CONTEST and guest blog with David M. Brown
David’s hijacked my blog today to talk about his amazing release Fezariu’s Epiphany. He’s also hosting a contest during his blog tour!
David will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one randomly chosen commenter at the end of the tour.
The tour dates can be found here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2012/02/virtual-book-tour-fezarius-epiphany-by.html.
For now, here’s more on Fezariu’s Epiphany and David.
12-year-old Fezariu thought his mother died when he was little, but when his beloved stepfather dies the boy discovers she is alive and well – and working at the most famous brothel in all of Elenchera. When she cruelly rejects him it’s more than he can bear, and he runs away to join a band of ruthless soldiers for hire. The Merelax Mercenaries will fight for anyone who can pay them, no matter the justice of the cause.
Fezariu grows up among the soldiers and becomes one of them. He thinks his time with the mercenaries has hardened him. But a campaign in his old home town pushes him too far, and he discovers what really happened to his mother. Maybe there are some things money shouldn’t buy… and maybe it’s time Fezariu took his revenge.
Jessamine’s arrival at the White Oak was the subject of conflicting rumours. Some said that Vincent had found her on the streets and offered to take her in, others professed that Jessamine was a prostitute from a rival brothel and that Vincent had persuaded her to join the White Oak. The worst of the sceptics claimed that Jessamine was payment from one of the local merchants who was heavily in debt from his frequent visits to Vincent’s inn and had been forced to sacrifice his own daughter. Whatever the truth, Vincent arrived at the White Oak one day with eighteen-year-old Jessamine by his side.
The atmosphere at the White Oak changed completely. Vincent quickly found himself overwhelmed by love for Jessamine and his hostile demeanour descended into a rare placidity that was welcomed by all that frequented the inn. It seemed that Vincent’s days of sexual promiscuity were at end and with Jessamine he had found the reassuring comfort of monogamy. However, Vincent’s new found and tender devotion did not last long.
Within months, Vincent’s love submitted to the lure of opportunity. During the long nights sitting with Jessamine by the bar, Vincent hadn’t failed to notice the lustful gazes of the patrons. Their eyes, wide with desire, followed Jessamine’s every move. Rather than feeling the insecurity of a jealous lover, Vincent was struck by a glorious epiphany, one that could increase his already vast wealth.
Vincent took his time in laying the foundations of his treacherous scheme. He enticed Jessamine with sweet words, flowers, rich trinkets and promises of impending marriage and children. Once Jessamine was at his mercy, Vincent introduced her to the wealthiest and most impatient of his patrons. His assurances to Jessamine spoke of monogamy and sacrifice that would bind them together for all time. If this had been the beginning of their relationship then Jessamine would have refused Vincent’s proposal and walked away; however, by this point her heart beat to the same rhythm as Vincent’s and to leave now was simply unthinkable. So Jessamine submitted body but not soul to the eager patrons, all the time thinking of Vincent’s reassurances that they would one day be married.
Jessamine’s new life as a prostitute of the White Oak brought fame and wealth. The mysterious and shy girl Vincent had first brought to the inn became spellbound by the power of her own intoxicating femininity. As her confidence grew Jessamine learned to dominate the room, giving equal attention to each patron before choosing to share her bed with the highest bidder. Vincent remained in the background and watched the patrons – old and young – offer money and fabulous gifts for just one night with Jessamine. The partnership was perfect. Jessamine would earn a fortune by day but at the end of the night would sleep in Vincent’s richly adorned arms.
When Jessamine passed her first year at the White Oak she saw a sudden change in Vincent. His greed, seldom constrained, was now unleashed in all its ferocity. Jessamine began entertaining patrons day and night to line Vincent’s already bulging pockets. Their nights of tender lovemaking and untarnished promises of marriage were forgotten. Jessamine, believing it to just be a phase Vincent was going through, worked even harder to please the patrons and win back the adoration of the one man she loved.
And now my question to David:
Fezariu’s Epiphany is such an unusual story, so filled with depth, how did you come up with the idea? And, was it difficult at times to write given the subject matter?
It’s been quite a journey for Fezariu’s Epiphany. When I first came up with the idea for the world of Elenchera in 1999 I immediately set about world building. I eventually had over 500 hand drawn maps and with those for reference the timeline gradually began to unfold. In the early centuries a group of hired hands – The Merelax Mercenaries – appeared and they continued to be involved in major events, such as wars and rebellions, but always as bit players, rather than the leading protagonists. As the history came together I would jot down ideas for novels and decided I wanted to write one about the mercenaries.
My first idea for Fezariu’s Epiphany put more emphasis on the mercenaries than Fezariu himself. He was the son of a farming couple that turned his back on family obligations to pursue a career as a mercenary, which sounded more lucrative and romantic than working the land. After years of war and rebellions, Fezariu is a changed man. He has witnessed the reality of conflict and that buoyant youth that set out in search of adventure is a physically and mentally scarred man. That was the original idea but the novel would change dramatically and I’m pleased for the better.
Away from Fezariu’s Epiphany, I wrote a story entitled A Mother’s Blessing about an assassin who is given an assignment in his hometown. where he was born the son of a prostitute who cast him aside in favour of her clients. The assassin returns to the brothel that was once his home and finds his mother is severely aged and debilitated from alcohol abuse. She speaks with the assassin and longs for word of the son she turned her back on but he doesn’t reveal who he really is.
In late 2008 I had a novel idea and a completed short story with nothing to connect the two. This was also the time I met my muse and wife, Donna. Donna was the first person to read my work and have the audacity to criticise it, something friends and family had never done before, much to my dismay. Through Donna’s feedback I not only started to improve the quality of my writing but I pitched the idea of Fezariu’s Epiphany to her which wasn’t favoured. I did confess that by early 2009 I had hit upon the idea of merging Fezariu’s Epiphany with A Mother’s Blessing and Donna thought it was a good idea. Slotting the two pieces together turned out to be a smoother transition than I’d originally anticipated.
Some changes were inevitable of course. Fezariu’s mother, Jessamine, is a prostitute who is victim to the misogynist and cruel owner, Vincent Birchill, who does not take kindly to his most prized asset falling pregnant. When Jessamine escapes to begin a new life with Fezariu all seems well. She meets a baker named Peter who is everything a man should be – kind, considerate and loyal. The good times don’t last though and the novel puts Fezariu through some turbulent moments in his childhood. First Jessamine abandons him to return to her former life and then Peter is brutally murdered leaving Fezariu and Peter’s niece, Alycea, alone. They are raised by Peter’s brother, Edward, but Fezariu is hopelessly lost. He believes these bad things are down to him and he runs away from home finding solace with the Merelax Mercenaries. Fezariu is a superb mercenary, one of the greatest there has ever been, and the more successful he becomes the more he believes the past will let go. Sadly for Fezariu, the past remains his most fierce opponent. There is unfinished business with his mother and he must go back to face her before he can put his childhood to rest.
Some aspects of the novel were difficult to write. I found Vincent Birchill both an easy and awkward character to write about. He is everything I detest in a man – a bully that treats women as possessions rather than the people they are. I wanted the reader to see the extent of his cruelty but I didn’t want it to be so severe it would put readers off. As for Fezariu, well, I felt really evil telling his story. He suffers so much at such a young age but it is all integral to the overall narrative. In writing the novel I was also mindful of the fact that I am trying to do something different with fantasy. I want to write novels where the characters have more life than the world they inhabit. I hope readers become immersed in Elenchera and enjoy learning about the world but most of all I want the characters to tug at their heart strings and I think Fezariu’s tale is a moving one.
So far, the feedback I have had has been heart-warming and generous. Not everyone has enjoyed the book but I would have been worried if that hadn’t have been the case to be honest. When the book was published in May 2011 my wife and I agreed that an average rating of 3/5 would be a terrific start for a debut work. Currently the average is 4/5 so it’s been overwhelming for me to have received such generous responses. I hope for the same with my next novel, A World Apart but my ongoing aim will always be to keep improving.
*** DON’T FORGET – TO ENTER THE CONTEST YOU HAVE TO COMMENT ***
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