Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Andrew Rowe Interview - The Torch that Ignites the Stars

Photo Content from Andrew Rowe

Andrew Rowe was once a professional game designer for awesome companies like Blizzard Entertainment, Cryptic Studios, and Obsidian Entertainment. Nowadays, he's writing full time. When he's not crunching numbers for game balance, he runs live-action role-playing games set in the same universe as his books. In addition, he writes for pen and paper role-playing games.

Listening Length: 17 hours and 21 minutes
Author: Andrew Rowe
Narrator: Nick Podehl
Audible.com Release Date: May 11, 2021
Publisher: Podium Audio
Program Type: Audiobook
Version Unabridged
Language: English

Winner of the 2020 Stabby Award for Best Self-Published/Independent Novel
#492 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals)
#2 in Humorous Fantasy (Audible Books & Originals)
#8 in Humorous Fantasy (Books)
#13 in Action & Adventure Fantasy (Audible Books & Originals)

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
This is going to vary from person to person. For some, it’s pure escapism — a means of getting out of their reality in order to find safety or entertainment. For some, it can serve as a social or bonding activity. For still others, it purely a mental exercise, a way of imagining people and situations outside of a normal day-to-day context.

One important element of all these is it can allow people to conceptualize things outside their usual day-to-day life. This can help people learn about things they might not be otherwise exposed to — other religious belief systems, other political systems, or things like the marginalization of groups the reader doesn’t belong to.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
It’s hard to pick just one, but I don’t think anything could make me prouder than seeing how happy my parents were the first time I could hand them a signed book.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I’m currently wrapping up a secret novella project. After that, I have several things in the works. The first item on my agenda is the fourth Arcane Ascension book, but beyond that, I’m working on my fourth Weapons & Wielders book and a variety of other new novels. I’ve described one of them as a combination between Peter Pan and a Chinese cultivation novel, for example, and another focuses on the background of one of my most famous side characters.

Can you tell us when you started THE TORCH THAT IGNITE THE STARS, how that came about?
Torch is the third book in one of my interconnected series. Since it’s a sequel, the genesis was fairly straightforward: it picks up right where the second Arcane Ascension book left off. The most notable distinction is that I chose to set the book during the vacation between the semesters at the university the protagonists attend, which was set up in the ending of the second book, but it’s a bit of a controversial choice. I used it as a chance to explore some parts of the characters and world that wouldn’t work as effectively while the characters were on the campus, but the structural change from writing a “winter vacation” book was too significant for some readers.

​What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
That depends on the context of any given scene, really. I try to explore a broad variety of different themes in my works. In general, though, I have a lot of content related to things like neurodivergence, found family, corruption in power structures, dehumanization, general ethics (in both real world and fantasy contexts), flaws in educational systems, and how magic might be explored by society in a setting where it’s able to be studied and quantified.

Which of your characters do you feel has grown the most since book 1 and in what way have they changed?
Corin, my central protagonist, is gradually learning to heal from many years of abuse. He’s figuring out who he can trust and how to value himself, his abilities, and his own accomplishments.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I think Corin would benefit immensely from meeting a warm and genuine superhero, like All Might from My Hero Academia.

  • a. I’ll never stop loving Hyrule from the Legend of Zelda games. It’s basically my childhood home.
  • b. Similarly, I’ve always had a soft spot for the Lufia franchise. Lufia 2: Rise of the Sinistrals had some iconic characters, moments, and imagery that I’ll never forget.
  • c. Star Trek generally shows us a better future, where humanity has generally worked to build a post-scarcity, post-ethnic world. I see it as a positive, heartwarming potential future, especially TNG-era trek. (Yes, it’s generally considered sci-fi, but I don’t draw a hard line there, and entities like Q are basically magic.)
  • d. Final Fantasy 7 was hugely influential on the JRPG genre as a whole, popularizing the urban fantasy with magic mix that helped shape numerous works to come. I’m also thrilled with how they’ve been handling the remake.
  • e. More recently, the recent games in the Legend of Heroes franchise (from Trails in the Sky forward) have shown a similar magi-tech style setting to Final Fantasy 7, but with vastly more world building over the course of more than ten games in the same general universe and timeframe. From this, we get numerous perspectives on the setting, tech development, different counties, etc. I consider it a major inspiration.
  • f. Warcraft was hugely influential on my early writing career and I’ll always have a soft spot for it.
  • g. The manga/anime Hunter x Hunter has one of the best magic systems I’ve ever read, and I’d consider it a huge inspiration for how I think about magic in general.
  • h. The manhwa Tower of God is one of the best examples of the “tower climbing” genre that Arcane Ascension belongs to and serves as one of my many sources of inspiration for it, alongside earlier inspirations like the SaGa games, Tower of Druaga, etc.
  • i. Sarah Lin’s The Brightest Shadow has a setting with a beautiful deconstruction of the traditional hero vs. dark lord narrative, where both are absolutely terrifying forces of nature. I wouldn’t want to live there, but it’s an amazing setting.
  • j. One of my recent favorites is the setting for Forge of Destiny. It’s an incredibly well-developed world based on Chinese xianxia fiction, but with some western influences as well. Everything about the world and the magic helps stimulate my imagination.
Tell me about a favorite event of your childhood.
I used to love going out to live-action role-playing games with my friends. One of my best experiences was my first time carpooling with friends up to a game across the state and getting totally immersed in a new role-playing environment.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Rethink their biases.

Best date you've ever had?
Most of my favorite dates have involved simply reading something with my partner and trying to guess what is going to happen next, analyze what the protagonist should be doing in any given situation, etc.

What was the first job you had?
Writing for role-playing game books for White Wolf. I used that experience to work my way into working full-time in the gaming industry, then circled back around to books later in my career.

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
Realizing that virtually every major hero I’d grown up with was a straight white male.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never
loved before?

I think true love is generally an absurd concept that puts a specific style of romantic love on a pedestal. Love comes in many forms, many of which require investment and work. Love can be mutual and blissful, but it’s generally messy. I generally don’t have a lot of interest in stories about true love.

Where can readers find you?
The easiest place is my blog, andrewkrowe.wordpress.com. I’m also extremely active on reddit, especially on r/climberscourt and r/progressionfantasy.

After concluding their first year at Lorian Heights, Corin and his friends catch a train from their native Valia to the distant country of Caelford.

For most, this would be a simple vacation. Corin has other plans:
  • Meet Anabelle Farren, the eccentric owner of Farren Labs, and learn about artificial attunements.
  • Seek out Warren Constantine, a previous Arbiter, for training and a potential alliance.
  • Find the visage Ferras herself to seek a cure for Sera's condition.
Of course, Corin is Corin, and there's absolutely no chance he's going to be able to stick to a list. Even if he miraculously developed a sense of focus, he isn't the only one with plans....

The Blackstone Bandit. Everyone's favorite mysterious book entity. The aforementioned Farren. A vacationing professor. The mirror of a figure from Keras' past. When their plots intersect, Corin and his friends are, predictably, stuck at the center.

It's going to be a long vacation.

You can purchase The Torch that Ignites the Stars at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you ANDREW ROWE for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Each of the First Book and Swag in the Series.
JULY 23rd FRIDAY Movies, Shows, & Books INTERVIEW
JULY 24th SATURDAY Crossroad Reviews GUEST POST


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