Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the release of your first book within the Immortal Treachery series, Steel, Blood, & Fire! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the book’s premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Allan Batchelder: Over the past ten years or so, I’ve been intrigued and inspired by a relatively new sub-genre of epic fantasy called “Grimdark.” You can see it in the works of Glenn Cook, Steven Erikson, George R. R. Martin, Joe Abercrombie, and others. It’s a style I would almost describe as Jacobean, in that it shares the same darkness, fascination with morally ambiguous characters, and more. So, I wanted to create both an anti-hero and a story that qualify as Grimdark. Thus, Tarmun Vykers, our good guy, is not remotely good. He’s just better than the bad guy. A while back, I created a slideshow to help folks get a better sense of what and what Vykers is. You can see that here.
In regards to the premise, the first book is fairly traditional: powerful warrior must face-off against evil sorcerer. But then I wanted to stand these tropes and so many others on their heads. Nothing is ever as it seems, and the reader can assume nothing.
BD: What can you share with us about your creative process in writing the book, and what have been some of your creative influences?
AB: I am really inspired by the authors I’ve mentioned, but also by Shakespeare, Dickens, Poe, and Lovecraft. I’ve gotten to do a lot of Shakespeare in my 30-plus years of professional acting, and I’ve really come to love his very particular word choice and phrasing, along with that of the other authors I’ve listed. As for my process? I talk to myself. A lot. Sometimes, I’m verbally working through a descriptive passage; other times, I’m letting my characters have their say. I suppose I need to hear how the words sound in order to make my best decisions.
BD: What do you hope that readers will take away from your work?
AB: If there’s anything that disqualifies me from Grimdark, it’s the occasional lightheartedness, the whimsy that pops up between episodes of absolute darkness. I hope that my MC and his plight will capture your imagination, but I’d love for my lesser characters to steal your heart. On a different note, my books are full of Easter eggs that no one has mentioned so far. These Easter eggs take the form of lines and quotes from Shakespeare, Lewis, Poe et al, along with oblique references to popular dungeon crawl games. I put them in for my own enjoyment, but if you stumble upon them and enjoy a brief chuckle, so much the better!
BD: What can you share with readers about the upcoming books in the Immortal Treachery series?
AB: Currently, four of the five books in the series are out and available. I am working on the fifth and final novel, before I venture into a one-off Steampunk project with my son (He’ll do the illustrations.), and then a horror novel. Then, it’s back to Grimdark!
For those who have been following along, the first book, Steel, Blood & Fire is a standalone, but is also part of a much larger story you may wish to continue. The next three books are part of this larger story, which concludes with the final book, The End of All Things. Each book answers a lot of questions, but raises even more. By the end of the fifth book, you will, as Shakespeare once wrote, “Know all that you are like to know.”
BD: If given the opportunity to expand your series into other entertainment mediums, in what format do you hope to see it adapted?
AB: Actually, Immortal Treachery is currently being examined/studied by a small production company in England, for possible adaptation to the screen or television. Having been an actor for so long (in addition to nine years as a stand-up comedian), I’m not allowing myself to get overexcited, though, and if anyone else is interested in taking a gander, you can contact me through www.immortaltreachery.com. As for other media, it’s been suggested the series would make a great graphic novel – or several. I’d love to see that happen, too. I’m dying – dying, I tell you! – to see some quality fan art.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
AB: Well, I’m about 20,000 words into the fifth novel, with a goal of 140,000. Beyond that, I have my day job, along with regular commercial and film auditions. I’m just excited to see what 2017 and 2018 will bring!
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Steel, Blood, & Fire?
AB: I’m set up on most of the major social network platforms, but the content at each site is different. For example, the website I mentioned above deals directly with my books. My Facebook site offers tangentially related content, like surprisingly archeological finds, reviews, sword-smithing, etc. My Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram and Snapchat sites are more visual, offering mostly related imagery. And I’m also on Goodreads, LinkedIn, Twitter, Ello, and Niume. Fans will find all sorts of related content at each of these sites. You’ll find all those links, along with some terrific reviews, on www.immortaltreachery.com.