When one kingdom drowns, a new one must rise in its place.
Welcome to the Kickoff of the A Drowned Kingdom Book Tour presented by Storytellers On Tour! Throughout this upcoming week we’ll be showing P.L. Stuart’s debut epic high fantasy novel, A Drowned Kingdom, a bit of love, and this is one you don’t want to miss. War, pagan magic, betrayal, and a campaign to unite all – sounds pretty great, huh? I’m pretty excited to hear what people think of this one, so stay tuned for a fantastic week ahead.
P.L. was kind enough to stop by for a chat about this story of his came to be, how A Drowned Kingdom tackles some difficult themes, what he hopes readers take away from this tale, what lies ahead, and more. So, 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 A Drowned Kingdom. 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.
OCTOBER 13TH – THE KICKOFF
Whispers & Wonder (IG: @whispersandwonder)
Bookz Forever (IG: @bookz.forever)
A Part of Your Book World (IG: @apartofyourbookworld)
OCTOBER 19TH – THE ENCORE
Queen’s Book Asylum
For more info, visit the official tour page at Storytellers On Tour.
About the Book
Once Second Prince of the mightiest kingdom in the known world, Othrun now leads the last survivors of his exiled people into an uncertain future far across the Shimmering Sea from their ancestral home, now lost beneath the waves. With his Single God binding his knights to chivalric oaths, intent on wiping out idolatry and pagan worship, they will have to carve out a new kingdom on this mysterious continent―a continent that has for centuries been ravaged by warlords competing for supremacy and mages channeling the mystic powers of the elements―and unite the continent under godly rule.
With a troubled past, a cursed sword, and a mysterious spirit guiding him, Othrun means to be that ruler, and conquer all. But with kingdoms fated on the edge of spears, alliances and pagan magic, betrayal, doubt, and dangers await him at every turn. Othrun will be forced to confront the truths of all he believes in on his journey to become a king, and a legend.
When one kingdom drowns, a new one must rise in its place. So begins the saga of that kingdom, and the man who would rule it all.
A Drowned Kingdom by P.L. Stuart
SERIES: The Drowned Kingdom Saga (#1)
PUBLISHED: February 2, 2021 by Friesen Press
GENRE: Epic High Fantasy
Meet The Author
P.L. was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and is a Canadian high fantasy author, currently living in Chatham,Ontario, Canada. He holds a Degree in English, with a specialization in Medieval Literature and a Minor in History from York University in Toronto, Canada. P.L. has also recently become a member of the amazing Before We Go Blog blogging Team, headed by the awesome Beth Tabler. https://beforewegoblog.com/
P.L. was written for community newspapers, volunteer publications, and various essays in University. P.L’s first novel A Drowned Kingdom was recently published in February of 2021. A Drowned Kingdom has topped the best-selling charts of the publishing-assist company FriesenPress, and been met overall with excellent reviews, including being mentioned in the esteemed Kirkus Magazine’s recent Indie Issue among “Four Great Examples of the Genre” of fantasy. It is the first book in a planned 7-book series, and a total of 20 proposed books in the same universe P.L. has created. P.L. is currently working on The Last of the Atalanteans, the second book in The Drowned Kingdom Saga.
P.L. is married, and he and his wife Debbie have seven children, and one precocious grandchild between them. When not writing, or Indie-author-associated activities, P.L. is a voracious reader, and loves to read and review books, spends time with family, tries to get some exercise time, and watches Netflix.
Thanks so much for stopping by for a chat, P.L. Since we already have your official bio, can we have the MC(s) from A Drowned Kingdom introduce you in one sentence?
He’s just a commoner whose heritage I’m unsure of (is he one of the Anib?) but he has the honour of telling my story, the story of Othrun the Great, so I gladly present you, lords and ladies, the scribe, the raconteur, P.L. Stuart!
Give us an idea of how A Drowned Kingdom came to fruition.
The original concept of The Drowned Kingdom Saga, including A Drowned Kingdom came to fruition out of a massive book I wrote that would probably be more than a thousand pages. This book took three years to write. I figured I’m not G.R.R. Martin. No one is likely to read a thousand-page book from me, a novice, and that’s not my preferred book length either. I prefer books under five hundred pages, so I figured I would split the original book I composed into seven books. It took me about a year to extract what portion of that original huge book into what would become A Drowned Kingdom, the first book in the saga. The idea of writing a fantasy book was something I wanted to do for several decades. But I was not in the headspace, nor did I have the time, as a younger adult, with burgeoning family and busy career, to get it done. Now, through the half-way point of life, I have the time and energy to devote to writing on a more consistent and comprehensive basis.
Can you share with us something about A Drowned Kingdom that isn’t in the blurb?
If you turn over the jacket to the back cover, read the blurb, see my photo, then read the book, I know for some readers, they are shocked. One question I know some readers have asked me is, why as a black man, a racialized person, did you choose to write from the standpoint of a white, racist, bigoted character? It’s not something that necessarily comes out in the blurb, that takes some readers by surprise. So, I suppose if one is expecting straight up epic fantasy ONLY from my book, there’s a bit more to it than what appears in the blurb.
Was there any specific research you’ve done for this story of yours? And if so, did you learn anything really interesting?
I wanted to write an epic high fantasy, reminiscent of some of my favourite fantasy authors: J.R.R. Tolkien, G.R.R. Martin, T.H. White, Bernard Cornwell, N.K. Jemisin, John Gwynne, and others. That’s the kind of fantasy I love to read, and that’s what I always wanted to write.
Besides this, I wanted to write a book that had its origin story as my version of the legend of Atlantis. I am fascinated with this legend, and a lot of others are too.
Yet, most importantly, I wanted to write a book about some difficult topics. Much of the research, and the inspiration, for A Drowned Kingdom was simply living life, and understanding the world around me. I am a positive person, I think, yet the book examines a lot of things that are not positive. Bigotry and intolerance are at the heart of the difficult subject matter. Many of the bigoted, homophobic, sexist things Othrun says the book are things I have heard with my own ears. Those things have been angering, troubling, and hurtful. They have also been inspiring and motivating, and an opportunity for dialogue, and driving hope for change in the world.
So when you read any book in The Drowned Kingdom Saga, realize you’re not just reading a typical high fantasy book about queens, kings, princes, knights, mages, political intrigue, and battles. You can read it like that, and still enjoy it if you like. The book is yours, once you purchase it, and everyone’s interpretation and aspects that they enjoy will be subjective.
However, I would ask that you at least consider looking at my books as more than about my version of the Atlantis legend, cunning mages, or a flawed prince. There’s lots of deeper meaning there, for those who want to see it. So, I would request that, as the reader, you consider not just writing Othrun off as someone you can’t like, so therefore you can’t appreciate my book. I understand it may be hard to like a book if you don’t enjoy the flawed voice that narrates the book. The choice will always be yours, but I believe that if you give my series – and Othrun – a chance, in time, you may be pleased that you did. Othrun, and my books, I think, both have lots of redeeming qualities. I believe that this capacity for redemption, is the most interesting, and lasting thing I have learned throughout my life, and thus my research for the book. If we don’t give up, there is always hope for flawed humans such as ourselves.
What do you hope your readers take away from A Drowned Kingdom?
I would say I hope readers take away the possibility for change and evolution, and the need to have empathy, not be entrenched in one’s views, is a huge message that will be conveyed throughout the book and the series called The Drowned Kingdom Saga. We humans all believe we are coming from a place of moral superiority. We are very infrequently right about that. We need to understand others, see their points of view, open ourselves to other contrasting or competing opinions. It does not mean we will ever necessarily agree with those views. Just that they are as valid as our own and need to be considered. There are also a lot of other messages about societal issues, but I put them out there more to incite discussion, rather than present a solution. Religious intolerance, misogyny, bigotry, homophobia, are just some of the topics I touch on. Because there are always multiple sides to issues such as racism, etc. For example, I believe racism is a scourge on society. But it’s a complex issue. It should be simple. Racism is horrible, destructive, don’t be racist. The end. But it’s not. So, it all starts with a conversation, exploring what racism means, its genesis, how it manifests, how it can be defeated, IF it can be defeated, to what extent it can be extinguished, etc. I would also point out that change, if it can happen AT ALL is slow. It’s not overnight, it’s not typically complete and all-encompassing, and it’s not generally accomplished easily, without a lot of pain and tribulation. That’s what you can expect from Othrun, and The Drowned Kingdom Saga.
What comes first, the plot or the characters?
I am a character-driven writer, and those are the book I most enjoy. People want both: compelling characters, and an amazing story. But those who prefer faster paced novels, typically seem to enjoy plot-driven books, while the ones who don’t mind the more complex, slow burns, tend to like the character focused works. I am the second type of reader, and that’s how I write. The characters dictate the story, and sometimes they take me into unforeseen and fascinating places. I hope I’m a good storyteller, but I hope what I do best is create memorable characters.
What do you think makes a good story?
I am a sucker for beautiful, prose, and dynamic characters. The plot does not have to breeze along. Sure, I have read and truly loved lots of fast-paced books, but my preference is the slow burn. Build me up, draw me in, and let me linger and savour things. I find that enhances my reading experience immensely and allows me to recall more of the plot. I want to be tantalized, all five senses, in terms of descriptiveness, and be engaged by the themes presented. Great dialogue, some romance, angst, and fantastic action scenes will definitely please me.
If you could go back and change how you approached writing your debut novel, what’s the one thing you’d do differently?
Not this one. I feel I wrote the story I wanted to write, and I actually love A Drowned Kingdom, and how it turned out, with all its flaws. It is not perfect technically, but I think it’s a good book that people can read and enjoy. Every writer wishes in hindsight “oh I wish I would have said this like that, and that like this”, but you have to let it go. Overall, I am quite pleased with the book. The only thing is, I would have loved my book to be absolutely pristine in terms of absence of spelling and grammatical errors. I know that even big-name authors with traditionally published books have those issues, however I would have loved complete perfection in that regard. Alas, I caught a spelling mistake in my book post publication. I hope there’s only one – I doubt it – but it still bothers me it’s there. Overall, it’s my debut, and it will always have a special place in my heart. I plan to keep improving as a writer, and A Drowned Kingdom is only the beginning. But as a first work, I am very happy with it.
Writing can be a stressful pursuit. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
My tip for aspiring authors a bit of a rallying cry. If I can do it, so can you! You have the discipline and fortitude to finish your story, no matter what your other obligations are. Believing in yourself and your own abilities is what you need most to get to the finish line, where your published novel is sitting in the hands of, or is being heard in the ears of, or is on the screens of readers.
Writers often undergo so many impediments. One of the greatest ones I’ve found, is self-doubt. Oftentimes, waffling between, “Readers will love my writing, I’m good enough to be a best-selling author!” and “Readers will hate my writing, I’m going to be a flop!” While there is nothing wrong with a healthy dose of humility, you need confidence to complete your novel. Sometimes I’ve read the work of some well-established, highly acclaimed author, or an amazing up-and-comer, and compared my own writing to those lauded wordsmiths, and become momentarily discouraged, thinking I can never measure up. Figuring I may as well give up, as no one will want to read the book anyway. But then, I stop feeling sorry for myself, and feeling inadequate, and pick myself up. Writing, its highs and lows, is ultimately the best thing I ever did, after marrying my wife and having children, and like those parts of my life that I can’t imagine doing without, the best is yet to come for me, I believe.
Have you read anything awesome lately?
I have read tons of awesome books recently, particularly by self-published and traditionally published authors. Of Us and Them by T.L. Coughlin, We Men of Ash and Shadow by Holly Tinsley, The Ravenmaster’s Revenge by Jacob Sannox, Hall of Bones by Tim Hardie, Creation by Bjorn Larssen, Legacy of the Brightwash by Krystle Matar, The Secret of the Sword by Sean Bell, Fortune’s Fool by Angela Boord, The Scars of Gaia by R.P. Lauer, Neglected Merge by Eve Koguce, Voice of War by Zack Argyle, Queen of None by Natania Barron, The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne, The Sequence by Lucien Telford, The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart, God of Nothing by Shane Scott are just some of the many dozens of incredible fantasy and sci-fi books I have read in the last while. I encourage anyone who loves those two genres to check them out!
Thank you again for taking the time have a chat, P.L. Tell us what lies ahead for you!
The Drowned Kingdom Saga, of which A Drowned Kingdom is the opening salvo, is a series of seven planned books. Then, once completed, I will write two separate prequel trilogies, each based on characters that lived long before Lord Othrun, who were Othrun’s heroes. Then, I plan to return to the story, to pick up where The Drowned Kingdom Saga ends, for another seven books. The audiobook for A Drowned Kingdom should be released in time for Christmas, and I am very excited about that. More great news: I have just sent Book Two in The Drowned Kingdom Saga, called The Last of the Atalanteans, off for editing. I am currently working on Book Three. Conjointly, I am also working on the first books of BOTH prequel trilogies. Yes, that’s a lot! Call me ambitious! Aside from actually writing, I have recently joined the team led by the incredible Beth Tabler at Before We Go Blog. So reading and reviewing, which I love to do, has become even more prominent in my life. But I feel those activities makes one a better writer, so I am blessed that Beth has provided me with such an amazing opportunity. I continue to promote my work, try to support the phenomenal people in writing community. I have a busy media appearance schedule, like podcasts and written interviews lined up. I may stay self-published, or examine a hybrid model, or even attempt to be traditionally published in the future. We shall see where things go from here. For now, I am simply reveling in the experience of being an author and working hard on my next projects. I know it’s a privilege to be published, and have people enjoy your book. It’s not one I take for granted. One is only as good as one’s last book, and I am striving to get better.
Thanks again so much for chatting with me!