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Blood Song (Raven's Shadow, #1)
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2013 Book Club Discussions > August 2013: Blood Song - Author Q&A with Anthony Ryan

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message 1: by Lisa (last edited Jul 31, 2013 06:57AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa (tenaciousreader) | 301 comments Mod
Anthony Ryan was very kind and agreed to do an author Q&A to go along with our Book of the Month read of Blood Song. I'm definitely excited to get another month with interactions with the author, it's an excellent opportunity and I hope people take advantage of it.

Soo .... Here's where you can ask him questions! I'll be back with mine after I start reading :)

* And a big Thank You! to Anthony Ryan to agreeing to do this for us :)


Michael (MichaelJSullivan) | 140 comments Nice! Anthony seems like a good guy...and I'm very glad to see another self-published author doing so well.


Joel (DeliriumTrigger) | 312 comments Mod
I already asked Anthony my questions in his recent AMA, but I wanted to thank him - both for writing an amazing book, but also agreeing to help us with this discussion and being very accessible.

Thanks Anthony!


Ma-juh (Xormik) | 4 comments I want to thank him for Blood-Song, it was a great book and took me to an era of reading that I longed to enjoy again. I started it off a whim and then sort of dove head first into it.

But here is a good question: S'up with Caenis? You mention a pretty big point for him, and it doesn't occur at all in Blood-Song.


message 5: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Ryan | 18 comments Ma-juh wrote: "I want to thank him for Blood-Song, it was a great book and took me to an era of reading that I longed to enjoy again. I started it off a whim and then sort of dove head first into it.

But here is..."


Thanks Ma-juh. I'm afraid the answer to your question falls squarely into the spoiler zone for books 2 and 3. All will be made clear though.


message 6: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Ryan | 18 comments Michael wrote: "Nice! Anthony seems like a good guy...and I'm very glad to see another self-published author doing so well."

Yes Michael, I "seem" like a good guy (mwahhahaha - cough, splutter)


message 7: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Ryan | 18 comments Joel wrote: "I already asked Anthony my questions in his recent AMA, but I wanted to thank him - both for writing an amazing book, but also agreeing to help us with this discussion and being very accessible.

T..."

Thanks Joel - you're very welcome.


Ma-juh (Xormik) | 4 comments What is the current release date for The Tower Lord? Is that next year? << Can't you like...release it this year? >____>


Michael West | 2 comments Mr. Ryan,
I just finished Blood Song - it was awesome and I enjoyed it very much. Thanks for doing this Q&A.

Three questions for you about the 2nd book:
1.Since the second book is entitled "Tower Lord", is this in reference to Vanos Al Myrna...or someone else?
2. Can you give a brief synopsis of what the second book will be about and what Vaelin will face? (You may not be allowed to, but I figured I'd ask)
3. Are we going to see more of Lord Verniers in the second book? I really enjoyed his chapters/perspective in Blood Song.


message 10: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Ryan | 18 comments Michael wrote: "Mr. Ryan,
I just finished Blood Song - it was awesome and I enjoyed it very much. Thanks for doing this Q&A.

Three questions for you about the 2nd book:
1.Since the second book is entitled "Tower..."


1. Sorry Michael, that's in the spoiler zone.
2. Briefest synopsis of book 2: everything changes.
3. Yes Verniers is back, but not quite in the same way.

Thanks for the kind words about Blood Song, hope you like Tower Lord as much.


message 11: by Ethan (new)

Ethan (Kensei) | 2 comments Mr. Ryan,

Blood Song is superb, thank you so much.

This might be a question out of left-field, but have you watched any Japanese samurai cinema? Just wondering if that was a source of influence at all for you. I am a huge fan myself and I get a similar feeling with how you capture combat in the novel with some of the great sword duel/combat scenes of classic samurai films (Harakiri, Goyokin, Seven Samurai, 13 Assassins, etc.).


message 12: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Ryan | 18 comments Ethan wrote: "Mr. Ryan,

Blood Song is superb, thank you so much.

This might be a question out of left-field, but have you watched any Japanese samurai cinema? Just wondering if that was a source of influence ..."


It wasn't a conscious influence but I've always been a big fan of Samurai cinema, my favourites being Yojimbo and Seven Samurai, though I watched 13 Assassins recently and it's also fantastic.


message 13: by Ethan (new)

Ethan (Kensei) | 2 comments Anthony wrote: "Ethan wrote: "Mr. Ryan,

Blood Song is superb, thank you so much.

This might be a question out of left-field, but have you watched any Japanese samurai cinema? Just wondering if that was a source..."


Very cool, thanks! I am not surprised. Always great to meet a fellow fan of the genre! Some of the greatest sword/combat action in film is found there.


Alexander (Qkvote) | 3 comments Perfect! I've managed to receive and read the book in time for this one. And, honestly, the book, despite the crazy high expectations I'd scraped together over the past 6 months or so, did not disappoint. If anything, it was even better. I enjoyed every page immensely and it's already one of my favourites.

So, a couple of questions:

1) David Gemmell is probably my favourite author and I don't think I'm far off in saying that he is one of your's as well. What would you say is the greatest strength in his books/writing? Which of his works did you enjoy the most?

2) There are half a million little details in Blood Song, some very important to later parts of the story, some less so - but how did you keep track of all of it? I remember reading something towards the end of the book where the narrator states that this was the first time Vaelin had felt something like this or done something like this (can't remember exactly what, but it was something pretty standard), and I thought, How in the world you could be sure you hadn't, someplace in the middle of the book, quickly, off-handedly, mentioned that he felt this (or did that, or whatever it was). To boil it down to a question: how do you keep track of all the details in such a long book, even details that may seem completely unimportant when first writing them?

*** SPOILER ***

3) Barkus: the one who possessed him kind of left Vaelin's question up in the air - was Barkus ever Barkus again after the Test of the Wild, or was he possessed every single second of every single day since?

That was a bit long. Sorry. But I really loved the book and it's kind of stuck in the back of my head.


Dylan Recard | 1 comments I don't really have a question I just wanted to thank you for writing this book. My favorite part of the book is towards the end when Vaelin is asked what he had done in his cell for the past 5 years and he replied "sing". It gives me a huge smile every time I read it.


message 16: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Ryan | 18 comments Alexander wrote: "Perfect! I've managed to receive and read the book in time for this one. And, honestly, the book, despite the crazy high expectations I'd scraped together over the past 6 months or so, did not disa..."

Thanks Alexander. On to the questions:
1. My Gemmellism is well documented on my blog and a fairly obvious influence on my writing. I think I most admire his ability to maintain an unflagging narrative without compromising on character - or more simply, he was never boring and you always cared about his characters.
2. Keeping track of all the details is a bit of a challenge, more so now as the cast of characters for Books 2 and 3 has expanded greatly. It's mainly a matter of being fully engaged with your story and not skimping on rewrites. That being said, I do find myself throwing in details which don't mean much to me at the time but become significant later on, e.g. Dentos's 'uncles' in Book 1. I didn't actually know his real story until I came to write it.
3. Can't really get into this one without straying into the spoiler zone, suffice to say the powers afforded by the Dark are many and varied.


message 17: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Ryan | 18 comments Dylan wrote: "I don't really have a question I just wanted to thank you for writing this book. My favorite part of the book is towards the end when Vaelin is asked what he had done in his cell for the past 5 yea..."

Thanks Dylan, always happy to cause a smile.


Alexander (Qkvote) | 3 comments Anthony wrote: "Alexander wrote: "Perfect! I've managed to receive and read the book in time for this one. And, honestly, the book, despite the crazy high expectations I'd scraped together over the past 6 months o..."

Oh, man. Now my anticipation level went from 10/10 to 11/10


message 19: by Mares (new)

Mares Walter | 2 comments I loved Blood Song, looking forward to the next one. I'm curious about you being a British Author publishing in America. How much do the publishers change? I got your book out from a British library and noticed the word 'gotten' a few times in my hardback copy. As a Brit myself, I've never used the word 'gotten' either in speech or writing, and never heard any other native British speaker use it, but I realise that to US readers it is correct grammar. Did you write 'gotten' or was that added by your editors? I realise this is an obscure question, but I've been interested in how British writers are presented to the American public after hearing an interview with JK Rowling about Harry Potter and how it was 'edited' for an American audience to make it more accessible.


message 20: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Ryan | 18 comments Thanks Mares.
Can't say I recall any particular discussion with my editor around the use of 'gotten'. If anything they were keen to steer me away from Americanisms so it's all down to me. Guess I've just gotten used to gotten.


message 21: by Tad (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tad Moden | 1 comments Love the book, but the opening few pages are unfortunately bare of a signature, so my question is:
When are you coming to Australia (particularly Sydney) to do a book-signing?

Keep up the incredible work!


message 22: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Ryan | 18 comments Thanks Tad. The short answer is: whenever I can afford it or someone pays my air fare.


message 23: by Mares (new)

Mares Walter | 2 comments I have a question about Keschet. I loved the way the rules were in the appendix. Could you say a little about this game? Did you invent it yourself? Do you play it? Out of curiosity, I made a cardboard version of it and have played a couple of games now - and really enjoyed it. I'm not sure about some of the rules - like what happens when a thief 'takes' a player, how do you 'have the use of it'? We decided that the taken piece could re-enter play anywhere in the first three rows, but couldn't take an opposing piece if the 'enemy' was already there. It was really interesting how we ended up targeting the scholar, with the Emperor and entourage clustered around him. I'd love to see a youtube video of the game being played as it is supposed to be. Any chance of that?


message 24: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Ryan | 18 comments Mares wrote: "I have a question about Keschet. I loved the way the rules were in the appendix. Could you say a little about this game? Did you invent it yourself? Do you play it? Out of curiosity, I made a cardb..."

Hi Mares, Great to hear someone is playing Keschet, as far as I know you're the first to do so. I did invent it and tried some limited play testing, against myself since anyone I showed the rules to was completely baffled.

Good point about the Thief, I should have been clearer. My idea was that the taken piece would be placed in an adjoining available square to that occupied by the Thief, the player being free to choose which one. Of course you are welcome to adapt the rules as you see fit, and since you're probably the most experienced Keschet player in the world right now, if you want to upload your own video that would be great.


message 25: by Lisa (last edited Aug 07, 2013 04:12AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa (tenaciousreader) | 301 comments Mod
I finished this book last night, and, just... Wow. All praise it has received is well earned. I may come up with a more serious question later, but right now the one most pressing for me is when do I get a chance to read the next one? How firm/realistic is the July 2014 release date I saw for book 2?

Thanks!


message 26: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Ryan | 18 comments Lisa wrote: "I finished this book last night, and, just... Wow. All praise it has received is well earned. I may come up with a more serious question later, but right now the one most pressing for me is when do..."

Thanks Lisa, glad you liked it. I've had no official confirmation of the release date for Tower Lord yet, though a pre-order page has appeared on Amazon.co.uk with a date of July 3rd, so make of that what you will. However, I'd be very surprised if the book appeared before then.


Flynn Rider | 1 comments Mr. Ryan,

Thank you for doing this Q&A, Blood song is one of the best fantasy novels I have read in recent years. I would like to know if you have already begun working on the third installment. I'm in no rush but I like to prepare myself mentally for the wait lol


message 28: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Ryan | 18 comments Flynn wrote: "Mr. Ryan,

Thank you for doing this Q&A, Blood song is one of the best fantasy novels I have read in recent years. I would like to know if you have already begun working on the third installment. I..."


Thanks Flynn. Yes book 3, entitled Queen of Fire, is underway. I'm about halfway through the first draft and hope to finish by the end of the year. No idea when it'll actually come out though.


Phillip Clark | 1 comments Greetings Mr. Ryan.

It was a frightening, although wonderful surprise, the way your book grabbed my attention. It would not let me go until I had devoured it thoroughly.

The time and care that went into every character is noticeable. I found your sense of characterization refreshing.

So I must know, who is your favorite character? Or have we not yet met him/her?


message 30: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Ryan | 18 comments Phillip wrote: "Greetings Mr. Ryan.

It was a frightening, although wonderful surprise, the way your book grabbed my attention. It would not let me go until I had devoured it thoroughly.

The time and care that ..."


Thanks Phillip. Apart from Vaelin (my first born son), my fondness for characters tends to relate to how much fun they are to write. So I'd probably plump for King Janus who seemed to arrive fully formed on the page, the dreadful old schemer.


Dwight L | 2 comments Great book, bought the book, finished it couple days ago. It was beautiful. I've read the ending so many times! It's just amazing, without a doubt my favourite book of all time and Vaelin is also my favourite character of all time as-well. One question though Mr. Ryan, It's a very simple one! Will Vaelin get a new pet companions?


message 32: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Ryan | 18 comments Dwight wrote: "Great book, bought the book, finished it couple days ago. It was beautiful. I've read the ending so many times! It's just amazing, without a doubt my favourite book of all time and Vaelin is also m..."

Thanks Dwight, nice to be appreciated. I'm afraid Velin will be too busy for pets in the next book. Does make some new friends though.


message 33: by Joel (new) - rated it 5 stars

Joel (DeliriumTrigger) | 312 comments Mod
Anthony - you've been awesome with this Q&A and I've really appreciated what you've helped contribute to this little Goodreads community. I've loaned my hardcover to a couple friends who loved it and I believe bought their own copy, and talked several of my friends into purchasing Kindle copies before the hardcover came out.

A little Blood Song lovefest has begun today on r/fantasy - the latest of about a billion.

http://www.reddit.com/r/Fantasy/comme...


Dwight L | 2 comments Anthony wrote: "Dwight wrote: "Great book, bought the book, finished it couple days ago. It was beautiful. I've read the ending so many times! It's just amazing, without a doubt my favourite book of all time and V..."

Thanks for your reply! And I look forward to reading about those new friends! Thanks again Mr. Ryan!


message 35: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Ryan | 18 comments Joel wrote: "Anthony - you've been awesome with this Q&A and I've really appreciated what you've helped contribute to this little Goodreads community. I've loaned my hardcover to a couple friends who loved it a..."

Thanks for all the lobbying Joel. I'll be sure to drop by Reddit.


message 36: by Simon (new) - added it

Simon Ellberger | 18 comments Mr. Ryan: I had read that the Kindle version of Blood Song is not the same as the edited version that appeared in book form in July, 2013, but is instead an earlier version with a number of typos. So my question is, is the current Kindle version the same as the current book version? And if not, will this be corrected, and when?
Thank you very much


message 37: by Joel (new) - rated it 5 stars

Joel (DeliriumTrigger) | 312 comments Mod
The initial Kindle version had a number of typos and missing punctuation that didn't really detract from the story, but grammar nazis would latch onto. The hardcover is perfect from what I've seen, and my friend with the "new" kindle version has said they didn't see any of the typos or grammar errors that I'd seen the first time around.


message 38: by Simon (last edited Aug 22, 2013 11:52PM) (new) - added it

Simon Ellberger | 18 comments Joel: Does your friend have the American Kindle version or the UK Kindle version? The American version shows a November, 2012 date, whereas the UK version has an April, 2013 date, so I assume they are not the same. And I further presume (perhaps incorrectly) that the UK Kindle version is the same as the book version, since they were released in close proximity to one another. The (edited) book version not only has corrected typos, but also a slightly amended text. One chapter was extended a bit, and another shortened. I would prefer to have this finalized version, but I also prefer Kindle to hard copy, hence my question (which relates to the American Kindle version).

Thanks.


Lucinda | 57 comments I have both versions.

The American kindle version I purchased last month has grammar corrected from the version I got in Nov. 2012 (The 2012 version has old cover art, no publishing house listed). It also has the Dramatis Personae and the rules for Keschet; the old version did not.

So, I think the version now available for Kindle US is the latest and greatest.

Which chapters contained changed content?


message 40: by Simon (new) - added it

Simon Ellberger | 18 comments Thank you Lucinda. I don't know which chapters contained expanded and deleted material as a result of editorial intervention. The only reason I know there were any changes, was because Mr. Ryan himself posted an online comment mentioning this, but he didn't state the specific chapters involved. But he did offer a sort of challenge to anyone who had read both versions, as to whether they could detect the changes.


message 41: by Simon (new) - added it

Simon Ellberger | 18 comments Here's the comment I referenced, which Mr. Ryan posted at his blog on March 22, 2013: "The UK ebook version of Blood Song is now available for pre-order, with a release date in mid-April. The UK hardcover will be available on 4th July. This means my original listing on Amazon.co.uk will disappear over the next few days. This edition is the edited version which has benefited from the input of my editor at Ace and their copy-editing and proof-reading team, so there are a few changes from my own self-published version. However, fans of the original should rest assured that the changes are not extensive and consist mainly of some grammatical tweaking, expanding one chapter a little and reducing another even less. I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who can spot all the changes."


Lucinda | 57 comments lol...Challenge accepted; I've been meaning to re-read this anyway while I wait for our September book to be selected.

I'll post what I find.


message 43: by Joel (new) - rated it 5 stars

Joel (DeliriumTrigger) | 312 comments Mod
Simon: The US version, as we're west coast Americans. I will ask him further about the errors, but he insists he's seen next to zero.


message 44: by Simon (new) - added it

Simon Ellberger | 18 comments Thank you again Joel.


message 45: by Joel (new) - rated it 5 stars

Joel (DeliriumTrigger) | 312 comments Mod
This has been a lot of fun - thanks a MILLION to Anthony for being so accessible and so willing to participate in a small book group's Q&A session.

I personally find this book to be staggering levels of good; it is easily one of my favorites ever, and I eagerly await future series releases.

Everyone jump on board for September's release, and be on the lookout for a similar Q&A from author Django Wexler.


Michael (MichaelJSullivan) | 140 comments Anthony, I'm always interested in authors who have been on both sides of the publishing fence. So a few questions.

1. Do you think you'll continue traditional, go back to self, or do a bit of hybrid in the future?

2. Was the traditional publishing process about what you thought it would be? Did anything surprise you?


message 47: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Ryan | 18 comments Michael wrote: "Anthony, I'm always interested in authors who have been on both sides of the publishing fence. So a few questions.

1. Do you think you'll continue traditional, go back to self, or do a bit of hyb..."


Hi Michael,
1. I'd like to keep on the hybrid path if possible, I like the freedom of self-publishing and the speed with which you get paid is also a factor. However, I know others would disagree, I think in order to reach its maximum audience a book really needs the backing of a publishing house, at least for the immediate future.

2. I didn't really know what to expect from traditional publishing so it's been a learning experience, and a generally positive one. People who work in publishing tend to be nice people with similar interests to my own. A lot of authors seem to find the editing process pretty irksome but I didn't have any real problems with it. I suppose the biggest difference from self-publishing is the slower pace at which everything moves, but I think that's inevitable with any large organisation.


message 48: by Joel (new) - rated it 5 stars

Joel (DeliriumTrigger) | 312 comments Mod
I imagine it would be really tough to be done with a book, have it edited, covers picked, etc. And have them tell you it'll be released in 9 months instead of now.


message 49: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Ryan | 18 comments Joel wrote: "I imagine it would be really tough to be done with a book, have it edited, covers picked, etc. And have them tell you it'll be released in 9 months instead of now."

I'd mentally prepared for it, so it wasn't too bad. And I had plenty to occupy myself with in the meantime; Book 3 should hopefully be done by the end of the year.


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