Today I’m thrilled to kick off the Paladin Unbound Book Tour presented by Storytellers On Tour! This upcoming week we’ll be showcasing Jeffrey Speight’s Epic Fantasy tale, Paladin Unbound, an Archive of Evelium tale. I’m not gonna lie…I can’t ever say no to a book whose cover showcases an orc, so I’m super excited to hear what people think of this one! Stay tuned for some fantastic features from our Roadies across blogs and social media – it’s going to be a great week.
Jeffrey stopped by for a chat about how this story of his has come to fruition, the research involved, what he believes makes for an amazing story, what lies ahead, and more! So, keep scrolling to learn more about the book and author, check out the awesome interview, and enter to win yourself a signed copy of this beautiful book along with some extra swag!
We’ve enlisted a group of wonderful and talented bloggers and Bookstagrammers to help us feature Paladin Unbound. 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.
JUNE 27TH – THE KICKOFF
Whispers & Wonder (IG: @whispersandwonder)
Fantasy Book Critic
Beneath A Thousand Skies
Sadie’s Spotlight (IG: @sadiesspotlight)
Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub
Book and Nature Professor (IG: @bookandnatureprof)
JULY 3RD – THE ENCORE
Queen’s Book Asylum
For more info, visit the official tour page at Storytellers On Tour.
The last of a dying breed, a holy warrior must rise up against a growing darkness in Evelium.
The most unlikely of heroes, a lowly itinerant mercenary, Umhra the Peacebreaker is shunned by society for his mongrel half-Orc blood. Desperate to find work for himself and his band of fighters, Umhra agrees to help solve a rash of mysterious disappearances, but uncovers a larger, more insidious plot to overthrow the natural order of Evelium in the process.
As Umhra journeys into the depths of Telsidor’s Keep to search for the missing, he confronts an ancient evil and, after suffering a great loss, turns to the god he disavowed for help.
Compelled to save the kingdom he loves, can he defeat the enemy while protecting his true identity, or must he risk everything?
Jeffrey Speight’s love of fantasy goes back to an early childhood viewing of the cartoon version of The Hobbit, when he first met an unsuspecting halfling that would change Middle Earth forever. Finding his own adventuring party in middle school, Jeff became an avid Dungeons & Dragons player and found a passion for worldbuilding and character creation. While he went on to a successful career as an investor, stories grew in his mind until he could no longer keep them inside. So began his passion for writing. Today, he lives in Connecticut with his wife, three boys (his current adventuring party), three dogs, and a bearded dragon. He has a firmly held belief that elves are cool, but half-orcs are cooler. While he once preferred rangers, he nearly always plays a paladin at the gaming table.
Meet the Author
Thanks so much for stopping by for a chat, Jeffrey. Since we already have your official bio, care to tell us about yourself in ten words or less?
Super-dad, husband, animal-lover, D&D DM/player, fly fisherman.
Give us an idea of how Paladin Unbound came to fruition.
I had been running a D&D campaign for my sons to teach them a game I’ve loved for a long time. I had done WAY more worldbuilding than was necessary for players their age but couldn’t stop. At one point before they wanted to move on to a new campaign, the party came across a half-Orc unconscious in the middle of the road they traveled. That character was this NPC I made up named Umhra the Peacebreaker. In creating Umhra I found I had to tell his story. I had no expectation of getting it published at the time. I was writing for myself, for fun, for therapy. And here we are.
Can you share with us something about Paladin Unbound that isn’t in the blurb?
Umhra suffers from social anxiety which is definitely something I can relate to. No matter what terrible monsters he goes up against, its social gatherings that he fears most.
Was there any specific research you’ve done or inspiration you’ve pulled from for this story of yours?
The inspiration was the world and the characters I built for that D&D campaign. For some reason I connected with Umhra in a way I wasn’t expecting. A Tremendous amount of research goes into any novel, even one that takes place in an imaginary world where you can bend the rules. I’m glad I don’t write historical fiction.
What do you hope your readers take away from Paladin Unbound?
The greatest journey we take is discovering who we really are.
What comes first, the plot or the characters?
Characters. For Paladin Unbound, the story revealed itself after I got to know Umhra. I’m not sure if that will always be the case, as this is the first book I’ve written.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve written? If so, who? What about them sets them apart from all the others?
There are a few special characters in Paladin Unbound. Umhra is very dear to me. Everything about him is a contradiction. He’s not what people expect, nor does he care. He’s not driven by aspiration or revenge or desire. He’s driven by self-discovery and a strong moral compass. Shadow and Nicholas were a lot of fun to write, as was Forsetae.
What do you think makes a good story?
Characters the reader can get invested in, a strong plot that is accessible but unique in its own ways.
If you could go back and change how you approached writing your debut novel, what’s the one thing you’d do differently?
I think to be more fearless in my writing. Writing a novel is a complex emotional process. I’m not very good with all that stuff, so I was flexing muscles I don’t normally use.
Writing can be a stressful pursuit. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
I find it to be quite the contrary. For me writing is an escape. It’s been some of the best therapy I’ve ever had, and I can’t wait to get back to Evelium after a long day or week. I think it’s because I didn’t start out with the goal of getting published or recognized. I was just writing the story I wanted to tell and didn’t worry about those other things. I guess my advice would be, write for yourself. Tell the story you want to tell. Everything else will work itself out. Have some fun.
Ok, let’s see what kind of person you truly are.
Coffee or Tea?
Coffee, but decaf only. Sounds boring, I know, but I don’t need stimulants to make me more anxious than I already am.
Winter or Summer?
Physical books or Ebooks?
Mountains or Oceans?
Mountains although I’ve almost always lived near the shore.
Beer or Wine?
Margaritas. But wine if I have to pick between the two.
Books or Movies?
Books. But I watch a lot of movies.
Cowboys or Aliens?
My oldest son is named Wyatt.
Pie or Cake?
Pie, and it’s not even close.
Rural or Urban?
Rural, but I loved living in New York City for almost 10 years.
Work hard or Play hard?
Thank you again for taking the time have a chat, Jeffrey. Tell us what lies ahead for you!
Well, assuming you are referring to my writing, I’m editing the draft of the sequel to Paladin Unbound. I’m hoping to submit it to my publisher by mid-summer. I’ve already started writing a third book in the series which will wrap up the current arc. I’m not sure what happens after that. I’ve got a lot of history and untouched lands to play with in Tyveriel.
Enter to win a Book + Swag Pack! A signed copy of Paladin Unbound, a platinum pyramid, and a bookmark are looking to find their forever home!
International! • Ends July 4th
That’s all I got for ya! Be sure to keep an eye on the official Paladin Unbound tour page over at Storytellers On Tour to see what the other bloggers and Bookstagrammers have to share!