I've known Brad for a while. We met at GenCon a few years ago and he is one of the best guys around to talk to about being a new author. He is knowledgeable and willing to talk. I really liked his bit about the elevator pitch.
I'm a fan of elevator pitches and trying to come up with ones that succinctly describe a novel. In the case of my debut novel, The Winds of Khalakovo, think A Song of Ice and Fire meets Earthsea, with a Russian twist. I used it, in fact, to sell the book in the first place. I pitched it to Jeremy Lassen of Night Shade Books at a World Fantasy convention several years ago, and even though I was unagented at the time (most publishers no longer accept unagented submissions) he said to send it along. Four months later, I had an offer for not only Winds, but the entire trilogy.
I can probably best describe the tone of The Winds of Khalakovo by calling out a few of my literary heroes. I love George R.R. Martin's gritty style, though I'd have to say I learned more of it from Glen Cook than GRRM. I also love C.S. Friedman's relentlessly dark prose and Guy Gavriel Kay's lyricism and romanticism. My style probably falls somewhere in between those four authors.
The story itself is about a boy named Nasim, an autistic savant who has incredible powers but is unable to control them. Nikandr, a prince of Khalakovo, comes across Nasim and realizes he may have the ability to heal the blight that's been sweeping through the islands of the Grand Duchy. Nasim may also be able to heal the rampant wasting disease that strikes prince and peasant alike. But Nikandr soon discovers that others are hoping to use Nasim, but in very different ways. A militant sect known as the Maharraht hope to use him to cause untold destruction and to drive the people of the Grand Duchy off of the islands they once called home.
And so the race is on. Nikandr must unlock Nasim's secrets and keep him safe from the Maharraht, but it won't be easy. There's trouble brewing in the Grand Duchy. Old political divides are resurfacing as the Duchies fall victim to the indiscriminate blight and the deadly wasting disease. Can Nikandr reach Nasim before the Maharraht steal him away? Can he hold the Grand Duchy together long enough to do so? The answers are drifting on the Winds of Khalakovo.
The Winds of Khalakovo came out in 2010, and the second in the trilogy, The Straits of Galahesh, was released this past spring. The third, The Flames of Shadam Khoreh, will be released early next year. For more, including a cool interactive map of The Grand Duchy of Anuskaya, please visit www.quillings.com.