Today I am thrilled to welcome the incredibly fabulous Edmond Manning back to the blog. Edmond is the author of the wonderful Lost and Founds series and today he is here to talk to us more about his latest release, King Mai (which I reviewed here yesterday and adored).
Edmond is sharing some inside dirt on Vin Vanbly and where the series is going from here. He has also brought a copy to give away to one very lucky reader. So please join me in giving Edmond a big welcome!
Where Are You Headed, Vin Vanbly?
It’s odd, I know.
My first book, King Perry, is set in 1999. Narrator, Vin Vanbly is thirty-two years old.
The second book, King Mai, is set in 1996. Vin is twenty-nine years old.
Between these two full length novels, I offered three chapters on my website to the reading public from the sixth book (you read that right, sixth) with a new narrator. That book, King Daniel, is set in 2013.
A savvy reader might set down the earl gray tea, gently remove her/his reading glasses and then politely exclaim, “WTF? Does this idiot author know what he’s doing?”
But there really is a plan.
When I first conceived of writing The Lost and Founds as a book series, it was clear to me that readers wouldn’t enjoy a repeat of the same story over and over. The first kinging (King Perry) is exciting because readers have no idea what’s happening (well, hopefully). Is Vin insane? Are these random events leading to something? Why kidnap a duck?
It’s a little maddening, but that’s part of the fun. Uh…right? We had fun, right? (Gulp.)
The second king story must offer new surprises that are a different kind of surprise than those offered up in the first book. If Vin’s style becomes too predictable, by the third novel, readers will yawn and say, “Oh right, here comes that time of the weekend when they steal something. Right on cue.”
I realized that each King Weekend had to offer something unique from every other story. New insights about the narrator, Vin, and more revelations of his strange and sad history. Also, the stories themselves had to be unpredictable in some ways. This made me consider that if a reader followed Vin’s King Weekends moving forward through time, starting with the very first kinging, you’d watch Vin get better and better at this. Better, more polished Vin = more boring.
C’mon. Stories have to have a little random unpredictability, right?
I realized that if the king stories happened three years apart and traveled backward in time, you’d catch Vin making more mistakes, more blunders. And gosh…what if one of the kingings from his early days doesn’t ‘take?’ What if he fails to king the guy? Wouldn’t that be interesting?
Readers need not worry – even looking at his past kingings, Vin remains the same weirdo narrator with word obsessions, food fixations, and the unflappable ability to manipulate the hell out of anyone in a ten foot radius. (He’s still scary like that.) But he’s a little less polished. Makes more mistakes.
One can only wonder what kind of screw-ups we will see in the third book of this series, the one that takes place in 1993.
But I also wanted the books to be interesting in any sequence, so anyone who reads the books out of order will find odd little mysteries solved along the way. The big secret location in King Mai is mentioned in King Perry during a paragraph where Vin waxes on about the power of forgiveness. No one would notice it while reading King Perry the first time, but if you read King Perry after reading King Mai, you will notice each time Vin remembers Mai Kearns, who is mentioned liberally in King Perry. The books fit together, either way; you can read them out of sequence and still get some cute little surprises answered.
Each of the six books are linked to the other five books in numerous ways. Each book has clues about Vin’s real name. Each of the six kings are somehow represented in every other book, either mentioned directly or prophesized, weird little clues dangling like Christmas tree ornaments. There’s a single sentence in King Perry that reveals the physical locations for books two, three, and four.
I love shit like that.
Oh, and then there’s the sixth book in the series, the one that takes place in our modern day. By releasing a few chapters between each major novel, readers get to see what’s been happening with all the Found Kings in the world. Of course, new mysteries are introduced. Most noticeably, what happened to Vin in 2005 that ended his kinging? What ‘state’ did he fall into requiring his tribe called The VV to protect him? Who is D.C., the king present in 2013 who gently nudges leadership in Vin’s absence?
Mysteries and riddles, riddles and enigmas. Fun, no?
If I were a reader of these strangely-told tales, I would threaten the author in my most threatening inner-voice, saying, “You bastard, you better have a plan for all these loose ends. This better tie up better than LOST. If there’s a ‘sideways world’ where everyone is already dead, you’re dead.”
In response, I would only say, “First of all, quit threatening me with your inside voice. You sound psycho. Secondly, there’s a plan.”
There’s a plan.
While many people loved the had-to-be ending of King Perry, still, a few hated it and were upset there was no traditional HEA. These books go against the romance genre, I get and respect that. But to my way of thinking, of course Vin doesn’t get his big happy in the first book. How interesting would Harry Potter be if he finished off Voldermort in the first book? For six more 700+ page novels we’d pretty much read about Harry, Ron, and Hermione getting drunk off butter beer and playing that irritating game on broomsticks. Bleah.
So, yes, Vin’s got to suffer a bit more. We will learn more about his sad life, the strange, inexplicable events that drew him to the world of kinging. There are a few more bumps ahead for him. But remember that in King Perry, Vin said, “… I’m a sucker for happy endings.”
That line? That was a clue.
I’m also a sucker for happy endings.
Edmond Manning writes novels. He is the author of King Perry and King Mai.
And check out this video where Edmond chats about book clubs and King Mai…
DeKalb, Illinois has never quite known what to do with Mai Kearns. Adopted from Thailand and never one to fit in with the local bubbas, life has been rough around the edges, even before he came out of the closet. Almost ten years past the torture of high school, Mai still can’t catch a break: he and his parents stand to lose their beloved farm.
So how will finding a single, mysterious corn stalk change Mai Kearns’ fate? Only the legendary King of Curiosity might know, and enigmatic Vin Vanbly is just the man to introduce them.
Vin returns in this second installment of The Lost and Founds, and his sights are set on the angry farmer. One sunny August weekend, Vin and Mai embark on an impossible treasure hunt with mystic poetry, Fibonacci Hopscotch, and a most curious army marching through DeKalb’s annual Corn Fest.
On the cusp of his kingship, nothing is certain for Mai. If he fails the treasure hunt, the Lost Kings claim him as their own. Can he risk opening his broken heart and remember the man he was always meant to be?
Edmond has brought along a copy of King Mai to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest closes on Friday, July 19th, at 11:59 pm EST.
- By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
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- Void where prohibited by law.