Podcaster, website entrepreneur, Robotech connoisseur, father - Moses Siregar III has plenty of distinguished titles and is now able to add fantasy author to the list. His first novel The Black God's War was released early August and has fast become a FBR favourite.
Moses kindly found some time in his hectic schedule to talk with FBR reviewer Ryan Lawler.
Welcome to FBR Moses, can you tell me a little about yourself?
Father of one, soon to be two. With a lifelong interest in spirituality and metaphysics, a few years ago I rescued my inner geek. Now, writing epic fantasy is my daily refuge.
When did you decide you wanted to be a writer? What influenced this decision?
I knew I wanted to tell epic stories after the Robotech cartoon inspired me as a kid. What made me move toward writing rather than making movies was: 1) many people have told me I have a gift for writing (after awhile, I considered that they might not be totally wrong), and 2) making films would require more time away from my family and probably cost more money. So I started writing and loved it. Words are wonderful playthings.
What are the biggest challenges you face as a writer and how do they affect your life? Are they new challenges?
Hm. Good question. Speed is a challenge. I'm a picky reader and writer, so I'm not able to pump out books at the pace as many successful writers. So I just write at the speed I can and hope that my quality will be good enough to sustain a career. If not, at least I'll be proud of what I write, and that might be the best reward of all. This is a new challenge, though. My job description has never been "creative person," so I'm enjoying this new adversary (speed).
The Black Gods War is an exceptional debut novel. What did you do to hone your skills prior to writing this novel? Had you done much writing before?
I had done a decent amount of writing in non-fiction contexts, so I had worked on my writing. I even had a literary agent for a non-fiction book in the early 00's, though that book never went to print. But fiction is a different ballgame with new facets, problems, and opportunities. I think that's why I'm so happy being a writer: it's essentially impossible to write a 'perfect' book, so you can always try to do better.
You decided to publish this novel independently. I've listened to your recent interview with Michael J. Sullivan who took a pay cut to sign a deal with a major publishing house. Do you think you would sign with a publishing house given the opportunity, or would you prefer to keep building your Indie brand?
This is a very tough decision for me. I would need to feel great about the people I'd be working with at the publishing house (the editor, mainly) and receive enough money to justify giving up my electronic rights. But with bookstores having less space for books and ebook readership growing at a phenomenal rate, signing with a publisher made less sense to me every day.
The religions in this novel come across as a detailed mash-up of many real world religions. Did you intend for the details to be accurate? How much research did it require to get the details to the level of accuracy you wanted?
The religious part was--and now I realize how nice this is--the easiest part for me because I have a B.A. in (World) Religion and I've long been interested in those topics. So, for example, there are elements of Buddhism and Islam and astrology in the story, if you know what you're looking for. Some of this is intentional, but I leave it to the reader to interpret the meaning of things.
Along with writing a novel you have been co-hosting the podcast Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing, and running you own website Indie Author Rockstars. Can you tell me a little about these projects and how you got started on them? Do they remain in your plans for the future?
I really hope so. The podcast is a great opportunity on many levels. I get to interview bestselling fantasy and scifi writers, I get to interact with genre fans, and Shaun and Brent (co-hosts of the podcast) have become great friends. Shaun Farrell was looking for new people to join the podcast a year ago, I volunteered, and the rest is recent history.
IndieAuthorRockstar.com is an idea I brewed up to support independent authors and create a kind of community around that effort. Anyone curious can find more details on the website.
You also maintain an active social media presence, and lets not forget your young family. Where do you find the time in the day to fit everything in?
Luckily I love what I'm doing right now, because I seem to do it from the moment I wake up until the time I go to bed. Of course, I also make time for my family, but we've also planned a long vacation to make up for some of the time I feel like I've missed with them since becoming a writer. Writing is very demanding, but balance is everything. It's not easy and as a writer it's essential that your family is on board with your goals. Luckily my wife is amazing.
Whats next for Moses? Are your efforts solely focused on Splendour & Ruin Book 2? Do you have any side projects / short stories we can expect to see in the near future.
I really wanted to write a couple of short stories for a couple of contests, but instead I've moved ahead into book two of this series, so I'll probably be on that train for the next 6-12 months, until the book is out there. The best way I can support my first book should be to write another book in that series, so that's where I'm focusing. It's been great to plan out and begin writing another book, though. Those hours just fly by.
Finally, can you name three of you favourite fantasy stories.
I respect the heck out of what Steve Erikson created with Malazan, and I have to give Michael Moorcock some love for entertaining me so well when I was a teenager. The Iliad was one of my first loves.
All the best Moses, be sure to let us know when book 2 is coming out.
Thanks! Will do.
You can find out more about Moses on his website: http://sciencefictionfantasybooks.net/
Against the backdrop of epic warfare and the powers of ten mysterious gods, Lucia struggles to understand The Black One. Her father-king wants war. Her messianic brother wants peace. The black god wants his due. She suffers all the consequences. King Vieri is losing his war against the lands of Pawelon. Feeling abandoned by his god, he forces his son Caio, the kingdom's holy savior, to lead his army. Victory ought to come soon. To counter Caio's powers, Pawelon's prince enters the conflict. Rao is a gifted sage, a master of spiritual laws. He joins the rajah to defend their citadel against the invaders. But Rao's ideals soon clash with his army's general. The Black One tortures Lucia nightly with visions promising another ten years of bloodshed. She can no longer tell the difference between the waking world and her nightmares. Lucia knows the black god too well. He entered her bed and dreams when she was ten. The Black One watches, waiting to see Lucia confront an impossible decision over the fates of two men--and two lands.
"I enjoyed this book, immensely. It had style, it had substance, and it had a lot of heart. For an independently self published novel, Siregar easily defies the stigma that you can only get a quality book out of a recognised publishing house. From the cover art he designed himself through to the words put down on paper (or e-paper for e-book readers), Siregar has produced a full package of the highest quality and I will definitely be going back for more." Fantasy Book Review
This novella is an introduction to what I think will be a great novel. The story is unique, the characters are interesting, and Siregar has shown that he has the capability to become a solid writer with the style and flair to become a brilliant writer. Do yourself a favour and grab a copy of this novella now.