Today’s post is one that I have been looking forward to because I have two awesome things for you all!
I recently got to read an ecopy of Mad God Walking thanks to City Owl Press, and I loved the unique protagonist and all the interesting magic, so I’m very excited to have author Connor Drexler on the blog today. He was kind enough to answer my questions about the book (as well as some other random things) and offer a signed paperback for a giveaway, so hopefully you’ll enjoy learning about this urban fantasy world of his as much as I did, and then be sure to keep scrolling to the end of the post for your chance to win!
About the Book
Deep in the Sideways beyond human imagination lies the Night Hotel where madness reigns. Madness Damon longs to forget.
A stranger on earth and a refugee from a twisted Sideways world, Damon slowly builds a life in Brooklyn with his only friends, Thom and Sarah. Learning how to live as a human does not come easy to the being from the Sideways. Memories of the Night Hotel where he grew up, and his guardians—Aunt and Uncle, still haunt him. Despite his bitter childhood, Damon is determined to forget and become worthy of Sarah’s love and Thom’s friendship.
When his new life is threatened by an Inquisition of human wizards convinced Damon is the same Mad God once responsible for the Dark Ages, he is forced to use the sorcery of the Sideways to protect it and his friends. But each time he uses the addictive magic of his home, he loses a little more of his hard won humanity. Can he save them all before he turns into the Mad God the Inquisition believes him to be?
Hi, Connor! Welcome, and thanks for taking the time to do this interview with me. The first thing I wanted to ask you about is Damon, the protagonist in Mad God Walking. He’s not human, and though he does a good job of blending in, he still thinks and acts very not-human sometimes. He doesn’t completely understand emotions or the way humans live. How did you get into the mindset of a character like that?
Damon’s evolution was kinda funny, the original core concept was “What if people had fun with magic, then too much fun and then had to stop.” He was originally, kinda bro-y and I had planned most of the book for him to be in recovery in an AA sort of way.
Then I wrote my first “Night Hotel” chapter and really thought a lot about the nature of humanity through a non-human perspective.
After I had more of a sense of Damon, I had to do a bit of research to understand him. I read a lot of old Irish Fairy tales, about the Fey’s seemingly indifference to morality. I also read some articles about how people diagnosed as sociopaths try to live and adapt.
There were a few different types of magic users in the book, including wizards, technomancers, and Sideways beings. Can you explain the differences between their magic?
Wizards and technomancers bend the rules of reality/physics with their spells and codes, there is a limit. You can create a fireball, but in order to do so you need to provide enough fuel/energy/oxygen. When someone utters a spell to keep champagne cool, they are bending physics to leach out some of the heat energy out of the item.
Wizarding operates using a verbal/grammatical system developed in ancient Babylon. Words and will blend to mess with the physical nature of our universe. They have also been violently suppressing all other forms of magic since the fall of Babel.
The Wizarding world requires their members to have gone through a University and gained acceptance to a guild. Unlicensed wizards are hunted down.
Technomancy came up during the industrial revolution, they were able to keep it hidden long enough to build a strong enough beach head to convince with various wizarding guilds to leave them alone. There have been cold war style flair ups, the Wizards still consider themselves the world police of magic.
Technomancy operates though math and artifice. This limits their ability to create on the fly, but what spells and effects they do cause tend to have a lot more structure and permanency. Technomancers also rather a less centralized approach, they wait till someone discovers it on their own.
Sorcery, the art of the Sideways is an intrusive force. It pulls power from outside our world and therefore does not have as many limitations. Because it is an outside force, its existence corrupts our own reality.
I guess to sum it all up (TL/DR)
Wizardry is a classic pianist, beautifully rendering a Beethoven sonata.
Technomancy is an electronic musician that has been pushing boundaries, but when it comes to the show just pushes a button.
And Sorcery is a slightly drunk Metal guitarist starting raging solo.
The Night Hotel where Damon grew up was such a unique place, what with its moving walls and living shadows, just to name a few things. Was there any specific inspiration behind that?
I like the idea of a malleable reality and I have a life long obsession with gilded age hotels. The old Palmer House hotel was my inspiration for the Night Hotel.
My favorite thing about Mad God Walking was Damon and Thom’s friendship. Did you know from the start that that would be such an important factor in the book and the characters’ lives?
It took a while to really develop and understand their friendship, I knew having something to anchor Damon was important. First draft I remember a beta reader asking why they were even friends, so I really thought about some of my own close friendships. When I did, memories of loyalty and tolerance for strange personalities kept coming up.
What is your favorite scene or line in the book, and why?
I like it in London when Thom hit’s Damon in the junk. For me it helped solidify Thom as his own character. As a 32 year old, nut shots are still funny.
On a more serious side, the first time Damon fails Vera in the Night Hotel. Everything about their relationship is heart breaking to me.
Now for Some Fun… The Lightning Round!
Ghostbusters, Spirited Away, and Fargo.
Favorite place to read?
On a train.
Champagne, I sell wine for a living and it just goes with everything!
Food wise, impossible to say but right now I really want some Taiwanese beef noodle soup.
Favorite time of day?
Dusk, there is always a subtle energy as the night begins.
Favorite paranormal creature?
Irish Sidhe and Chinese Demons. In post Christian mythology we like to label things and good and evil, I have always been fascinated by the mythologies built around creatures that check “None of the above.”
Is there anything else you want to say to your current and potential readers?
Hi!!!!! Thanks for reading my strange little book. I’m drafting the next one right now.
I’m looking forward to it, and thanks again, Connor, for taking the time to do this interview!
About the Author
Connor Drexler is a graduate of the University of Iowa, a fine wine salesman, avid adventurer and a fiction writer by way of Brooklyn. When not running around the subways carrying a bag full of wine he can be found table top gaming, singing late night karaoke and on one occasion calling up cthulhuist curses on his computer for not writing his novel for him. Connor is currently working on the sequel to his debut novel Mad God Walking and generally believes people should drink more Champagne.
One (1) winner will receive a signed paperback copy of Mad God Walking by Connor Drexler.
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