King of the Storm Blog Tour: "If I could be the Matthew Woodring Stover of LGBTQ+ fiction"
Hi everyone! Recently I was privileged to be able to interview debut novelist BA Brock and talk a little bit about, you guessed it, the debut novel in question, King of the Storm. Thank you for joining us, BA!
Thanks, Angel, for having me on your blog today! I’m happy to be here.
1. Let’s start with the obvious – King of the Storm and subsequent books in The Godhead Epoch follow the growth and adventures of demigods from Greek legends. What attracted you to the Greek pantheon specifically?
The Ancient Greeks had an interesting idea of sexuality, which I wanted to explore in my writing. I chose the Greek gods because they interacted with the common people. They laughed with them, cried with them, punished them, and procreated with them. That familiar mixing of the divine with humanity was supremely interesting to me, even if I gave my own interpretation of those gods a bit more of a hands-off approach.
2. The Godhead Epoch appears (from the blurbs) to focus on themes of destiny vs. choice. Greek heroes didn’t appear to have much choice (though, let’s face it, a lot of them bring on their own dooms by being jerks…) Do you have a personal, real life take on that theme?
Sadly, I do not believe in destiny. Rather, I rely heavily on statistics and chaos theory. Perhaps my boring beliefs are what made the idea of writing about destiny fascinating to me, and it’s probably why my characters struggle with the idea of fate.
3. Do you have a series map all drawn (and if yes, how many stories?) Or do you prefer to let the current project inspire the next?
My series isn’t chronological, nor does it focus on the same main character in each story. The series arch is about a demigod’s negotiation between their humanity and the divine, which I will explore with at least one more protagonist, but beyond that, I don’t know.
4. Your bio states that you first considered writing when your D&D character wanted stories told. Now, you know you can’t tell an old geek that and not expound. Can you tell us a bit about the character?
Before Perseus was a character in my book, he was a character in my campaign in Dungeons and Dragons! I chose Perseus from legend to use as a model for my roleplaying character, because he had a flying horse. Seriously. I was always hoping my Dungeon Master would give me a horse. (He didn’t.)
I made Perseus a Paladin in D&D Next, so he could lead and tank, and I role played him a bit like Captain Jack Harkness, because that’s sort of how I envision the Greek heroes. They are confident in their abilities, they can be fun-loving, but as you said, they can also be jerks.
Roleplaying aside, when I wrote Perseus as part of a story, he emerged differently. Part of my process was giving up that idea I had from his legend, and in a way that became a minor theme, of giving up your expectations of someone, and the expectations you have of yourself.
5. Process – every writer has one. Sometimes we’re not even aware that we do. Are you conscious of having a process and does it change from long-form story writing to short form?
When I come up with an idea, I write it down, sit on it, and see if it develops. Depending on how much is there, I’ll flesh it out into a longer story, or—if it’s made to evoke a certain feeling or singular idea—I’ll leave it as a flash fiction. It all depends on what the bones of the story can hold.
6. I really enjoy your reviews, and that sometimes authors send you work to review. How do you handle it when you’ve been sent a story and you really can’t connect to it? (Or perhaps it was terrible?)
Thanks! I love reviewing novels, and I feel it’s a great way to give back to the community. My strategy is to never write a bad review. First reason being, what’s the point? There are so many scathing reviews out there, so why add to the drama and negativity? Also, I’m an author, so writing a bad review seems unfair, and an abuse of my position. But how do I handle it when I’m sent a story I can’t connect to, or maybe just don’t have enough to say about? Easy. I don’t write a review. It sounds blasé stated like that, and to be honest, I’ve made mistakes. It’s part of being human.
7. Aside from intellectual theft, what do you consider the worst sin authors commit?
Turning on your fans, or other authors. Other authors make up a good part of your readership, and we’re all on the same team.
8. You’ve done both non-fiction and lit fiction writing previously. Is the new series a move away from those or do you want to continue to publish in all three venues?
I’ll probably continue to publish in those genres. I enjoy exploring aspects of each.
9. Is your writing linear or episodic (from start to finish, or random scenes that eventually pull together?) And how many projects do you typically have going at a time?
I actually wrote the last half of King of the Storm before the first, but I think I’m mostly a linear writer. However, my inspiration can be episodic. As for how many projects I have going on at one time? Let’s see. I have two projects that I’m actively working on, two stories that are half finished, and I have many story ideas that are sitting in a folder marinating. Is that normal? I don’t know. Add me to the data pool!
10. Do you have writerly influences you can cite? Anyone you want to be like when you grow up as a writer?
If I could be the Matthew Woodring Stover of LGBTQ+ fiction, I’d consider that a lifetime achievement. His work is gritty and bloody and profane. I love how deep he goes into point of view, and how he challenges ideas with his satire. It’s not really something you’d think about in gay romance, but the genre is changing.
I grew up with horror and mystery novels: R. L. Stine, Christopher Pike, Patricia Cornwell, and Robert Ludlum. I still love those gory details, and frankly, I enjoy crass diction. Sex in literature makes sense to me, because it’s a part of life, but I don’t require it to be romantic. Part of me is always struggling to balance those themes, and bring them together.
Thanks again, Angel! I had a blast.
About B. A.
B. A. Brock has lived most of his life in the Pacific Northwest. He graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in 2007 at Portland State University—which he mostly uses to contemplate how we can achieve a civilization more closely aligned with Star Trek.
When not writing, Brock spends his time reading/reviewing novels, training for marathons, and bemoaning the fact that the world has yet to make a decent gluten free donut.
You can find more of his works, as well as reviews and his blog at http://www.babrockbooks.com
King of the Storm
The Godhead Epoch: Book One
No one can outrun destiny or the gods.
In Epiro, a kingdom in Greece, Perseus is prophesied to be a great demigod hero and king, with a legacy that will shape the world of Gaia. When he was born, his grandfather exiled him, and his mother brought them to Seriphos, where she created an academy for demigod youth. Perseus trains there and waits for the day when he will be able to take the throne of Argos.
Despite potential future glory, Perseus’s fellow students think he is weak. By the time he reaches manhood, he has given up the hope of having any real friends, until Antolios, a son of Apollo, takes an unexpected interest in him. Perseus and Antolios fall in love, but Antolios knows it cannot last and leaves Seriphos.
Perseus, grief-stricken and lonely, rebels against the Fates, thinking he can avoid the prophecy and live his own life. But when the gods find him, he is thrust into an epic adventure. With his divine powers he fights gorgons, sea serpents, and other monsters, and he battles against his darker nature. Perseus strives to to be the man he wants to be, but the gods have other plans.
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Angel writes (mostly) Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around queer heroes. Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware and full time inside her head, she has one husband, one son, two cats, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.