Author Q & A

Breyfogle_Rook_A_smallEvery now and then I let some of the questions I’m asked pile up so I can answer them all at once. Here’s the latest batch! And if you want to play along, just send me a question by replying here or through Facebook!

What characters would you love to write?

Well, I’ve had the chance to write some iconic heroes — The Avenger, The Green Hornet and G-8, for instance — but there are a few I’d still love to get my grubby little hands on. The Shadow definitely tops the list, followed by Batman, The Doom Patrol, Challengers of the Unknown, The Phantom and Norgil. I’d prefer to handle those characters in prose but I wouldn’t turn down any opportunity, be it in comics, on the back of a cereal box or whatever!

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever written?

Hmm. In terms of quality? Or do you mean in terms of being disgusting or something? I’m not sure. I do know that my book Guan-Yin and the Horrors of Skull Island is the worst-reviewed book I’ve done and, in retrospect, it is a bit of a hot mess. It was meant to be a fun, quick little romp with pirates, the undead and a giant ape… but it ended up being more “mess” than anything else. In terms of being disgusting, probably Rabbit Heart, which was all very intentional. One character is anally raped to death in that one! Good times.

If they made a Rook movie, who would you want to star in it?

A few years ago, I would have said Nathan Fillion would have made a fantastic Max Davies. He’s starting to get a little old for it now, though. I’m terrible at those kinds of questions, actually. I never cast movies in my head the way other people do. I’d just be happy they made a Rook movie at all!

What’s your favorite Rook story?

Ask me tomorrow and you might get a different answer but my favorites have been “Lucifer’s Cage” (Volume One), “Kaslov’s Fire” (Volume Two), “The Resurrection Gambit” (Volume Three), “Dead of Night” (Volume Four) and “The Scorched God” (Volume Six). I can’t narrow it down any more than that.

For each of your heroes, who is the best villain you’ve created for them?

Good question! The Rook has faced an awful lot of villains in his time and I enjoy a lot of the one-off villains a lot. But I guess I’d have to say The Warlike Manchu, who is not only an homage to Fu Manchu but to the greater Yellow Peril in general. I think he started off rather one-note but some of the later stories with him I’m pretty proud of, including the one where he is revived from the dead “The Resurrection Gambit” and the one where he and The Rook team up (“Dead of Night”).

For Lazarus Gray, I think I’d go with Walther Lunt, even though he’s killed off in Volume Two and as of this writing (I’m working on Volume Five now), he hasn’t returned. I think Lunt works because he has a classic visual and his origins are so intertwined with those of our hero.

Gravedigger has only had one book published and another completed but not yet released, so I don’t think it’s fair to really pick one yet.

Any artists you’d like to work with?

Tons! I’m proud to say that so far I’ve had guys like Frank Brunner, Anthony Castrillo, George Sellas, Fred Hembeck, Will Meugniot, Bob Hall and Norm Breyfogle do work for me. There are always more out there whose work I really love, though. My “dream list” would include George Perez, Alan Davis, Chris Batista and Jae Lee.  Our art today is the original black-and-white version of The Rook Volume Four that Wild Cat Books published — with gorgeous pencils courtesy of Norm Breyfogle.

Thanks for the questions, guys! Keep ’em coming!

Friday Fun (Now With 35% More Fred Hembeck!)

hembeck_smallerIt’s finally here — FRIDAY! Yes, we’re all celebrating at Ye Olde Blog as the end of the workweek looms large. I don’t have any major plans for the weekend, though we will be heading out as a family to see Monsters University.

Yesterday saw the first comics company announce a licensing agreement with Kindle Worlds — and it’s none other than Valiant! I’m a big fan of their universe and back in my fanfic days, I wrote many stories featuring X-O Manowar, Shadowman and a few characters they no longer utilize (Magnus & Solar). I had a good half dozen people forward me the news yesterday… and I am mightily intrigued. I might dust off some of the old tales I wrote and see if I can make something out of them. I like to think I’m a better writer now than I was back then, after all. We’ll see — Kindle Worlds is still making announcements and hasn’t actually gone live at this point.

Writing on The Adventures of Gravedigger Volume Two is going quite well. I’m close to 16,000 words into the novel and I’ve set up all the main villains, their plot… and even had Gravedigger shot in the streets of Sovereign City and left for dead! Pulp fiction, ladies and gentlemen… where the action is fast and furious!

Just finished reading Xenos, which is the first novel in the Eisenhorn series by Dan Abnett. Really, really good stuff. I’m going to read a Shadow novel next and then probably dive back into the Eisenhorn omnibus.

I have no hard sales figures but anecdotally, I believe that The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Three: Eidolon is off to a good start, sales-wise. The snafu that led to the eBook version being available for a week before the print one might have driven a few sales towards digital but that’s okay. It takes many more digital sales for me to make as much as I do off a single print sale but if I were doing this just for the money, I’d be a fool. As long as you guys are reading and enjoying, that’s the main thing.

Another episode of The Shadow Fan’s Podcast went live yesterday — 36 episodes and counting! Hard to believe I’ve done so many — and there’s no end in sight!

Our art today is from the amazing Fred Hembeck — you know you’ve made it in this world when Fred’s done the squiggly knees effect on one of your characters!


Busy Morning!

hembeck_smallerIt’s been one of those mornings — and it’s not even 8:30 am here! First, I wake up to an email from one of my publishers, saying that a book is already being sent to press and they somehow have lost the most recent version of my story! So I had to hurriedly scrounge that one up and mail it to them. Then I recorded The Shadow Fan Episode 21 but halfway through my Audacity program started acting up so I had to start all over again.

Let’s hope it gets better from here!

I continue to make good headway on Lazarus Gray Volume Four. I’m currently writing a scene that uses Mayor Rainsford Byles, who previously appeared in The Adventures of Fortune McCall by Derrick Ferguson. Fun character and he fits very well with what’s happening in this particular story. Writing in a shared universe has its good and bad points — there are times that it can really limit you because you have to think of the effects your plans might have on others. But on the other hand, it can be a major boon. In this case, I knew Derrick had already created a character that would fit my purposes, so I didn’t have to do that on my own. I just re-read the scenes that Derrick used him in to refresh my memory (thank you, Kindle Fire, for that search feature!) and I was off!

Over on Facebook, Mark Beaulieu tagged me in a post where he said:

OK, so I’ve read through The Rook volume 5 and some of The Rook volume 6. I liked them quite a bit. The 5th volume is good once you realize it’s not just a Rook book. The best parts of the book are where the Rook is present and the weaker parts are with the other characters. Having said that, I liked the other characters, just too many at once. I haven’t read the Lazarus Gray story in the 6th volume because it’s in the Lazarus Gray book and I’m going to read those in order. No reason to possibly spoil something.

I should mention I’m really liking the Lazarus Gray book so far. I’ve finished the 1st three short stories.

Barry Reese has done some good stuff here. While I said some negative stuff above about the 5th volume, I did enjoy it. There’s some good bad guys in there and the stories have quite a bit in each one. I just prefer the solo Rook stories.

Once I’m done with the Lazarus Gray book, I’ll be starting Derrick Ferguson’s Fortune McCall book. Looking forward to that one quite a bit. I love his Sebastian Red stories and the one Dillon book I’ve read was fun.

I wanted to thank Mark for the kind words — I think that Volume Five is the weakest in the series. That book just got away from me, I’m afraid. While I really enjoyed the Claws of The Rook team, they did kind of dominate book 5. Originally, their stories were for a spinoff series that I was going to do for Wild Cat but when that fell through, they ended up running in The Rook series proper — which was probably a mistake. Anyway, I do think the series returns to form with “The Scorched God” that leads off book six.

Our art today is by the amazing Fred Hembeck. Fred has been delighting comics fans with his fun style and swirly knees for many years and it was so amazing to have him draw The Rook. I felt like I’d ‘arrived.’


The Barry Reese Webstore!

Just can’t wait for The Rook Volumes 1-5 to come back into print? Do you really want to get a personalized copy of the first Lazarus Gray book? Or would you just prefer to have every penny you spend go directly to the author, instead of Amazon? If so, you might be interested in the newest link at the top of this site — “Merchandise”! Yep, you can buy books directly from me and I’ll sign them or personalize them however you want. Some of the books listed there are in limited quantity and once they’re gone, they’re GONE. So click on over and take a look at what’s for sale — all books are listed at cover price, regardless of what they’re going for on the secondary market. In other words, some of The Rook titles that are out of print are being listed for hundreds of dollars by re-sell vendors but here, you’re only going to pay what you would have paid when they were brand new. All copies are in Mint/Near Mint condition and have been stored in a smoke-free environment.  Major props should be given to LaToya Davidson, who put the store together for me (and who also designed both the About and Bibliography pages on this site!). Thanks, LaToya!

Our art today is by the incomparable Fred Hembeck! Fred was gracious enough to do his own version of The Rook and his lovely bride Evelyn. I love it!