Greetings to all you Awesome Readers out there, and thanks for joining us for the newest edition of Genre Talk here on The Novel Approach Reviews. Today we’ve got DSP Publications author TJ Nichols who’s come along to chat about the brand-new Fantasy/Paranormal release Rogue in the Making, book two of the Studies in Demonology series. And TJ has also brought a GIVEAWAY! So kick up your feet, grab a cuppa, and we’ll start by having a glimpse at what we’re in for.
Rogue in the Making (Studies in Demonology 2)
The blood sacrifices have brought rain to Demonside, but across the void, the Warlock College of Vinland is still storing and gathering magic, heedless of the warnings of the international magical community. The underground is full of warlocks who disagree with the college, but do they care about wizards and demons or only about snatching power?
With a foot in each world, Angus is no longer sure whom he can trust. The demons don’t trust humans, and even though he is learning more magic, he will never be one of them. He is human and only tolerated. Some demons would be happy to slit his throat. It’s only because his demon is powerful in his own right that Angus is alive.
Saka only has a year to prove that Angus’s people can change and that the magic taken will be rebalanced, but the demons want action. His affection for Angus is clouding his judgment and weakening his position in the tribe. Time is running out, and he must make a choice.
Carole: Well, that blurb certainly gets the heart pumping. It sounds like you’ve built a deeply developed alt-world on which to set the story. Can you tell us a bit about that and how it jives with the genre?
TJ: The Studies in Demonology series is Urban Fantasy, but it also has a secondary fantasy world. The basic premise when I was developing the story was that it’s our world, but with magic that comes from demons who live in a linked world. That means that a lot of our history is different. Vikings settled North America, Australia became New Holland and the Abrahamic religions never left the Middle East. The series could slide into fantasy because of its use of magic, but the human world is very much ours with cell phones and cars because I figured that at some point these things would’ve been invented even if there were people who could use magic. Magic is just another commodity available to the highest bidder.
Carole: Tell us more about Rogue in the Making. What won’t we get from the blurb?
TJ: Rogue in the Making is the middle book in the trilogy, so I really wanted to make sure that it was a complete book, not just a middle book (you know the kinds of books I mean). Because it’s the middle book it is also the pivotal point of the overall story so that had to be in there, as well as all the smaller pieces that make it a story in its own right.
Like the first book, the warlocks are making trouble, the ice is spreading and Demonside is drying but things are getting much worse. Loyalties will be tested, and Angus is going to need to get his act together if he’s going to survive.
The relationships deepen in this book. The advantage of writing in the same world with the same central characters is that the relationship can be tested again and again and it can go beyond the first flutters of love and the reader gets to experience the romance surviving and strengthening. I really enjoyed writing that.
Carole: How did you explore the concept of diversity in this book?
TJ: Rogue in the Making is about exploring relationships that don’t conform to society’s expectations and the effect this has. Angus is a human warlock who has an intimate relationship with his demon, Saka. Saka is a mage and in a position of power within his tribe and also Angus’s teacher. They are dangerous to each other, but they need each other if they are going to survive. As tensions between humans and demons escalate their loyalties are questioned. Dating outside of what is expected can cause friction, but in this situation, Saka is dating the enemy. Human warlocks are trying to wipe out demonkind.
Carole: Rogue in the Making is being published through DSP Publications, Dreamspinner Press’s imprint for genre novels that don’t necessarily focus on or even contain romance. Tell us about the relationship in Rogue in the Making and why it doesn’t fit the accepted definition of Romance in the M/M genre.
TJ: The romance isn’t the focus of the Studies in Demonology series, but it is a thread that runs through each of the books, and the books would be less without it I feel, but because there isn’t a HEA at the end of each book (the series follows Saka and Angus) it isn’t a romance, and people who want the HEA will have to wait until book three.
As much as I love reading urban fantasy and fantasy I do like a relationship in there even if it unfolds over several books, so that is what I write. I like to call it UF with sexy times.
Carole: You’ve been publishing for a few years now, and are building quite a respectable backlist. How has your writing changed since you published your first book?
TJ: I try to plot more. With Warlock in Training I just wrote, then when I realized that it was going to be longer than one book I had to work out what happened in each of the next two books to complete the plot and character arcs.
Carole: And what about character names? Do they have significance?
TJ: I usually have a sound or feel I want from a name and then I go looking. Sometimes if the book is set somewhere specific (like 1940s France) I will find names appropriate to the area, but for fantasy it’s much more about the feel of the name.
Carole: And because readers always like to know what you’ve got in the hopper, the old standby: What projects are you working on now and what is coming next from you?
TJ: I’m working a new urban fantasy series with a shapeshifter hero. I also have several novellas that are either waiting to be polished and submitted or are being written. I also have a serial on Patreon where patrons get to vote on the direction of the story each month.
Carole: Great! We look forward to all that, TJ, and wish you tons of sales on your new release. Thanks so much for joining us today.
And thank you, Awesome Readers, for coming along. We still have TJ’s GIVEAWAY to get to, but first, let’s have a look at what we can expect from Rogue in the Making.
Angus shook his head and pushed wet hair off his face. “I don’t want to hear it.” He walked to the lake, washed his hands, and took a drink. “I’m more than a way to rebalance. I’m on your side.” He glanced over his shoulder at Saka. “I may not be your equal, but I can be your partner if you let me.”
Saka swallowed. He wasn’t talking about being a magical partner or an apprentice. He was talking about a deeper connection. Mages didn’t have family or lovers. They had to put the tribe first. Always. Angus knew that, yet he still wanted more.
Saka didn’t say anything. He knelt at the lake’s edge and washed. As he dipped his hands in again, he felt it. There was a deeper ripple, a colder current in the water. He glanced over at the light-footed tenga drinking on the other side of the lake. “Can you feel it?”
“What?” Angus put his hand in the water. He frowned as though he could force the connection. “The water’s moving?”
The tenga lifted their heads and looked around, ears laid flat against their heads as they chirped at each other. Some moved away from the water’s edge. They sensed it too.
“Get back,” Saka ordered.
Angus and Saka scrambled away from the edge. A couple of heartbeats later, the lake erupted. Something dark sped across the surface, and the tenga ran and scattered—except one that was too slow to get away from the edge. It was dragged under. After another couple of breaths, the water was still.
Both he and Angus were on their asses, a couple of body lengths from the edge. Even though Saka knew what it was and that it preferred deer, his heartbeat was as erratic as it had been with lust not that long before.
“Riverwyrm?” Angus asked. His eyes were wide and fixed on the water.
“Yes. That is why we don’t swim in the lakes.” Around them the world was too quiet. They were far from the tribes and the noise of life.
Angus nodded. “Maybe we should get back.”
While he wouldn’t admit it, that was exactly what Saka had been thinking. It would be best if the morning were forgotten entirely—much like the tenga, which had forgotten the riverwyrm and had already returned to drink and graze.
About the Author
TJ Nichols is an avid runner and martial arts enthusiast who first started writing as child. Many years later while working as a civil designer, TJ decided to pick up a pen and start writing again. Having grown up reading thrillers and fantasy novels, it’s no surprise that mixing danger and magic comes so easily, writing urban fantasy allows TJ to bring magic to the every day. After traveling all over the world and Australia, TJ now lives in Perth, Western Australia.
And now for the GIVEAWAY! TJ is generously giving away one ecopy of Warlock in Training, book one in the Studies in Demonology series. The random winner will be chosen in one week. So click on the Rafflecopter widget below and enter now!
And that will do it for us this week. Thanks for joining us, everyone! If you’d like to keep tabs on Genre Talk and never miss a post, hop on over and like our Facebook page, join our Facebook group, and check out our web page.
On behalf of me and Co-pilot Extraordinaire Elizabeth Noble, thanks for spending some time with us, and have a great week!