INTERVIEW: Author Orrin Grey Brings the Protectorate to Skull Island!

Orrin GreyAuthor Orrin Grey is getting ready to dive in to put the finishing touches on his forthcoming novel Godless, the first book in the Fire & Faith series, but before he heads east to immerse himself in the lands of the Protectorate once more, we got him to answer a quick six questions about his new book! And this author photo really is what Orrin looks like, we swear.  (And if you’re going to talk smack about the Protectorate, it’s best to not have your photo floating around anyway. —Ed.) 

1) What’s been the greatest challenge in writing about the Protectorate of Menoth?

For me, one of the most fascinating (and challenging) things about writing in the Iron Kingdoms (or, indeed, any other secondary-world fantasy setting) is dealing with what changes (and what doesn’t) when the existence of the deity that you worship is no longer an article of faith. Even the most devout practitioner of any real-world religion, no matter how intense their relationship with their god or gods, has to take the existence of that deity, at least a little bit, on faith. That isn’t the case with the Protectorate. Menoth emphatically exists and is active in the world. Even people outside the faith have no doubts about that. So as a Menite, your articles of faith shift. It’s no longer about whether your god—or, indeed, any of the  other    gods—is real. Instead, your faith hinges on things like what you are willing to do in his service, and whether or not he is really worthy of your worship.

Did I adequately dodge the question there?

2) Who’s our villain here—in other words, who should readers be most afraid of?

Well, the most obvious villains this time out are the skorne. You'll see Lord Tyrant Hexeris and some other familiar skorne faces—along with plenty of monsters, to the surprise of no one familiar with my work. But there’s also a more subtle conflict brewing in the Protectorate, one involving personal ambition and the difference between the demands of faith and the demands of a nation. 

3) Without giving away too many spoilers, what was your favorite scene to write?

There are some pretty dramatic action sequences in the book, some of them involving a few of those monsters I mentioned above, and all of those were a lot of fun to write, but talking too much about any of them would probably get into the territory of spoilers pretty quick. So instead I’ll say that I really enjoyed any scene where I got to juxtapose the philosophy of the skorne against the theology of the Menites. There are fascinating parallels there, especially in the way that each Faction tends to fetishize suffering, albeit to very different ends. I imagine that the skorne kind of see the Menites as amateurs and dabblers when it comes to torture and pain.

4) Some authors find themselves getting into a certain frame of mind when they write, a kind of method actor mindset. While working on this novel, did you feel the need to burn any heretics to death for their failure to acknowledge Menoth?

I did not, but as someone whose beloved gatorman army has been at the receiving end of a lot of righteous Menite beat-downs (my wife plays Protectorate), I  did  occasionally enjoy putting poor Tristan’s faith through the wringer a few times.

5) Given that your book is first in a series (Fire & Faith), does it end on a cliffhanger?

A bit. I think it wraps up the main threads that are present in this first novel and that you could easily read this as a stand-alone book, but I definitely leave a looming shadow over the Protectorate in the end. As one of the characters says near the end of the book, “there are still dark days ahead for the faith.”

6) Now, if you could include anyone from the Iron Kingdoms in your Protectorate novel, who would you include and what would he/she be doing?

Well, I’m an avowed gatorman devotee, so just about any of their warlocks seem like the most obvious choice here (Wrong Eye and Snapjaw are my favorites). But going with my response to the first question up above, I think I’d really like to see the Protectorate go up against Cryx or the Legion of Everblight. Goreshade, in particular, would provide a really fascinating counterpoint to many of the Protectorate warcasters, since he’s got a very different set of ambitions than a lot of the other Cryx generals. 

As with the skorne in this first book, I think there are a lot of striking things that you can bring to light about the differences (and similarities) in the philosophies of those Factions. And there's something very different about having a god who is active in the world (as the Protectorate does), versus having a god-like figure who is literally  physically  present in the world, as you do with Cryx or the Legion. Plus, again, plenty of monsters.

Godless by Orrin Grey will be released this spring! Check back here for more updates in weeks to come!

Next post: Tuesday, January 17