Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Django Wexler Author Interview

Photo Content from Django Wexler

Django Wexler graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh with degrees in creative writing and computer science, and worked for the university in artificial intelligence research. Eventually he migrated to Microsoft in Seattle, where he now lives with two cats and a teetering mountain of books. When not writing, he wrangles computers, paints tiny soldiers, and plays games of all sorts.

Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that writing was not just a hobby, but that it would be your life and your living?
These two were actually pretty far apart. Sometime around junior year of college (where I was studying Computer Science) I decided I wanted to try and actually get some of the stories I wrote published; I stopped writing fan-fiction and started working on fantasy novels I thought might sell. But I was pretty realistic about the prospects and likely rewards, so I always figured I would be a programmer as a day job and this would be a hobby.

It wasn't until much later, when The Thousand Names and The Forbidden Library were both under contract, that I realized I was making as much from writing as I was from my day job, and decided to see if I could do the full-time author thing. Even now I figure it's possible I may have to go back to programming someday, it still doesn't feel totally real!

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes?
I feel like this has happened to me a bunch of times! Oddly one of the earliest I can remember was a comic, not a novel -- Neil Gaiman's Sandman really opened my mind about the kind of things one could do in fantasy, and helped me get beyond the farm-boy-saves-the-world narrative that was a staple of my early reading.

In your new book; THE INFERNAL BATTALION, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it and why they should read your novel?
It's always hard to write about book five in a series, because you end up spoiling the first four! So The Shadow Campaigns, as a whole, is a military fantasy set in a Napoleonic world -- muskets, cannon, and cavalry charges. It follows a young, charismatic officer named Janus bet Vhalnich, and focuses on the people around him as he rises to the top during a period of revolution. The magical side is subtle -- most people in the world don't believe in it, but it's there, and it becomes more and more important as the series goes on.

The Infernal Battalion is the finale, where all hell has (literally) broken loose. Janus has turned against his country and his queen, and his loyal subordinates have to choose which side they're really on. And behind him is the Beast, a demon that threatens to devour all of humanity.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Winter?
Winter was a lot of fun to write, because she wasn't originally a major part of the story, and sort of grew organically as the series progressed into being the primary character. I'd initially sketched in her past for the first book -- her flight from an abusive institution and disguising herself as a man to join the army, a lost love, etc -- without necessarily anticipating that it would all become important to the series as a whole! So it was great fun to watch everything come together.

What was your unforgettable moments while writing this series?
Honestly, writing the ending was amazing. This is the first time I've written a project this big and taken it all the way to the conclusion, so finally reaching the point that I'd planned in outline something like seven years ago was a spectacular feeling. I'm kind of shocked that it stayed so close to the original design!

What part of Sothe did you enjoy writing the most?
Sothe is a lot of fun because she's totally driven and dedicated to her purpose, which means she helps cut through a lot of the other characters' bullshit. There's a couple of points in the series where she talks to someone who is dithering or confused and really helps them focus on the essentials. An assassin makes for kind of a weird therapist, but it seems to work!

Which character have you enjoyed getting to know the most over the course of writing THE SHADOW CAMPAIGNS?
I really like Cyte, Winter's second-in-command/girlfriend from books four and five. She's another character who wasn't strongly part of the outline, so I've gotten to build her gradually over the course of the story, and she evolved into someone I think I would have good time hanging out with. She's a history nerd, like me!

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I'd be very amused to introduce characters from two of my series, say Winter and Alice from The Forbidden Library. In many ways they have similar journeys, and worry a lot about shouldering responsibility, so I think they'd get along.

Any new and exciting books that you would like to share?
I recently read Nicholas Eames' Kings of the Wyld and really enjoyed it. He nails the tone perfectly, with enough humor to be fun but not so much that things get silly.

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
Not sure! Honestly, things are pretty good now, so I'd be kind of reluctant to go back and meddle.

If you wrote a journal entry today, what would it say?
I used to keep a journal but it got a little monotonous. "Wrote more words!" I feel like, looking back, the books almost feel like journals. "What did I do that year? Oh, yeah, Infernal Battalion and Deepwalker!"

What did you do for your last birthday?
That was just after the release day for this book, so mostly publicity stuff! I did a podcast and a reading. My girlfriend baked me a cinnamon roll cheesecake, too.

Name one thing you miss about being a kid.
Having lots of free time. Looking back it feels like I had endless time as a kid to play RPGs and read, which I kind of wish I still had now!

What book would you recommend for others to read?
Check out Max Gladstone's Craft Sequence, starting with Three Parts Dead. It's wonderful!

Discworld (of course)
Craft Sequence (lawyer/necromancers and thaumo-economics!)
Thursday Next's BookWorld (you can go inside books and hang out with the characters)
Kings of the Wyld (adventuring parties as rock bands)
The Divine Cities (post-colonial religious mayhem)
Malazan Book of the Fallen (sprawling epic disasters)
A Song of Ice and Fire (politics and ice-zombies)
The Laundry Files (spies and Lovecraft)
Every Heart A Doorway (portal fantasy gone terribly wrong)
Madoka Magika (magical girls gone terribly wrong)

Military might and arcane power clash in Django Wexler’s thrilling new Shadow Campaigns novel.

The Beast, the ancient demon imprisoned beneath the fortress-city of Elysium for a thousand years, has been loosed on the world. It absorbs mind after mind, spreading like a plague through the north. The fell army it has raised threatens the heart of Vordan, and it is under the command of the Beast’s greatest prize: legendary general Janus bet Vhalnich.

As Queen Raesinia Orboan and soldiers Marcus D’Ivoire and Winter Ihernglass grapple with the aftermath of a hard-fought military campaign, they soon discover a betrayal they never could have foreseen. The news arrives like a thunderbolt: Janus has declared himself the rightful Emperor of Vordan. Chaos grips the city as officers and regiments are forced to declare for queen or emperor.

Raesinia must struggle to keep her country under control and risks becoming everything she fought against. Marcus must take the field against his old commander, a man who has seemed an unbeatable strategist. And as Winter recovers from her injuries and mourns her losses, she knows the demon she carries inside her might be the only thing standing between the Beast and the destruction of everything in its path....

Praise for the SHADOW CAMPAIGNS Novels

“A fascinating world of dust and bayonets and muskets...and magic.” —S. M. Stirling, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Novels of the Change

"Gritty, brutal, and yet wonderfully intimate...exceptional military fantasy." —Jason M. Hough, New York Times Bestselling Author of Zero World

“Succeeding volumes may end up doing for the Napoleonic Wars what George R. R. Martin did for the Wars of the Roses. Highly recommended.” —Anthony Ryan, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Raven’s Shadow Novels

“The Thousand Names is marvelously written, ingeniously conceived, and great fun. Without a doubt the best book of [the] year.” —Simon R. Green, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Secret Histories Novels

"Wexler has written another excellently entertaining novel, filled with battles and politics and personalities....It subverts, interrogates, or outright inverts a good few tropes associated with epic fantasy." —

You can purchase The Infernal Battalion at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you DJANGO WEXLER for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Infernal Battalion 
(The Shadow Campaigns #5) by Django Wexler.


  1. I love fantasy worlds that are richly imagined and leave me wanting more. One of my favorites is Leigh Bardugo's Grishaverse.

  2. "Favorite Fantasy Worlds?" Let's say Jane Austen!

  3. Favorite fantasy world? I'll choose Oz.

  4. I've read all the other books in this series - Love them.

  5. My favorite fantasy world is Sarah J Maas' Court of Thorns and Roses.