How did your background as a gigging musician infuse the character of Lem in The Bard’s Blade?

The actual lifestyle is completely fictional. My experiences at a professional level were vastly different. Where I drew from personal experience as it pertains to Lem is centered around his feelings about music and how it made him feel when he played. Playing for an audience is a deeply intimate experience. You draw on their energy and they on yours. I did my best to convey that symbiotic relationship to the reader.

What surprised you most about your expansion into traditional publishing to complement your bestselling indie publishing career?

The people at Tor. They were not the corporate monsters many indies are led to believe. I found them to be dedicated, patient, understanding, and with a sincere love of all that goes into the creation of a good novel. They’re a group of hard working professionals who want only to produce book that will enhance the genre specifically, and the literary world in large.

Do you believe in magic?

You said these would be easy questions. My belief in magic is complicated. I’m a rational skeptic who creates worlds filled with the fantastical. So, the obvious answer would be that magic is the product of our imagination. But that’s an easy out. I’ll give you a more…literary answer.

Magic is a desire; a yearning to be amazed; a longing to feel the thrill of new discovery. Magic is a long dark path fraught with peril, at the end of which a golden treasure awaits anyone with the courage to brave the journey. It’s the first page of a new book. The first time you drive a car, or hold the hand of your first love.

Our lives are moments filled with magic. As children, they’re easy to recognize when they happen. We absorb them fully and without a hint of reservation. The problem is that as we age, they are too often ignored or left unappreciated. We allow them to pass into depths of forgetfulness and cynicism without realizing the tragedy of what was robbed of us; what we have robbed ourselves of  – magic that can never be recaptured; the experience gone forever.

I think that’s why I love what I do so much. I get to create new magic, new experiences, new joys, new love, every day of my life. And I get to share it with kindred spirits who are as excited as I am to see where the road will take them next. What could be a better way to spend ones life?