Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Peter McLean Interview - Priest of Bones

Photo Content from Peter McLean 

Peter McLean was born near London in 1972, the son of a bank manager and an English teacher. He went to school in the shadow of Norwich Cathedral where he spent most of his time making up stories.

By the time he left school this was probably the thing he was best at, alongside the Taoist kung fu he had been studying since the age of 13. He grew up in the Norwich alternative scene, alternating dingy nightclubs with martial arts and practical magic.

He has since grown up a bit, if not a lot, and spent 25 years working in corporate IT. He is married to Diane and is still making up stories.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
To be honest, it’s as simple as knowing people are reading and enjoying the book. Seeing all the great reviews of PRIEST OF BONES and all the blog posts and everything is an absolute joy. 

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
You know, I’m not really sure. Telling stories is just something I’ve always done, all the way back to when I was a little kid playing with my Star Wars action figures back in the late 70s. Even then I would make my own scenes up for them rather than playing out bits from the film. 

I progressed from toys to role playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, which is really just guided storytelling within a framework. I think I started writing fiction for pleasure when I was about 15 years old. It was terrible, obviously, but it was something I liked to do so I kept at it. I didn’t manage to actually finish a whole novel until 2010 though, and I wasn’t published until 2016.

Does anything distract you from writing and if so, what?
Sometimes life gets in the way, as it does for everyone, but on the whole no. I’m lucky enough to have my own office at home, in an annex to the house, where I can just shut myself away and get on with it in peace. When I say peace I mean “to thunderous rock music”, obviously. 

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes?
Reading has definitely changed my life, but I don’t think it was any one book in particular. It was more an accumulation of ideas from various sources, I think. My parents were SFF readers so I grew up in the genre, to an extent, knowing that it was okay to make up impossible things. I’m not sure everyone has that freedom. 

Can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about PRIEST OF BONES.
PRIEST OF BONES is essentially a crime thriller set in a pseudo-Tudor fantasy world. It’s a story of mobsters and spies and intrigue, set in the aftermath of a great war. Central character Tomas Piety is a gangster, a soldier, and an army priest, battling PTSD after the war and attempting to put his crime empire back together. With his sergeant and best friend Bloody Anne at his side, Tomas finds himself dragged unwillingly into a web of political intrigue in a desperate attempt to prevent another war. 

As Joel Cunningham of Barnes and Noble put it, it’s “Peaky Blinders with swords.”

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters?
My characters have a disturbing habit of coming to life and doing unexpected things all by themselves. Take young Billy the Boy as an example – when I wrote my original outline for the novel, Billy wasn’t going to be the one with the magic. Billy had other ideas though, and quite out of the blue decided that, actually, oh yes he was! Personally, I didn’t fancy arguing with him. 

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I’m working on the last round of edits of PRIEST OF LIES at the moment, the second book in the War for the Rose Throne series, which will be out July 2019. 

I’ve got various short fiction coming out from Games Workshop’s Black Library as well, in their Warhammer 40,000 universe, including an audio drama set to release late next year. 

For those who are unfamiliar with Tomas, how would you introduce him?
Tomas Piety is a complicated man. He’s a ruthless, manipulative businessman out for himself and a natural leader, but at the same time he genuinely cares for his people and his streets, the place where he came from. He grew up dirt poor on those streets, abused and with no prospects. He’s a completely self-made man with big political ambitions and bigger problems, who gets swallowed up by events beyond his control and has to do what he can to make the best of it. He’s a man of contradictions, priest and executioner both. 

Choose a unique item from your wallet and explain why you carry it around.
I have an old photo of my wife that was taken about twenty years ago, just before she was first diagnosed with cancer. She’s fine now and has been for a long time, but I’ve developed a bit of a personal superstition that as long as I have that photo, she’ll always be ok. 

If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you had “no regrets” what would it be?
Oh, that’s so dangerous! So many things in life happen as a result of interconnected chances that changing the tiniest thing could have massive implications. If I really HAD to, though, I’d go back to before I was born and convince my dad to call me something else. I’ve never cared for “Peter” as a name, although not so much that I’ve ever bothered to change it!

What is your happiest childhood memory?
Spending time with my late grandfather. He was a fascinating man, a non-fiction book editor who seemed to know absolutely everything. He could be cantankerous and opinionated, but then so can I, which is probably why we got on so well. He’s been dead for over twenty years but I still miss him even now. 

Where can readers find you?
I’m in all the usual places, but Twitter is probably the best bet if anyone wants to actually talk to me! 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/petemc666
Website: https://Talonwraith.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PeterMcLeanAuthor/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6519144.Peter_McLean

It's a dangerous thing, to choose the lesser of two evils.

The war is over, and army priest Tomas Piety finally heads home with Lieutenant Bloody Anne at his side. When he arrives in the Stink, Tomas finds that his empire of crime has been stolen from him while at war. With his gang of Pious Men, Tomas will do whatever it takes to reclaim his businesses. But when he finds himself dragged into a web of political intrigue once again, and is forced to work in secret for the sinister Queen's Men, everything gets more complicated.

When loyalties stretch to the breaking point and violence only leads to violence, when people have run out of food, and hope, and places to hide, do not be surprised if they have also run out of mercy. As the Pious Men fight shadowy foreign infiltrators in the backstreet taverns and gambling dens of Tomas's old life it becomes clear; the war is not over.

It is only just begin


“A charismatic and very more-ish book with solid prose and a strong voice. Priest of Bones is a story of organised crime with shades of The Godfather. It sounds grim and dark … and it is … but our priest of bones is quite the humanitarian for a ruthless crime lord. With high tempo action it’s just very fun to read.” Mark Lawrence, author Red Sister

“I can safely say that this will be the book dark fantasy and grimdark fans will be raving about at the end of this year…[McLean] has presented a brilliant debut grimdark outing that is fascinating, gripping and has everything that I look for in a crime-focused novel.” 
Fantasy Book Review

“McLean’s writing is punchy and fast-paced…Anyone itching to read a high-stakes story should pick up this delightful combination of medieval fantasy and crime drama.” —Publishers Weekly

“A pitch-perfect blend of fantasy and organized-crime sagas like Puzo’s The Godfather or Pileggi’s Wiseguy, this novel….is very, very hard to put down. Expect word of mouth support from fantasy fans to turn this one into a genre hit.” Booklist

“Priest of Bones is sure to be among the favorite reads for grimdark fantasy fans this year.” —Grimdark Magazine

“An enjoyable read for lovers of small-scale fantasy, with a diverse cast of crooks. Priest of Bones can be effectively summarised as ‘gangsters in fantasyville.’ McLean manages to combine two of my most liked elements in fantasy – a quick moving plot, and characters with realistic relationships. Fans of Daniel Polansky’s Low Town books, Mark Lawrence’s Prince of Thorns or dare I say Blackwing will find a number of similar themes put forward and I feel that’s the readership who will most appreciate this book.” —Ed McDonald, author of Blackwing

“Priest of Bones is a fresh and compelling take on grimdark fantasy and has done something I haven’t before seen in the genre. Mashing together soldiers, gangsters, magic and war into a heady mix that is a hulking big brother to The Lies of Locke Lamora, this is the first in an unmissable series.” —Anna Stephens, author of Godblind

“Priest of Bones is a fast paced fantasy filled with magic and combat, but with the intrigue and strategy of a crime thriller. McLean writes soldiers and their experience of returning from war like someone who has been there. There is excellent character development throughout; I’d follow the Piety brothers through any story.” —Michael Mammay, author of Planetside

“Managing to be exciting, narratively taut, and a commentary on the terrible things war and violence do to people is no mean feat, but Peter McLean manages it with Priest of Bones. I wish I had written this.”—RJ Barker, author of Blood of Assassins

“Absolutely sensational…The prose is smooth and easy to follow, and that combined with a flowing story, an even pace and a rising tempo, result in one of those books that you could easily read in one go. All in all, Priest of Bones is Low Fantasy at its finest, and I wouldn’t hesitate to call it the Fantasy Debut of the Year.” —Booknest

“If violence and planning, honor among thieves and treachery among lawmen, blood and profanity and spies and explosions are your thing, Priest of Bones is the book for you. Get it. Read it. Wait impatiently for the sequel.” —J.C. Nelson, author of The Reburialist

You can purchase Priest of Bones at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you PETER MCLEAN for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Priest of Bones (War for the Rose Throne #1) by Peter McLean.