November 9, 2010

Other Sides Blog Tour: Irk and Char of Peacock King

This is my first guest blog type thing ever so I hope you enjoy it. 

Today, I have Irk, one half of the illustrious and illustrated web fiction The Peacock King. Irk and Char have spent so much time together that they have merged into one person. Anyway, without further adieu, on to the interview.

Can you tell us about your story in Other Sides?
It's chapter one of The Peacock King Trilogy, rewritten to be more awesome.  I'm rewriting the first book of the trilogy to be up to snuff compared to the later stuff, and we thought it'd be pretty cool to give people a preview of what will eventually be the print edition of the story... and it gives new readers a taste of PK's world.

How did this story come about?
The Peacock King as a whole was a brainworm of mine that hatched in 2004 and steadily began wriggling around since then. I had this situation in my head of a man who tames animals, the Peacock King, trying to tame a creature that, by the laws of his world, should never be tamed.  So he goes about it by pulling in an innocent to do his dirty work for him.  I knew the plot and some of the characters, but somehow the story's guts just weren't in there yet.  Char and I started working together on it in 2008, when I discovered that she is the best worldbuilder and editor I could ever have imagined asking for. That tied everything together.

What was the process of making the Other Sides anthology? How did you two get involved?
We got invited in by the editor, Anna Harte.  Maybe someone should interview Anna to find out what her qualifications were for invited authors, because every time someone asks me this I just say
"besides us there's a bunch of awesome authors in it, so I guess whatever Anna did worked."

Where can readers find more of your work?
Peacock King represents the bulk of what we do, though Char and I both have other projects coming along for eventual release.  It's all for free online here:  If
you follow our twitters (linked from the site), you'll often see sketches and art posted on impulse too. We're prolific and easily baited into fanservice sketches.

When people come to read The Peacock King, what do you hope that they find?
Adventure through someone else's eyes and mind.  Since we write from the point of view of many different characters (first person in fact), readers get to peek into the minds of many different kinds of
people.  Gerald is a guy with a hero complex but a good heart, who always has a joke to tell.  Lyric is long-estranged from his family and just beginning to understand what sort of inner strengths he's
developed, out on his own.  Kevrin is a friendly guy with a beak on his face.  It takes all kinds.

Can you guys tell us a little bit more about The Peacock King Series? Where are you currently in the storyline? Is there a definite ending or is it ongoing?
Ooo, it's tricky not to give spoilers here, but I'll try.  We've wrapped up the first trilogy (The Peacock King Trilogy, sensibly enough) pretty recently.  It's the story of Gerald trying to bring the Peacock
King, Ebrelle,  to justice, and what happens because of that. Since Ebrelle rules the Empire of Audiva Rocale, which comprises half of the continent the main characters live on, him possibly being brought to Court would have a huge impact on politics within the region.  Gerald's homeland, the Empire of Crux Radia, has a very shaky treaty with Audiva Rocale.  Gerald has the best intentions, but what
he does could bring the two Empires to war.  Also, there are flying kittens with squirrel tails.

With that narrowly averted, the next Trilogy starts: the White Thaumist Trilogy.  After the first trilogy, the Peacock King is not the same person anymore.  He's alive, but scarred, and meanwhile the Empire of Chethar is demanding that he take the throne again, possibly at the cost of his sanity and his life. The Empire of Chethar could crush Audiva Rocale and Crux Radia both rather easily, so no isn't
exactly an answer.  There's still the matter of the original saboteurs who pushed Ebrelle to the lengths he went that got him in trouble with the Law in the first place - someone has to bring them to justice.
There are still flying kittens with squirrel tails, which is possibly of more concern.

In addition, Char wrote Echoes, a novella that serves as a prequel to Peacock King and fleshes out the origins of the founders of Crux Radia, and their mysterious connection to Chethar.  It's meant to be
read after the first trilogy and before the current trilogy.  We also have random shorts and miniserieses.  Peacock King's series of novels does have a planned end, though we will be posting them for quite some time until we get there.  I promise there's not thirty of them or anything, but we're keeping the final number a secret.

Do you have a favorite character in your novel? Which one and why? Do the fans have a favorite? Is it a complete surprise?
It's hard to pick!  I'd probably go with the Emperor of Crux Radia, Luciprochoros.  He tends to just go by Unkie amongst several of the main characters.  He's an executive with an addiction to coffee
and an affinity for saying whatever's on his mind without ever filtering for tact.  He's the uncle who doesn't tell your parents when you get into trouble, if only for the entertainment of watching you
try to get OUT of it.

It's hard to pick the fan favorite, but I think it's the Peacock King himself.  I wasn't sure if anyone would actually like him, since he's been a very manipulative and conniving figure in the story - I
considered him to be the villain for Book 1.  He does some pretty bad things to other characters the fans love, but they've been very forgiving of him... or they like that sort of thing.

What advice to you have for people wanting to start and write their own web fiction stories?
Have a solid plan for where you're going, and make sure you can finish what you start.  Always, always, always have someone with an editor's eye read your work before you post it.  If you're writing by the seat of your pants instead of writing it all ahead of time (nothing wrong with that, I'm doing it now) then be open to impulse decisions, but remember where your story is going.  Even if your readers comment and say they love a situation or character, don't just linger there and dote - keep switching to something else right when you've worked up the tension.  That keeps readers reading, and then they find that whatever you wrote next is something they're even more interested in.  Then, you switch back to the original situation right when they don't want you to.  So... torture your readers, it's pretty fun and they keep coming back for more.

What are the pros and cons of being an indie author?
I can write what I want, when I want to, however I want to.  I can illustrate and add fun games and decide where the story's going and what audience I want to cater to.  Freedom is awesome.  Freedom is also, well, free.  Nobody's paying me for it.  Until we work out a good way to make money off of this, I work a day job and do this for the love of the story.  It's rewarding, but sometimes it's a struggle.
Reader comments and fanworks really keep us going.

You both work as a team. How do you keep a method to the madness? What do you suggest to people who want to start their own collaborative stories?
We tend to plot out stories during long car rides and chats.  We bounce the world back and forth, and share it, and somehow that allows it to be a lot bigger.  We have a really good feel for how both of us
work and think and we like to write the same type of story.  Outside of Peacock King we tend to bounce other story ideas back and forth, cowritten or single-author, because we're each other's best sounding board.  We also know how to handle disagreements with plot and characters - we tend to cede to whoever has the best idea of what direction the story is going in.  We're not afraid to tell each other when something's wrong with the writing or the art - we're also great at cheerleading each other. I think if you want to cowrite you have to have a rapport that's more stable and cohesive and flexible than almost all marriages.  And you can't be afraid of someone else's fingers in your pie.

Now for some general silliness!

Which super power do you like to have and why?
I want to be Batman.  His super power is that he's Batman.

If I take a look inside your refrigerator what would I find?
Bottled Tea's Tea (oolong), greek yogurt, whatever I made for dinner that's going to last the whole week because I am a lazy cook, and the pizza I bought instead of cooking whatever it is I just listed, because I really am that lazy.  And mango mochi.  Open Char's fridge instead, she's actually a chef.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
I would turn it inside out and see what happens.

If you were a store, what kind of store would you be and why? 
I'm trying to think of something I can turn into a your mom joke, but that just doesn't work with this question!  I guess I'd be one of those wacky thrift shops where you find hipster clothes and golf clubs
and old editions of Playboy that have your mom in them.  Zing!

If one of your characters could have dinner with another web fiction character, who would it be and why? What would happen during the dinner?
I think Katherine would have dinner with Annabelle from Scryer's Gulch.  They could commiserate over the troubles of having partners that need to be housetrained.

Is there anything else you would like to say?
...I didn't mean that fingers in the pie comment in any way other than a baking analogy.  Also, Other Sides is an awesome compilation and it is free so you should be reading it right after you finish
reading this interview.  Just sayin'.

That's a good idea, why don't you download Other Sides and read it for the awesome that is contained within (my review is forth coming). It's Free! Check Irk and Char's Peacock King sneak peek as well as the other talented authors in the web fiction world.

If you want to learn more about web fiction and the Awesome Indie Author Revolution, Ergofiction web fiction e-zine is a good start.

To read more of The Peacock King (which is an awesome story, just so you know.) and more of Irk and Char's Infernal Shenanigans. click here!

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