Swords, Sorcery or Heroes, with Steven Shrewsbury

Today I'm delighted to welcome Steven L Shrewsbury, author of those wonderful Gorias La Gaul stories, to my blog. I love his books and his characters, and I love that mystical tagline - Deliverance Will Come! When I heard he was going to visit me here, there was one question I simply had to ask, so here it is, with his answer. Thank you Steven, and welcome to my blog:

Steven L. Shrewsbury's Born of Swords Virtual Tour


WHICH CAME FIRST? The sword, the sorcery or the hero?

Until a reviewer trashed me for doing so, I never realize I wrote “character driven” fiction before. Um, ya mean where the folks in the story are more important than “world building” and a game scenario that can be created from a BOOK? Yeah, guess I do.

So, yes, Gorias La Gaul, my 700 year old merc, the fighter and lover of great capacity DID appear in my mind as a character to be used in works. THEN the tales flowed as he sort of told them to me, out of sequence. Several fantasy (or S&S) ideas are always billowing in my brain, but he grabbed a few and turned them inside out. THRALL was an idea I had in pieces that mated up as the first Gorias book. OVERKILL, that takes place a bit in the time line before THRALL. It rushed out of my head like a train. BORN OF SWORDS is a mash of several ideas that held a killer punchline.

But, in the scheme of these tales about him, I find myself pondering new yarns devised just for him, not trying to shoehorn or adapt him into older concepts. I have other notions for novels that are not based on a single character, but my books usually have a strong male lead. Why? Well, I’m a guy. These things happen that way. I do intend to pen a few books about Gorias La Gaul’s daughter someday, but those concepts are in their infancy.  

The precepts of sword & sorcery as simple and in the world I look at, easy to come by. The world itself won’t be the star of the piece, but it is an excellent canvas to paint on. I don’t practice the time honored tradition in fantasy of taking real history and setting it on another PLANET or WORLD just to make it LOOK like the dark ages on steroids. I usually will give it a real historical place like in my epic PHILISTINE or set in a time before the great flood where things were rather murky in terms of history.

In my opinion, characters do make a novel but the story cannot bite severely or there isn’t anything to go for. One can have a host of humorous, intriguing folks in a work, full of harsh monsters and beautiful girls (not to sound like a sexist piglet)…but if there is no plot or point, it isn’t worth crap in a handbag, as my dad used to say, and not so gently. 

Indeed, I hear of certain people who think of a creature or a wizard’s powers and want to base a yarn off those abilities. That’s fine if there’s a plot to go with it and the characters are plausible. Let your voice come through, not the results of hit dice and no life experience.

Also, if I were suggesting things to writers, READ. Read other types of fiction than fantasy or S&S. Read westerns to see how stories can be told. Read horror and yes, choke, read romance. Frankly, romance outsells most everything and something can be learned from these tales. Read nonfiction, too. I adore bios and tomes of history, but true crime is great as well. Why all this stuff? It expands one’s mind and takes a reader to different places. One will be surprised how this benefits an author in the future.

Talk to people, too. Not just on Facebook or a buddy in texts, real flesh & blood bodies that still breathe. Get outside and enjoy the world and don’t be chained to a keyboard, a phone or whatever leech takes you away from the actual world.

Fiction is escapism and I always grabbed books to escape the world at times. Offer that to a reader, a portal into another world, a place more amazing and certainly more stimulating than what the reader did at work that day. Give them a release. Give them life. Give them some happiness.

And they won’t even wonder which came first, the sword, the sorcery or the hero.

Thank you Steven, and I'm really  looking forward to escaping into more of your stories.


About the Book: Born of Swords: Deliverance will come... But that is another story. What makes a legend but the stories told about him? Interviewing Gorias La Gaul, the biggest legend of them all, is a dream come true for young scribe Jessica. Where other girls her age would swoon beneath the steely gaze of the warrior, Jessica only has eyes for his mouth, and the tales that come from it...when he takes a break from cursing or drinking. Unfortunately for Jessica, Gorias doesn't really have time to babysit. She's found him in the midst of an annual pilgrimage of sorts, and though he agrees to let her come along, it's not without a warning: You may not like what you see and hear. Just don't come crying afterward. Whether viewing past visions with magical gemstones or jumping into the fray alongside the barbarian, Jessica's about to get firsthand accounts she won't soon forget...and discover legends are far from reality, and just as far from being pretty. You wouldn't expect a youth of love and friendship from the greatest killer to walk the Earth, would you? These are tales of some of Gorias' earliest days, back before he'd found his swords, to a time when a dragon needed killing. Tales back before his heart had hardened. Maybe. For most men, the future is not certain and the past is prologue. For a legend like Gorias La Gaul, even the past is up for debate. One thing is for certain about these tales. They will be bloody. Such is always the way for a man... Born of Swords...

Where to find it:

Amazon Print Version
Kindle Version
Barnes and Noble Link for Born of Swords

ShrewsburyAuthorPhotoBWAbout the author: 

Steven L. Shrewsbury lives, works and writes in rural Central Illinois. Over 365 of his short stories have been published in print or digital media since the late 80s. His novels include WITHIN, PHILISTINE, OVERKILL, HELL BILLY, BLOOD & STEEL, THRALL, STRONGER THAN DEATH, HAWG, TORMENTOR and GODFORSAKEN.

He has collaborated with other writers, like Brian Keene with KING OF THE BASTARDS, Peter Welmerink in BEDLAM UNLEASHED, Nate Southard in BAD MAGICK, Maurice Broaddus in the forthcoming BLACK SON RISING and Eric S. Brown in an untitled project. He continues to search for brightness in this world, no matter where it chooses to hide.

Where to find him:

Find out more: Follow the Tour:

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10/28 Book in the Bag Interview
10/29 Creatives Help Board.How may I direct your call? Interview
10/30 WebbWeaver Reviews Guest Post
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