Today on my blog I am delighted to be able to share with you a really interesting interview I did with the author Jay Raven where we discuss his book – Crimson Siege!
Any followers of my blog will be aware that I have reviewed two of his books recently and gave them both very high ratings (you can see my review for Crimson Siege again below) so I am delighted to be able to share a bit more about him – and there will also be a guest post from him on my blog next week – so keep your eye out for that too!!
MY INTERVIEW WITH JAY RAVEN!!
When did you know that you wanted to be an author?
From about the age of eight. When other kids were out in the sunshine playing, I’d be inside feverishly hand writing stories in an increasingly tall pile of notepads. I ended up so pale I looked like a consumptive Victorian poet.
The urge to be an author never left me as I grew but I went into journalism as a way of earning a guaranteed living from writing. Every time I interviewed authors, I burned with envy – and bombarded them with loads of questions that were nothing to do with the article I’d eventually produce.
In these days of indie publishing, Kindles, blogs and social media groups, it’s easy to forget how difficult it used to be to break into full-time professional fiction writing. I only had the courage to take the plunge when the newspaper I was working on was taken over by a rival group and most of us were offered voluntary redundancy.
I started by writing short stories for women’s magazines, and stuck with short stories for a long time. It’s only recently that I moved to novels.
What inspired you to write this book?
I’d been having a lot of welcome success with horror short stories and novellas appearing in anthologies on both sides of the Atlantic and reckoned it was time to stretch myself by attempting a full-length Gothic chiller.
Writing Crimson Siege – the first of the Blood Riders series – was inspired by my love of the old Hammer Horror vampire movies with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. I love siege stories such as Dog Day Afternoon and Assault On Precinct 13 and I thought it would be fun to give the “trapped men fighting for their lives” format a historical horror treatment.
Did you encounter any problems?
The novel was hugely enjoyable to write but incredibly difficult too. The story has an operatic sweep, with many twists, turns and sub plots. I ended up juggling 14 main characters, divided into three opposing groups, and made it even trickier for myself by not having conventional good guys and bad guys. I wanted to show that the men were as monstrous as their undead opponents while the vampires demonstrated nobility and loyalty.
Then there were the challenges of creating exciting battle scenes and keeping the story fast paced, even though much of it takes place in one besieged building. I think from the great reviews that I pulled it off, but there were several points during the writing that I felt like giving up.
If you could sell this book in one sentence what would it be?
Gothic terror meets spaghetti western as vampires and bounty hunters battle to the death in the brutal badlands of 19th century Transylvania.
What are you up to next?
I’m working on a sequel to Crimson Siege – with even more chills and twists than the original. Former Lord Marshal Anton Yoska, now struggling to eek out a living as a vampire hunter, finds himself thrown into a deadly intrigue as rumour spreads that a fabled weapon invented centuries before, and believed lost to history, has suddenly resurfaced. It has the ability to destroy vampires on contact.
But is it myth or reality? Both sides – man and monster – want to get their hands on it, complicated by the fact that rival criminals desire the weapon too and are prepared to slaughter anyone who gets in their way.
Anton Yoska wants nothing to do with the raging conflict, but the Vatican has told him to secure the weapon for the Holy Roman Church – no matter what the cost.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
I grew up reading all the sci-fi greats, but three writers who had a strong influence on me were Issac Asimov Ray Bradbury and Michael Crichton.
I loved Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy – for its invention, detailed interweaving of so many characters, and amazing narrative sweep.
Ray Bradbury’s work is sheer poetry, especially The Martian Chronicles and Something Wicked This Way Comes is a lyrical classic packed with dark twisted beauty and growing dread.
As for Michael Crichton. I’d have adored his work purely for creating WestWorld and Jurassic Park, but his writing is so crisp and economic that it should be required reading for all budding authors on how to create the maximum impact with the minimum words.
Away from writers, I most admire Liz, my wife. She can juggle a dozen different problems and not get flustered or grumpy. Not even with me!
ABOUT CRIMSON SIEGE
In the Godforsaken badlands of Transylvania the fragile truce between mankind and monsters is about to explode…
But for Anton Yoska, Lord Marshal of the Imperial lands south of the Carpathian Mountains, fate has trapped him in a supernatural stand-off that can end only in a bloodbath.
A gang of mercenaries led by Anton’s former army comrade Milosh Drubrick have captured vampire aristocrat Stefan Modjeski, wanted for a string of frenzied murders, and have come to Anton to claim the reward. And as Stefan’s predatory undead kin lay siege to the jailhouse, Anton is faced with an agonising choice – hand over his prisoner and abandon the bounty hunters to their unspeakable fate, or stand and fight.
The jailhouse defenders are outnumbered and out of options. It’s a battle that can’t be won, certain slaughter for them all, and Anton can’t trust his scheming allies. But Lord Marshal Yoska isn’t about to surrender.
For he’s an experienced vampire hunter, a dangerous man when cornered, and a single minded warrior who knows there are worse things to fear than death…
MY REVIEW OF CRIMSON SIEGE!
I read a lot of crime fiction and romance novels and every now and again a book comes along like this one that really grabs my attention.
I thought that the blurb sounded great and I love that cover – very fitting for the plot! found the story easy to read, the pace was great and I was addicted as soon as I started reading it – I needed to know how the book was going to end and it is very well written!
I love reading books by new authors and this one did not disappoint at all, I thoroughly enjoyed it and have given it 5 stars!!! Very highly recommended by me to any fans of this genre!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jay Raven is the author of Gothic chillers and historical horror reminding readers that the past is a dangerous place to venture, full of monsters and murderous men.
He blames his fascination with vampires, witches and werewolves on the Hammer Horror films he watched as a teenager, but living in a creepy old house on the edge of a 500-acre wood may have something to do with it.
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