hope that they enjoy visiting Seahaven so much that they want to come back for more.
How do your personal experiences shape what you write?
I’ve noticed that when I explored writing at a younger age, I had a hard time crafting believable characters. I spent most of my professional career dealing with people in fields ranging from hospitality management to health care administration, and I feel that having interacted with an enormous variety of personalities has helped me to craft believable characters that spring to life on the page.
Publishing can be expensive, what is the best money you spent and never regretted?
While my knee-jerk reaction is to say cover design – and I believe that this is an extremely important part of the process – I’m going to lean more heavily on editing. No matter how good your cover looks, if the text itself isn’t as close to perfect as it can be you’re going to end up with disappointed readers and bad reviews.
You do a lot of worldbuilding to go along with your books, how do you avoid worldbuilder’s disease (getting stuck in worldbuilding and never writing the story)?
I would be lying if I said that I avoided it altogether. I think the best thing to do is to try to keep it under control. One should look at your worldbuilding from time to time and compare that to the outline or concept for your story. If you have fleshed out where the characters are going and a little beyond for perspective, you have enough. On the other hand, there is never too much. I’ve found that building beyond the scope of the outline opens opportunities for new ideas for the narrative or even ideas for completely new stories in the same world. Sometimes some old-fashioned time management skills are the best answer. Set aside structured blocks of time for worldbuilding versus writing and you can work on both.
I know from experience how hard it can be to keep ideas straight, how do you organise your worldbuilding?
I used to use the tried and true method of a three-ring binder with tabbed sections and a table of contents. I’ve recently discovered World Anvil (worldanvil.com), a wiki-style platform specifically designed for worldbuilding. It is now my primary place to develop, store, and share my projects.
What is your favourite underappreciated novel? Did it inspire anything in the series?
I would have to go with Darkwalker on Moonshae by Douglas Niles. It’s been lauded as a clumsily written and poorly paced piece of marketing hype for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing-game, but it’s actually one of my favorite books. It’s not perfect, but it’s a lot of fun and I love how it evokes the feeling of ancient Celtic culture and mythology into a fantasy setting. I think that if it wasn’t under a D&D brand it would have been overlooked, but on the other side of the coin not judged so harshly. It did not inspire anything with The Ravencrest Chronicles, but there are parts of my project called The Eternity War that will give it some subtle nods.
What is your least favourite novel?
I might be hunted down and executed by the literati for saying this, but I hated Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. I had to read it for a British Literature course and found it to be agonizingly boring. I can appreciate the technical and artistic achievements of the work, but I like a little more action in my reading.
Give us a synopsis of what you are reading right now?
Being behind the publisher’s desk, I’ve found it hard to find leisure reading time. I would venture to say that half of my work week is spent reading and editing. Right now I’m working my way through polishing up a book where our world has been populated by magic and magical creatures, and a private investigator who specializes in all things supernatural is investigating an assassination threat against an elven princess from Africa who is visiting St. Louis. It’s a fascinating blending of the urban fantasy, alternate history, and hardboiled detective genres.
You’ve just found a great new book – do you have a favourite place to read it?
Right now I would prop myself up in bed with a pile of pillows behind me and a full cup of coffee close-at-hand. In the past I had a huge cushy recliner that was my favorite spot, and one of my goals in life is to get one of those again.
The eternal debate, eBooks or paperbacks?
I very much appreciate the convenience and portability of having an entire library packed down into one device. EBooks have also revolutionized the publishing industry by making the distribution of the novella a viable option once again. That being said, I’m old school and if I’m going to cozy up to a good book I want to be able to feel and smell that paper. Ebooks are amazing, but they can’t replace the joy a true book lover gets from having the printed volume in your hands.
What is the story behind starting a publishing house?
My partners (Sam Hendricks and Sophia LeRoux) and I got together to start a book review site called Peak Story Reviews. During the start-up process and afterward, we had a series of conversations about what makes for a great story, and we realized we had complimenting viewpoints and a shared passion for reading, editing, and promoting speculative fiction. As we delved further into the project, we discovered that our long-term goals, backgrounds, and skills in business and marketing were also complimentary. It wasn’t long before we started talking seriously about a publishing company.
Best and hardest parts of being an independently published author?
The best part is the fact that anybody can write a book and get it out there in the world. I didn’t start my writing career at a younger age because the likelihood of getting the work accepted was so small that I was not brave enough to set myself up for that kind of disappointment. Now there’s no excuse not to get that book written, because no matter what there is a way to get it out into the world.
The hardest part is a symptom resulting from the best part. The market is absolutely flooded with new books being released every day. Getting the attention of an audience and convincing them that they want to read your book is a monumental challenge with so many books out there.
What’s the best part of what you are working on next?
I’m currently finishing up the first book of a new dark fantasy / cosmic horror series called Beyond the Veil. The book – Parting the Veil – has a blend of influences from various books and films that I never considered putting together. They are blending to create what I feel is an amazing style of book that even though I’m sure is not completely new, is something that I’ve never seen before. Imagine the action-adventure feel of Indiana Jones combined with the thoughtful character interactions of Sherlock Holmes set against a backdrop of existential horror similar to the Lovecraft Mythos. Sprinkle that all over with elements from every mythology, ghost story, urban legend, and tall-tale in the world; and that’s what I’m working on.
Grab the Ravencrest Chronicles on the 15th!
B.K’s Omnibus One releases on the 15th and you can grab it from Kyanite Publishing or support SorcererofTea.com by buying the Ravencrest Chronicles from our Amazon affiliate link: The Ravencrest Chronicles: Omnibus One
Images provided by Kyanite Publishing. Used with permission.