Today’s special guest is author Russell Archey to chat with me about his new fantasy, The Seven Spires.
During his virtual book tour, Russell will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!
Russell Archey has been writing since he was old enough to hold a pencil. His love for narratives, world-building, and story-telling has fed into nearly every aspect of his life: from his video and board game hobbies to pressing his most cherished books onto his unfortunate children (who will, one day, read the Lord of the Rings trilogy whether they like it or not). When he’s not creating new worlds and horrifying things to threaten them with destruction, he’s bringing other author’s fantastic works to life as an audiobook narrator, spending time with his two children, and pressing his dear wife’s eternal patience with his quirky habits.
Welcome, Russell. Please share a little bit about your current release.
The Seven Spires is epic fantasy novel filled with characters, creatures, lands, and peoples inspired by the stories and tropes we know and love. Throughout the chapters you’ll find references that range from quite transparent to so subtle you may not realize until later where that particular bit of world-building came from.
The setting of The Seven Spires is vast and varied, with each kingdom and realm bringing something new and different. In the course of reading the book, you’ll visit each and every one an get a multitude of perspectives on the world from the different characters. Along they way, our heroes just so happen to be fighting great battles and personal confrontations at the same time!
What inspired you to write this book?
I drew heavily on my love for folklore, mythology, and fairy tales. I’m also a big fan of symbolism, archetypes, and tropes, so a lot of the world was built with all these things in mind.
I wanted to take the fairy tales, folk tales, and mythological creatures and settings and put them into a world together. I also wanted to take a the shorter nature of these stories and make something epic out of them, since there would be so many involved! Although this has been done many times (Fables, Once Upon a Time, Grimm, etc.), I feel The Seven Spires is a very different, one might even say traditional, take on the theme of combing all these characters and tropes together.
Excerpt from The Spires:
The few soldiers who weren’t killed had been taken back to its lair. One soldier had managed to evade his grasp, and had stalked the ogre to its cavernous home. To avoid the blizzard he’d been forced to take the tunnels into the mountains. No dwarves or gnomes dared to dwell here and it had taken him a full day to track the beast. He’d found it by discovering the piles of discarded bones reaching as high as the cavern’s ceiling. The creature had stacked the remains like a macabre throne to its fiendishness.
What the lone warrior found next was even more horrifying. The beast kept the men in cages of ice. The ogre would then run the men through with a sharpened pole and place them out in the blizzard to be frozen, at which point he would then devour them. The soldier had waited for the ogre to take out the next victims and then had freed the remaining men by hacking away at the ice with his blade. When the ogre returned, the soldier hurried his weak and freezing fellows out through the bone hallway. He fought the ogre off with the sharpened poles, using his size and the close confines of the cave to his advantage. He managed to run the beast through with multiple sharpened poles, but Ymir had been in a vicious bloodlust and was refusing to fall.
The soldier had baited the ogre to smaller and smaller tunnels until Ymir was trapped by the many poles impaling him. Using the torch he had navigated the tunnels with, the soldier set Ymir ablaze on the gruesome pyre he had made of the creature, and the frost ogre succumbed quickly to the flames, howling in rage and agony.
Vidar explained how the soldier had then led his surviving men back through the tunnels and to the depleted town. Once they became well enough to travel, they returned to the Red City and the soldier had been granted his warrior’s right—and had become a legend in his own time.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on my first post-apocalyptic fantasy novel. Called Ashes of Aldyr, the book takes multiple stories and builds a setting once similar to many high-fantasy settings, but a cataclysmic event caused eldritch, unexplainable creatures from outside reality to ravage the world. Each story is self-contained, but includes references to other characters and places that weave a tapestry of cosmic horror and fallen kingdoms. I like to think of it as Tolkein meets Lovecraft, with the sinister, creeping terror of Laird Barron.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I always thought there was some sort of benchmark you had to hit to consider yourself a writer. You had to have something published. Whether through a publisher, or a magazine, or getting a literary agent. But, as I tried self-publishing and continuing to press on with writing in various forms, I came to adopt the idea that whether you write for pleasure or professionally, if you like to write and you engage in the process—you are a writer! Just be writing!
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I would eventually love to write full-time; I’m also a voice over artist, so combining my two passions to make a full time living would be truly living the dream! Currently, I’m also a teacher to help pay the bills, but I’m always working towards achieving those aforementioned goals.
Needless to say, my days are very full!
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Sometimes I try things that may be a little too experimental…I once tried showing a character’s insanity by typing the dialogue all over the page. One day, I’d like to truly succeed in writing something that feels very strange, like House of Leaves.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Would it be crazy to say a writer? I never knew what I wanted to be when I was younger as I always thought, “what could I make a living at?” I never thought doctor or astronaut or lawyer. But I did like writing and wrote story after story on notebook paper. At some point I decided author would be nice!
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thank you for taking the time to read about my book, some of my processes, and the fun facts! If you do pick it up, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed creating it!
Thank you for being a guest on my blog!