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Disgraced scholar Dennon Lark only wants to be left alone in his self-imposed exile—an exile that ends when a rebel army wielding impossible powers launches a series of brutal attacks on villages across the Kingsland.
Forced from his home, Dennon is drawn back into a world he wants nothing to do with. His research into the kingdom's lost past—the very research that sent him into hiding—may hold the answers to a great many questions about the rebels. Questions about their shadowy motives; about their mysterious abilities; and about their ever-increasing numbers, constantly bolstered by those thought killed in their attacks. And only the King's infamous warrior niece Bryndine Errynson and her company of female soldiers trust him enough to help him find the truth before the rebels burn the Kingsland to the ground.
Following a trail of historical clues across the kingdom and pursued by forces they don't fully understand, Dennon and Bryndine may be the realm's only hope. But in order to preserve the Kingsland's future, they must first uncover its past.
I have an interview and giveaway with author Ben Dobson, writer of the book Scriber.
The Scriber is a fantasy book about a reluctant hero named Dennon Lark. Although he wishes to stay out of things, he is haunted by terrifying dreams of people being burned alive. He must uncover the truth of this and ultimately must fight to save the world from a force threatening to destroy it.
The world building here is really great. You really feel like you’re a part of this as you follow Dennon along. And there are so many mysteries here he must solve…like why is he having these dreams, why are some of the trees a different color, who is this strong female warrior who entered his life? And can he overcome his past of shame to make a difference in the world? I don’t want to give too much away but suffice to say I enjoyed it thoroughly and never found a dull moment. I loved the world, loved the characters, and loved the plot. This is a 5 star for me.
The Scriber is a very interesting story about a scriber who helps save his world from an evil threat, and those mysterious trees and dreams. Can you tell a little about how you came up with the idea and characters?
The core of Scriber came from the idea for Dennon Lark. I was just sort of musing on how fantasy “heroes” always seem to answer the call without much fear and tend to become super-powered warriors or whatnot. I figured if I got sucked into a fantasy narrative, I’d be way more terrified, and I certainly wouldn’t at any point become a sword-slinging terror. I thought that would be an interesting perspective to tell a story from.
I made him an historian because I wanted him to have his own sphere he -would- be useful in without having to be superhuman, and that opened up the rest of the story. Exploring the history of the Kingsland became the mystery that drove everything else. The book became about the way history is perceived at the time versus looking back, how people and events often aren’t properly understood or appreciated until long after they’ve passed. I came up with Bryndine and her company because I wanted to examine a group of people who were doing important things that would only be appreciated in hindsight. And I’ve always preferred books that make women a part of the narrative and action rather than sidelined love interests, so that was a factor. Everything else was built around those core ideas.
You are working on a new book called the Swampling King. Can you tell a little about what is about, and when it might be released?
The Swampling King is going to be coming out late this year or early next year, I hope. I have a big chunk of it done, and aim aiming for a release before Christmas, but it’s hard to say for sure.
The novel (and its sequels, because it will be a trilogy), is about a kingdom made up of mountaintop cities surrounded by a vast swamp. The people of the Nine Peaks, as the kingdom is called, have been at war with the people of the Swamp (Swamplings) for centuries. Without giving too much away, the story follows two princes of the Nine Peaks, a warrior woman of the Swamplings, and a few other characters after a major discovery calls their old prejudices into question and causes new conflicts for both sides from within and without. Also there are terrifying swamp monsters.
Might you be revisiting the world of Scriber in the future?
At this moment I have no plans to go back. I might if I ever have a good story to tell, but part of the appeal of Scriber is that it’s a true stand-alone, I think. If I was going to return to that world, it would be in a different time and possibly different place than Scriber, and would stand on it’s own as well.
Have you been surprised by where your stories have taken you, or did you have a detai led outline before you wrote them?
I always do an outline first. Making it up as I go has never worked for me on a plot level. A lot of the characterization comes to me on the fly, though. I’m often surprised what bit parts are expanded because I just sort of liked them. In my original plan for Scriber, I didn’t have solid plans for any character in Bryndine’s company but Sylla and Bryndine herself. The rest were the result of needing to make the company feel like more than a bunch of faceless goons. Whenever a situation arose where it felt like they should talk I’d just improvise, and over time some personalities arose I liked–particularly Orya, Wynne, and Deanyn, who ended up being fairly major. Probably one of my favorite parts of the process.
What are some favorite authors or books you have read lately?
I always recommend Moses Siregar’s Black God’s War, as far as fellow indie books go. I’ve also recently been reading the Expanse series by James S.A. Corey, starting with Leviathan Wakes. It’s an interesting, exciting space opera that I’m really digging.
Both of your books have achieved 4 1/2 stars on Amazon. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
I don’t have a clue! I’m thrilled people have responded well to my books, but trying to figure out why seems like a daunting task. I never know if what I’m writing is going to land. I suppose the best advice I can give is to write what you love and what interests you. If you have a real passion for the story and the characters, it’ll come through, I think. Also, whatever your editing process is, be thorough with it. All else being equal, the novel that has less mistakes has the advantage.
That’s all I’ve got, really. Everyone has their own process, and what works for me might not work for someone else. It just comes down to doing the best work you can do and crossing your fingers, in the end.