An interview with Brian McClellan

Brian McClellan

Bee wrangler, homemade jam enthusiast and author of the widely successful flintlock fantasy series, The Powder Mage Trilogy; Brian McClellan has kindly taken the time to speak with Fantasy Book Review for the sites How Stories Connect Us section.

A big thanks to Brian for answering our questions today as I suspect he must be very busy with preparations for the soon to be released final installment of the Powder Mage Trilogy, The Autumn Republic, on the 10th Feb 2015. If you wish to read my review of The Autumn Republic or the other books in the trilogy, click the links below.

Promise of Blood
Recommended, you can almost smell the gunpowder and hear the guillotine falling.

The Crimson Campaign
Another excellent instalment in the trilogy, one that will keep you glued to the pages, pawing for the final book and praying that more will come soon.

The Autumn Republic
The shot is fired and the smoke clears, many stand and scores have fallen, as Gods, Kings and rebellion alter the fate of the land.

I have been a big fan of Brian’s for several years now, there is a quality and commitment to style in Brian’s writing I have enjoyed from the moment I picked up Promise of Blood and which has remained strong in all his subsequent stories. If you haven't read Brian’s work as yet, try now, I cannot see how you will be disappointed.

Brian also has written several Power Mage short stories and having read a few of them myself I would highly recommend one and all.

  • The Face in the Window is set two years before Promise of Blood and chronicles Taniel’s journey during the Fatrasta up rising.
  • The Girl of Hrusch Avenue follows a young Vlora and her first meeting with of Taniel.
  • Hope’s End occurs nineteen years before Promise of Blood and tells the tale of Captain Verundish while on Campaign for General Tamas.
  • Forsworn is the story of Erika ja Leora, a Kez Poweder Mage willing to risk everything to get a young commoner Powder Mage to Adro and freedom.

All of Brian’s titles are available direct from his website, or from the usual online sources.

How Stories Connect Us

Q: Which book do you own that puts a smile on your face and makes you happy just by holding it in your hand?

A: The Princess Bride. It’s just such a fun, fantastic book. Definitely on my top ten list of all time and probably the only book where the movie version is also on my top ten list. If you have only seen the movie or only read the book, you need to immediately stop reading this interview and go read/watch Princess Bride.

Q: Which book or series do you read that makes you feel nostalgic, remembering the period in your life you first read it?

A: The Count of Monte Cristo. I actually have very definite memories of the first time I read the unabridged version. I was maybe in fifth or sixth grade, and it took me over a week straight of doing nothing but reading (trying to really grasp what was going on because, come on, I was twelve). I remember transitioning all over the house from the floor of my room to my parents’ bed to the dining room to the trampoline outside.

Q: Which book or series do you read that makes your blood pump and your palms sweaty?

A: Any book that really grips me has the potential to do that. When I get really into the action my whole body will start to shake and I’ll sweat and do that thing where I bounce my leg up and down really hard, bothering anyone who may be sitting near me. Honestly, it’s always best if I read in the privacy of my own home.

The last book to do that to me was Robert Jackson Bennett’s City of Stairs.

Q: Which book or series do you think you could implant one of your own characters into? And would you want them to thrive and integrate, or would you want them to burn it all down?

A: To be totally honest, I have a hard time doing that. It’s fun, as a fan, to come up with inter-universe scenarios like who would win or could this character survive and things like that. But it’s different for a creator because things become so much more personal. Of course I’m going to try to figure out how my characters would win/succeed. And most of my characters are much more the “thrive and integrate” types than they are the “burn it all down.” Though I think Field Marshal Tamas would just up and murder everyone he met in Westeros.

Q: Is there a particular author that leaves you thinking: “One day I would like to be able to write just like that?”

A: I’m more of a “one day I’d like to be as successful as him/her.” On the artistic front, I’m fairly self-aware of my strengths and weaknesses (I am less than poetic, but I write very fun stories) and I’m perfectly happy with where I am. I still work to improve both my storytelling abilities and the artistry of my writing but I don’t really covet anyone’s talent.

Then again, ask me this question immediately after I’ve finished a really good book and you may get a totally different answer.

If you want to find out more about Brain and his books you can visit his site at

Brian McClellan books reviewed