I’m so excited because today I’m introducing a new feature – Wordsmiths– a monthly post that interviews new and established authors, links to their media and published work, and best of all: excerpts!
Today, we get to chat to John Cordial, author of the Glass Fate series, which you may have heard me raving about here. He also gives an excerpt from Tybalt Perdition, which you don’t want to miss!
So let’s jump straight in!
Thanks so much for agreeing to this interview!
I’d like to start with a little something different today. If you had to give readers a photo of everything important in your life at this moment, what would be in the shot?
Hello! My laptop and cat, right now. I’ve got a tablet and phone too, but that’s about it. I live spartan.
- What is the first book that made you cry?
The first I remember was the Fires of Merlin by T.A. Barron. No spoilers or anything, but not everyone makes it to the end. Also just a few weeks later, I read Sandman: The Kindly Ones and that hit pretty hard. I’m sure books before this made me cry, I’m… easy with my emotions, but those are the ones that really wrecked me for days.
- Are you friends with other authors? How do they help you become a better writer?
Oh yes, quite a few on Twitter. I’ve learned so much from them, through conversations, beta-reading, blog posts, and just random support when I needed it pretty badly.
- Tell me about the first time you realised that language has power?
I don’t remember exactly when, I was young and reading the Boxcar children series and was just totally enthralled. Five or six, I think, it was the first series I really liked. Took me a few years to realize the full scope of my linguistic love liaison, though.
- What would you give up in order to become a better writer?
Uhm, quite a bit. I’m pretty much dead set on being the best and everything else will have to hold a bit.
- How did your childhood (or misspent youth) prepare you for being a writer?
I read a lot. Not much else I did, besides playing with action figures and stuff. Everyone else just liked to play war or whatever, but I built some pretty complex story-lines. Spiderman betraying GI Joe and all that jazz. Why yes, I was a weird kid, why do you ask?
- What is your favourite punctuation mark, or the one you inadvertently find yourself using the most?
Ellipses. My characters love them in dialogue, and they sound natural, people pause for just a second or two and trail off for the right sentence or word a lot. I edit them out a lot of the time.
- If you had to list story elements in order of importance to you as a writer; from most to least, where would you place the following: plot, character, setting, conflict, resolution?
Character, conflict, plot, resolution, and setting. Character’s drive the story, conflict keeps readers invested, but the plot does have to be decent, people like good resolution, and setting is there. I don’t do much with setting or description, just what I need to… probably a little less, really, but I hope my wit and characters make up for that.
About Crane. Wife: A Cyberpunk Tale:
- Crane.Wife is the first novella you published. How did publishing it change your writing process?
Hmm, so far that’s a little hard to say. Not so much, besides I’m getting more comfortable as an author… I still smile pretty hard when I think about being an author now. We’ll see as I edit a full project, I guess. That’s where the real magic weaves into my stories.
- The story opens with Kadence; an injured soldier, dealing drugs to make a few extra bucks, but it quickly becomes clear that he’s not a bad guy. What is it about this situation that reflects in your own life experience?
Nothing really all that personal, the scene is more about situations. Kadence is on the edge of broke and physically broken, but he wants to give his wife the world. The pills they give him are worth real money and they give him a lot, which is partially social commentary too. We have a similar issues today, I was just displaying some reality…
People do what it takes, especially if they’re out of options. Even good people. It’s the symptom of a depressed society and if pills are free and can feed your family, the pill trade will boom. Especially with them pushing excessive pills on people just to keep them quiet, which is rarer, but alluded to in the story too.
- The novella is full of emotional ups and downs. What was the hardest scene for you to write?
Spoilers, but I was wrecked for days afterward. Still have trouble rereading it.
- The names you used for the characters are quite unusual. How did you select them, and do they have any special significance to you?
Again, spoilers, but a few of them do add something to the story. I can say Amias and Opie are both male names for lady characters, I like to do that. Also Kadence is more a lady’s name and just pretty. I like pretty names.
About Tybalt Perdition:
- This novella is Book 0 in the Glass Fate I would almost say it’s set up as the prologue of what’s to come in the rest of the series. Why did you decide to publish it first?
Because it is a prologue. Stuff you learn in chapter one affects the last book and jazz like that. I might not be a planner, but I got a trick or two in store.
- Do you want each book to stand on its own, regardless of which one a reader picks up; or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Glass Fate won’t really stand alone, especially in later books. Sorry, you’ll just have to start at the beginning, friends. My cyberpunk stories will. Clearly you should read them all though and everything I write.
- What did you edit out of this book?
A snack scene, Caldyr takes a package of Fig Halleys to bed with her for some quality brooding before bed. Also some jokes about chili dogs and a much longer opening that includes Caldyr going to war against some people. (That last bit is coming later.)
- The Glass Fate series carries a lot of mythology in it. Where did you go for your research, and will you share an interesting fact that you left out of the books with us?
All over. Most of it is just from reading when I was younger. Some is online research. Just read a lot and make your own judgement calls for how deep you want to go. I’d recommend at least two or three sources though, if the original isn’t available/in dead language.
Tyr! He’s my favorite god and he led the Aesir, the Norse gods, before he lost a hand to his own pet Fenrir. Shows up later, but in the original idea he had Safkhet’s place. He’s the bee’s knees.
About Your Future:
- What does literary success look like to you?
When they start paying me in gold bars instead of cash… do they do that? No, lol. Uhm, I seriously think just for me it’s having money to go where I want and to be respected for my writing. I want to travel and write more, so that’s success to me.
- Do you think that as your readership grows, you may fall into the trap of changing your story to give people what they want, or do you plan to avoid that?
No, I’m pretty independent and I make my own choices, part of the reason for my indie-ness. Also I’m a weirdo and not all that into the whole traditional scene. People will get what I give them and it’s probably going to have candy, strong ladies, and crime. No other promises.
- If you could have a discussion with your future self, what would you remind him of that you think you’ll want to be important to you for your whole life?
I tweeted when I got five followers. That. I’m not famous yet, by a long shot, but I always want to remember where I started and the hands that pulled me up from nothing.
- If a significant person in your life were to give you one piece of advice about your plans for the future, what would you want to hear from them?
Can I ask for a review? Just if I did good on the stories, nothing really specific I’d ask her.
- Social media plays a big role in modern society. What would you most like to see developing from the platforms you use in the near future?
Smell-o-tweet? Nah, trolling on that would be… horrific. Jesus H. Crackers, that’d be terrible. Uhm, can I take a mulligan? I don’t know what I’d like to see really…
Oops, nope, edit button on Twitter. I’m a terrible typist.
Excerpt from Tybalt Perdition – Glass Fate Book 0
The Court Clerk, Athena today, sat behind a counter. Safkhet, an Egyptian goddess and an old war buddy, leaned against a pillar nearby. Both wore sunglasses, to protect against the odd glare from a jewel or shiny bit of metal.
Judging by the bored faces the goddesses were discussing their respective menfolk.
“Katana were just one weapon,” Athena snapped.
Or maybe not.
“Knights could absolutely take down samurai,” Safkhet insisted. “They’re not even in the same weight class. Don’t be silly.”
Athena chuckled. “Silly. Right. Coming from someone in leopard print shoes, that’s cute. But, seriously, samurai had the advantage with speed and skill with the bow. Armor don’t mean much to a sharpshooter.”
“Afternoon, ladies,” Reynardine interrupted.
“Not interested,” they said in unison, barely glancing his way.
“That is low. Have I ever ever hit on both of you at the same time? In this courthouse? On a Tuesday?”
“We’d have to check the records, General.” Athena smiled wearily. “But yes, a few times. You here to pay your weekly fines?”
“Fair enough then. And no, I avoided any rule breaking or tomfoolery since last week. I’m a walking no fun zone.”
“Avoided getting caught, at least.” Safkhet pushed him and the touch lingered a second longer than either cared for.
‘Specially today. Reynardine shook his head and smiled at Athena.
“Did you need something else, General?” Athena asked. She called her laptop from thin air and started it up.
“You ladies got everything I could ever need,” Reynardine said and tossed out a trademark wink hidden by the heavy protective eyewear. “But, yeah, I do. I’m quitting and I need some forms, I think. Probably a tax or some kind of fee, eh? Governments always love their fees.”
A cricket couldn’t cut the all consuming silence. Reynardine expected the planet exploding would’ve been like the brush of silk against velvet.
Without a word, Safkhet slapped him hard enough to launch his glasses into a far wall. The world vibrated with agony.
Athena’s lips moved, but no sound cut through the pain. Safkhet responded sharply, and was gone in a puff of smoke.
Reynardine rubbed the stinging cheek. Noise took it’s own sweet time returning to the shiny world. “Wow, Sarsaparilla’s not happy with me.”
Athena shook her head and—probably—rolled her eyes behind the sunglasses. “She hates that nickname and she really isn’t a fan of friends getting suicidal, either. You’re not the brightest fox.”
Reynardine didn’t consider himself a slouch, but he took the bait. “How so?”
The goddess called his smashed glasses from the floor. A hard click of power and she forced them backwards through time until they were whole once more. “You do know you’ll be mortal right?”
“I was going for a Myth, again.” Reynardine laughed. “I’m something of a fan of not dying.”
Athena flinched and shook her head. “What you wanted doesn’t matter. We don’t make you a Myth, we just pull out the god’s blood and drop you on Earth.”
Reynardine stepped back as if Athena got slap-happy too. “Como se va?”
“We just take out the ichor, we can’t make you a Myth. Isengrim will kill you, if any of your other enemies aren’t quicker.” She pushed the sunglasses into Reynardine’s limp hand.
He looked around, good eye scanning the world for a bit of hope to latch onto. “But what do I do?”
“‘Do’? Nothing. Once you’re a mortal, we can’t help you. I don’t think anyone can. Even I can’t see a way out of your tangled ass web.”
“What if I pull a trick or something? Do a little tap dance? For old times sake?”
Athena’s focus fluttered to her paperwork, then her computer, and finally settled on the Fox himself. “It’s gotta be legit, Reynardine. Not just for old times sake, you’ve really got to impress some people—gods would be best. If it really becomes a Myth, a proper story to tell, then one of us can give it life and gift you with Mythhood. Although I don’t know why you’d prefer that to godhood.”
The Fox didn’t feel like drowning the moment in details and Athena would never understand the appeal of a simpler life. She just wasn’t built that way. “I’m pretty certain that the other gods do not like me, very much, at all.”
“Reynardine, I’m one of your closest friends. You led well, better than well, you saved the cause. Me personally, twice. Almost everyone I know considers you a great general, you’re a really clever guy. But some days I’d shiv you myself, if I could get away with it. As a person, you’re… abrasive, at best.”
“No, I’m a fox,” Reynardine mumbled, eye lost in thought. “Just a dumb fox.”
is on sale on Amazon
John’s Cyberpunk novella, Crane.Wife
can be found here
Thanks so much for taking the time to spend with us today, and we look forward to what’s still to come!
Thanks for having me!
John Cordial lives in California with a cranky cat. He writes dark, weird tales of all types. Follow him on Twitter, or connect with him on his blog.
If you are a wordsmith (whether you’ve been published, self-published, or are in the process of publishing), and you’d like to be featured on our blog, please let me know in the comments, or by sending an email to chasingdreamspublishing(at)gmail(dot)com