Saturday, May 13, 2017

Interview with author David Tallerman

The Black River Chronicles: Level One

David Tallerman is the author of the YA fantasy series The Black River Chronicles, which began in late 2016 with Level One, the Tales of Easie Damasco series, and the novella Patchwerk.  His comics work includes the absurdist steampunk graphic novel Endangered Weapon B: Mechanimal Science and the Rosarium miniseries C21st Gods.  David's short stories have appeared in around eighty markets, and a number of his best dark fantasy and horror stories were included in his debut collection The Sign in the Moonlight and Other Stories.  He can be found online at

1. What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book?
This was an unusual case, in that the initial concept came from my co-author and editor Michael Wills, who had an idea that he was enthusiastic about but hadn't quite figured out how to develop; Michael approached me because we'd worked together a few times and because I had some experience writing the kind of story he had in mind.  But it wasn't long - maybe twenty-four hours - before I was just as excited as he was.  It was such a fun notion; how could I say no?  And by then I already had a strong sense of the characters, which thereafter were my main inspiration; I fell in love with them immediately.

2. What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader?
The concept Michael approached me with was, how do the classic fantasy characters - the rangers, wizards, rogues and fighters - learn to be those things?  Could it be that there's a school somewhere that takes young would-be heroes from well-meaning incompetence to the point where they can explore dungeons and challenge dragons and stand a hope of walking away afterwards?  So The Black River Chronicles: Level One follows new student Durren Flintrand as he discovers to his horror that, if he's to progress beyond his first level, he's going to have to learn to work with a party of other students: a wizard who's afraid of using magic, a rogue who can't tolerate others and a fighter who's so dumb that he refers to himself by his own first name. As for target audiences, Level One is nominally Young Adult fantasy, but so many adults seem to be enjoying it that I don't think that's a bar to entry.  So anyone with a fondness for fantasy, I'd say, and if they're young enough to put themselves in our heroes' shoes or old enough to get some of the more obscure Dungeons and Dragons jokes then all the better!

3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down?
I hope that the characters are what will stay with the reader after they've finished; all of our core cast are straightforward on the surface, but all of them have a lot more going on that's revealed over the course of the book.  They each have their secrets, their quirks and their strengths and weaknesses.  Certainly the response we've had so far has been that our four protagonists and their interactions are what readers are eager to see more of.

4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?
Writing is a trade, and takes as long to learn as any other.  But it's also something that just about anyone can do badly, which makes it that bit harder to stand out.  So, above all, aim to produce great work, whatever great works means for you.  Learn the industry.  Read as much as you can - both fiction and non-fiction, and not just in your genre(s) of choice.  Study grammar.  Understand language.  Know the tools at your disposal.  Fight for your work, even when no-one else will; but do so respectfully, because once you earn a bad name you're probably stuck with it.  Be patient; understand that to write well and to sell work are tough goals and won't happen overnight.  And always try to hang onto the reasons why you love what you do, because that love is one of the things that will make your writing shine.

5. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
I try not to predict too much; I've seen too many predictions proved badly wrong, and it's easy to hone in on the worst trends and to miss the positives.  I think that, as a writer, your role is to produce the best books you can and get them into the hands of as many people as possible, and the ideal ways to do that can vary even year by year.  The trick is to understand that what works for one project might not be right for another.

6. What great challenges did you have in writing your book?
This one?  Not so many.  Co-authoring was a new challenge, but Michael was (and is) a dream to work with, so that went more smoothly than I could have hoped for.  Writing a novel is never going to be easy, but Level One went more smoothly than any of my others; with the characters and the concept in place so early, the style and story grew from those foundations.

7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
Tough question!  All I can say is that I can't imagine anybody with a fondness for fantasy fiction not having a good time with Level One; it's fast and fun and grounded in a real affection for the classics.  I don't know that there are many books out there that manage to tell an original story with complex characters while still poking fun in the way that we do.  In essence, The Black River Chronicles: Level One is a comic fantasy novel written by two people with a deep and abiding love for the genre, with all its quirks and clichés and excesses, and there aren't as many of those around as there should be.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby 

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