Book Tour Q&A: The Marauders, the Daughter, and the Dragon by K.R.R. Lockhaven
Today we're taking part in the book tour organized by Escapist Book Tours for The Marauders, the Daughter, and the Dragon by K.R.R. Lockhaven! Continue reading for the book blurb and a Q&A with the author.
About the book
To say that Azure Brine is at odds with her father would be an understatement. His recent spiral into the “Humans First” politics of League of Islands’ new governor has strained their once-strong relationship to the breaking point.
Their connection is truly put to the test when her father decides to join the governor’s ship on a voyage to the Capitol Isles for the inauguration. But when Azure learns that the governor has nefarious plans for the islands, and that her father is in mortal danger, she and her best friend (a shit-talking bird named Robin) set out across the archipelago to save him.
Along the way they meet a reanimated skeleton with confidence issues, a group of “pirates errant” who just want to sing and have adventures, and a dragon with an emotional arc.
On to the interview...!
This is one of our standard podcast opening questions, so we’ll include it for written interviews as well! Tell us something great that’s happened recently! :)
I got to see my cousin who I hadn’t seen in about ten years. She moved across the country for work, but now she’s moving back. She’s just as funny as ever and we picked up right where we left off.
What are you currently reading or what’s up next on your TBR? What made you pick up this book?
I’m currently reading Duckett & Dyer: Dicks For Hire. It has made me laugh quite a bit, and the mystery is pretty compelling. There have been a few jokes that made me jealous with how clever they were! I picked the book up based on overwhelmingly positive reviews and recommendations. It also seems like I hadn’t tried a humorous sci-fi since Hitchhiker’s Guide.
Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to start writing?
My name is KRR (Kyle Robert Redundant) Lockhaven, and I write humorous fantasy with ever-increasing infusions of heart. I have loved writing and fantasy since I was a kid, but I took about a twenty year break from both for some stupid reason. I think what got me back into writing was finally growing out of my giving-a-shit-about-what-others-think phase (although if I’m being truthful, I haven’t completely beaten that phase yet). I love to create stuff, and I’m shit at woodworking, so writing became my outlet.
Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of reading/writing that you can talk to us about?
Pretty much all of my hobbies these days are based on my kids’ interests. My son wants to be the next Weird Al, so my new hobby is learning how to record songs with Garage Band. My son wants to be an American Ninja Warrior, so my new hobby is building ninja warrior obstacles in the back yard. I technically play guitar, but it’s been quite a while since I’ve done any more with that than an occasional rushed and flawed rendition of Over the Hills and Far Away.
What is one thing that you love about the current state of SFF and what is one thing that you wish you saw more of?
I love the innovation I’m finding in Indie SFF! Two of my favorite books I’ve read in the last year, Creation by Bjorn Larssen and Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Feeding and Care of British Dragons by Quenby Olson, have completely obliterated the fourth wall and I loved every word of it. There are so many other examples I could site in which Indie SFF has pushed beyond traditional boundaries to create new and compelling things. It’s fun to be a small part of the SFF community in this experimental time ☺
If I had to pick something I wish there was more of, I suppose I would say cozy fantasy. I think it’s about to explode, though. At least I hope it is anyway.
What are your favorite types of stories? Of characters?
It’s kinda weird, but one of things I love in stories is something I haven’t really used in my own writing… yet. I absolutely love when there’s some kind of mystery about the world, or about something going on, that’s hinted at, but never fully revealed until the end. An example of this is Piranesi by Susanna Clarke. I was dying to know what was going on in that world throughout the book. It was so weird and so cool and I loved it. This kind of thing is the reason I love The Kingkiller Chronicle so much. There is a ton hidden stuff going on, and I can’t wait to see where it all goes.
I love to see characters having fun. I love clever, witty, and loyal characters. And I love strong friendships between characters.
Can you give us an elevator pitch for The Marauders, the Daughter, and the Dragon?
I’m going to assume we’re in a relatively short building, so I’ve got to make this fast:
MD&D (the full title would take too long) is about the tenuous relationship between a daughter and her father. Their relationship is pushed to the breaking point when the father joins this cruise across the archipelago (it’s such a time-killing word, but I love it too much to downsize) with the new governor, who is a bigoted prick. Azure, the daughter, learns about the governor’s secret/nefarious plans, and is compelled to set out across the islands with her shit-talking bird companion to save her dad. Oh no, we’re almost to the top floor. Uh, there’s a reanimated skeleton with confidence issues, a group of pirates who would rather sing and have adventures than do any real pirating, and a dragon with a curse and an emotional arc.
Describe your book in 3 adjectives.
Mirthful. Tropical. Sincere.
In your opinion, what kind of reader would like this book?
I think anyone who has had a relationship threatened by a difference in beliefs might like this book because they’ll find it relatable and (hopefully) comforting. I think readers who prefer books with fun spirits of adventure might enjoy this one. Anyone who enjoys sea shanties, capybaras, and verbal warfare between birds and dragons might like it, too.
What would you like readers to take away from this book?
I would like readers to walk away with the same thing I walked away with, which was a willingness to find common ground and connection with loved ones, despite a passionate difference in beliefs. I was inspired to write this book by the rocky relationship that developed between me and my dad due to an extreme difference in political thought. I was ready to write him off at times, and that did not do wonders for my overall mental health. I believe that writing this book may have been the catharsis I needed to reach out to him and talk. The conversation started with an all-time massive blow-up, but ended in hugs and the first “I love you”s in many, many years.
But besides all that heavy shit, I hope readers come away from my book with big smiles on their faces. I hope the spirit of fun is the feeling that comes across the most to them.
What do you think characterizes your writing style?
I think, and hope, that a spirit of fun and adventure characterizes my writing style. I think humor and fun are such important, and too often overlooked, aspects of life, and I want my writing to celebrate that.
How much of yourself do you write into your stories?
A ton. Especially in this latest book. The main character isn’t like me in many ways, but she does have the same problem I had. In a way, writing her was a kind of wish fulfillment in that she handled the problem much more assertively, and had many more epic adventures along the way, than I did in real life. But yes, this story has a much cooler, pirate queen badass version of me in it.
We loved the book trailer you made for The Marauders, the Daughter, and the Dragon! Can you tell us about what inspired you to make it, and what the process was like? Do you intend to do this for the next two books in the trilogy?
I think I had the idea for the “kraken” to attack the model pirate ship first, and the rest of the ideas came from there. My wife was always the inspiration for the MC, Azure, and she was happy to play along and star in the trailer. We had a lot of fun making it! We basically just filmed ourselves goofing off in many different ways, then picked out the best moments and edited them together. I’m getting to know some editing apps on my phone because I’m often helping my kids make videos and movies.
Yes, I think we HAVE to do trailers for the next two books! Although it might be trickier given the subject matter. But with the joined creative forces of my family, we’ll figure out something fun, I’m sure.
We got to see an unfinished draft of The Marauders, the Daughter, and the Dragon, but it certainly wasn’t your first pass at the story. How different is the final version from the very first draft?
There really weren’t any major changes, although my editors did help me find more emotional resonance throughout the story. Most of the things I changed involved cutting stuff for not being funny enough or relevant to the plot. I cut at least one song, and a huge chunk of Elijah’s meandering story. I did add one part that I really love based on a suggestion from an extremely helpful beta reader, though ☺
There is an unnamed character (or at least we’re not naming them–spoilers!) who you’ve written into several, wildly different stories. Did you have to change anything about your method for writing said character or did they fit seamlessly into the different worlds?
I’ve been sitting here thinking about if I was going to name this character in my answer, and I think I’m going to refrain. So, being very cryptic, this character is easy to write into any world or situation. I’m not sure why, because he’s nothing like me, but I find him to be the easiest character to understand in this book, with the possible exception of Azure, the MC.
As a follow-up question, were you always intending to write this character in?
Yes. I started out with the idea of wanting “the character” in a new, pirate-themed world, but then the main storyline presented itself, and he kind of became a side character, although an important one.
Could you tell us a little bit about Robin, and did she have any lovers that we didn’t meet in the book?
Robin’s first appearance was in the sequel to The Conjuring of ZA, which will likely never see the light of day. I wrote her into these little snippets that would appear between chapters. The first words she ever spoke were, “What the fuck, Merlin?” So she’s always had a bit of an attitude, but the sex-positive stuff didn’t come until this book. I just love how she’s so open and unapologetic about all of that, because there’s really nothing to apologize about. Her main reason for being in the book, though, is to be a great friend to Azure. I really wanted to make their relationship special, maybe even memorable. She’s the most loyal, “ride or die” character I’ve ever written. One of my favorite moments from the book is when Robin tells a silly story about her and Azure from years ago. The story doesn’t go over well with its audience, but it highlights the way Robin feels about Azure in a (hopefully) sweet way.
I’m sure she had at least a few lovers in the past, and she is going to have more in the future. In fact, she might just get into a love triangle, well, actually, a different love shape with more than three corners in a future book. One of those birds might just be a “trash villain” too.
The world you’ve created for The Marauders, the Daughter, and the Dragon is so cool. 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?
That’s tough! Because the worlds authors create are, in a way, wish fulfillment. I want the whole world to be real, to tell the truth. But if I had to choose one thing, I think it might be the existence of the marauders. I wish there was some group like that out there having adventures, helping people, drinking, and singing their joyous lives away. I would love to join the crew for a week or two every year, preferably when they weren’t involved in saving the world and stuff.
The Marauders, the Daughter, and the Dragon is the first in a trilogy. Did your projected ideas for the series change as you wrote this book?
I always wanted to have this book stand fairly well on its own. I had vague ideas about where I would take the series, but didn’t want anything to be in stone until this book was finished. I suppose my focus for the series did shift a bit from epic battles and that kind of thing, to more of a focus on character relationships and emotional resonance. There are still some epic battles yet to come, though!
I sometimes wonder if I should have left book 1 with more of a cliff-hanger, but I guess I’ll just have to hope that the world, with a few hints about what we haven’t yet seen, and the characters are enough to draw readers into the rest of the series. I do gotta say, though, that I left a doozy of a cliff-hanger at the end of book two.
You managed to create one of the most chilling villains we’ve read all year. We would like to formally request permission to write torture porn fanfiction of Governor Pratt.
Of course! I think it’s every author’s dream to have fanfiction or fan art made about their books. I’m not familiar with torture porn fanfiction, but if anyone deserves to be the star of one of them, Pratt does!
They say to never judge a book by its cover but it certainly does happen. Can you tell us about the idea behind the cover of your book?
The basic idea was inspired by the cover of Luke Tarzian’s book, The World Maker Parable. I believe he does his own covers, and they’re all fantastic. This particular cover depicts the outline of a raven with the image of a ghost-like figure inside of it. I loved that concept, so I asked an artist, Andrew Hutchinson, if he could create an image of a ship sailing through tropical waters, but in the outline of a dragon’s head. What he came up with was beautiful. Jessica Moon at Shadow Spark Publishing did the rest, and I absolutely love the final result. Oh, I also had Andrew create an image of Robin, who some might say is the shit-talking star of the book, for the back cover. I love her.
Is there anything you can tell us about any current projects you’re working on?
In what is probably not the best idea, I’m writing Book 3 of this trilogy AND a stand alone cozy fantasy set in the same world but having nothing to do with the trilogy. They are so different, but I love them both. I’ll probably need to pause the cozy book while I finish the series, but that’ll give me a reward of sorts when the trilogy is over, as writing the cozy book is pure joy.
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?
Thank you so much! My parting comment is that anyone reading this should definitely listen to the Fiction Fans podcast if they aren’t already. It has a spirit of joy and fun that I find comforting and wonderful. It’s also educational, as I’ve discovered so many cool books by listening.
And finally, where can you be found on the internet if our readers want to hear more from you?
I have a website (krrlockhaven.com), a Twitter (@Kyles137), and a Facebook author page thing (@KRRLockhaven).
Where to buy the book:
Publisher Page: https://shadowsparkpub.com/krr-lockhaven/#azure