Book Tour Q&A: The Last Raven by Steve McHugh
Today we're taking part in the book tour organized by Escapist Book Tours for The Last Raven by Steve McHugh! Continue reading for the book blurb and a Q&A with the author.
About the book
Lucas is a riftborn fighter bent on vengeance in this thrilling urban fantasy/detective noir series from the bestselling author of the Hellequin Chronicles.
The peace between the rift and humanity has always been tenuous. It’s up to the Guilds to protect it, removing whomever—or whatever—poses a threat, whether human or rift-fused. Lucas Rurik used to be part of the Raven Guild. That is, until someone murdered all of its members—except for him.
That was seven years ago. Now, Lucas keeps to himself, avoiding getting too close to anyone lest they become targets themselves. But when one of his oldest friends at the Rift-Crime Unit calls upon him for help with a case that’s already taken down people who mean a lot to him, Lucas can’t resist stepping back into the fray.
Something is killing FBI and RCU agents alike—something unlike anything Lucas has ever seen before, on Earth or in the Rift. Even more concerning, the gruesome assaults seem to be linked to Dr. Callie Mitchell, a depraved and disturbed individual who treats the rift-fused like her own personal lab rats.
And when someone Lucas thought he could trust turns on him, he realizes these killings aren’t just the random attacks of some terrifying new kind of fiend. They’re connected to whoever killed off his Guild all those years ago—and that’s something Lucas just can’t let lie . . .
On to the interview...!
Thank you so much for joining us for this Q&A! We’ll start off with one of our standard podcast opening questions–tell us something great that’s happened recently.
Thank you for having me take part. My oldest daughter got an offer from a University that she wants to study physics in. That was pretty great.
What are you currently reading or what’s up next on your TBR? What made you pick up this book?
I’m currently reading Artifact Space by Miles Cameron, which is brilliant. I picked it up partly because I’ve read work of his before and he’s brilliant, and partly because lots of author friends of mine said it was great.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to start writing?
I’m from Mexborough in South Yorkshire, although I live in Southampton in the south of England now with my wife and children. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I knew I wanted to be a writer when my English teacher, Mr Pearcey, told me to go get some books from the school library to read as I was only really reading Choose Your Own Adventure books. I was about 13, and I picked up a David Gemmell and Terry Pratchett book, went to the library, got some Stephen King, and after reading that I knew I wanted to be a writer.
How do you spend your free time when you’re not reading or writing? Do you have any hobbies or interests that you can talk to us about?
I play videogames, I do kali, I like to paint miniatures, I enjoy watching films and TV shows. Those are probably my main hobbies. Painting minis is probably the one I do the most to stop my brain from yelling ideas at me.
What are your favorite types of stories? Of characters?
I like lots of different types of stories. I enjoy action, thrillers, adventure, mystery, historical. If the premise interests me and the characters hold that interest, I’ll enjoy it.
I’ve always loved the old grizzled detective/general/soldier/whatever who has seen a lot and knows full well that something bad is about to happen. The character who the bad guys write-off as not being able to match them for wits when they’re much smarter than anyone gives them credit for.
How much do you plan when you write? What’s your writing process like?
I don’t really plan too much. I work on the world, the characters, I jot down story beats that I want to hit, and I always know the beginning and the end, but other than that I figure it out as I go.
Is this your first book? If so, what lessons have you learned from writing it? If not, what lessons did you learn from writing earlier books that you brought into this one?
This is my…15th novel and 19th book in total. My first book was out in 2012 and it’s almost night and day about what I knew then to what I’ve discovered about myself and my writing over the years. I definitely make sure to use an excel spreadsheet to put all of the world-building now.
I’d like to think I’ve learned something from every book, even if it’s just dealing with the new pressure of a new book, or new publisher, or new series.
How much of yourself do you write into your stories?
Not very much. I usually have a character in the book that’s a little bit like me, but not the main character. They’re usually the one with a mouth on them, or are a big geek. I get to let myself free through that character.
What comes first to you when you’re writing, the world, the characters, or the storyline?
Usually, a thing. Something. Anything. Doesn’t matter what. With The Last Raven, is was the idea of a man who could turn to smoke. That lead me to considering Lucas, that led to the world around him and the storyline forming from it. Usually it’s character first, but sometimes it’s a place, or an idea. All I know is, I have no control over it.
They say to never judge a book by its cover, but a cover is still a marketing tool that helps sell books. Can you tell us about the idea behind the cover of your book?
I’ve always thought that the exact point of a cover is to judge the book. Otherwise, authors and publishers wouldn’t put so much effort into getting good ones.
The Last Raven’s cover is partially about Lucas, the main character, about his power and past, and about the thing that means the most to him. Also, I just thought it sounded like a really cool idea, my publisher agreed and here we are.
How different is the final version of this book from the first draft?
Story wise, it’s pretty much exactly the same. My first draft isn’t clean or anything like that, as my editor will tell you, but the story is pretty much done on the first draft. There’s always the matter of tidying it up, making a few plot points make more sense, or removing them, but the main story there.
If you could choose one worldbuilding detail (a place, ability, or creature, for example) from your book to exist in the real world, what would it be and why?
The Rift. A place attached to earth, but not of it. A place of power, and danger, and mystery. A place where people who are thousands of years old live together with those who are from our time. It’s somewhere I’d love to visit, but would never want to live there.
What would you like readers to take away from this book?
I’d like readers to just enjoy the story, the characters, the mystery. If a reader goes away having had fun, and wanting to read more about the characters I’ve created, I’ve done my job.
Do you have a favorite quote from your book that you can share with us? What about this quote in particular makes it your favorite?
“The last Raven,” she said, looking out over the plains and letting out a sigh. “Tell me what happened, Rurik. In your words. Tell me why the Ravens are dead.”
I’m not sure if it’s my favourite, but it says a lot about Lucas and who he is and the fundamental reason why this story happens. Not to spoil anything.
Is there anything you can tell us about any current projects you’re working on?
I’ve just finished the first round of edits for the 3rd Riftborn book—Talon’s Wrath—and I’ll be starting something new next week. I’m not entirely sure what that is, but it’ll be new.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions for us! Do you have any parting thoughts or comments you’d like to leave for our readers?
I just want to say a big thank you to anyone who decides to go and pick up The Last Raven, or any of my works, I really hope you enjoy it.
And finally, where can you be found on the internet if our readers want to hear more from you?
I’m all over the place, but for ease of use:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/steveJMchugh?ref=tn_tnmn Twitter (We’ll see how long that lasts): https://twitter.com/StevejMchugh Website: http://stevejmchugh.wordpress.com/ Youtube: https://amzn.to/3nXoJnZ
Where to buy the book:
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Last-Raven-Urban-Fantasy-Riftborn-ebook/dp/B0B59Y7C39/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Raven-Urban-Fantasy-Riftborn-ebook/dp/B0B59Y7C39/
Audible US: https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Last-Raven-Audiobook/B0B6236YW6
Audible UK: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/The-Last-Raven-Audiobook/B0B6251R29