James A Moore
(1965 – )
James A. Moore has been writing professionally for almost 10 years. During that time he’s worked in the comics field, on numerous role playing games and has written and sold four novels, while working any number of jobs to pay the bills. He’s been both the Secretary and the Vice-President of the Horror Writers Association, and has recently made his first foray into editing with the forthcoming “The Bedlam Reports: Memoirs from Padded Cells.”
He lives in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA, with his wife, Bonnie, to whom he owes more than he could ever hope to express.
The Blasted Lands (2014)
(The second book in the Seven Forges series, from Angry Robot books)
A novel by James A Moore
The Empire of Fellein is in mourning. The Emperor is dead, and the armies of the empire have grown soft. Merros Dulver, their newly-appointed – and somewhat reluctant – commander, has been tasked with preparing them to fight the most savage enemy the world has yet seen.
Meanwhile, a perpetual storm ravages the Blasted Lands, and a new threat is about to arise – the Broken are coming, and with them only Death.
Author Guest Blog
The question has come up as to what is the inspiration for the story arc in the Seven Forges Series. It’s an interesting question and I rather like it, but it’s also one I don’t have an easy answer for. To me that’s even more challenging than “Where do you get your ideas?” and believe me, that one’s a killer by itself.
I don’t have an easy answer because the answer is, to a very real extent, that I get the inspiration from everything.
If I wanted to go back and try to remember exactly what started the notions for SEVEN FORGES I guess I’d have to say part of it came from the ongoing issues with war in our own world. When I was a child in school the usual pat answers about warfare could be boiled down to the following sentence: “The United States of America got involved in that war because it was the right thing to do.” Things are really much simpler when we’re kids, aren’t they? Not so many shades of gray, just black and white.
The truth is a different beast entirely and normally involves economic sanctions, the pressures of trying to run a country and, of course, the powerful need of some people/countries to stick their noses into world affairs and try to fix things to their satisfaction.
Ultimately what I have learned is that no one gets up in the morning and decides to be the bad guy. Well, no one who is sane at least.
What kept me coming back to Seven Forges, what keeps me coming back, is a fascination with how things evolve. There’s that old adage about the unstoppable force and the immovable object, and to a real extent that’s what I was thinking about when I started the series.
On the side of the Immoveable Object you have a ponderously large empire. Fellein is old, well-established, and strong enough that it has long since removed all of its enemies. There are other countries outside of the empire, locked on the periphery of the story as it were, but mostly there’s just the empire sitting in the same spot and content to grow no larger.
Except that no one is ever content for long, are they? With nothing else to conquer the Empire of Fellein turns its attentions toward the Blasted Lands, a ruined area with alleged riches hidden away and with a distant mountain range that gives off light and maybe offers a promise of that wealth to anyone who might want to risk the voyage through a wasteland.
One thing about human nature that always amuses me is summed up in a saying my mother used to throw around: the grass is always greener on the other side. No one stays content. I think it goes against human nature. We are as bad as cats when it comes to curiosity.
On the other side of the story you have the Unstoppable Force, the Sa’ba Taalor: a breed of people who have trained themselves in the art of war and survival for roughly one thousand years, carving away any weaknesses they find among their own people as mercilessly as a gardener mows a lawn and removes weeds.
I have always been fascinated by religion. Not by faith, which is an entirely different thing for me, but by religion. Faith I can understand. It’s almost elemental, really. Religion, on the other hand, can be as simple as faith or as confused as a cat in a room with a hundred active laser pointers.
I got to thinking about the differences between monotheism, the worship of only one god and polytheism, and I decided I wanted to explore that notion. How does it work? How do people worship multiple gods without getting themselves into some kind of trouble? More importantly, how do they do it when the gods are active in their lives? I mean a case where the gods seem to interact on an individual basis and take an active interest in each person’s life?
What we have in the Sa’ba Taalor is a race that is fanatically devoted to their gods, and determined to keep their gods happy at any cost. Their lives mean nothing as long as the gods are happy. If they live or die they see it as the will of their gods and they have proof on many levels that their gods are active and participate in their lives (many of which have not been revealed yet, but which, you may rest assured, are very good reasons in their eyes to behave and obey.).
I wanted to set these two forces against each other, but I wanted to do it as carefully and organically as I could. I didn’t want a sudden invading force that storms into the idyllic land where everyone is happy and innocent of any wrongdoing. I don’t like those books. They are too black and white and I still love my shades of gray (though, to be fair, not 50 SHADES OF GRAY, ha ha.). I have written and contemplated a great deal about this world already. There are two finished novels and four short stories out there and the on thing they have in common, hopefully, is that deciding exactly who the good guys are and separating them from the bad guys, is a bit of a challenge.
Everyone has a reason for doing what they do. That’s what I like to explore. There are a lot of characters, a lot of moving parts as it were, and I love examining how they move and why they move and what makes them work properly.
That was the notion I started with. After setting it into motion a lot of what I have been doing, a lot of my inspiration, comes from the back of my mind when I’m thinking about other things. I watch the news from time to time and very often some little tidbit of a story finds its way into my thoughts and blends itself into the stew of my thoughts about Seven Forges. Those bits of information and random thoughts shape and change everything that I’m doing in a hundred different ways.
I know the characters—I made them, so if I don’t know their basic attitudes something has gone wrong—but I don’t always know how they’re going to react to a situation and I love finding out. It’s the part of the process that I find endlessly fascination: that odd moment when I think I know what a character is going to do and the character promptly ignores me completely and does something else. For me, at that moment, the characters seem amazingly alive.
Everything is the only answer I can give, really. Everything inspires me. From news stories to the way I see people interacting in the real world to the endless buzz of ideas that sink or swim in my mind. SEVEN FORGES is not the book I thought it would be. I think it’s a better book, because it evolved and the storyline is continuing to change regularly.
I hope that answers the question and thanks
Other books by James A Moore
Under the Overtree (2000)
Serenity Falls (2003)
Cherry Hill (2011)
Smile No More (2011)
1. Possessions (2004)
2. Rabid Growth (2005)
1. Writ in Blood (2005)
2. The Pack (2005)
3. Dark Carnival (2005)
Blood Red (2005)
Blood Harvest (2011)
Bloodstained Oz (2006)
1. Subject Seven (2011)
2. Run (2012)
1. Seven Forges (2013)
2. The Blasted Lands (2014)
Harvest Moon (2009)
Blind Shadows (2012)
Werewolf Storytellers Screen (1995) (with Tony DiTerlizzi)
House of Secrets (1995) (with Kevin Andrew Murphy)
Chaos Bleeds (2003)
3. Tales of the Slayer, Vol. 3 (2003)
1. Blood Red (2005)
3. The Haunted Forest Tour (2007) (with Jeff Strand)
7. Blood Harvest (2011)
Sea of Sorrows (2014)