ideas take life in Words
A blog following the works (and shenanigans) of J.E. Klimov
Celebrate Earth Day with Emissary!
As Indie April draws to a close and Earth Day is here- I am honored to sit with (well, virtually) the talented E.B. Brooks to talk about his new release. I've been impressed with his quality of writing and (WOW) his cover! The cover reveal was recent, and I couldn't be MORE EXCITED FOR THIS RELEASE. Check out the book blurb and his interview.
Get psyched for your next favorite read!
JE: Let's start off with this. Can you describe your novel in three words?
EB: Claim your world. (That was hard!)
JE: It may have been hard but that was POWERFUL. I love it and already am interested. Now, how long did it take you to write and edit Emissary?
E.B.: I first conceived Emissary in late 2014, early autumn. I’d never written anything like a novel before, but I slammed out the first draft by December, reading it aloud to my family as I went. (It aged with my kids, in many respects.) I immediately drafted the sequel, Sandstorm (though I wasn’t calling it that at the time) over the next month, and half of Book 3 after that, before I got enough feedback from my alpha readers to know I’d better learn how to write well. Emissary’s second draft took me through the next summer, after which I paused to draft the rest of Book 3, along with Books 4 and 5. I’m a huge fan of series where it’s obvious the author knew where they were going, where the world is consistent and every last detail could be relevant foreshadowing. I wrote the Emissary quintet accordingly. So I finished Book 5 (Transcendence) in late 2016, just before the US general election, and spent the next few years polishing Emissary to release into the world. I spent a year waffling about whether to go traditional or self-publish, but in the end I went with the latter route for reasons of creative control. Five years and four already-drafted sequels made it really hard for me to want to subject Emissary to another round of developmental edits!
J.E.: Oh wow! You've written so much, and it appears to have been a literal journey. This is impressive and amazing. I wrote my trilogy one at a time, so I am loving hearing your process. When writing, you must have had a particular audience in mind. Please fill in the blank so readers can have some other novels to relate to: "If the reader enjoyed ______, he/she will also love Emissary!"
E.B.: Oh, no! I only get to pick one? Maybe I’ll cheat and say: if the reader enjoyed the style of Sword Art Online, the concept of Ready Player One, or the overtones of Ender’s Game, he/she will also love Emissary!
J.E.: Another thing I found interesting was the insignia. Could you describe the meaning behind the emissaries’ insignia? Any inspiration behind it?
E.B.: Sure! The emissaries’ insignia is a sword and olive branch, crossed over a shield. It represents the need for both force and diplomacy (often in tension, as symbolized by their crossing) to secure peace and safety. I don’t think I had any particular external inspiration for that insignia, or any of the others throughout the book; I’ve always been a huge nerd for symbols and their meanings. I did stylize the emblem for the Church’s military off the historical crusaders’ tabards, and the Centre’s various sections have insignia akin to contemporary military branches.
J.E.: How did you come to create Veridor? What do you love about it?
E.B.: Ah, Veridor. I like to think of it as a game of Elder Scrolls Online that was beaten two millennia ago but got left running on idle. The Middle Ages, but with Wi-Fi. The name itself was a dual play on verity (truth) and the Latin veridi (green). So Veridor is the Green Land of Truth, and its people, the Veridians, are true humans.
I love Veridor for its liveliness. In ancient days, the humans overthrew their otherworldly gods and installed the governing Church as a gesture of independence and self-reliance. In Ewan’s time, the Church has become a micromanaging bureaucracy, and most Veridians respect it but don’t necessarily listen to it. The Church priests don’t mind, though: anyone causing real trouble gets a swift execution by the Swords, and the dead heretics can come back to confession and apologize—and pay their fees—after respawning. I guess for me, I love the feeling I get from every Veridian character that they love life and enjoy it to the fullest, in whatever form they decide to go after. They’re resilient, unfazed by failure in a world where death isn’t the end.
J.E.: If Ewan lived among us now- how do you think he would be handling the Coronavirus pandemic?
E.B.: It depends. If he was in a city, he’d be totally stir-crazy. (To be fair, in a later book he finds himself in a city and goes stir-crazy, anyway!) But if he was living in a rural area, he’d take it in stride and probably spend most of it roaming the woods, or helping folks from a distance where he could. It might take some explaining to get him to understand what germs are, though. The closest Veridor has is curses, or other nerfing effects.
J.E.: What are you most excited about this publication?
E.B.: I think I’m most excited at the prospect of finally getting to see what other people think of Ewan’s journey, and hopefully for the story to catch fire in the public imagination. There are some pretty big revelations in the first book (and subsequent books have even bigger ones), so I’ve spent a lot of energy over the past five years just biting my tongue for fear of spoilers. I guess I’m just as excited to finally be able to speak freely about the nature of Ewan’s world!
J.E.: Any words for aspiring writers?
E.B.: Be patient, and learn the craft. When I churned out Emissary’s first draft, I had to resist the temptation to send it off to publishing. (It never would have made it in that form, anyway!) The story seemed so timely, because we all needed a reminder that no matter how bleak things look, we can always work to improve them. But the story itself has gotten so much better and deeper thanks to the time I spent drafting out the rest of the quintet. My skills as a writer improved drastically as well in that time, which only helped on all fronts. And guess what? That message of taking responsibility for the messes we inherit? It’s still relevant, if not even more so. So, take your time, make your story the best it can be, until you realize you’re just toggling commas and turns of phrase. Then send it out into the world, with its best chance at reaching people.
J.E.: That's wise, and I completely agree. (Coming from me- the most impatient person ever haha) Finally, why choose Earth Day for the release?
E.B.: Ah, but this is spoiler territory! Without going into the details (Tree would have my hide, if I did), I’ll just say that the idea of loving the world you’re in is a prevalent theme in Emissary. Veridor wouldn’t last long if it wasn’t constantly cared for, and Tree’s home is in dire straits because people in the past dropped the ball. Ewan has to learn to make the most of the world he’s in—whichever one that is—and that notion is right in line with the spirit of Earth Day. No matter what nations, clubs, or social media groups we align with, in the end, we still all share this wonderful, miraculous planet. Just like Ewan, we need to claim our world.
You can read a sample chapter on E.B. Brook's website. Also follow him out on social media for more updates!
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