Book Tour Q&A: Wisdom Lost by Michael Sliter
Today we're taking part in the book tour organized by Escapist Book Tours for Wisdom Lost by Michael Sliter! Continue reading for the book blurb and a Q&A with the author.
About the book
Ardia is fractured, torn apart by civil war initiated by deceit. Florens has fallen, and the rebel army of Lady Escamilla has been scattered by the Feral. Little stands in the way of the Rostanians and their ruthless rulers seizing the entire country. Amidst this rising conflict, four people seek to stem this tide. Or, to simply survive.
Fenrir, also called the Bull, Coldbreaker, Dukeslayer, and sometimes bastard, has the worst kind of luck. Instead of being dead, pierced by a dozen swords, he finds himself under the control of the most horrible person he knows: his father. And an unwelcome family reunion is made more unpleasant as clandestine and legitimate powers vie for the rule of Rostane.
Meanwhile, Hafgan Iwan breaks an oath to himself—that he would never return home. The hallowed Wasmer city of Hackeneth is not welcoming, particularly as a new god has usurped the old ways. Hafgan is torn between the world he once knew and the one he has created for himself.
Leading the exhausted and haphazard remnants of a rebel army, Lady Emma Breen seeks allies across the border, in the crumbling city of Farrow’s Hold. But when faith clashes with politics, can a faithless former handmaiden hold them all together?
And Merigold Hinter travels across oceans to the fabled Agricorinor with a wish and a warning. The wish? That she may understand her powers and take revenge. The warning? The Feral are coming, and they will tear out the throat of the world.
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–what are you currently reading or what’s up next on your TBR? What made you pick up this book?
Thanks for hosting! I’m just about to crack open Priest of Crowns by Peter McClean, Book 4 of the War for the Rose Throne. As you can guess, I’m reading it because I’ve loved the series to date, though I’m dreading the likely depressing and bloody conclusion. Sometimes reading feels a lot like torture.
What is one book you want to shout about to the world? What about it makes you love it so much?
I’m always telling people about Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft, as well as the next four Books of Babel. It’s just such a weird and clever setting, sort of steampunk in a way. The characters are initially unlikable, but really change and grow over the course of the bizarre series.
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 hope people are judging these books by their covers, because I think the covers (by Rene Aigner) are fantastic! When I started out, I was really feeling my way through publishing and finding a cover artist. I had a really, really bad false start on UpWork, an eLance site. A guy (who seemed to have some decent covers) clearly didn’t read the prompt and got the entire thing wrong, to the point that the cover was in modern day! His revisions were half-assed—I swear, after 8 revisions, there was a basketball rolling around in the background of a medieval setting! This was all for the first book, SOLACE LOST.
So, I found Rene through Brian McClelland’s blog (he does Brian’s novellas). He was able to take my vague ideas of one of characters, Merigold, praying amidst violent warfare. There was a sense of both serenity and destruction. He became my cover artist. With four books intended, and four main POVs, I decided that each character should have their day in the sun. WISDOM LOST has Emma on the cover, and I think he does a fantastic job capturing her feeling overwhelm amidst a crumbling city.
Describe your book in 3 adjectives.
Real. Brutal. Hope. (People might disagree with the last one, but it’s there).
When you started the series, did you have a clear idea in mind for how you wanted to continue it in subsequent books? How, if at all, has that changed while writing this book?
I wish I could say I knew exactly where the series was going when I started. But aside from some broad and overarching plot points, I was feeling my way through! If I were to tell you that [spoiler from WISDOM LOST] or [spoiler from WISDOM LOST] were going to happen when I started out, I would be a liar! But, as SOLACE LOST ended on a couple of cliffhangers, I did have a good sense of how WISDOM was going to start.
How do you manage character growth vs consistency over a multi-book arc?
Growth is important to me. As is regression. I’m a psychologist, so really understanding each characters behavior and motivations is crucial. So often, you’ll see characters lose a friend, family member, lover, etc., and be fine two chapters later. That kind of trauma lasts and leaves scars, so I try to capture some of that by revisiting how each person feels as time goes on. It actually find this to be more fascinating than introducing characters—they become more complex rather than being boiled down to caricatures.
If you could sit down to dinner with one of your characters, which one would it be?
Probably Fenrir. He’s charming. He’s an asshole. The night would certainly be fun.
Which do you find harder, starting a series or continuing a series?
Well, I’ve only started one series, and I thought about it for years without taking action. So, I guess I’ll say starting a series.
Has your favorite character to write changed from book to book?
Absolutely. I would say that it has varied significantly with each book. In SOLACE, I think I liked Merigold the best. In WISDOM, I liked Fenrir. In FAITH LOST, I liked Emma. But, catch me on a different day, and I’d probably give you a different answer. I wouldn’t write characters I didn’t like.
One of the things that has really pleased me is that when I read reviews, some people will say “I hate Fenrir’s POV but love Hafgan,” while others will say the opposite. This is telling me that I’m writing characters that resonate with different people.
Would you say that this book went through more or less extensive editing than your previous books? If yes, why do you think that is?
I think it was in better shape, overall, than SOLACE LOST. I had a better sense of each character’s voices, which saved a ton of time, without having to go back and adjust. It probably had the same number of typos, I’d wager, but that’s why I have an editor!
In your opinion, what kind of reader would like this book?
I think people who like realistic books and fans of epic fantasy and grimdark would enjoy these. You also have to like characterization, as SOLACE LOST is a bit of a slow start. WISDOM LOST gets to the action faster, for sure.
Is there anything you can tell us about any current projects you’re working on?
Well, I’m struggling through COURAGE LOST, the last book of the series. It’s less of a writer’s block than simply not having time. Having a second kid really slowed things down, and my focus on family and health has created less time for writing. But it will get there!
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 really appreciate you reading this to the end. It’s been fantastic getting to know folks in the community, other authors and readers. I’ve been thankful for every single one that’s taken the time to read an unknown like me.
And finally, where can you be found on the internet if our readers want to hear more from you?
I’m most active on Twitter (https://twitter.com/MikeSliter), though I also have a facebook (https://www.facebook.com/authormichaelsliter) and a Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17838702.Michael_Sliter). You can pick up my books on Amazon!