Author: Chris Northern
Page count: 290 as counted by Amazon
Price: $3.50 0 May be Free with some vendors
I’m not self obsessed enough to be able to hold my own attention long enough to write one. What is there ever to say? I was born in the UK. My first memory is of being chased by a cockerel that was as big as I was; it caught me and pecked my forhead I still have the scar – I was one year old, I’m told. There wasn’t any money growing up; I sometimes get annoyed with people who don’t know what this means. For example, I’ve never been a fussy eater – hunger will do you that favor, at least. I still have to resist the temptation to lick the plate clean. I worked at anything that came to hand for as long as it interested me; it rarely took long to plumb the depths of things and move on. Moving on has become a theme and sometimes I move on even before I settle down. Sometimes I regret that, but not often.
Tell us about your book:
The Last King’s Amulet is the first in The Price of Freedom series and is set on a world that has best been described as ‘Not Rome but close enough.’ Sumto, our hero in this first person narrative, is the only son of a noble family and should be very involved in both war and politics, the two favorite pastimes of the nobility in this time and place. Dodging creditors and death threats from people whose honor he’s infringing on with his decedent ways, he joins the military like he should have done half a decade or more ago.
Intrigue and battles soon follow as our hero slowly gets a hold of himself and then those around him.
How long did it take to write the book?
This one was written in a burst of manic activity that lasted about a month. There were consequences to that. I don’t recommend it.
What inspired you to write the book?
Good question. Difficult to answer if I accept the terms of the question. I’m not sure inspire is the right word. Why did I write it? Well, I started writing when I was sixteen. I wrote a chapter and an outline and sent it off, all innocent optimism, and shockingly it came back. The rejection began “Interesting as this looks…” and I was dejected, abandoned the project, and wrote something else and sent it elsewhere with a similar result. The funny thing is, looking back, if I’d completed that first book it almost certainly would have sold somewhere. Anyway, I wrote short pieces, developed ideas for longer pieces. Eventually I sold some. Then I gave up on the idea and go involved in life instead. It was either that or starve. Anyway, back to the question. I’d just returned, shell shocked and bankrupt, the UK and found I had nothing to do and no will to do it. The book was a surprise. I just sat down and wrote it while living at a friends house and basically being looked after better than I deserved. The beginning of the book is kind of where I was, lazing around in a house that wasn’t mine, eating food that wasn’t mine, drinking and basically being pretty aimless. Maybe I was subconsciously trying to figure out what to do next. Sumto is pretty quickly threatened into doing something and the story was off and running.
Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
It is never the same twice, for me. Just as each story has different requirements of character and though I hate to use the word style, it also seems to demand of me a different method of writing. I mentioned that The Last King’s Amulet consumed me for a month of constant writing and was done. The Dancing With Darwin stories, from Rapture Ready to Dangerous Delusions, were very different. I wrote maybe one or two scenes a day. Even in this sequence of stories, some were written differently. Evolving Environment, like the others, is two stories about the same person separated by a year or more, but I wrote one story in a bit of a rush over three or four days, and then the other connected story some months later and at slower pace.
And then there is Prison of Power. A very long fantasy novel, totally un-connected to The Price of Freedom sequence, and that was written chapter by chapter over two years of evenings and weekends. I didn’t think it was that good but the reviews are 4 and 5 stars, so it can’t be that terrible, I suppose.
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
Where can we go to buy your book?
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Diesel, Apple iBookstore, and many other online retailers.
Any other links or info you’d like to share?
Not really. My email is in the back of the books. Always happy to hear from anyone who feels contacting me
Excerpt from book:
He pushed his face close to mine. “Some of us are risking our lives for your drunken, no good, worthless carcass, and some of us would appreciate it if you would cooperate a little bit!”
I nodded dumbly, chastened as only a drunk can be. A tear came to my eye and I told him I was sorry and tried to give him a hug.
“Oh, for gods’ sake,” he seethed almost silently. “Come on.” He half dragged me to the balcony.
It was foggy out. I couldn’t see anything. I wanted a drink. “Beer.” I started back in and he stopped me.
“Wait, listen. Jocasta is here, down there, waiting for you.”
I looked over into the sea of fog, seeing nothing much more than a few feet of wall under the balcony. “Down there?”
“Hush, dammit,” he hissed. “Yes.”
I swung one leg over the balcony and lost my balance. I would have fallen if he had not held me.
“Wait. I have rope.” He swiftly looped it around me and expertly tied it so that it was snug under my arms. “Now try.” I did. I was barely over the edge before I lost my grip and fell. I didn’t realize I was in danger so didn’t make a sound. I heard the rope slipping through his fingers harshly, then I jerked to a stop. After that I descended more smoothly, swinging around in a slow circle and feeling sick and dizzy, seeing nothing but the fog and occasional flashes of wall.
I couldn’t wait to see her. I had to tell her something important; what was it though? Her loupe! Damn, I’d lost her loupe! She was going to go crazy at me. I started climbing the rope. I had to go get it back. It didn’t work very well, Sapphire was lowering me faster than I could climb, and I couldn’t climb worth a damn; my feet touched the ground and a second later the rope fell out of the air on top of me. “Damn, damn, damn!” I growled, quietly. I didn’t want her to hear me.
She’d heard me.
I looked around. She wore white and almost blended into the fog, just her dark hair standing out around her pale face. Big green eyes met mine and held me spellbound.
“I’m sorry!” I blurted.
“Shussh,” She raised her hand and there was a flash of non-light so fast I couldn’t see it. I caught a glimpse of a stone that must have been eighty carats.
“I lost your loupe, they took it.” To my amazement, I couldn’t hear myself speak. I hesitated a second, then laughed. It was bizarre, not a sound. I could feel the movement, knew I was laughing, but couldn’t hear it. “What did you do?” I wasn’t deaf, it was just that the sound made no sound. I stamped my foot to test the theory and sure enough, my shoes rang on the cobbles. Jocasta grabbed my arm and my attention. She really did have the biggest green eyes ever. “I’ve missed you,” I said and tried to hug her.
“Sumto,” she hissed, “you’re drunk.”
I nodded earnestly, remembering something important. I leaned back and shouted up to Sapphire. “Bring the beer!”
Damn, he wouldn’t hear me. I gave Jocasta a little shake, pointed up and then made a drinking motion, my hand gripping an invisible glass.
I have never seen anyone flush with anger quite that quickly. I watched the process, fascinated. “You’re mad at me, aren’t you?”
“You are a drunken fool, just like my father said.”
Under the circumstances, I think that was a bit harsh.
The three of us walked through the fog in near silence, only my shoes echoing on the cobbles. They both wore soft slippers, I saw, looking down and nearly losing my balance. Sapphire grabbed my arm and steered me after that. I was grateful. Walking in a straight line was nearly impossible. Was impossible. I was very drunk indeed. It was only the shock of seeing them that had induced in me a false lucidity, a temporary sobriety. I was noticing things, but not much, and not rationally, and I knew it. The two dead guards at the gate, for example. I saw them but couldn’t tell who they were. A third walked out of the fog and I lurched toward him, arms wide, ready to hug him. He caught me and held me up.
“You stink of booze,” Meran said. “Just like the old days.”
“No! It’s not my fault!” I didn’t make a sound. It had been funny at first, but now it was frustrating. My emotions wavered from one extreme to another and I recognized the syndrome.
“Let’s get you home,” He tucked one arm round my waist, just like the old days, and we staggered on together, heading home. Where-ever and what-ever home might be now.
“How did you survive?”
“What? Can’t hear you.”
“I silenced him, he was being a buffoon. We were trying to rescue him and he was… was …”
“Being drunk?” Meran supplied.
“Do we have to talk?” Sapphire asked in the quietest voice I have ever heard anyone use and still sound like they are shouting.
“I can, no one can hear me.”
No one answered. But then, what had I expected? No one could hear me.
We walked on in a fog of muffled sounds for what seemed a long time. I was tired. I wanted to sleep. I said so. No one listened. I tried to sit down and Meran wouldn’t let me. I was almost used to his ministrations. He had helped me home several times when I had been a drunk in truth, and he had the knack of it. He talked to me, softly, not angry, encouraging, urging me on. It seemed to take a long time. I either passed out on the way or I just don’t remember the rest. It’s hard to say. It always was.