THE MOST IMPORTANT INTERVIEW of All Time (EVER) – PART TWO
with Michael R. Fletcher and Mighty Thor JRS (James Schmidt)
No doubt you all clearly remember when THE MIGHTY THOR and I broke all the rules and summoned the gods of chaos and brought the world to the brink of destruction by changing the paradigm and having the writery thing (that’s me) review the bloggery thing (that’s him). Well, it’s time to once again tempt fate!
In case you don’t remember part one can be found here:
What follows is a transcript of the interview. Extraneous umm and ahhs have been left out to make me sound smarter than I am. The interview took place in a Great Hall populated by the dead. Mostly they were eating and drinking excessively and talking about how they got killed last time. There was some really lovely art on the wall and if any of it is missing, I didn’t take it. Mead was served in a chipped wooden bowl. I found teeth embedded in mine where someone had previously used it to crush someone’s skull. THE MIGHTY THOR called them ‘character.’
Anyway. Let’s get on with it.
Michael R. Fletcher: So, THE MIGHTY THOR, thank you for allowing me back into your home! I really like what you’ve done with the place. Have you given any thought to that thing we discussed, you know, where you command all your worshippers to buy my books so I can pretend to have a career and not just an insane hobby?
THE MIGHTY THOR: Aye, I have been doing my best to make sure all within my influence is well aware of your literary texts you refer to as books. My sway can only go so far in convincing people of your prowess with the written word.
MRF: There has been some fantastic metal released since last we spoke. What? No I’m not talking about refinements in the forging process of swords. I mean heavy metal. I’ve recently discovered Gormathon, Fallujah, and Primordial. Awesome stuff. What are the best bands and albums you’ve heard in the last couple of years?
THE MIGHTY THOR: To be honest I have not been listening to much new stuff, but I do love discovering older music. I have been listening to Falkenbach almost non stop lately, love that guy’s music. Heralding the Fireblade is my fav album! The newest Amon Amarth album Jomsviking (2016) is pretty spectacular. I really need to pay attention to some new metal.
MRF: Bloggers/reviewers read an insane number of books every year. I’m lucky if I finish twelve. How the hell do you do it? What do you do when you burn out and every book is crap and you realize it’s not the books it’s you? In the last couple of years I’ve seen a lot of bloggers/reviewers cave under the pressure, yet here you are. I remember you posting about finding a healthier balance. How did you do that? How many books do you read a year? How many questions can I cram into one question? Do you like chocolate milk?
THE MIGHTY THOR: Lets answer these one at a time here. (1) I don’t know if I really do it, My reading time and production has gone down dramatically over the last few years. I might get to like 18 books this year. (2) I have been burnt out for a couple of years now. I just try to find stuff I really, really think I am going to enjoy before I even think about reading it. (3) I don’t know about a healthier balance but I found I was to caught up in trying to please everyone else, on a quest for more likes, shares, followers. I just do my own thing now, I am happy, and hopefully others enjoy what I do. (4) I was around 36 three years ago but like half that now. Quality over quantity. (5) At least 6 it seems. (6) No, I do not. Not a chocolate fan. I do sometimes enjoy a plain glass of milk.
MRF: Okay. Enough silliness. Time for the hard-hitting questions. Everyone knows grilled cheese sandwiches are the food of gods. Hell, even Inanna takes a break every now and then to have one. Please share THE MIGHTY THOR’s secret recipe for THE GREATEST GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH EVAR!
THE MIGHTY THOR: The most important thing about a samich to me is the bread, you have to start with good bread. No wonder bread bullshit. Some good bakery bread. For argument sake I am gonna go with sourdough. Then we need some good cheese. I prefer a soft white cheese, lets go with Havarti on this one. Then we need Bacon, well because everything is better with bacon! Then we need lots of real butter. And there you have it my perfect grilled cheese samich!
MRF: Scotch, whiskey, or bourbon? And which specific brand is your favourite?
THE MIGHTY THOR: Yes please! Oh sorry, guess that was not the answer you were looking for. I am a Jack and coke guy, or Crown Royal, or Makers Mark, or anything really!
MRF: Taking my books out of the running, just so you don’t feel pressured what with me sitting here glaring at you, what are the best three books you’ve read in the last two years? What made them awesome, put them above and beyond the others?
THE MIGHTY THOR: Well my top book of 2016 was The Wheel Of Osheim by Mark Lawrence (The Mirror’s Truth was 2nd!). I love Mark Lawrence’s First two trilogies, some of the best books ever. This year A gathering of Ravens by Scott Oden has been at the top of my list all year. Think REH Conan mixed with great historical fiction, awesome book. I also read this collection of amazing short stories Thune’s Vision by Schuyler Hernstrom that was absolutely amazing! New Sword and Sorcery that is equal to the greats of this sub-genre.
MRF: Dogs, cats, wolves, or crows? Which is your preferred pet of choice?
THE MIGHTY THOR: I have a Dog and two cats, I love them all. But I have always wanted a pet Raven, or maybe a wild one that would just come and hangout sometimes. And a Bald Eagle he can come and hangout with us too, I love birds!
MRF: As someone who’d like to someday earn a spot in the Great Halls of Valhalla, I have to ask… How the hell do I earn a spot? I mean, let’s face it, I sit on my ass and write crazy shit about crazy people. Sure, I kill a lot of characters, but most of them aren’t real. Or not entirely real. I dunno. Anyway, is there some way for non-warrior-types to earn a spot in the hall?
THE MIGHTY THOR: I don’t know about that? Odin is pretty strict on his guidelines. Odin and Freyja get to choose between the best fallen warriors to go to Valhalla and Folkvang. Everyone else goes to Hel. It’s not a bad place really, Christian Hell gives it a bad rap. But you are always invited to come and hang out with me in Bilskirnir, there is plenty of room. 540 rooms to be exact. Just keep writing your awesome books and I will save you one!
MRF: Thanks, MIGHTY THOR, for allowing me to hang out and pester you with questions. I’d ask more, but I gotta go try that grilled cheese sammich recipe now.
THE MIGHTY THOR: Thanks Mike! I had a blast! Look forward to your next visit.
And please everyone, go buy Mike’s latest book so he will leave me alone! It is actually pretty epic!
To escape the hell she created, a woman must team up with a novice warrior and return to her homeland in this gritty epic fantasy where delusions are literally made real.
Zerfall awakens in an alley, wounded and unable to remember her past. Chased by an assassin out into the endless wastes of the desert, she is caught, disfigured, and left for dead. Her scabbard is empty, but the need for answers—and the pull of her sword—will draw her back to the city-states.
When Jateko, a naïve youth, accidentally kills a member of his own tribe, he finds himself outcast and pursued across the desert for his crimes. Crazed from dehydration, dying of thirst and hunger, he stumbles across Zerfall.
Hunted by assassins and bound by mutual need, both Zerfall and Jeteko will confront the Täuschung, an ancient and deranged religion ruled by a broken fragment of Zerfall’s mind. Swarm, the Täuschung hell, seethes with imprisoned souls, but where gods—real or imagined—meddle in the affairs of man, the cost is high.
In Swarm and Steel, the power of belief can manifest and shape reality, and for political and religious leaders, faith becomes a powerful tool. But the insane are capable of twisting reality with their delusions as well, turning increasingly dangerous as their sanity crumbles. It is here that a long prophesied evil will be born, an endless hunger. The All Consuming will rise.
Praise for Swarm and Steel
“Swarm and Steel is one of the grimmest, darkest books in our beloved genre, combining the depths of depravity with heart-warming love in a tale that will leave you retching and chuckling in equal measure. If you like grimdark fantasy, then you need to check it out.”―Grimdark Magazine, review by Matthew Copley
“Fletcher has crafted a world and magic system that is wretched, repulsive, and absolutely fantastic in its depth and layering. But wonderful worldbuilding means diddly squat if the characters fall flat, and fortunately, they are equally well-rendered here as they struggle to find redemption or revenge or purpose in a mad, mad universe. Swarm and Steel is captivating and compelling.”―Jeff Salyards, author of the Bloodsounder’s Arc Trilogy
“Fletcher’s intricate and ingenuitive work results in a mesmerizing story that deserves to be praised. From eloquent and lucid prose to thought-provoking and humorous dialogues, from exciting action sequences to shocking plot-twists, and from compelling characters to an exceptionally developed magic system, Swarm and Steel has it all. . . . a book to be savored.”―booknest.eu
“Swarm and Steel is [Fletcher’s] best book yet. . . . [his] reputation as God of Grimdark is fully legitimate. This book cements it. Mortars it in blood.”―Anna Smith Spark, author of The Court of Broken Knives
“Edgy, brutal and hugely ambitious in scope, Swarm and Steel puts the grim in grimdark.”―Anna Stephens, author of Godblind
Praise for Michael R. Fletcher
“The Manifest Delusions novels are some of the greatest fantasy books I’ve ever read.”―Petros of http://booknest.eu/
Michael R. Fletcher lives in the endless suburban sprawl north of Toronto. He dreams of trees and seeing the stars at night and being a ninja.
BEYOND REDEMPTION, a work of dark fantasy and rampant delusion, was published by HARPER Voyager and released June 16th, 2015.
THE MIRROR’S TRUTH, the sequel to BEYOND REDEMPTION, was published on December 3rd, 2016.
GHOSTS OF TOMORROW, a Young/New Adult science-fiction novel, was published on March 1st, 2017.
SWARM AND STEEL, epic dark fantasy, will be published by Talos Publishing (an imprint of Skyhorse/Nightshade Books) in August of 2017.
There is also a collection of short stories in the works, but no publication date has been set as of yet.