Today I’m super excited to welcome D. W. Ross to the blog as we kickoff the Cold From The North Book Tour presented by Storytellers On Tour! I’ve personally read a good chunk of this book (I promise I’ll eventually finish this one, D. W.!), and I’ve really enjoyed exploring the world and mysteries the author has created! If you’re a fan of Norse-inspired Epic Fantasy, then Cold From The North may be the one for you. 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.
D. W. stops by to have a chat about what led to to fruition of this book of his, the inspiration and research behind it, his favorite character he’s written, what lies ahead, and more! Keep scrolling to learn more about the book and author, and read the awesome interview!
We’ve enlisted a group of wonderful and talented bloggers and Bookstagrammers to help us feature Cold From The North. 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 28TH – THE KICKOFF
Whispers & Wonder (@whispersandwonder)
Fantasy Book Critic
33 South Textworks
The Book in Hand
Lecari’s Livejournal 2.0
Beneath A Thousand Skies
Book and Nature Professor
MAY 4TH – THE ENCORE
Queen’s Book Asylum
For more info, visit the official tour page at Storytellers On Tour.
Driven by the promise of an ancient prophecy which will bring the dark ways of an old god back to power and prominence, an army of invaders swarms Ogulf Harlsbane’s homeland slaughtering all those who oppose them.
Along with his people, Ogulf must seek refuge from this savage force. In his search of sanctuary, he is tasked with finding the one person who can put a stop to the onslaught.
Doing so will send him across lands and seas, have him and his closest friend navigate the intricacies of a civil war, and try to win the help of the princess fighting for her throne.
If he fails, darkness will prevail and the reign of the Onyxborn will begin.
D.W. Ross is an author who took the boredom of lockdown 2020 to another level by deciding to write a book despite having no experience in doing anything of the sort before – to say he never thought he would get this far is an understatement. One book has become a series, and now there is no stopping his creative mind as he plots books daily that he will absolutely never get to writing. Cold From The North was his first novel, with follow up The Darkest Dusk due out in 2021 with the closing novel of the Onyxborn Chronicles coming in early 2022. When not writing, he can be found watching pro wrestling, reading fantasy, dystopian and thriller novels, gaming, lifting weights and eating chicken wings. D.W. lives in Scotland with his wife.
Thanks so much for stopping by for a chat, D.W.. Since we already have your official bio, care to tell us about yourself in ten words or less?
I still can’t believe I wrote a book.
Give us an idea of how Cold From The North came to fruition.
It was literally a D&D backstory that got out of hand. It sounds like such a crap answer but it was all born from about three sentences. I had a name, a place of origin and a reason for conflict. The next thing I know I have a city, a country, a map and boom I have the outline of a setting. Then the story came, and the first iteration of it was a garbage fire, but it seemed to blossom to what it is now (a smaller garbage fire?).
Can you share with us something about Cold From The North that isn’t in the blurb?
That magic features in the story a lot more than I let on.
Was there any specific research you’ve done or inspiration you’ve pulled from for this story of yours?
To be honest I am a product of 30 years of watching, reading and listening to fantasy, medieval and norse content – be it Lord of the Rings, Braveheart, Vikings – whatever it is I’ve probably given it a watch at some point. I’m just drawn to that type of thing. So you could say I’ve pinched bits here and there from all the usual places. There is definitely a big norse influence in it all – especially names, place names etc and the weapon choices of some places.
In terms of the actual story I think there are some homages to your usual ‘quest’ and ‘promised one’ type fantasy tropes which I’ve always loved. For research I read a really cool book my brother gave me about world building as the foundation was super important to me. I also watched a bunch of my fave battle scenes to get in the groove for writing those parts.
What do you hope your readers take away from Cold From The North?
I just hope they enjoy the story and are keen to read the rest of the books in the series 🙂
What comes first, the plot or the characters?
In this instance definitely plot. But I have a few pieces in mind which are more character focused I will probably work on in future.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve written? If so, who? What about them sets them apart from all the others?
My favourite so far is a character named Trayvan – he isn’t too heavily featured in CFTN, but he has his own tales and a backstory I’ll probably flesh out (there is a short story on my website about him that touches on his origins). He is someone you see at his lowest ebb, but he still has so much to give, he’s the true definition of a fallen hero and a very bleak portrayal of the pressures of knowledge and power.
More so, he was just fun to write, he had a real charisma when he existed in my head and it transferred very well to the story. People who have read CFTN have said they wished there was more Trayvan, so watch this space and go get the short story to tide you over til then!
What do you think makes a good story?
I love a story that pulls me in a few different directions – one that makes me root for the bad person while also making me hate them. Then again I also love a good protagonist, not TOO good, but lets say chaotic good in the scheme of things. I’m also a sucker for battles – write a good battle and I will be hooked. Finally I think every single story needs a twist.
If you could go back and change how you approached writing your debut novel, what’s the one thing you’d do differently?
I’d work a bit more on the action – It’s a scene setting novel that opens up for further expansion in books 2 and 3 but I’ve found myself going back thinking – I could’ve added this here, or that there and maybe killed someone there etc. But I’m still happy with it, just feel a lot more experienced since CFTN came out. I guess thats normal for writers though, always seeing imperfections in their work, even if others think it’s decent!
Writing can be a stressful pursuit. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
Honestly my only advice is DON’T stop, just keep writing. It will take time but it honestly comes together through perseverance. And if something isn’t feeling write, take a different tact, try another angle, another viewpoint…anything. With that I would say that I look at writing like letting my mind play, I used to spend hours with lego, wrestling figures, toy soldiers just creating scenarios and writing is no different. It’s still fun through the stress. Also – don’t be afraid of the delete button, its a beautiful thing knowing you can just wipe something away if it doesn’t feel right.
Ok, let’s see what kind of person you truly are.
Coffee or Tea?
Winter or Summer?
Summer (Scottish summer lasts approx 4 days but I still live for it).
Physical books or Ebooks?
Mountains or Oceans?
Beer or Wine?
Sugar Free Irn Bru
Books or Movies?
Books these days.
Cowboys or Aliens?
Pie or Cake?
Rural or Urban?
Work hard or Play hard?
Thank you again for taking the time have a chat, D.W. Tell us what lies ahead for you!
No thank you for the wonderful questions! Well, I am going to be a dad soon which is the coolest thing ever. So between dad duties, releasing book two of the Onyxborn series (The Darkest Dusk) and writing book three I think I’ll have my hands pretty full so that will be about it for the foreseeable – and I honestly couldn’t want anything more haha. Though when I have time in like 2028 or something I will try to write some new stories, some in Gelenea (CFTN world setting) and some not set there. Who knows.
That’s all I got for ya! Be sure to keep an eye on the official Cold From The North tour page over at Storytellers On Tour (https://www.storytellersontour.online/2021/03/28/tour-schedule-cold-from-the-north-by-d-w-ross/) to see what the other bloggers and Bookstagrammers have to say!