Friday, February 9, 2018

E. C. Ambrose Author Interview

Photo Content from E.C. Ambrose

E. C. Ambrose is a fantasy author, history buff, and accidental scholar. She lives with her family and a very friendly dog in New Hampshire.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life in writing?
First discover what inspires you to write, and cling to that. Second, be ready to support yourself in some other way before your writing makes enough money, and be aware that for many writers, that never happens. Third: move forward with the humility to accept feedback, and the hubris to keep on going in spite of it.

What makes a book great for you?
Characters who face tough choices with important consequences, in a rich and engaging world (which could be our world, our history, or something completely different—so long as it is well-realized).

What was your favorite book as a child and why?
this question is a bit tricky—it depends how far back I look, but if I make the list, you'll notice the trend: Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak; My Father's Dragon, by Ruth Styles Gannett; The Thirteen Clocks, by James Thurber. Each of these transports the reader to someplace new and startling, where new rules may apply, delivering an adventure, but it is the investment of the human heart that makes the story worthwhile.

In your newest book, ELISHA DAEMON; can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about the novel?
1348: Europe has become a bottomless well of terror and death, from which the necromancers drink deep as the citizens sink into despair. If there is to be any chance of survival, Elisha must root out the truth of the pestilence at its unexpected source: the great medical school at Salerno.

But as he does, his former mentor, the beautiful witch Brigit, lays her own plans. For there may be one thing upon the face of the planet more deadly than the plague: the unfiltered power of Death within Elisha himself.

From the external perspective, it's the culmination of all the conflicts that have come before. . .

What was your inspiration for the series?
I needed to know a little bit more about medieval surgery for a scene in a different fantasy novel, so I started researching the subject. The more I read, the more fascinated I became, until I realized that I had an idea for a completely different book. There's a point in reading and thinking about a subject when I have a glimpse of a character in a place, with a problem, and that's when I know I’m ready to write. In this case, it was Elisha, standing in a sunlight doorway with blood dripping off his fingers, saying, "My God, I've killed them all." And I had to know who he killed and why and what would happen next, so I wrote the books to find out.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Elisha?
How very stratified medieval medical practice was. The physicians at the top rarely touched a patient—they diagnosed based on urine comparisons, zodiac signs, and the four humors. The surgeons, on the other hand, exchanged texts describing their methods, shared ideas and approaches, and developed new tools and techniques to confront the medical issues of their day.

Did you learn anything from writing THE DARK APOSTLE and what was it?
I learned about plot escalation, first by developing an outline of the series arc that excited both me, and my editors; then by revising each of the books to make the story bigger, and more terrible; then by fine-tuning the outline and climax of the final volume to (hopefully) deliver a payoff to the entire five volumes.

Which character have you enjoyed getting to know the most over the course of writing THE DARK APOSTLE?
Wow, this is a tough one. Elisha is. . .less like a character to me than like an old friend. As I wrote, it was fascinating, and somewhat disturbing to discover more about Brigit. But what I love the most is meeting those characters who surprise me. I approach them knowing what I need them to do, and simply expecting them to do it—but they grow in importance and reveal new layers in themselves, and in the principals. I'm looking at Martin, Harold and the rabbi, in particular.

If you could introduce Brigit to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Katniss Everdeen, from the Hunger Games. Katniss is also a freedom fighter by the end, and I think Brigit would admire her—and perhaps learn from her how to temper her own drives with a little more compassion.

What do you feel is the most significant change since book one?
I approached the plot alongside Elisha, with his view expanding in each volume as he is able to rise out of the narrow streets of London. I think that growth in perspective, and how it affects the choices Elisha makes, is the greatest change.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
Right now, my agent is shopping DRAKEMASTER, an epic fantasy novel set in China during the Mongol invasions, and revolving around a clockwork doomsday device. That was a blast to research and to write! I have another epic fantasy that's resting before I revise, so of course I am writing a YA novel about Giant Robots!! (sorry, I can't help but think of them in capitals and exclamation points)

If you could be born into history as any famous person who would it be and why?
Leonardo da Vinci, who exploded with creativity in all directions, constantly striving, sketching, exploring the boundaries of human potential.

What were you doing at midnight last night?

Alas, I was sleeping. I am definitely not a night person!

If you could live in any period in history, what would it be and why?

The Age of Exploration. I'd love to board a ship with Zheng He or Henry the Navigator and set out for some extraordinary new world.

If you wrote a journal entry today, what would it say?
Another two-hour delay? Seriously? How am I ever going to write this book if the kids NEVER GO TO SCHOOL AGAIN! I had to wear crampons to go for the newspaper this morning. Later, when I went out to try to sand the driveway, I took a long controlled slide down the slope and rode it like a boss. Followed by some musing about how to patch up a friendship that seems fraught with communication issues. . . (only it would be much less legible than that)

Tell me about a favorite event of your childhood.
When I was about ten, my parents took us out of school to go to Europe for three weeks because my dad had a business event over there. When we visited Wales, it rained the whole time. We ran in and out of so many castles, getting excited when we found a chamber with an intact roof. In one of those partially roofed towers, my sister and I found a small, chubby brown-and-white dog with a golf ball bulging its mouth, and its eyes bulging just as much as it waddled after its owner.

Where can readers find you? is the best place to begin—with my bibliography, sample chapters, and calendar of events!
There's also and
In July they can find me at Readercon, in Quincy, MA, and in August at Worldcon in San Jose, CA.

1. The New Forest, England. A wonderful, murky land of trees and clinging vines—and an incredible depth of human intervention in what seems to be a wilderness.
2. The Catacombs of Rome. thousands of skeletons lining the halls. . .
3. the protagonist's bedchamber. What do they keep on the nightstand? What's under the bed? What would they take in a fire?
4. Pompeii
5. the most holy place in any given culture.
6. a shipwreck newly revealed, or newly created
7. Kaifeng, China. Former capital of the Northern Song Dynasty, rebel city against the Mongols, home to a people who claim a Jewish heritage going back to the 8th century AD.
8. St. Leonard's at Hythe, a lovely, unassuming Norman-style church with an extraordinary cache of bones.
9. Smithfield, London. Where William Wallace was executed, and where Edward III stopped a peasant revolt, when he was just a child. Now, it's a meat market.
10. Any place where you, or your character, fears to tread. . .

In this fifth and final installment of The Dark Apostle, barber-surgeon-turned-sorcerer Elisha must save plague-stricken England from its path of destruction--or risk succumbing to the very dark magic he is trying to eradicate.

Elisha was once a lowly barber-surgeon from the poorest streets of 14th-century London; now, he may be the most powerful magus alive. He faces the necromancers, a shadowy cult of magi who draw their power from fear and murder--and who have just unleashed the greatest plague the world has ever known upon a continent already destabilized by wars, assassinations, and religious conflict.

Empires and armies are helpless with no clear enemy to fight. The Church loses its hold upon the faithful as prayers go unanswered. Europe has become a bottomless well of terror and death, from which the necromancers drink deep as the citizens sink into despair. Elisha knows that if there is to be any chance of survival, he must root out the truth of the pestilence at its unexpected source: the great medical school at Salerno. There, Elisha might uncover the knowledge to heal his world.

But as he does, his former mentor, the beautiful witch Brigit, lays her own plans. For there may be one thing upon the face of the planet deadlier than the plague: the unfiltered power of Death within Elisha himself.

Praise for THE DARK APOSTLE Series

“Ambrose’s fantasy debut depicts a 14th-century England in which magic and fledgling science exist side by side…. This beautifully told, painfully elegant story should appeal to fans of LE Modesitt’s realistic fantasies as well as of the period fantasy of Guy Gavriel Kay.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“A vivid, violent, and marvelously detailed historical fantasy set in the perilous world that is medieval England in the middle of a war. Elisha Barber wades through blood and battle in his pursuit of arcane knowledge—forbidden love—and dangerous magic.” —Sharon Shinn, author of Troubled Waters

“In a grim world of medieval warfare, witch-hunts, and primitive surgery, EC Ambrose has crafted a shining tale of one man’s humanity and courage. A gritty read for those who like realism as well as hope in their fantasy.” —Glenda Larke, author of The Last Stormlord

“Elisha Barber is, at its heart, a story of resilience, of why we strive to be better, even when that journey seems pointless. As the start of a new series, the book sets a half-dozen plates spinning, and not a one wobbles for a second.” —San Francisco Book Review

“EC Ambrose has created an exciting, adventure-filled world that draws you in; you are able to picture not only the characters but the world they live in. Elisha Magus is fantasy at its best, and I can’t wait for the next book.” —Fresh Fiction

“I am really enjoying this series. After reading the first book, I was eager to read [Elisha Magus]. It did not disappoint.” —Night Owl Reviews

“The historical milieu is detailed and brings the period into sharp focus…. The magical battles rivet readers’ attention as Elisha fights for his life and sanity. Book three looms in the wings as Elisha learns to wield his powers and protect his chosen king.” —SFRevu

You can purchase Elisha Daemon at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you E.C. AMBROSE for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Elisha Daemon by E.C. Ambrose.


  1. "If you could do anything OR wish for anything that would come true, what would you wish?" I would wish for eternal youth, beauty, health, and life.

  2. I would wish for good heath & happiness.