Risingshadow has had the honour of interviewing Betsy Dornbusch.
Betsy Dornbusch writes epic fantasy, and has dabbled in science fiction, thrillers, and erotica. Her short fiction has appeared in over a dozen magazines and anthologies, and she's the author of three novellas. Her first fantasy novel came out in 2012 and her latest trilogy, Books of the Seven Eyes, wraps up with Enemy in 2017. Silver Scar, a standalone future fantasy thriller, also drops in 2017.
In her free time, she herds her teenagers (like cats, only they talk back), snowboards, air jams at punk rock concerts, and follows Denver sports teams. She's just a quick google away by her name or Sex Scenes at Starbucks.
Click here to visit her official website.
AN INTERVIEW WITH BETSY DORNBUSCH
- Could you tell us something about yourself in your own words?
My shortest bio reads Writer of Fantasy, Wrangler of Teenagers and that’s about the size of it, lately. I live in Colorado with my husband, two kids, and two dogs, and when I’m not momming, I’m writing. (Or drinking beer, shhh) I like to make time for snowboarding and concerts, too.
- You've written a fantasy trilogy called The Seven Eyes (Exile, Emissary and Enemy). How would you advertise it to readers who haven't had an opportunity to read it yet? What kind of a trilogy is it?
It’s dark, violent epic fantasy, but I did my best to turn several tropes upside-down.
In Exile, Draken is falsely convicted of killing his wife and because of the belief system of his people, he is banished rather than executed. He’s dumped into the ocean off the coast of an enemy country called Akrasia. He is something of an expert on Akrasia and its peoples, though he soon learns he doesn’t know nearly as much as he thinks he does. Like, no one ever mentioned the necromancy.
In Emissary, he learns maybe banishment wasn’t quite the worst thing that could happen to him; he gets sent back home as an ambassador.
- The protagonist in this trilogy is Draken vae Khellian. Could you tell us something about him? What kind of a man is he?
Draken fights depression (with good reason) but he’s very determined, too, with definite reasons to stay alive and fight for what he feels is right. He’s forty so he’s experienced and thinks before he leaps, and he’s a natural leader, though he doesn’t see himself that way much at all. He’s also mixed-race, which causes him some internal and external strife: Akrasia is a very prejudiced place.
- Does Draken's character develop throughout the story?
Yes. When he arrives in Akrasia at the start of EXILE, he tends to follow along with how things go. Keep in mind he landed with nothing but the rags on his back. But gradually he realizes he’s been dragged into a war with the gods, and that he’s got an important role to play in winning that war.
- Are there any important characters in this trilogy besides Draken? If there are, could you tell us something about them?
Draken is surrounded by friends and enemies, but probably the best liked character is Osias. He’s a necromancer of mysterious abilities who decides to forgo his vow to the god of death in order to help Draken when it becomes apparent a looming civil war might be much more than they realized. He’s a silvery being with the ability to reflect back the best and worst of people. Other characters tend to think he’s enigmatic, but he’s a pretty honest character, actually.
Draken also has Queen Elena, Aarinnaie, Princess of Brîn (a smallish principality on the continent), Captain Tyrolean, an Akrasian military man, and various ghosts to help him on his way.
- How much magic does this trilogy contain?
Most of the magic is rooted in necromancy, but Draken is “gifted” with certain magical skills by the gods. They’re really trying to manipulate him into fighting for them, which he really wants no part of, but the magic comes in handy. The first magic he receives is a magical sword, but it’s definitely a twisted trope.
- The third book, Enemy, will be published by Night Shade Books in February 2017. What can readers expect from it?
It’s not too much of a spoiler to say that Draken’s adopted country is suffering an invasion by his old one and by the time ENEMY opens, they’ve all dug in for the winter. Draken has a new magical ability to contend with, necromancy run amok, a coup from an upstart lord, a missing Queen, and vengeful gods bent on turning him into their personal whipping boy.
- What has been the most enjoyable and rewarding part of writing this trilogy? And what has been the most challenging part?
Draken is chronically depressed, and from a writing standpoint, it’s made me realize as I work on new projects just how negative my writing has become, down to phrasing sentences in the negative rather than the positive. On the other hand, I really gained some understanding of what some of my friends and family go through.
Happily by the time I came round to writing ENEMY, my world was so established that I had little work to do on that end of things. I could slip back into the voice and world very easily and concentrate more on story. That was fun.
- Will you ever return to the world of The Seven Eyes?
Never say never!
- What are you currently working? What can readers expect next from you?
I have a standalone future thriller fantasy coming out next year called THE SILVER SCAR set in a balkanized United States about a Christian soldier and a Wiccan ecoterrorist joining forces to fight a religious crusade bent on stealing forbidden magic.
As for writing, I’m working on a new fantasy mystery series.
- Is there anything you'd like to add?
Thanks for having me!