Interview with Emmet Moss

The Mercenary Code
The Shattering of Kingdoms Book 1
By Emmet Moss

Break the Code. Shatter the World.

Centuries ago, the murder of a beloved king tore apart the Kingdom of Caledun. The land was plunged into chaos and thousands perished in the aftermath. A new order was established in an attempt to return Caledun to its former glory. It failed, but in its place rose the beginnings of the Code.

During this same period, the mystical caretakers of the Great Wood retreated from the world of Kal Maran, their disappearance an ominous harbinger of the suffering that was to follow. The Great Wood now grows out of control. Cities, towns, and villages have fallen before the relentless march of the forest. Without the former guardians to keep her tame, the wood has become a place of peril, and dark creatures of legend now hunt beneath its leaves.

The summer season is now a time of armed conflict. The fall of the old monarchy has brought about a ceaseless cycle of combat. Grievances are settled by the strict tenets of a binding Mercenary Code and the men who would die to preserve its honour.

However, change is in the air. Political rivalries have escalated, and dire rumblings of a revolution abound. Thrust to the forefront of the shattered land’s politics, a mercenary fights for more than just riches. In the north, a borderland soldier wrestles with his own demons and looks to find his true purpose. And in the shadow of the Great Wood, a young man’s chance encounter with a strange visitor gives hope to a land divided.

Some of you may remember I posted about this book when it was released a couple of weeks ago, it’s still on my TBR pile but I have read the prologue and started peeked at the first chapter and I like what I have seen. So much so that I decided to email Emmet and see if I could trick him ask him to submit participate in answering Ten Terrifying Questions!

And he said ‘Yes!’

Mwhahahahahahaha!

To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

Born and raised in Canada. I am a proud Canadian.

What started you writing, and is it the same thing that still inspires you today?

A love of reading. A love of telling stories. I read every night before I go to bed and have been doing so since I was a kid. The stories I read absolutely inspired me to write. Some early authors in the fantasy genre left such indelible impressions on me. I connected with their characters and worlds and felt invested in the stories they were telling. I still fondly remember reading Tolkien, Weis & Hickman, Brooks, Wurts, Williams and McKiernan. As I grew older the reading never stopped although in part the authors began to change. I found myself engrossed with Guy Gavriel Kay, Erickson, Jordan, Abercrombie, Cameron, and Eames to name a few.

How many novels/stories did you write before you published?

There was a time when I could confidently write short stories, this doesn’t really interest me anymore. I prefer to plan out sweeping epics as opposed to smaller tales and have made peace with that. Before completing the first three novels in the Shattering series, I did write the first in a trilogy that I will certainly revisit one day. The Mercenary Code makes mention of people and places from that old work, a homage for the time being.

What has your publishing journey been like?

To be honest, I saw a great opportunity with the option to self publish. I think the stigma around ‘indie authors’ has changed. If your work is professional and you’ve taken the time to polish and refine your craft, there’s a huge opportunity in self publishing. The ability to maintain creative control over my work played the biggest part of my decision in releasing my work independently. That my books can so easily travel to so many corners of the world is exciting. So the journey… well it’s just beginning.

Please tell us about your novel, The Mercenary Code.

A lost race. A broken land. A motley company of mercenaries, and trees… lots of trees.

LOTS of trees…

At its core though; it’s a story of redemption. The main characters are on a journey to save a broken land but insofar as they are ‘heroes’, they are also flawed, as well as full of regret and indecision. The Mercenary Code is not just about the battles, magic system and hidden secrets (although there are plenty of those), It’s about the journey of the characters and the impact they have on you (the reader) as you follow them throughout the series.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?

The biggest challenges I faced revolved around my ability to focus on those sections that I was less enthusiastic about tackling. It took time for me as a writer to understand the importance of all aspects of the story, not just the ‘exciting’, ‘revelatory’ or ‘cool’ parts. Taking the time to put the same attention to detail and care in all aspects of my writing continues to be a challenge but it is one I am keen to defeat. I also realized that a break now and then didn’t need to weigh on me. I wasn’t being lazy or abandoning my craft if I needed to step back and recharge at times. There was a time when I was younger that I would have dwelled on any missed opportunity to write. I believe I’ve come a long way in that regard.

What is your work schedule like when you’re in writer’s mode?

I did take a substantial break from writing at one point because of life demands and work. It was frustrating and sometimes mentally exhausting to plan out my stories and yet be unable to find any traction with the writing. So now it’s all about balance. I write every day, although I do take days off sometimes simply to mentally recharge. It isn’t easy, but I find my best work is accomplished when I keep a rhythm going.

Do you use an outline when you write, or are you more of a discovery writer?

I have about a dozen outlines for the Shattering series in several different notebooks. They might have subtle changes, but the core tenets of the entire story are still there, just like I have always envisioned. I do however, leave room for my characters to breathe. The story has changed for the better in many instances, so I’m not married to any exact idea other than a few key moments and events.

How do you balance what you’re reading against what you’re writing?

That’s a difficult one. In part, I read some stories that touch on similar fantasy conventions. In that sense I need to always remember to try and keep my story my own and not allow other influences to bleed too much into my world. With that being said, it’s impossible not to be influenced by the sheer amount of pages I read in a given year. Again, paying homage to those who have created such incredible tales is important, but finding my own voice is just as significant to me. I want people to read The Mercenary Code and feel that it stands on its own. As the series continues, having readers excited for the next book is always the goal!

What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read. Read. Read. Then read some more. Reading has had such a profound effect on my skill as a writer.

Develop a thick skin. Unfortunately, not everyone is going to connect with a story or character the way you might desire. Some may even find your work boring, awful or simply unreadable. Writing is no less subjective than art, or cooking, or TV shows. People can love or hate many different things.

Write because you love it, not because you feel forced to. On one of my substantial breaks, I had to remind myself that it shouldn’t feel like work. I write now with a joy that was missing for a long time. I still have struggles, don’t get me wrong, but I find I’m better equipped to ward off those frustrations because I’m telling the stories I want to tell, the way I want to tell them.

Emmet Moss, thanks for playing!

Twitter avatar of the mysterious Emmet Moss.

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