History has weight behind it. The power to crush an empire . . . or birth it anew.
Welcome to the Kickoff of the Gravitas Book Tour presented by Storytellers On Tour! I’m so excited to be joined again by the awesome Christopher Russell as we begin a week of showcasing his new dark epic novella, Gravitas, part of A Tale of the Constella. Last year we had the pleasure of showing off his debut novel, Divinity’s Twilight: Rebirth, one that was received quite well with our Roadies, and we jumped at the chance to do the same with this bite-sized morsel of an adventure. I can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks about this one! Stay tuned, it’s going to be a fantastic week ahead.
Christopher was kind enough to stop by to chat about this story of his, the research he’s done to shape the tale, and what lies ahead. So, keep scrolling to learn more about the book and author, check out the awesome interview, and enter to win yourself a print copy of not only Gravitas, but Divinity’s Twilight: Rebirth, as well (and some swag)!
We’ve enlisted a group of wonderful and talented bloggers and Bookstagrammers to help us feature Gravitas. 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.
NOVEMBER 3RD – THE KICKOFF
Whispers & Wonder (IG: @whispersandwonder)
Westveil Publishing (IG: @thewestveilarchives)
Beneath A Thousand Skies
The Pufflekitteh Reads
Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub
Book and Nature Professor (IG: @bookandnatureprof)
NOVEMBER 9TH – THE ENCORE
Queen’s Book Asylum
For more info, visit the official tour page at Storytellers On Tour.
About the Book
History has weight behind it. The power to crush an empire . . . or birth it anew.
Nowhere is this more true than the Republic of Lestadt, an island nation founded upon the bones of tyrants and sustained by the might of Gravitas. This magic is the manifestation of the past, drawing upon the heritage of relics and heirlooms to bend the forces of nature. The more storied an artifact, the more power it commands.
Yet after 300 years of prosperity, Lestadt is crumbling. Revolutionaries gather in the docklands, seeking restitution for the crimes of the ruling oligarchs. A mysterious augury pronounces the nation’s doom.
Desperate to save themselves, Lestadt’s Court of Magisters turns to Lord Fixer Scraw for salvation. The deformed man may be ruthless in his methods, but he has never failed them. With a powerful Gravitas relic in his scarred hands, unlimited resources at his disposal, and a depraved plan taking root in his mind, can Scraw stop the revolution and save Lestadt?
Or will the cure be worse than the disease?
Gravitas by Christopher Russell
SERIES: A Tale of the Constella
PUBLISHED: September 18, 2021
GENRE: Epic Fantasy, Dark Fantasy
Meet The Author
Christopher Russell (native of Williamsburg, VA) is a 29-year-old mechanical and aerospace engineer (graduate of the University of Virginia) who has loved reading since the day he picked up a book and writing since he could scrawl his first letters. After voraciously consuming titles from every genre—ranging from Star Wars to Lord of the Rings—he decided to combine the expertise from his professional education, passions, and Christian faith into fantasy epics bridging the gap between magic and science. He currently resides in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his loyal dog, Vallen, named after the protagonist of his first work. For behind-the-scenes information on all of Christopher Russell’s works, visit christopherrussellauthor.com.
Welcome back to Whispers & Wonder, Christopher! Since we already have your official bio, can we have the MC(s) from Gravitas introduce you in one sentence?
Lord Fixer Scraw on Christopher Russell: “An alright bloke, but a tad squeamish when it comes to doing what needs to get done.”
Give us an idea of how Gravitas came to fruition.
Oddly enough, Gravitas was initially conceived from a discussion about Japanese building techniques with an architect friend. History is incredibly important in their culture, so older structures—castles, temples, and the like—were often built with story-rich engravings, murals, statues, or other aspects at their core.
I began to ponder a world where an architect was called upon to build such a monument, though not because of its splendor or cultural significance, but because of the magic power that could be drawn from its history. The past has a profound impact on today. The present literally wouldn’t exist without it, and everything that is has its roots in what came before. Yet the idea of accumulated past/time gaining gravity and weight (Gravitas) fascinated me, eventually evolving into the magic system of this novella.
In this way, Gravitas is also similar to The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson. Where his objects had souls that could be manipulated by magic, mine possess magic tied to their history that can be drawn out and used by specific people.
Can you share with us something about Gravitas that isn’t in the blurb?
Lord Fixer Scraw may be the protagonist, but he’s also a villain. Even if you sympathize with his cause and motivations, feel free to root against him. It might even make him work harder since he likes a challenge.
Was there any specific research you’ve done or inspiration you’ve pulled from for this story of yours? If so, did you learn anything fun or interesting?
In addition to architecture research I mentioned above, I spent a lot of time studying 19th century sailing vessels to fit in with Gravitas’ seafaring world. The steamships are modeled after early 19th century US and UK navy paddle steamers, with central funnels and bronze wheel housings mounted on either side of the ship. Since the paddlewheels were designed to be used on rivers or during low wind, these vessels still possess the same sails and rigging as more traditional frigates. The description of cannons and their ammunition is also historically consistent.
What do you hope your readers take away from Gravitas?
We cannot let the ends come to justify the means. No goal, no matter how noble or righteous, is worth sacrificing our morality, principles, and character for. And if we do, achieving our aspirations often looks very different than how we expected when we first set out.
If you could go back and change how you approached writing your debut novel, what’s the one thing you’d do differently?
Maintaining some sort of outline. When I wrote my debut novel, Divinity’s Twilight: Rebirth, I was an unabashed pantser. Somehow this approach resulted in a pretty cohesive novel (thank you, instincts), but knowing the trajectory of plots and characters arcs in advance can save you lots of hardship in the editing and revising department. You might think you’ll lose your sense of awe and wonder by planning your writing in advance, but the formulation of the scenes themselves should allow your creative spark the freedom it craves.
Have you read anything awesome lately?
Where Shadows Lie by Allegra Pescatore. It’s a highly addictive epic fantasy with vivid characters, deep world-building, and enough intrigue to keep you guessing the next twist from the first page to the last. Plus it probably has the best prologue I’ve ever read—one that turns a classic fantasy trope on its head and kicks off a sucker-punch of a story.
Thank you again for taking the time have a chat, Christopher. Tell us what lies ahead for you!
February or March 2022 – 2nd Divinity’s Twilight novel releases. Currently in beta-reading, after which I will make necessary revisions and send it to my editor. Cover reveal in late November or early December!!!!
Late 2022 – Asian Fantasy standalone novel set in the same universe as Divinity’s Twilight. The prologue is available on my website (christopherrussellauthor.com) blog.
Late 2022/Early 2023 – 3rd Divinity’s Twilight novel releases.
Late 2022/Early 2023 – Audiobooks for Divinity’s Twilight books 1 – 3 are produced and released.
Down the road – Divinity’s Twilight is intended to be a TEN book series split into two arcs: one concluding after book six, and another beginning in book seven. There are countless mysteries, twists, and enigmas left to be uncovered . .
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