A TIME OF ASHES by Ru Pringle @RuPringle #Interview

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In Conversation with RU Pringle

Can you tell us a little bit about your book?

It’s called ‘A Time of Ashes’ – the first book in a planned 6-book series called ‘Fate and the Wheel’. The second instalment, ‘Hunting Gods’, was also published last year. It reads as epic quest fantasy, although it’s a little more complicated than that, as the characters themselves find on their long journey. There are some unusual twists and creatures in it – I made a conscious decision to steer away from common tropes involving Wizards, werewolves, dragons and the like, although I’ve turned a few such tropes on their head. I’ve had a lot of fun with ideas I haven’t read before. For example, one of the main (though non-speaking) characters in the book is a giant hydrofoil made out of sea monster bones.

  • Who would your book be perfect for?

Anyone who likes epic fantasy, such as R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones series. It should also be different enough for those who read at the fringes of fantasy and science fiction like something a little different and genre-bending.

  • Did you have a favourite character to write?

Not really – I was pleased how the characters in the book came out, and in different ways I think they’re all interesting and relatable. If I had to pick one, I might just go for Homollon, who’s a creature like the Frankenstein splicing of a rhino, a spider, an ankylosaurs and an eight-wheeled assault vehicle. I like his world-weary stoicism. Other favourites are Sheehan, a free-spirited countess from a matriarchal society of sea-dwelling shapeshifters, Jarosh, the irascible captain of the bladeship Fat Chance, and Oliént, the loathsomely entitled emperor of a cold kingdom in which two hapless central characters find themselves. But I’ve also very much enjoyed my journey with Murrin, the massively strong scholar whose horrifying discovery triggers the tale, and Coll, whose lethal weapons skills and horribly misguided sense of justice gave me some deliciously black moments.  When Coll, Murrin and Homollon began to spark off each other, I had a blast.

  • What inspired you to the write the book?

A dream. I can’t give details because of spoilers, but the entire setup for the series came to me in a spectacularly vivid and detailed dream several years ago. I woke up, got a pen and wrote it down. Since then, the scope of the story and the geography of the world(s) in it have expanded a lot, as has the existential nature of the central quest.

  • Can you share with us a photo that means something special to you?

This is the night of my birthday, spent on top of one of the mountains in the west Highlands of Scotland.

  • What has been your proudest bookish moment?

When Gary Gibson, one of the UK’s foremost science fiction authors, described my near-future thriller ‘October Song’ as reminding him of ‘Iain Banks at his fiery best.’ Given that Iain Banks is one of my favourite authors of all time, this was a wonderful thing to read.

  • Do you have any questions for your readers?

No. Just joking! Where to start? I suppose, what did you like about the story? What didn’t you like? What’s your opinion of big serialised novels? Did you really wish I’d just written about vampires? What are your favourite characters from the book? Did the story go where you thought it would? Would you like a friend who’s like a splicing of a rhino, a spider, an ankylosaurus and an eight-wheeled assault vehicle? Oh – what’s your favourite cheese?

  • What is your favourite read of your whole life and why?

The Lord of the Rings. Because, decades after I first read it at the age of nine, it still has a balance of depth, poignancy, imagination, conviction and world-building that I’ve yet to experience in any other book.

  • What are you working on now?

I’m editing a book with the working title ‘City of Dreams and Dust’, the first in a two-part science fiction series called ‘Sanctuary’. It’s almost finished – I’m hoping to bring it out in March, shortly followed by the second in the series.

ASHES by R U Pringle

IN THE YEARS BEFORE THE CORRUPTION CAME, Murrin Kentle lived in a world where the largest island could be walked across in a day, and humans traded and fished in bladeships made from the bones of the gigantic and bizarre sea monsters patrolling its stormy, bottomless oceans. As a truthkeep of the Brotherhood of the First Mind, it’s been his duty to fight the decay of knowledge with religious fervour. A fervour he has increasingly struggled to maintain.

Before the Corruption came, Sheehan hahe Seeheeli was a carefree countess of the Shi’iin. Amphibious and fiercely matriarchal, her people have maintained an uneasy coexistence with the human scholars dominating the islands. Then an emissary of the gods brings news of an impending catastrophe. Now, she and Murrin must embark on a desperate voyage in the hope of salvation, although both the subject of their search and the path they must take remain stubbornly obscure.

Before the Corruption came, a wild young man named Coll grew up in a desert town, consumed by rage over what was done to his mother. His thirst for retribution will set in motion a train of events not even the gods could fully have foretold.

NOW THE CORRUPTION IS HERE, and nothing in Murrin’s world, nor any of the worlds of the Sundered Realm, will ever be the same.

By turns touching, humorous, tense and horrific, A Time of Ashes is a thrilling and wildly imaginative tale of existential discovery: the first part of Fate and the Wheel, a beautifully written epic tale of friendship, loss, revenge, war, and survival against crushing odds.

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