Today marks the official kickoff of the Ten Years of Darkness Book Tour presented by Storytellers On Tour, and throughout the week we’ve got a great lineup helping us feature Kristen M. Chambers’ and Viktor H. Strangewayes’ Dark Science Fiction Fantasy novel! This particular book is a prequel set in their Vaal’bara Historical Society universe, a series that has definitely piqued my interest. I can’t wait to hear what our hosts have to say in the coming days, so be sure to keep an eye out for some incredible content.
Kristen and Viktor were kind enough to stop by to have a chat about how Ten Years of Darkness came into fruition, their tips for aspiring authors, and what lies ahead (oh so many wonderful things!). So, keep scrolling for the tour schedule, more info about the book, the interview, and the giveaway to snag yourself a hardcover copy!
PROMO ALERT: The entire Vaal’bara Historical Society series is available on Amazon FOR FREE today through February 7th! GRAB ALL THE BOOKS!
We’ve enlisted a group of wonderful and talented bloggers and Bookstagrammers to help us feature Ten Years of Darkness. This is what we have going on, so make sure to check out each and every one throughout the week for some brilliant content, including reviews and more.
FEBRUARY 3RD – THE WELCOMING
Whispers & Wonder
Beneath A Thousand Skies
FEBRUARY 9TH – THE ENCORE
Queen’s Book Asylum
For more about this tour visit Storytellers On Tour.
Kristen Chambers was just an average girl.
Kristen tossed her pencil down. “Great, now they’ll think this is another angsty teenage vampire novel.” She rose and left the room, returning shortly thereafter with a blackened, crooked quill pen. Silently she cradled it in her hands for a moment before sitting down. In truth, she hated to use it. Its nib was distorted, and it left splotches of oily black on whatever it touched. But her hesitation went beyond the physical, bringing forth a sense of regret and guilt. Yet she knew the quill remained a part of her, even after its power had long been expended.
Pressing the instrument to the page, she started again.
Laurence, by his own admission, was a failure. An aspiring magician by trade, he had spent his days attempting to recreate something he knew in his heart must exist, but for some reason did not. His life was miserable, and he knew he would never amount to anything. In that regard, Kristen and Laurence had something in common, even though they had never met – or so they thought. Together, they both stood on the face of a coin, forever tumbling through time, unable to gain their bearings, always ignorant of what existed on the other side.
However, after the appearance of a dangerous stranger, their lives began to change, and many things that once seemed impossible, quite suddenly became all too real. Before long, powerful artifacts were being hunted down, demons had clashed with plague-bearing bats, and the remnants of races long since buried had crawled up to the surface. Their lives had taken a turn in a direction neither could have predicted, and one they were certainly not prepared for.
With potential horrors looming on the horizon, and access to Magical resources having been intentionally obstructed, many questions still remain: Have they chosen to support the right factions? Are their goals worth more than those they are fighting against? And worst of all, have they gone through this entire process before?
From the group who founded the Vaal’bara Historical Society, Ten Years of Darkness takes place in an unsettling time before many events transpired, yet is simultaneously affected by their outcome. It follows characters both new and familiar, bringing as yet untold details to light while also exploring others from a unique perspective. Those seeking to learn the true mission of the Society may very well choose to start here, while other heroes who have already traveled the timeways at their side will find many clues to further their journey as they look toward the future.
Meet the Authors
Kristen Chambers was born in Omaha, NE in 1990, and lived a fairly ordinary life as far as she was concerned. An avid reader from a young age, she dreamed of diving into the pages of her favorite books and escaping into a world of adventure far more exciting than her own boring existence. Little did she know, such a fate had already been decided for her…
Her life guided by an unusual series of events, she eventually found herself thrust into the adventure she had always wished for, though she quickly realized it was nothing like she had imagined as a child. The veil was lifted, and she soon discovered a world of Magic, demons and dark forces beyond her comprehension. She was led to Chicago in 2011, where she would eventually meet, among others, Viktor Strangewayes. Though she didn’t know it at the time, he would become her greatest ally in the years to come.
In the year 2020, with Viktor at her side, she helped to found the Vaal’bara Historical Society, an organization dedicated to unearthing the long-forgotten truth of humanity’s Magical past. By telling her own story, and experiencing countless others through the use of the Temploscope, she hopes to guide humanity toward a better future, and prevent the terrible fate that awaits them.
Viktor Holbrook Strangewayes originally hails from Chicago, Illinois. Born in 1983, he has done a great deal of traveling, living in multiple geographical locations throughout his life. A person who has tried his hand at dozens of professions, he had always found himself surrounded by a sense of unease and disappointment, as if the world itself had transformed into something it should never have become.
After being presented with an opportunity to attend a writing course (an occurrence which might not have been a coincidence) he found himself face to face with a man he never would have suspected as having played a pivotal role in how our history came to be.
That day marked the beginning of a series of events which would lead to the founding of the Vaal’bara Historical Society, an organization dedicated to unearthing our long-forgotten Magical past. Those events have been recounted in detail through five Volumes bearing the VHS namesake.
Since that time, Viktor has continued to travel; although, it is not often by mechanical means. Having recruited a curator to maintain the Society, he spends most of his days outside this reality, residing within a forgotten domain suspended between realms. Dedicated to scouring all possible avenues left to him, he has begun the painstaking process of translating every tome and manuscript at his disposal, uncovering as much forgotten history as he can.
This task, although seemingly exciting, is not without its perils. A surprising number of enticing traps, both physical and psychological, lay within such books; and without Magic to aid him, Viktor has narrowly dodged his demise more than once. Even so, he steadfastly works toward accomplishing his goals, as he is more aware than perhaps anyone else, we are running out of time.
Thanks so much for stopping by for a chat, Kristen & Viktor. Since we already have your official bios, care to tell us about yourself in ten words or less?
Viktor: A tragic soul who found hope hidden in other realms.
Kristen: An entity whose sole purpose is to spread Christmas cheer.
Give us an idea of how Ten Years of Darkness came to fruition.
After producing The Vaal’bara Historical Society Volumes 1-5, there were some details which needed to be filled, and perspectives addressed, before moving on to our two upcoming books (Volume 6 and Mara Ve’di: Journal & Journey). It was also an excellent place to add some personal information about both Viktor and myself, as well as other “members” of the Society.
Can you share with us something about Ten Years of Darkness that isn’t in the blurb?
Kristen: Ten Years has more truth in it than readers might expect. For instance, Viktor’s weight loss journey, as well as his seizures directly leading to the beginning of his story, are both honest admissions on his part. I also lived in my van for several months while between apartments, and may or may not have an embarrassing story or two regarding laundromats…
Was there any specific research you’ve done or inspiration you’ve pulled from for this story of yours?
Many of the places listed in the story are places prior traveled to, and several of the people are real too. Many humans forget to take a closer look at what lies around them. If they did, they might just find more than they expect…
What do you hope your readers take away from Ten Years of Darkness?
It depends on who reads it. Ten Years is both a prequel to VHS Volume 1 and a segue into the coming novels after VHS Volume 5. More than anything, we hope our new readers look at it as a preview or introduction to what they will find in our other stories. Volume 1 starts slower than most people are accustomed to, and not everyone will trust the story to take them somewhere unique. Ten Years asks a lot of questions, and those questions do not go unanswered in other books. There is far more hidden in the background of our pages than readers will assume at first glance.
What comes first, the plot or the characters?
They work hand in hand. The character always comes first, but only in a raw state. The plot is what shapes them into who they are, and the plot does not exist until the character choses the road they will travel down. When a character looks back on where they have come from, they should see a path that they have influenced, and one that has influenced them as well.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve written? If so, who? What about them sets them apart from all the others?
Viktor: I think a large number of people will expect me to say Carmen, and I love her to pieces, but ultimately Varek tops the chart. He is a seriously polarizing, mercurial character with hundreds of hidden agendas, and he has had a hand in the creation or destruction of so many events, its nearly incomprehensible. And for those who think they have him figured out – whether he’s a hero or a villain – just you wait for what gets revealed in Volume 6.
Kristen: If I’m choosing a favorite character from Ten Years of Darkness, I’d have to go with Carmen! She’s this badass, wisecracking, ass-kicking demon with a heart of gold and the world on her shoulders, and many of my favorite moments from TYD involve her.
What do you think makes a good story?
Kristen: Everyone will tell you something different, but I feel a good story is one that does not have an agenda, one where the author does not sit down and go, “Okay, what should these characters do today?” There have been multiple occasions where Viktor has turned to me and said, “I thought things were going to work out one way, but Jack did something I didn’t expect.” For instance, in Volume 3, Laurence looks into a mirror and loses his invisibility because he sees himself. Viktor didn’t expect or intend for that to happen, but it did anyway because that is what Laurence felt inside. Call him crazy if you want, but writing a story where the characters lead you around to places you never expected to go has got to be the most natural form of writing I’ve ever seen.
If you could go back and change how you approached writing your debut novel, what’s the one thing you’d do differently?
Viktor: I’d say probably be less ambiguous about the plot. It’s tough! You want to take people on a mysterious journey, so you hide the spoilers from them, only to find out your readers aren’t certain if they want to go where you intend for them to end up. And let me tell you, when working on a series of looping time travel books, it’s really tough to say anything without giving something away.
Writing can be a stressful pursuit. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
Viktor: Oh geez. I feel like I still need someone to answer that for me! Honestly, if you’re an aspiring author, you need a TOUGH skin and a lot of patience. The industry is flooded with books, self-publishing systems are dysfunctional and slow, and you are going to get painful, negative reviews. We started by self-publishing five books at the same time (just days before Covid struck, which was devastating emotionally) and thought we’d have tons of people interested. Even after a year, we still haven’t found our place, nor have many people given us a chance. But that’s just part of it. If you believe in what you’re doing, you’ve got to push forward and remain positive.
Kristen: Don’t compare yourself to other authors. Everyone has their own process, speed, challenges, circumstances, etc., and for aspiring authors, it can be tempting to try to emulate or compare yourself to other authors in your genre. Don’t feel pressured to write a specific number of words per day, or make a detailed outline of your entire world and all of its inhabitants before writing a single word of your story. Honestly, sometimes it’s just better to relax, visualize a particular scene or character you want to focus on, and start writing what you see.
Ok, let’s see what kind of person you truly are.
Coffee or Tea?
Viktor: Coffee with lots of additives. Tea isn’t horrible, but it’s too watery.
Kristen: 100% coffee, though I might throw in a chai tea latte now and then.
Winter or Summer?
Viktor: When living in Omaha, neither. Too hot, too cold, too humid – it’s remarkable I still exist.
Kristen: I prefer Fall, actually, as it’s still warm and sunny enough to be outside, but I get to enjoy layered clothing and clompy boots.
Physical books or Ebooks?
Viktor: I love hardcover books. Ebooks have their place, but there is nothing like holding a thick Magical tome in your hands.
Kristen: Physical books, though in the last year I’ve been more open to reading eBooks, especially from fellow indie authors.
Mountains or Oceans?
Viktor: Admittedly I’m dysfunctional at interacting with both of those things, but I feel mountains are more serene to look at.
Kristen: Mountains! Large bodies of water can be a tad bit… overwhelming.
Beer or Wine?
See our previous answers regarding our undying love for coffee.
Books or Movies?
Viktor: For the value and the detail, books are always going to give you a better journey.
Kristen: I love sharing experiences with people, and it’s honestly more impactful – and far easier to do – with movies or TV shows. However, Viktor and I try to coordinate our reading so we’re both reading the same series’ together (and yes, that is multiple series at one time) and can go crazy over our favorite characters and moments with each other while they’re still fresh in our minds.
Cowboys or Aliens?
Viktor: Aliens (just in case they’re reading this). Although, if I saw an alien in a cowboy hat, I might respect him a little more.
Kristen: Why not both? Space westerns should be a more prevalent genre, if I’m being honest.
Pie or Cake?
Yes. Worthy examples of each can be had, but if you’re a true friend, you’ll hand us both.
Rural or Urban?
The outer edges of Urban. We really don’t enjoy being pressed up against other people, but we don’t want to live in the middle of nowhere either.
Work hard or Play hard?
Play hard! Thankfully, we enjoy what we do, and don’t view writing as work.
Thank you again for taking the time have a chat, Kristen and Viktor. Tell us what lies ahead for you!
We’re still writing! We currently have four more VHS Volumes planned, as well as fourteen Chronicles in the same universe. As we said earlier, we are currently pushing to publish two more books this year, so be on the lookout!
Enter to win yourself a signed hardcover of copy of Ten Years of Darkness by Kristen M. Chambers & Viktor H. Strangewayes! One copy is ready to find its forever home!
(Ends February 10th, US Only!)
That’s all I got for ya! Be sure to keep an eye on the official Ten Years of Darkness tour page over at Storytellers On Tour (https://www.storytellersontour.online/2021/01/03/tour-schedule-ten-years-of-darkness-by-kristen-m-chambers-and-viktor-h-strangewayes/) to see what the other bloggers and Bookstagrammers have to say!