Today I am so pleased to welcome Aleksandr Voinov to Joyfully Jay. Aleksandr has come to talk to us about his Memory of Scorpions series. He has also brought along a great tour wide giveaway. Please join me in giving him a big welcome!
When Novels Breed More Bunnies
I wrote Scorpion in circa 2009/10 and was very pleased to have written a standalone novel, one that I struggled a bit on the first 30%, but actually then finished relatively quickly. I’d never planned it as a series – I didn’t even plan the book, just writing where the characters would take me. Besides, I had other projects I wanted to work on, so this was very much an interloper in my schedule that I wanted to resolve so I could return to the books I’d actually planned to write.
Well, joke’s on me. Because pretty soon after the book came out, it was clear that “The End” wasn’t the end. I was uneasy about Kendras being with Adrastes (and how unequal they were), obviously Kendras hat gotten himself involved with kings and queens now and moved from a member of a mercenary unit to head of a king’s guard. That was bound to create trouble. I also knew that his origins were more interesting than “orphan” (what is fantasy without an orphan being actually a lot more important than the first glance would suggest?).
So I returned to the drawing board circa 2013/14, re-read the book and planned out the next two books – at least very roughly. I’ve never really plotted exactly what happened, but I knew a few things that would have to happen, to resolve all the issues I’d started up in the first book. Besides, I always enjoyed spending time in that world – and pretty much every character has some interesting backstory.
Even as I write this, I could easily see myself writing a story about how Widow left the Ravens (if you can call it that) and met his Lady Protector, how Adrastes left court and murdered his father (he had a good reason) and became involved in the Scorpions. There’s definitely a novel there about the original Scorpions’ last stand at the Gorge. And Graukar and Shadow have stories about how they were sold as tributes/war booty and then worked their way up, and how Graukar faced Ashangul in the mountains. There are further stories about the exploits of the Scorpions in Jaishan, and those are the most likely to get written, though it might take a few days.
You see, it’s never just a novel. Sometimes that first chapter opens up a whole new world.
Over to you – which story/stories would you like to see?
You learn your wisest lessons from your enemies. Assuming, of course, you survive the encounter.
Kendras is a casualty of war: injured, penniless, and quite possibly the last surviving member of the only family he’s ever known—the elite fighting force known as the Scorpions. When a steel-eyed stranger offers him medicine and shelter in exchange for submission and a secret task, Kendras has no choice but to accept. He is a Scorpion; he’ll do whatever it takes to survive.
But his true goal is to rebuild the Scorpions. Neither Steel’s possessive nature nor Kendras’s shattered foot can keep him from finding the last of his brothers… or the mysterious leader of the Scorpions, a man who held Kendras’s heart long before Steel tried to take it for himself. The goal is simple, the situation anything but. To rescue his leader and escape from Steel for good, Kendras must fight through a morass of politics and intrigue, where enemies are allies and even allies have hidden agendas.
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If you lie with scorpions, you’d better have a taste for poison.
Now that Kendras’s lover Adrastes has claimed the throne of Dalman, Kendras is tangled deeper than ever in politics and intrigue. As the new leader of the Scorpions and Adrastes’s one true friend, he and his men stand between Adrastes and those who wish him dead.
And many do. Adrastes openly challenges the ocean priesthood for power while establishing himself at court and brokering with the realm’s various factions. He means for the Scorpions to become a fearsome legion again, but Kendras must first learn how to be a good officer and recruit to replace the fallen. His choices will determine the future of a group steeped in hundreds of years of history and tradition.
As both Kendras and Adrastes settle old scores, a new enemy arises in Commander Graukar, a war hero loyal to the old order. In his formidable mountain fortress, Graukar may hold the balance of power. But while Adrastes aims to either rule or destroy Graukar, Kendras finds himself doubting Adrastes for the first time, and sharing more with Graukar than he ever thought possible.
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Even the hand of a king is stung when it reaches for the scorpion.
After barely surviving an assassination attempt, King Adrastes is a changed man—one who mistrusts even his allies and friends. He readies his empire for war against an enigmatic enemy, the Elder of Vededrin, but not everyone approves. While courtiers dare only to whisper dissent, an outrider called Death foments rebellion in the mountains, aided by a prophecy that promises he’ll stop the Black King.
Kendras—former lover to Adrastes and leader of the Scorpions—is sent with his elite mercenary force to bring Death to justice. But when Kendras learns who’s hiding behind the mask, he must choose between his lover Graukar, newly appointed general to the king—and King Adrastes himself.
With no man to call master, the Scorpions could flee the danger and intrigue. But Kendras cannot abandon the man he once loved—or the man he’s growing to love—without first uncovering the real threat to the Empire.
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Aleksandr Voinov is an emigrant German author living near London, where he works as an financial editor, writing coach, and complementary therapist. At 43 years of age, Voinov has written more than two dozen novels and published five novels with German publishers. After many years working in the horror, science fiction, cyberpunk and fantasy genres, Voinov is now primarily writing queer fiction.
Described as a “workaholic speed-writing freak” by fellow writers, a “creative writing class drill sergeant” by his writing ‘padawans’, Voinov is a self-confessed geek and has enlarged his days by 12 secret hours in return for the sacrifice of ten albino virgin pygmy hippos.
Voinov’s style has been called “dynamic to the point of breathlessness” and “disturbingly poetic” by publishers and literary agents. A recurring theme in his fiction is “the triumph of the human spirit” or an individual rising to challenge the status quo in a world gone bad.
Intellectually, he is drawn to the dark side of human nature and history. As a trained historian, he is fascinated by wars, religion and the conflict between the individual and society.
Interests at the moment include WWII, medieval siege warfare, William Marshall, the Golden Age of Piracy, and whale-hunting. These interests are subject to change from one day to the other, and Voinov single-handedly sustains two bookshops in London.
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Aleksandr has brought a $25 Amazon gift card to give away to one lucky reader on his tour. Just follow the Rafflecopter below to enter.
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Welcome, Aleksandr, and best wishes for the success of the Memory of Scorpions series. One question ~ where does one find an albino virgin pygmy hippo?
Congrats on the re-release of the series. It looks fantastic.