Two brothers. One prophecy. A world in peril.
What’s better than showing off a beautiful book? Showing off a beautiful DEBUT book! Welcome to the Kickoff of The Blood of the Spear Book Tour presented by Storytellers On Tour! This week will be filled to the brim with features showcasing Mark Timmony’s epic fantasy novel, The Blood of the Spear, book one of The Eye of Eternity series. With its promising blurb and beautiful cover, this one quickly landed on my TBR, and I’m super excited to hear what people think of this one. Stay tuned, it’s going to be a fantastic week.
Mark was kind enough to stop by to chat about how this book of his has come to fruition, his favorite characters he’s written, what lies ahead, and more. So, keep scrolling to learn more about the book and author, read the awesome interview, and enter to win yourself a copy of The Blood of the Spear!
We’ve enlisted a group of wonderful and talented bloggers and Bookstagrammers to help us feature The Blood of the Spear. 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.
AUGUST 25TH – THE KICKOFF
Whispers & Wonder (IG: @whispersandwonder)
Out of This World SFF
Beneath A Thousand Skies
Book and Nature Professor (IG: @bookandnatureprof)
Read3r’z Re-Vu (IG: @read3rz_revu)
AUGUST 31ST – THE ENCORE
Queen’s Book Asylum
For more info, visit the official tour page at Storytellers On Tour.
Two brothers. One prophecy. A world in peril.
When Kaiel loses his chance to become part of the legendary Daemon Hunters, joining the Bronze Guard mercenaries seems like the logical alternative. It is an opportunity to put his training to use and, more importantly, as the company is currently in the employ of Prince Alesandr, it will allow him to keep an eye on his younger brother, Darien, who’s determined to follow his dream of becoming a Ciralys magic-user.
But the broken continent of Athmay still bears the scars of the war between the Summoners some three-thousand years ago, and an unexpected battle with a daemon – a remnant of that ancient war – reveals the brothers’ connection to a forbidden bloodline. Soon they find themselves on the run from the prince, daemonic hordes, and a prophecy that could break the world anew.
Meet The Author
I’m an Aussie, born and bred on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. I was never a sporty kid growing up, instead I developed a keen interest in reading and would spend every minute I could in the school library. Some might say I was ‘hiding’ in the school library, but to those people I say ‘ha!’. It was in the library that I first discovered ‘The Dragons of Autumn Twilight’ by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, which opened the doors for me to countless worlds.
So, while my contemporaries were running around kicking a ball from one end of the school oval to the other, I was a mage cursed with eyes that saw the passage of time upon everything thing they looked at, I was an orphan taken as a slave by an invading army only to become the most powerful magician of his age. I lived the life of a lost warrior, a cowardly prince, a messiah who was the result of a thousand years of genetic manipulation. I was peaceful ranger, born amongst a cruel and violent kin and struggled to find my place and a home in a world where the colour of my skin tarred me with the reputation of my race. I was even a young girl who had the mantle of rulership of her House thrust upon her, along with the responsibility of destroying the enemies that killed her father and brother.
‘Hiding’ in the library let me experience life in hundreds of different shoes – and have more thrilling adventures than I’d find on the school oval kicking a ball around. It also lit the bonfire of my passion for epic fantasy, and I knew from the age of 15 that I wanted to write and give other readers the same experiences I had while reading the likes of Terry Brooks, David Eddings, Raymond E. Feist, Anne McCaffrey, Frank Herbert, and of course, Robert Jordan.
After I finished high school I worked as a mild-mannered shop assistant in a large Australian department store, helping customers in menswear by day then battling dragons and saving kingdoms at night while I read and began to write my own novel.
But it wasn’t until I scored a job at Sydney’s oldest genre specialist bookshop that I really began to make headway on my dreams of becoming a writer. It was there that I was lucky enough to meet many Australian fantasy authors – Karen Miller, Tony Shillitoe and Jennifer Fallon, to name a few – and was invited to be a beta-reader for a number of them. This unique experience offered me a peek ‘behind the scenes’ of novel writing with professionals, and went a long way in giving me the hands-on experience I needed in how to compose story structure, develop characters and build fantastic worlds, as well as offering insights into the business side – publishing and retail – of writing.
It was during this time that I managed to complete the first draft of what is today ‘The Blood of the Spear’ – although the book you’ve read (or are about to read) is a lot different to what I originally had when I wrote ‘The End’! After many revisions, and just a tiny bit of procrastination (don’t @ me!) I finally published my debut novel in May 2021.
These days you can still find me on the Northern Beaches, and when I’m not writing the sequel to ‘The Blood of the Spear’, or reading, I’m likely working at Australia’s local bookstore, or playing World of Warcraft.
Thanks so much for stopping by for a chat, Mark. Since we already have your official bio, care to tell us about yourself in ten words or less?
I’m a reader, writer and dreamer, with slight procrastination issues.
Give us an idea of how The Blood of the Spear came to fruition.
I knew I wanted to write, and to write epic fantasy, ever since I read myself fantasy novel, The Dragons of Autumn Twilight back in 1985. I started worldbuilding in the early 90’s but it wasn’t’ until I came across a painting by Larry Elmore (you can see it here) that I finally starting putting together the story I wanted to tell. It was from studying this piece of art and wondering who the characters in were, and why they were fighting, that I developed my own story idea and the two main characters, Kaiel and Darien Toranth.
Can you share with us something about The Blood of the Spear that isn’t in the blurb?
For all its focus on fantasy and magic, there is actually a sci-fi element to the world and the backstory too. It’s only one thread in the tale, and not hugely noticeable in this book, but it will be explored more as the series progresses.
Was there any specific research you’ve done or inspiration you’ve pulled from for this story of yours?
To be honest my research is very bare bones. In fact, the most research I think I’ve done for the book is about distances and travel time when walking, riding a horse, or on a boat. In the early days I spent way too much time telling myself I couldn’t write particular scenes because I didn’t know X, Y or Z; finally, I just started writing with the idea that I’d fill in the gaps later. It turned out that there weren’t as many gaps as I’d imagined!
What do you hope your readers take away from The Blood of the Spear?
Enjoyment and a strong desire to read book two! Haha.
I mean all of that is true, but one of the things that has been the hallmark for me when I come a story that speaks to me as a reader, is when it makes me a cheerleader for the characters. I want to be excited to see them come out on top, to grow past their own limitations and level up to face whatever the story is leading to. So, I hope readers connect to my characters and want to follow them through their journey.
What comes first, the plot or the characters?
Characters, they always come first. I often world-build and have lots of files and ideas for worlds to set a story in, but those don’t mean anything if I don’t have character – the characters lead to plot for me. Or maybe they facilitate the plot? I had been building the world of Sobia for (literally) years, but it wasn’t until I had the characters of Kaiel and Darien that I finally had a story to write set within that world.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve written? If so, who? What about them sets them apart from all the others?
My favorite character is Darien. What can I say? I am a frustrated magic-user at heart. I’ve always been drawn to characters who are mages or have who learn some sort of magic in the novels I read; so, when writing my own story the magic-user character was always going to be a main character and hands down my favorite.
Also, to some degree, Darien is the character that I relate to the most. He’s a bit of an outsider, with interests that other people don’t understand or relate to (reading and reading epic fantasy for me) so he was in many ways the easiest to write as well.
In fact, it took a lot for me to write the other characters because the various facets of personalities and social interactions are things that I don’t know firsthand or in some cases how to relate to, so this has been a big learning experience for myself too. Making Kaiel different to Darien was at first a challenge, but hen I got to know him and suddenly he just flowed. The same with Sim and Meg and Sevaani – I’m proud of what I have done to date with all of them, but Darien is closest to my heart.
What do you think makes a good story?
For me a good story is one where the internal growth of a character is the underpinning of everything. It’s easy to look past but if I am going to lose myself in a story it’s because I want to escape the trials and tribulations of my own reality and experience something where an ordinary person must transcend their own limitations, a story where I can follow the characters as they step outside their own comfort zones and grow. Maybe one day I’ll find the courage to more firmly embrace that myself!
I don’t mind ‘re-reading’ the same ideas or tropes, for me it’s about what the author brings to the table that’s new in the way of characters and setting rather than reaching for something new and original that’s never been done before – you can keep that! I enjoy the tried and tested tropes, it’s one of my favorite things, you want to bring me something new then give me twists in characters and worldbuilding.
If you could go back and change how you approached writing your debut novel, what’s the one thing you’d do differently?
I would commit to writing sooner than I did. I spent way too many years ‘working’ on the world and the plot (once I had one). What I was really doing was just daydreaming about the day I would finally be published without doing the work to get myself there.
Writing can be a stressful pursuit. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
I really like Terry Pratchett’s advice that the first draft is the writer telling themself the story. I live by this. My first drafts are awful and honestly, I still feel a lot of fear and hesitancy when I write them – but you need to do it anyway. I hate writing, but I love having written – and that’s okay if you can acknowledge and work through it. You don’t have to love every step of the process, but you do need to do it if you want to be a writer. Get me editing and you can lose me for days.
And I think much like an athlete, you need to be consistent in your work ethic. When I am doing a first draft, what works best for me is to write at the same time every day – turning it into a habit – and to just write. I don’t edit as I go, I just get the words onto the page. Once I get the momentum happening and I the chapters out and see the story growing I get excited, and it becomes less and less of a chore to sit down and do it.
Ok, let’s see what kind of person you truly are.
Coffee or Tea?
Oh, definitely coffee for me. I mean tea is just weakly flavored water, right? No, the only tea I drink is of the Long Island Iced variety…
Winter or Summer?
Winter, winter, winter. The colder the better (although as I live in Australia, we don’t get that cold here – give me snow!).
Physical books or Ebooks?
Mmmmm, that’s a tough one. I have to say both here. If I love the book, I must have a physical copy but these days I tend to read more Ebooks.
Mountains or Oceans?
Another hard one!!! I grew up – and live – on the northern beaches of Sydney, it has rather unusual geography as there are a lot of very tall hills along the coastline, so we have evaluated views and views of the ocean. I honestly want to keep both. I need the ocean close by and the view from the top of a mountain.
Beer or Wine?
Ewww, neither. Can I have a Brandy and dry? Thank you.
Books or Movies?
Books, books, books. I like movies but I prefer the intricacies you can get in the plots of books.
Cowboys or Aliens?
Well, you know what they say, save a horse, ride a cowboy — oh, wait, wrong interview! But seriously the wild west is pretty cool, but I think that the technology that comes with aliens (presuming they are spacefaring) might be more my cup of tea (I mean, coffee!).
Pie or Cake?
Oooh, another hard one. I presume you are talking about sweet pies? Like apple pie etc – when we refer to pie in Australia it’s generally of the savory variety like a meat pie, so I feel like I am being asked to choose between dinner and desert! I feel very attacked. BUT, if I must choose, I’ll go with … cake.
Rural or Urban?
Gah! I hate crowds but I like being close to the center of things. So, I’d have to go urban – but a quiet kind of urban.
Work hard or Play hard?
Well, I tend to work harder than I play, I have to admit. I might need to work on that.
Thank you again for taking the time have a chat, Mark. Tell us what lies ahead for you!
I’m currently busy finishing up an Eye of Eternity novella that will be going out free to my newsletter subscribers, and I’ve started work on the sequel to The Blood of the Spear. I don’t have a firm date for the release of this just yet, it’s likely another 12 months away but I promise you I will get it out asap.
I’ve also been working with a mate on a space opera/space fantasy, we have some cool ideas there, so I hope I find more time to explore some of them soon. I am a lover of epic fantasy from way back but after the feelings I got watching the most recent Star Wars trilogy I’ve decided I want to try my hand at writing my own space opera/fantasy. But writing is a long game so who knows when it might come to fruition.
Thanks so much for having me, Justine, it’s been a blast!
Enter to win a print copy of The Blood of the Spear by Mark Timmony! Grand prize winner gets an awesome hardcover, and the runners-up get an equally awesome paperback!
International • Ends 9/1