JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Luke Green, author of Divine Blood: Semester Start
Bravura Academy hosts very exceptional students, more exceptional than even its own faculty is aware of. Budding geniuses, powerful psychics, uncertain exorcist, scheming plotters, mercenaries and more are walking the halls.
For some, the normalcy of their life is being upset by a variety of insane events. For others, this is a chance to catch a glimpse of something like a normal life.
Many people have had their eye on Bravura for quite a while, but some of the newest eyes have much less than friendly intentions. Dangers more than practical jokes run out of control are on the horizon for the students of Bravura Academy.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write Divine Blood: Semester Start?
Luke Green: There are a number of different inspirations for this novel. Urban fantasy novels are a big part of the inspiration, as is ancient mythologies, especially the Greek and Norse myths. Organizations like GI Joe and Mithril, from the Japanese Full Metal Panic novels, went into the inspiration for the creation of Avalon.
Some recent global history inspired me to make an alternate timeline where Burma became the major Asian power coming out of World War II rather than China. I realized after the fact that one of the major supporting characters is heavily influenced by Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files.
And thinking of it, Babylon 5 is probably an influence here. Also, the comments of my pre-readers have had a fair amount of influence on the story and setting, so I have whatever influences they bring to the table as well. Really, it’s something like a massive homage to the stories that I’ve enjoyed reading, watching or otherwise involving myself with from the ancient to the modern, a fantasy/sci-fi kitchen sink.
JP: What sets Divine Blood: Semester Start apart from other books in the same genre?
LG: Well, it draws from so many different sources and blends them together into an overall whole. I think it has to be the way I combine things so seamlessly, allowing for the inclusion many sub-genres normally considered impossible to combine.
Paranormal fiction is often combined with paramilitary organizations these days, but usually either the paranormal or the high-tech is considered the main aspect of the story. In addition, I try to avoid the “adults are useless” and “competence zone” tropes that usually afflict storylines based around younger characters.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to Divine Blood: Semester Start getting out to the public?
LG: Writing every day and conferring with my pre-readers chapter-by-chapter and sometimes scene by scene. I also made use of kickstarter.com to raise money for the art on the cover and inside the book. Having a lot of people on the project is a huge part of the hoped for success of this project, and now it comes down to promoting and advertising and getting the word out.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish Divine Blood: Semester Start?
LG: I started writing this story in earnest at the beginning of 2011, round about March or April. I wrote up the introduction chapters for the main characters and one of the supporting adult characters and then contacted some acquaintances who were familiar with a previous version of the story to use as pre-readers.
Then I would finish a chapter, mail it to my pre-readers, discuss with them the chapter as it stood, possibly make changes based on their advice, sometimes make different changes entirely as something they said provoked another idea. I offered pre-reader status to some of the contributors from the kickstarter project and had a conversation pool of four rather than two.
Then I compiled the chapters, went through them myself once and sent them to each pre-reader in turn before going over each of the files and the tracked changes and comments on them. Then I sent it to someone to format for kindle and he found more grammar issues and I corrected those. And finally I had a formatted kindle copy ready to put up on Amazon.com.
JP: What’s next for Luke Green?
LG: Part 3 of Greenwater, I started it January 2011 and set it aside as background stuff in the world started failing to make sense with the stuff going on for the reader. Now that I have a good solution, I’m going to finish it up.
After that Haunted Bystander, the sequel to my Bystander novel, should be next. I also plan to do a book of 15-16 Divine Blood short stories each focused around a different character from the main and supporting cast.
These might be placed on hold depending on a freelance contract to ghost write a fantasy novel is back to being funded or not. Contract work is going to come before my own stuff for the conceivable future.
I generally write books with the intention of being simply fun to read. I believe that any deeper meaning comes strictly from the reader. I have my own thoughts on the metaphors that develop, but those are my thoughts and no less relevant than a readers. In the end, what I want is a fun adventure story.