Please welcome Penny Blake and her deliciously fun release, Necromancers!
To show you a little of what I mean, here’s some blurby goodness (or naughtiness) describing Necromancers…
A terrible accident involving a minor miscalculation has flooded the entire planet with lemonade. A few sparse scraps of humanity cling to flotillas of cobbled junk in attempts to sustain some semblance of civilised existence. War, famine, and caffeine withdrawal have turned the erstwhile peaceful world into an post-apocalyptic nightmare.
Meanwhile on the remote and inexplicably unaffected island of Eilean Claigeann, an ancient cult are still obliviously serving the obsolete ‘supreme ruler of the universe’, Wiz, and trying to fathom the secret of immortality. Sort of. Actually daily temple life revolves more around cake sales, bridge nights, and village fetes…until two novices discover the secret of immortality themselves and unleash a couple of very unlikely ‘gods’ upon the previously peaceful community.
Sounds fun, doesn’t it? It makes me quite curious about the creatrix behind this world. Happily she’s stopped by to answer a few questions…
K.S. Trenten: Penny, thanks for coming, it’s great to have you visit! I’m curious, how long has this particular world and its denizens been marinating within your imagination before they emerged in this particular form?
Penny Blake: Thanks so much for inviting me here today, I’m so excited to be here! :D
The Ashton’s kingdom series as a whole has been growing on the backs of envelopes and post-it notes on my kitchen wall for nearly a decade. But would it be terribly wicked to confess that the plot line for Necromancers (which features a considerable amount of blood drinking, baby-eating and human sacrifice), materialized two years ago at the local soft play center? I always feel a little incongruous taking my tribe of kiddies there in my gothic get-up but it’s a fab place to write and my kids and the amazing, imaginative games they play are always like a fountain of inspiration.
K.S. Trenten: You’ve got a delightful mix of the dark and the humourous which comes together in your writing. What influences do you think or feel nourished your particular style?
Penny Blake: Aw that’s super kind of you to say so! I had quite a disturbed up-bringing (wry grin) but I was rescued from the insanity by the likes of Ben Elton, Richard Curtis, Douglas Adams and the Monty Python crew – I think if you’ve been through a lot of darkness it’s going to affect you, my way of taking control of that was to learn to see the humor in it and all the above – particularly the later Black Adder episodes – showed me just how much there is to laugh at (albeit grimly) even when you are at your bleakest hour. Humor is a great healer, and a great weapon against ‘the grinding mill’ of life. It’s also a fab vehicle for talking about things which might be seen as taboo or uncomfortable in a way that’s open, honest and non-preachy… maybe… in all honesty I may just be trying hard here to justify the fact that I have a warped sense of humor! XD
K.S. Trenten: It definitely is! :) Do you have characters or scenes that are particularly challenging or difficult for you to write?
Penny Blake: All of them! XD I’m not someone who picks up a pen and pours beautifully crafted prose straight onto the page. I tend to play each scene out in my head for weeks before I write anything down and I can change a sentence five or six times before I think it works. I’m always impressed by folk who are naturally good writers but for me it’s a long hard labor of love, and late nights with a thesaurus in one hand and a pre-signed soul contract for the devil in the other. XD (Luckily I’ve split my soul into 7 pieces and stored them in horcruxes so I’ve still got a lot of bartering power when it comes to selling my soul as a cure for writer’s block ;) )
K.S. Trenten: Heh, just be careful of the side effects of that particular storing technique. :) Are there any characters or scenes which flowed with such ease, they almost seemed to write themselves?
Penny Blake: In my head, the chemistry between Vivienne and his husband Reynard was so devilishly delightful that it was like watching a movie, imagining them together, winding each other up, pushing each others buttons with the skill that comes from decades of living together in a pressure cooker, all the acidic little bite-backs and the one-up-man-ship, right down to the subtle body language that can infuriate more than words when you know someone that well XD So, yes, in a way they wrote themselves, the challenge for me though was conveying that into words so that other people could see it the way I could in my head – that was the challenge, and if I’m honest, that is always a challenge for me.
K.S. Trenten: What projects are you currently working on?
Penny Blake: I’ve got the second book in the series, The Dangerous Exploits Of Smith And Skarry, almost ready for editing – which will take the characters from the first book to the other side of the world to face sugar-zombies, giant land crabs and other dangers as they persue their less-than-noble aims of world domination and caffeine addiction. And I’ve also sketched out the plot line for the next Necromancer short story ‘The Fete Worse Than Death’ in which poor Vivienne has his hands full yet again trying to juggle a plague outbreak, a summer fete and a husband with the interesting new hobby of demon-summoning.
K.S. Trenten: Heh, Vivienne does seem to have a particularly challening existence. :) About your own, has anything been especially helpful to you in pursuing a career as a writer?
Penny Blake: Above all else I would say my children. I’ve always loved writing but never dreamed anyone else would be interested in the worlds I created in my head. My kids changed that – they are so utterly honest, if they love something they’ll say so and you can trust them, if something doesn’t work, again, they’ll let you know! They are a constant source of inspiration through the games we play together and I would never have published a word if it wasn’t for them. Secondly, the friends I’ve made in the indie writers, small press and LGBTQIA+ communities online. The support, encouragement, advice and solidarity has meant the world and, again, I would never have dreamed anyone would want to read a word of my work if it wasn’t for their kind words of encouragement and enthusiasm.
K.S. Trenten: Any advice, insights, or thoughts you’d like to share with writers and readers?
Penny Blake: Lol, I’m not sure I’m the right person to give anyone else advice about anything! But advice others have given me which has served me well would be read as much and as widely as you can, write as much as you can – the good, the bad, the down-right-rubish, write it all, you can always discard it or improve it later – and don’t be an island; reach out to other writers and readers and make friends, support them, encourage them, let them support you too, because at the end of the day we’re a community and communities thrive when the members support eachother :)
Thanks so much for having me at The Cauldron today!
K.S. Trenten: You’re welcome and thank you for stopping by to visit! I look forward to seeing your future projects’s appearance! (heart)
Check out Penny Blake’s The Curious Adventures Of Smith and Skarry at…
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