Today I’m super excited to welcome Ryan Howse to the blog as we kickoff the Red in Tooth and Claw Book Tour presented by Storytellers On Tour! If you’re a fan of Horror Fantasy with a little bit o’ survivalism thrown into the mix, then you should definitely give this one a read. Stay tuned throughout the week for some fantastic features from our Roadies – I can’t wait to hear what they have to say about this one.
Ryan stops by to have a chat about what led to to fruition of this book of his, the inspiration and research behind it, what lies ahead, and more! Keep scrolling to learn more about the book and author, read the awesome interview, and enter to win an ebook copy of Red in Tooth and Claw!
We’ve enlisted a group of wonderful and talented bloggers and Bookstagrammers to help us feature Red in Tooth and Claw. 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.
APRIL 25TH – THE KICKOFF
Whispers & Wonder (IG: @whispersandwonder)
Beneath A Thousand Skies
Fantasy Book Critic
Cover to Cover (IG: @liis_moth_of_the_book)
MAY 1ST – THE ENCORE
Queen’s Book Asylum
For more info, visit the official tour page at Storytellers On Tour.
A brutal wilderness.
Hungry, plague-ridden animals.
A winter so cold it snaps wood.
Chemosh, a scout imprisoned by the enemy, agrees to lead the way through this wilderness for his freedom. But both his knowledge and his resilience are put to the test, not just by the wilderness, but by the chaotic, violent man he guides. A man he must rely on if they are to survive.
Ryan Howse is the author of The Steel Discord, The Alchemy Dirge, and Red in Tooth and Claw. He lives in Saskatchewan, Canada, with his wife, children, and cats.
Thanks so much for stopping by for a chat, Ryan. Since we already have your official bio, care to tell us about yourself in ten words or less?
I’m a husband, father, and writer from Canada.
Give us an idea of how Red in Tooth and Claw came to fruition.
I’ve always had a fondness for stories of people stuck in the wilderness. I’ve had the idea for Red in Tooth and Claw simmering in the back of my mind for a long time. Two people who distrust each other, with very good reason, but are forced by circumstance to rely on each other to survive a frozen wilderness. I even found the original outline—from 2010 or 2011—after I’d finished the first draft in early 2019. Once I decided this would be the next project, the novel just came pouring out, faster than anything I’d written before.
Can you share with us something about Red in Tooth and Claw that isn’t in the blurb?
The book has two narrators who are both unreliable in wildly different directions. Chemosh was in training to be a shaman and starts the story broken from being isolated in a dungeon. He believes in spirits, and believes he sees them and mystical forces at work throughout the story. Agash is a skeptic and does not believe in any such things, and always tries to find a logical reason for what they see. The joy of making it a fantasy novel was then suggesting that either could be right, and I tried very hard to make both logical and spiritual reasons make sense. I didn’t want either a naïve spiritualist or a skeptic who can’t accept what’s in front of him, both of which are tropes I dislike.
Was there any specific research you’ve done or inspiration you’ve pulled from for this story of yours?
Well, I don’t think it’ll come as a shock if I say I enjoyed The Terror by Dan Simmons or The White Vault podcast, or films like The Revenant or The Edge. That said, there is one very specific classic story that was hugely inspirational to this, and I’m curious if anyone will puzzle that out.
As for research, while I did research some of the old methods of wilderness survival, a lot was also just having survived every Canadian winter thus far.
What do you hope your readers take away from Red in Tooth and Claw?
Mostly, I hope they feel as tense reading it as I did while writing it.
What comes first, the plot or the characters?
It depends on the book, but the rough setting—a Neolithic winter wilderness—came first, followed by two people who were forced together by circumstance who should hate each other.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve written? If so, who? What about them sets them apart from all the others?
I will always have a lot of love for Ilher Saligari, my pacifist black market arcana merchant from The Alchemy Dirge. He’s the kind of cynic who bleeds under it all. Writing him was a constant joy, because his job constantly puts him into dangerous, interesting scenarios and his personality and skills means he’s forced to talk or sneak his way through all of it.
What do you think makes a good story?
There are so many answers, but I think the key comes down to focus. A deep character study does not need a clockwork plot. Few people are reading China Mieville for the characterization so much as the prose and setting. Know what’s necessary and what’s extraneous for each book.
If you could go back and change how you approached writing your debut novel, what’s the one thing you’d do differently?
As someone who’s read a lot of fantasy, I aimed for complex but probably juggled a few too many plot points. The more I focus on premise rather than plot, the stronger my work is.
Writing can be a stressful pursuit. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
Advice is usually well-meaning, but the most important knowledge is that different people work differently, and even more, each book comes out differently. Learn from a lot of authors, yes, but also realize that their processes might not work for you—or, more specifically, for this particular book.
I particularly dislike the ‘write every day’ mantra, because I’ve worked day jobs where it simply wasn’t feasible. Write consistently. Maintain forward momentum. But don’t burn yourself out.
Ok, let’s see what kind of person you truly are.
Coffee or Tea?
I drink absurd amounts of coffee. I’m on my fifth espresso currently.
Winter or Summer?
Spring is my favorite. I do love the snow, as Red in Tooth and Claw will attest, but being a parent of a toddler who always wants to be outside, I’d currently pick summer.
Physical books or Ebooks?
Mountains or Oceans?
I live in a place with neither—a big flat spot far from anything bigger than a lake. I like mountains, but the first time I saw the ocean will always be one of the best moments of my life.
Beer or Wine?
Allergic to beer, so wine!
Books or Movies?
Both mediums have their strengths, but I definitely read a lot more than I watch.
Cowboys or Aliens?
Ouch. I’ve been watching a good number of westerns this year, but at the end of the day I have to go with aliens. Star Trek is my first and truest love.
Pie or Cake?
Rural or Urban?
Urban. I used to live in Seoul, one of the largest cities in the world, and I still miss it.
Work hard or Play hard?
Thank you again for taking the time have a chat, Ryan. Tell us what lies ahead for you!
Well, all my drafts and planned books have been knocked over by a new book that won’t let me go. It seems to be coming out quickly, just as Red in Tooth and Claw did, though it’s also going to be significantly longer. It’s such an early stage that I’m not announcing anything just yet.
Enter to win an ebook copy of Red in Tooth and Claw by Ryan Howse! One copy is looking to find its forever home!
INTERNATIONAL • Ends 5/2
That’s all I got for ya! Be sure to keep an eye on the official Red in Tooth and Claw tour page over at Storytellers On Tour (https://www.storytellersontour.online/2021/03/29/tour-schedule-red-in-tooth-and-claw-by-ryan-howse/) to see what the other bloggers and Bookstagrammers have to say!