Today's guest blogger is author Jason Pratt. I've been following Jason's virtual book tour and he seems to have a great sense of humor. So, I'm thrilled to get a chance to let him talk about his epic fantasy novel, Cry of Justice.
LIKE TOLKIEN! BUT NOT!
"No, shoulderbeasts aren't elephants," I patiently answer for the fiftieth time. Heck, at least people are asking questions about them after reading CoJ.
"Then what are they?"
"Baluchitheriums. ...theria. Whatever the plural is." I'm glad I don't have to spell it in a conversation, at least. I'm not terribly sure I've got the middle vowel right either.
"Like AT-ATs. From Star Wars. The Empire Strikes Back. Those big walking four-legged machines."
"Except baluchs are bigger. In real life I mean. Bigger than my shoulderbeasts in the book. Not bigger than Star Wars AT-ATs."
"And mine have faces that look a little more like a chinese dragon. But they're mammals."
"Didn't you notice that they grin? And that there's absolutely no mention of floppy ears or big tusks or a trunk?!"
"And elephants don't have natural leather plate armor. But shoulderbeasts do."
Part of me wishes I had just made them elephants. But then I know what people would be saying instead.
"You picked up elephants and orcs and giant eagles from Lord of the Rings!"
So. For the record. No, the shoulderbeasts aren't elephants. But people do ride them to war in wicker baskets. Which Tolkien didn't invent for LotR; people have been doing that with elephants for thousands of years. And besides, my shoulderbeasts are more fun than any elephant in LotR, and one becomes a minor hero throughout the series. Unlike anything in Tolkien. Though I can certainly understand the comparison.
And no, my orcs aren't ruined dark elves. Which many people don't realize the Tolkien orcs are. (A great idea, but not what I'm doing. Kind of ironic: in fantasy nowadays, dark elves are seductively sadistic and supercompetent like vampires. In Tolkien, dark elves are those nasty incompetent things which look like they have cancer in the films.) My Ungulata are more like humanoid razorback hogs...
"Which most orcs in fantasy are like nowadays!"
...and they aren't intrinsically evil cannon fodder--like some other fantasy authors today, I'm leading a bit of an orcan rennaissance. (Or however the French spell it... Note to self, avoid using French words in the series. Their spelling is insane.) The Ungulata think for themselves, and actually consider themselves the _real_ humans, unlike those 'clay-hearted murderers' whom the novels are mostly about! They can even be self-sacrificially heroic when properly inspired.
"But you can't deny that you have giant eagles."
Okay, yes, you have me on that one. I do in fact have giant eagles. In fact, the name of one of them, Lammefange, is a realworld term used by Dutch Boers for the African kite (though I borrowed the name of her species, 'aasvogel', from the Dutch/Zulu term for death-birds or vultures)...
"And they swoop in to save the day like in Tolkien!"
"One of them does some swooping near the end!"
Okay, yes, that's true, but...
"So your monsters are just like Tolkien's! Except for the elephants, which aren't elephants, but might as well be elephants."
Note to self: do not, under any circumstances, write giant spiders into the plot...
The CRY OF JUSTICE VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR '09 will officially begin on February 2 and end on February 27. You can visit Jason's blog stops at http://www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/ in February to find out more about this great book and talented author!
As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors' blog stops.