#SPFBO7 Interview – James Pyne

James, welcome to Lavender Lass Books. Thank you for agreeing to this interview and best of luck in the competition!

Fall Into Darkness is the first book in the Big Cranky series. Here’s the blurb:

A failed god determined to succeed. A fresh generation hungry for his throne. Can the universe survive when the greed of immortals collides?

The Almighty El is tired of his creations dying and his offspring questioning his competence. After purging his latest failure and raising up a new cosmos, he’s certain that this time success is assured. But just as his handiwork takes root, his greatest enemy rises from the void to challenge him in a vicious tentacled battle.

Leader of the Seraphim, Lucifer is sick of his father’s catastrophic missteps. And when he temporarily takes charge while the useless deity rests, he vows this rightful reign will be permanent. Except Lucifer soon finds himself not only dethroned, but kicked into the fiery flames of the Inferno.

Now as El’s family spirals into death and madness, he must fight to keep all of existence from imploding. And Lucifer’s hunger for vengeance has inadvertently paved the way for every celestial with a lust for power to ravage the multiverse in their bid for the coveted crown.

Can the embattled pair stop the playground of the gods from becoming a killing field?

Fall into Darkness is the mind-bending first volume in the Big Cranky epic fantasy series. If you like flawed deities, world-spanning cosmologies, and vivid imagery, then you’ll love James Pyne’s genre-shattering tale.

Buy Fall into Darkness to unleash the ultimate struggle today!

And now to the interview:

1. Is this your first time entering #SPFBO? Why did you decide to enter this book?
My first time, yes. I have been scrolling through Mark’s profile for over a year now and I kept seeing something called SPFBO. I first thought it was super cool text speech I had yet learned. Turns out, I was right about the super cool part at least.

2. Why do you write in the fantasy genre? What make this genre particularly appealing to you?
For one thing, anything can happen. All devices and creatures are at our disposal. Portals. Dragons. Unicorns. Skinwalkers. The list is endless. Plus, we can world build and invent our own magical creatures to no end. How cool is that?

I feel most at home in the fantasy genre, these days, that’s for sure. I like the fact that fantasy can transcend into any genre out there. Even during my horror-fiction years, much of it had strong fantasy elements.

I also find fans of the fantasy genre are extremely loyal and get really deep into a fantasy series. It’s something special when a fan messages me about their favorite characters in Fall into Darkness. I especially get a kick out of the ones who tell me how much they want the villainous Zeus to get his. Such interactions from fans are absolute gold.

Another plus to writing in this genre is the generosity of those who are part of it in some way. From authors, to bloggers, to the fans. Mark is obviously one of those folks. Bestselling author, Chris Philbrook, is another, who attached his name to Fall into Darkness with an amazing blurb, even hyping it to his fans. I won’t forget that.

3. Why did you decide to self-publish?
I decided after my small press publisher folded that I wasn’t going to quit but was unsure how to go about things. I made a promise to a dying friend when it came to publishing the Big Cranky series and I would keep it. Including keeping the name of the series, which some of my peers gave me a lot of flak for, saying no big-time publisher would take on a book with a series name like that.

Despite the naysayers, I researched my options. Read and listened to what authors had to say about self-publishing. It would take some money and lots of work, but it would be in my vision, for better or worse. While starting on this path, I started feeling empowered and honestly that was a rush for me. I never felt like that before. What a feeling!

4. Are there advantages to self-publishing? What about the challenges?
The challenges are legion. From finding ways to advertise your book without going broke, to, moments where dead ends are seemingly everywhere. It’s a learning game that tests your perseverance, that’s for sure.  But doorways will appear at the oddest times. This I have learned.

The rewards? The fans for sure. They will do anything for you because they want you to succeed. I also enjoy working with other artists during the process. Right from my cover and map artist, Jeffrey Kosh, to the paperback illustrator of the series, Luke Spooner, to my editor, Donna Marie West. All beautiful people and without their talents, the series wouldn’t be what it is shaping up to be.

Another special moment is a beaming mother telling you how proud she is. You can’t buy that kind of moment.

5. As a reader, and now author, how has the fantasy genre changed over the last several years? How has it stayed the same?
I find most fantasy books have a weighty page count these days. The content in most is darker. Even the YA. That’s fine by me.

A dedicated fan base is one thing that hasn’t changed. I don’t know if there is a more involved fan base out there. I have heard authors giving credit to their fans for starting a fan group that rocket-launched their careers.

6. Do you write (or plan to write) in any other genres?
I tend to write in various sub genres of fantasy, along with horror, and dark literary. I am one who enjoys trying out all genres. It can only make your writing stronger in your preferred one.

7. What do you look for in a story? Especially in the fantasy genre? (Original ideas, plot lines, character development, world building, etc.?)
A well-fleshed out villain gets me every time. One that is a mix of good and bad because that is real life to me.

I love coming across a book that has me, as a writer, envious of what I just read. It’s during such moments my writing tools become sharper.

8. Are you working on a new book? Can you share any details?
I’m about to release the second installment of the Big Cranky series titled: A Surge in Power. It carries on from where Fall into Darkness left off. It takes place on Earth where I take all the main pantheons of each continent and use them to divide the planet into thirteen districts. One district is ruled over by Zeus from Mount Olympus. Another by the Yoruba deity, Olorun. And so forth. It has been a blast reading the mythos of other cultures. We are more alike than we realize, and because of this, the old myths throughout the world fall into one modern storyline like it was meant to be. Because we are of the same tribe.

On a basic level, A Surge in Power, comes down to Zeus versus the Dragon Slayer, Quetzalcoatl, for complete dominance over the angels assigned to the blue planet before making their move for the highest throne in Heaven. It explores how the other gods (which are angels in this universe) deal with this coming war among their kind and whose side they choose.

The entire series is deeper than just angels fighting over thrones. It explores the moral problems we are having today, among other things that I don’t want to give away. That’s what I love about the fantasy genre. Most books are multilayered and can be read more than once. I hope the same for anything I put out there.

I will sneak in that Book 3 will be ready for the holidays.

9. Do you have any advice you would offer to writers who plan to self-publish in the fantasy genre?
Believe in yourself. Persistence will lead to doorways opening. Take the chance when one opens because that door won’t stay open for long. If you hit a roadblock, don’t back up and look for an easier way. Get out of your comfort zone and climb over that roadblock. Nothing comes easy.

Read the best from every genre. Your own characters will be better for it.

If someone takes the time to mark up your manuscript in red, be it an editor or fellow author, don’t give up or take it personal. Consider their suggestions. Try them out. Chances are the bulk of those suggestions are absolute gold. They took the time to do that, meaning they see immense potential in your writing. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have taken the time. Most importantly, thank them! Then when you are in a position to give back! Do so! We rise quicker together than we do alone.

Lastly, be humble and thankful for the help you do get. And with that, Lorri, thank you for this opportunity!

You can find James Pyne’s book on Amazon! https://www.amazon.com/Fall-Into-Darkness-Cranky-Book-ebook/dp/B08PHNYVHY