Slumberscythe - Vance Bastian
There is nothing better than when a book surprises you.
It's a beautiful moment when you suddenly feel connected to a work and you're unable to look away or set it down.
Slumberscythe sneaks up on you. While it seems to start a little slow, it didn't take long for me to be caught up in the action and the intrigue of what James is going through. And as the pages continued, the plot continued to go deeper while simultaneously weaving delightful layers that not only enhanced the characters, but made it impossible not to finish the rest of the book as quickly as possible.
Very well written. Highly enjoyable plot and characters -- James is just fantastic! And overall, a book that I strongly recommend.
Some Bio Information
Vance Bastian has a degree in linguistics, a sordid past as an actor and director, and a confusing job as a production editor bringing other people's books into the world. He asks that you don't hold any of that against him.
Quite recently he's come to love his gig as a podcast host, audiobook narrator, book reviewer, and author. These jobs you can hold that against him all you want.
Vance's life goal has always been to master the art of the tale. He brings a powerful, visual, action-oriented storytelling background to his novels.
Vance lives with his fiancée and their feisty dog. He's pretty sure both of them think he's insane for pursuing a creative life.
1. What inspired you to write this book?
Two things. First, growing up I’d never had an adventure style story with a character who was gay like me. That character exists in romance, but I’m a science-fiction/fantasy nerd at heart. All my life I’d looked without finding a hero I could relate to. Finally, I wrote the story I wanted to read.
Second, the actual plot came to me while mountain hiking in upstate New York. There’s a local legend about The Hermit of Storm King Mountain. Just that phrase alone sent my creativity into overdrive. After outlining the series, the Hermit and his mountain have been moved to Book Two, but they get inspirational credit.
2. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?
I am pretty evenly balanced between being a Plotter and a Pantser. As I mentioned, the whole series has a skeleton of a timeline that has individual character goals and world events marked out. From that, I’ve written a one-sentence logline of what I want to happen in each chapter.
However, when I sit down to write, I engage storytelling creativity by narrating out loud as I type. Sometimes I use dictation software, sometimes I want the keys under my fingers. It’s at that point that the characters who are in focus that chapter usually hijack my chapter goals and issue a list of their own demands.
3. How would you describe your writing style?
Slightly snarky, fan-boy urban fantasy with hidden linguistic gems. I love inside jokes that don’t detract from the plot in any way. For example, all of my Sandmen have agent handles that come from words related to dreams or sleep in other languages.
4. Who is your favorite fictional character?
There are too many! I love the good-hearted roguish character. The one who thinks on his feet, might live a touch in the shadows, but will come back and do the right thing. Robin Hood, Han Solo, heck even Harry Dresden all fit the type.
5. What is your least favorite part of the writing process?
Marketing. I was born and raised in the Midwest where self-promotion is, uh… not encouraged. No matter your publisher – self or otherwise – an author needs to be out and about talking about what they’re writing.
6. Is there a particular author that inspired you to become a writer?
J. R. R. Tolkein opened my mind to what a book can do for the imagination. Donald J. Sobol (The Encyclopedia Brown series) and later Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes) held my attention for as series writers who made a living with the pen. They were probably the first who made me think, “This could be a career.” Since then, I’ve read almost a book a month and have encountered far too many phenomenal works to try to categorize that inspiration further.
7. What’s your ultimate writing goal?
I have always wanted to be a storyteller. I recently took another step that direction when I was accepted as an Audible (ACX) audiobook narrator. My personal goal is to make my living delivering stories – mine and other authors’ – to anyone who still hears “what if?” when they dream.