Friday, October 29, 2010

Author Interview: Chris Kelly Pt 2 - the blog tour ending edition

Chris Kelly of Scathach Publishing seemed to be getting bored as his blog tour was winding down, so I hit him up for another interview. Why? Because I am an asshole like that.   

Anyone who has ever been involved in the mass chaos of a blog tour will realize that there is more than a little sarcasm in there, except for the asshole bit. Big thanks to Chris for being such a great sport.

MM: Welcome back, Chris. You are rolling into the end of your tour. What have you learned and would you do anything differently?

CK: This is the first time I've ever done anything like this; I've never even wrote to deadlines before so it was... interesting. Actually, it was Hell - it was tiring, confusing and seemingly never-ending but I really enjoyed it. I was constantly busy throughout October, always had too much to do and no time to do it, but on the whole it still went really well.

I don't know if I would do another book tour; in October I worked my ass off and sold six books so it wasn't worthwhile in that respect. In other respects it has worked well - I have a lot more people following my blog now than there were in previous months.

My two biggest problems this month were viruses - me and the laptop both had one. I've lost nearly a stone (about 14lbs? Is that right?) in just under a week because I have not been eating anything except Maltesers.

And my laptop packed on. It got fixed today, and they fixed it so well I can't get on the internet because the new firewall is super good.

MM: Ouch. That's dieting the hard way. What do you have coming up for the rest of the tour?

CK: This is the final day of my tour, but I have two guest posts coming to my blog in November - S L Armstrong is blogging about collaborating on projects, which is something I've always wanted to try. And Zoe Winters is doing her post on how to write characters in love. It's the counterpart to a post by Selena Kitt currently on my blog, which is how to write about sex.
( )

MM: You have written some excellent articles and hosted a number of outstanding posts (mine included - Damn, it was good. I'm going to read it again as soon as I finish this interview) on your blog. Are you looking forward to a quiet November or will you keep up the torrid blogging pace?

CK: In November I will be doing Nano. My nano novel is called Ugly Mean-spirited Nasty Stinking Goblinses (okay, it's not actually called that, but I keep forgetting the bloody title!)
The cover art is done, and the novel is mostly planned. It's a YA story about a homeless girl in Glasgow. Her name is Holly, and she can see what's really there - things like fairies and so on.

She teams up with a goblin who might be ugly and stinky and nasty and all the other things in the title, but who has a good heart, and a sex-mad (and now very frustrated) foul-mouthed princess trapped in the body of a 3ft high Princess Doll, and together they try to stop the evil villain... Santa Claus. He's stealing innocence from the world and abducting naughty children and forcing them to work in his toy factories.

The whole thing will be posted on a dedicated blog as it is written, and will also (hopefully) be released for sale before xmas. I also have a novel 90% done (well, 100% done but currently only existing in print) that I'd like to bring out before Christmas.

So I won't be having a quiet November, but I won't be blogging a lot either.

Unless I get told to: I recently started a social networking challenge. I'm being deliberately sketchy on details at this stage, but I recently started a challenge and I've pretty much to do what I'm told from now til Christmas.

MM: Interesting. I knew a guy in college who had a sexually frustrated doll. His name was Fred and her name was Francine. Their story was far less interesting than your upcoming novel sounds like it will be.

Now that Matilda Raleigh: Invictus is published and finding its way to the eyeballs of readers everywhere, what's next?

CK: I've been working on an enhanced Ebook for Invictus, but it won't be ready til nearer Christmas at the soonest. It will have around 35000 words of new material including the first story of Matilda going up against the crystal skulls, and an add-on to the ending. It will also have lots of other interesting things in there, too. I'd hoped to bring it out sooner, but that was not to be.

I also have my secret non-fiction Matilda Raleigh project. I'm giving away very little about this at this stage except that it probably won't be ready before March at the very earliest. Could be looking at next August as a reasonable date. I'm seriously considering not bringing out another Matilda Raleigh book until this is ready.

Oh, and it will probably be free.

MM: You heard it here first, folks. The enhanced edition of Matilda Raleigh Invictus is coming! Good luck with NaNo, Chris. And thanks again for the interview.

Visit Chris's blog and keep up with his upcoming projects here.
Chris's debut novel, Matilda Raleigh Invictus is now available on Amazon in the UK and US.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Twelve mildly interesting things you didn't know about me

1. I have a master’s degree in Accounting, which in no way prepared me for the world of fiction writing.

2. I have been to Japan on four separate occasions, yet my language skills are still barely at a preschool level.

3. I once lounged in a natural hot spring pool atop a mountain with thirty naked Japanese guys while it was 25 degrees and snowing.

4. I was a pall bearer in five funerals and attended over a dozen before I was sixteen years old; none of which were a result of foul play on my part.

5. My dad was struck in the face with a chainsaw when I was six. It ripped off most of his upper lip and knocked out the majority of his teeth, but he still managed to smoke a cigarette on the way to the hospital. When I write about bad ass characters there is at least a little bit of my pop in each one.

6. Despite what I have claimed in the past, the “T” in M.T. Murphy does not stand for “Tiberius.”

7. I did not actually grow sideburns when I was eleven. I was twelve.

8. I used to manage the largest men’s college dorm in the state of Alabama.

9. I have dug ditches and shoveled shit, and took pride in doing both.

10. When I let my dog in at night, I close the door behind him quickly so the zombies don’t slip inside. You can never be too careful.

11. My family has owned a cemetery since the mid-1800s and my cousins and I used to play among the tombstones when we were kids.

12. A distant cousin of mine used to play keyboard for Travis Tritt and Joe Diffie. That kind of makes me an honorary roadie for country singers with mustaches and mullets.

New Poem: The Hunger

The Hunger


Pale moonlight falls


On a virgin field


Two-legged sheep should be in bed


Their screams like music


Blood like wine


I am not evil


I merely sate the hunger

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Guest Blog: On the Nature of Evil by Chris Kelly

Having decided to blog about evil, I had a few options. I could look at what I believe evil is, or I could look at how/why people become evil. Finally, I could look at evil as an externalised being; ie, Satan as one example.

Being indecisive, I decided to do all three.

What is evil?

Evil is a very solid word. You can almost feel the weight behind it when you say it aloud. Evil. Like the closing of a door, it’s a word that cuts things off, that rings with finality. Evil. There’s no going back, once you are evil.

But despite the fact that it is a solid word, it is far from a solid concept. In fact, it is nearly impossible to define evil except in the most abstract of terms. Murder is evil. But if you murder someone who was just about to murder an innocent, does the fact that you were preventing evil stop your act from being evil?

Stealing is evil. But if your family is starving, and its steal or die, where does the good come from with dying?

Paedophilia is evil. In some parts of America I would be considered a paedophile, because I had sex with someone under the age of 21. In my country the age of consent is 16, and she was over the age. Surely you can’t be evil based on geographical location?

It is a difficult concept to judge. There are so many “what if...” scenarios that can crop up. For example, let us say that killing an innocent is evil. I doubt anyone would argue with that point, because of the word innocent. A convicted murderer is executed. Afterwards, it is discovered he was an innocent man. The executioner killed an innocent, but he was just carrying out his orders. It was the jury who decided the innocent man was guilty. The jury murdered an innocent man, and thus are evil.

Why people become evil

The only way to define evil that seems to hold up to these scenarios is the consideration of intent. To decide, after looking carefully at the evidence, to end the life of a man who has apparently killed does not have an evil intent. To murder an innocent because you want to steal his phone would therefore be evil.

A thug who goes around beating people up because it makes him feel good about himself is evil. A thug who goes around beating other people up because it makes strangers feel safe on the streets (ie Batman) is not evil.

With both the jury, and Batman, the intent was to protect society. With the thug and the murderer, the intent was some kind of personal gain. So it would seem from this that selfishness leads to evil whilst altruism is bound in with good.

Looked at this way, it is clear that two people could do the same thing, for different reasons, and only one would be considered to be being evil. Which suggests that when a person becomes evil, it is a personal choice.

Of course, no one chooses to be evil, and from here it becomes clear that evil is a path. When one decision is made, it becomes easier to make a second decision. When you are mugging someone, and it doesn’t go as planned, it is a lot easier to stretch to killing than it would be if you weren’t already so far down the path towards evil.

Evil as an externalised Force

If evil rises from intent, and is a path then it is, ultimately, an internal thing. Evil, in my view, is simply the consequences of choices that every body makes. If this is the case, then it becomes obvious that externalised evil cannot exist.

Evil in Matilda Raleigh: Invictus

Evil is a huge part of Invictus. Matilda constantly questions herself, wondering if she is evil. As a youth, she made a deal with a demon, but she did it to save her father’s life. By intent, this was not an evil act. However, it led to her being possessed by another demon, which led to the young Matilda committing several acts of evil. Cured of possession, she has spent her life trying to redeem herself. And at the end of her life, she faces a choice, with either option being considered evil. How do you decide, when no matter what decision you make will lead to an act of evil?

Dr Tick Tock, the mad steampunk and clockpunk inventor, has spent his life being evil, but wants to redeem himself before he dies.

And then there’s the non-human characters; vampires and demons. Self-centred and arrogant, they can be evil or good depending on the decisions they make.

That is my view of the nature of evil. I’d love to discuss yours...

Chris Kelly is the author of Matilda Raleigh: Invictus, a story about evil and redemption, betrayal and duty, steampunk and sword and sorcery. Find him on TwitterFacebook, and his blog.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Halloween movie review: Trick r Treat

 I remember watching the Elm Street films as a kid through covered eyes and plugged ears. The same went for the Friday the 13th and Halloween films. What can I say? I was one brave little dude ... except the exact opposite of that.

Those films each operated on a set of rules. If a character followed the rules, then they might live to the end. If they broke the rules, then they were sure to die in a suitably horrible and cathartic fashion at the hands of the big, scary villain while the audience cheered in one big chorus of  “I told you so!”

Trick r Treat is a throwback to the days before horror movies were synonymous with torture porn. Early on, we are introduced to Sam. Though he looks like a creepy yet cute little kid out to score candy on Halloween, he is actually the physical embodiment of modern Halloween tradition. If people follow the “rules” of Halloween (respect the jack o’ lantern, check your candy before you eat it, be kind to trick or treaters, etc.) they have nothing to fear. If they don’t, then they suffer the gory consequences.

This film is comprised of five vignettes, each focusing on a different Halloween tradition and a different set of hapless victims. The stories are connected by jovial little Sam. Sometimes he takes an active role and sometimes he simply observes. In either case, the stories all resolve themselves in gruesome, yet satisfying ways that fit well with the rules that are established in the beginning of the movie.

Anna Paquin (X-Men, True Blood - yes, Sookie) as a modern day Red Riding Hood and Brian Cox (of X-Men 2 fame) as a Halloween-hating curmudgeon are the two biggest names in the film. Given that both of these actors are alumni of the X-Men films, it should come as no shock that X-Men and X-Men 2 director Bryan Singer is a producer.

The best word I can use to describe Trick r Treat is FUN. This is one of the most enjoyable horror films I have seen since the werewolf-heavy Dog Soldiers. There are a few bloody/shocking moments, but the overall gore is nowhere near the level of a Saw or Hostel film.

Yep. Trick r Treat relies on setting up genuine suspense rather than throwing dismemberments at you until you cry “uncle.” Since all of the stories are connected, you will want to watch it multiple times just to catch all the breadcrumbs that lead from one story to the next.

Oh yeah … did I mention there just might be a werewolf in the flick? You’ll have to watch to find out.

Spoiler: There is, and it looks fantastic with hardly any CGI.

What? Me? No patience?

Bite me. Then, watch this film.

If you long for the days of a good horror movie that will scare you and still leave a smile on your face at the end, look no farther than Trick r Treat. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Halloween movie review: Ninth Gate

Johnny Depp stars as cutthroat rare book broker Dean Corso in this dark thriller. Ridiculously wealthy and painfully creepy devil enthusiast Boris Balkan employs Corso to examine the validity of a recently acquired piece in his Lucifer book collection: The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows. According to legend, the book was coauthored by Satan and should have the power to summon the devil himself … only Balkan just can’t get the thing to work.

In other words, the book is made of pure WIN … or FAIL. Depends on your point of view.

As Corso seeks out the owners of the only two other existing copies of the book, death follows him at every stop. People who come into contact with the book begin to die in grisly scenes similar to the engravings captured in the book’s pages.

When his not-so-benevolent benefactor’s copy is stolen, Corso must race to find out the truth behind the demonic tome before he is consumed in its murderous wake.

The Ninth Gate emphasizes style over substance and it works perfectly. The characters are so over the top that they border on the comical. A fellow rare book dealer declares Corso “Unscrupulous!” and is answered by a puff of smoke from one of Depp’s signature Pall Mall cigarettes. Frank Langella in his unsettling performance as the sinister Balkan glares at Corso and presses the “secret” combination to his devil focused book vault on the keypad: 666. A pair of twin antique book dealers gush over the quality of Balkan’s book while showering it with ashes from their burning cigarettes.

These comedic touches are so subtle that I missed them until my third or fourth viewing.

See Johnny Depp smoke 72 Pall Malls and have sex with 40% of the speaking female cast members!

Watch Frank Langella chew up entire set pieces like they were m&m’s!

Wonder how the hell a scumbag like Polanski can be such a genius director!

Ninth Gate is not the scariest film around, but it is a stylish and interesting portrait of a group of bibliophiles obsessed with something they cannot truly comprehend. It is definitely a love it or hate it kind of film. If you are ok with the dark subject matter, you will probably love it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

All Hallows: Chapter 1

If you have read my novel, Lucifera's Pet, you may remember that Lucifera became a vampire on October 13, 102 AD. It was 3:30 in the morning to be exact.

Why do I know the exact day and time of a made-up character's conversion to vampire? Because I'm a freak like that.

Just go with it.

To celebrate Lucifera's dark birthday, I am publishing the entire first chapter of my upcoming novella, All Hallows, right here. It is completely raw and unedited. Please read and let me know what you think. Specifically, is it compelling enough to get you to read chapter 2?

All Hallows: Chapter 1

Sophia wanted to die. She prayed for the Lord to call her home every day for the better part of a decade. On a chilly October evening death knocked on her door.

Few who knew the elderly woman would have guessed that she went through life each day hoping it would be her last. She had outlived both her husband and their three children by ten years. The frontier was harsh and life was so very fragile. Except for Sophia’s, it seemed.

She had endured two bouts of influenza that killed more than a dozen people younger than herself in the formerly quiet mining settlement of Deadwood, South Dakota. Every morning she awoke to pain so severe that it took her an hour to work up the strength to get out of bed.

She had just said “amen” for her nightly prayers when she heard the rapping at her door.

Three knocks came in a deep, methodical rhythm. It was precisely how she figured death would sound.

With the pain she usually felt in her joints oddly absent, Sophia slid out from under the covers and put on her housecoat. She took her time walking to the door. There was no need to hurry. Death had been waiting for eighty-nine years. It could wait a little longer.

She placed a hand on the lock, but hesitated. It was well past midnight and all but the rowdiest of outlaws had called it a night. Still, no one would be foolish enough to knock on her door if they planned to rob her. If she screamed people would come.

“Who’s there?” she asked through the closed door.

“You called and I have answered, Sophia.”

The voice that replied was warm and calm. It was the voice of a young woman. Her slight accent was European, but Sophia couldn’t place the country.

She opened the door.

A blast of cool air brought a shudder from the woman. One look at her caller brought another.

The young woman was wearing an extravagant maroon dress, cut lower than it should have been at the top and clinging scandalously to her waist and chest. Her black hair was pulled back in an ornate fashion and cascaded down her body as though she had just arrived for the ball. She was a stunning beauty to be sure, but it was the same beauty that could be found in the eyes of a mountain lioness just before she killed.

“Who are you?” Sophia asked.

“Call me whatever you wish. You know why I am here. It is your time.”

“You are death, then?”

“If you like. Invite me in and I will give you what you seek.”

Sophia hesitated. When presented with promise of the sweet release of death she found herself wavering. Were things really that bad?

Her thoughts drifted to her only friend, Adam. The odd man surely wouldn’t miss an old woman who had lived long past her expiration.

She looked back into the eyes of the girl, fully prepared to tell her to go away. What strange eyes they were. So green that they seemed to glow in the moonlight.

The girl wasn’t real. She couldn’t be.
“Sophia.” A new voice greeted her. This one was deep and masculine. It was so familiar. Sophia turned to find her husband standing beside her. He wasn’t old and worn down as he had been at his death. Instead he was as healthy and youthful as he was shortly after their children had been born.


“It’s me, Sophie. And look.” He stepped to the side revealing two cherubic boys and a beautiful little girl.

“My babies!” Sophia took a step forward with arms outstretched to embrace the husband and children who had left the Earth many years before. Her heart swelled and pounded with joy.

The girl outside smiled.

As Sophia’s hands neared her loved ones, they began to fade. Her husband disappeared and her children dissolved into darkness before her eyes. They were still as dead as they had been these long torturous years.

Sophia looked back at the temptress in the doorway. “Even death wouldn't be that cruel.”

The young woman outside said nothing. The wind blew, rustling the fabric of her dress and her long, black hair. She should have shivered from the cold, but instead she was motionless, as only the dead can be.

Sophia knew she should close the door and pretend that it was all a dream. No good could come from the thing outside. Still, she could smell the tobacco from her husband’s pipe and hear the echoes of her children’s laughter. It had seemed so real.

The two women stared into each other’s eyes in silence. Sophia suddenly found the girl’s enigmatic smile infuriating. The cold began to take its toll and Sophia’s joints started to ache. She stumbled and looked back towards her waiting bed.

The woman outside did not move.

Sophia let out a sigh as the weight of many painful years of courage in the face of harsh life drained from her.

Finally, she spoke. “Come inside, demon. Take me to Hell if that’s what you came for.”

The woman stepped across the threshold. “My name is Lucifera, and life has shown you enough cruelty. I bring you this.”

Sophia’s husband appeared before her again. This time, he walked towards her and took her in his arms. Stunned, she pushed against him, finding that he was flesh and not the apparition from before.

“Oh Jonathan.” Sophia buried her face in his shoulder and wept tears of joy.

She barely noticed the sharp pain in her throat. Her husband rocked her gently in his arms and stroked her hair as the life poured out of her body.

Sophia died happily.

The vampire felt the life leave Sophia’s body but continued to drink. She relaxed her mind, allowing the effort she put into tricking the old woman’s senses to fade away while she savored the last drops of blood.

Human emotions exhibited such distinct flavors. It had been some time since Lucifera had tasted happiness. It was far too sweet for her pallet. She much preferred when her victims died in terror. Fear was both salty and sour, and most delectable. Still, she was a guest in this town and she had to be respectful, at least for the time being.

With only days to go before the ceremony, Lucifera was beginning to like it in Deadwood. She had tried to be a good guest and feed as neatly as possible. The others were far less considerate. Downright sloppy, even. In the grand scheme, it was of little importance. Chance favored the possibility that all of existence would be cast into a void of nothingness in less than a fortnight.

Lucifera placed Sophia in bed and closed the front door on her way out. Impending apocalypse or no, she saw no reason to be uncivilized.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Evololution of Female Vampires - Guest Blog at Dun Scaith

Female vampires have been around for just as long as their male counterparts in literature and film. Their role has changed immensely over the past two centuries. Today I am taking a look at six of the most memorable female vampires...

Continue reading at Dun Scaith.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Halloween is upon us ...

Halloween season is here! Don’t believe me? Go to your nearest Wal-Mart type superstore or grocery store. To get to the milk you will have to climb at least three mountains of Halloween candy. I love this time of year. Until I can convince the governments of the world to make Halloween a monthly occurrence I will have to be satisfied with our annual trip to monsterville.

This month, I have several things planned for you loyal Werewolf Kibblers. I have plans to review many of my favorite spooky films and books, including Sweeney Todd, Trick r Treat, Dog Soldiers, A Night In The Lonesome October (yes, again), Phantasm, and at least one of Rob Zombie’s Halloween movies. I will release at least two more pieces of chapter art for Werewolf Gunslinger: All Hallows. That story has turned out to be a lot of fun, so I am working to get it completed as quickly as my gnarly little fingers and demented brain will allow.

Also, Chris Kelly has published his first full-length novel. To celebrate that, he is hosting a month long blog tour. Check out the interview here. Then, go buy Matilda Raleigh: Invictus. It’s $2.99. I bet you spent more than that at Starbucks on a mocha. Help a new author out.

Because I am anal and at least mildly deranged, I know that October 13 is the day my character Lucifera from the novel Lucifera’s Pet became a vampire. To celebrate her birth in darkness, I am publishing the entire first chapter of Werewolf Gunslinger: All Hallows for free on my blog on October 13. The chapter features the lovable Miss L doing what evil vampires do best: bad things.

So, stock up on candy. Get your costume in order. Hang the garlic at every door and window. Halloween is on its way!

M.T. Murphy is the author of Lucifera’s Pet, a violent and sexy dark fiction tale of werewolves and vampires. Connect with him below:





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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Author Interview: Chris Kelly, author of Matilda Raleigh: Invictus

I recently was fortunate enough to interview new author, Chris Kelly of Scathatch Publishing. His book, Matilda Raleigh: Invictus, is now available.

Chris is an enigmatic straight-shooter who does not hesitate to tell it like it is. The phrase “sugar-coated” is not in his vocabulary. Enjoy!

M.T.M: Thanks for letting me interview you, Chris.

C.K.: You're welcome, Michael. It's great to be here - I'm doing three interviews this month as part of my blog tour and it's making me feel like a big shot author. Loving my 2-seconds in the limelight.

M.T.M: How about we start off with an easy one. Where are you from and how long have you been writing, for yourself and professionally?

C.K.: I'm from Scotland, a tiny village called Laurieston, about a mile from the world-famous Falkirk Wheel (it's famous if you are turned on by canal boats, boat lifts and so on). It's the heart of Braveheart country, according to the tourist board.

I've always wrote, since I could write. I write every single day and I always have. If I miss more than two days I get impossibly crabby and my wife hates me! Writing is my form of relaxation.

I've known I was good enough to get published since I was 22. At that point I just sort of thought "yeah, I'm amazing..." LOL, no - it was more like realising that I actually have talent, my writing doesn't suck.

I don't believe this spiel about "writers can't judge their own work." Why else do so many writers say " I read something I wrote x years ago. My writing used to suck." I read my work and I know it's good, and if other people don't think I'm humble, or feel I don't know what I'm talking about, or whatever, that's fine.

Literature is subjective. I didn't like the Da Vinci Code, but that doesn't mean all the millions of people who bought it were wrong. And if everyone hates Invictus, that doesn't make them right.

By the way, I'm 28 now, so by my count I've been good enough for 6 years. And still improving.

M.T.M: I am 34 and I fully expect it to take about sixty years for people to see my first novel for the masterpiece it is. Then the “F*ck me, M.T. Murphy” videos will start rolling in.

Sorry. I sometimes can have the attention span of a gnat on Red Bull. Back to the topic at hand.

The protagonist of your book, Matilda Raleigh: Invictus, is a seventy-two year old retiree. She definitely does not fit one of the typical fantasy adventure story archetypes. What inspired you in your choice of a main character?

C.K.: I can't deny the influence Legend has had on this book. David Gemmell is not my favourite author (but he's up there) and that isn't my favourite book (again, up there) but it has massively influenced me.

I was probably also influenced by Terry Pratchett's The Last Hero, and other books which peripherally feature Cohen the Barbarian.

Matilda is hard to place in the archetypes. In the original version of my book I told two stories, one of Matilda as a sixteen year old going up against the magic of the crystal skulls for the first time, and the other of her fighting the same magic as a septuagenarian. So she kind of fitted the young hero and old mentor role at the same time (yes, I know that's a stretch).

Of course, the entire book doesn't fit fantasies silly lines in the sand. It's sword and sorcery of the oldest style, and by that I mean it is Conan, and it is Elric, and more. At the same time it is down and dirty steampunk. Yes, she's the richest woman in the Empire, but she speaks thieves' cant and is as at home in the warren-like slums of St Giles Rookery as she is in the royal palaces of Sandringham, watching her king and queen dance.

I'm not a fan of "this is a sub-genre. Keep your writing within it." The compartmentalization of fantasy was a marketing decision, a product placement decision, and never should have carried weight back to the writers. But try explaining that to publishers, editors and agents with their "we sell what we've always sold" attitudes.

Fantasy should be the most open and encompassing genre in all of fiction. After all, the rule in fantasy (the only rule) is consistency within the constraints of the book. Want to have unicorns that go into magical cocoons and then become dragons? Fine, as long as that's where all dragons come from.

And yet, despite the fact that fantasy is the one genre that could take us everywhere, anywhere, to do anything with anyone, despite the fact that it is the one genre without limits, bookshops only ever seem to stock the same five plots with a different cover.

As for Matilda, the more I thought about this story, the more I wanted to do someone who was not only a hero for it, but famous. Famous throughout the entire empire in her heyday

(She was featured in at least 19 supposedly biographical penny dreadful fictions in her youth) and yet is know old and forgotten. No one knows who she is, where she came from, what she did. In a sense, I went in the opposite direction of Gemmell's Legend.

Druss had the expectations of a nation to fulfill when he went to Dros Delnoch. No one expects anything from Matilda, but she does what's needed anyway. She knows from the start of the novel that she is dying, that she probably won't survive long enough to stop the villain, and yet she doesn't give up.

In fact, that's what Invictus means. It's Latin for Unconquerable, and it's the title of possibly the best poem ever written, which is featured at the very beginning of the novel.

Through Matilda I wanted to show what it really means to be a hero. To do what needs done no matter the consequences. To know there will be no reward, no fame, no glory. In my opinion, being a hero simply means having the unbreakable will to make the hardest decisions, decisions ordinary people will never be expected to make.

I think I achieved that, especially with Matilda's victory. She has a choice between two evils, and it's the decision she comes to which truly makes Matilda a hero.

M.T.M: Is Invictus a standalone tale or part of a larger series or world of future connected stories?

C.K.: It's the last in a series. There will be a host of prequels involving Matilda from about age 20 up, when she starts working in the Church's wetworks department, battling magic and monsters.

The first one will feature a book of necromancy, an army of the undead, demonic possession and warrior priests, and I'm hoping to have it written and published in 2011.

There's also the chance for a dieselpunk spin-off. Invictus features a young girl called Emily, and I'm considering following Emily's story through the 20s and 30s in America, returning to Europe for World War II.

M.T.M: When did you begin writing the story?

C.K.: I began writing the story last year, in December I think. It took me longer than anything usually takes to write.

M.T.M: Did it change along the way?

C.K.: Absolutely. I've already mentioned the original told of her youth. Well, the original told a lot more than that. It was 40k words longer. I was writing for New York, which was a mistake. I cut 40k out, changed another 15k words, and came out with something much better and stronger for my efforts.

M.T.M: What do you want the reader to think and feel while reading Invictus?

C.K.: Invictus starts off with a clockman (think clockwork terminator) trying to assassinate King Edward. There are terrifying demons, beautiful angels, vengeful vampires, lovelorn sorceresses, magical explosions, a steam-powered Iron-Manesque power suit, demonically possessed revolvers, a trip to purgatory, a stormy ornithopter ride, and a stunning finale on board the RMS Titanic.

Like I said, it's old fashioned sword and sorcery, and the action catapults from one intense scene to the next, seemingly never-letting up.

So I'd be looking for nail-biting, edge-of-the-seat, wet-your-pants excitement at the very least. I want them to root for her. But I'd settle for a strong sense of like.

M.T.M: When you are not writing, what other authors do you enjoy reading?

C.K.: I really enjoy Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, but his fantasy not so much. I loved Patrick Rothfuss's Name of the Wind, and Martin Millar's Lonely Werewolf Girl.

My favourite book is Robert McCammon's Boy's Life. Everyone needs to read that. My favourite author is probably Terry Pratchett, but I realise he is not everyone's thing.

M.T.M: If you could have the opportunity to write a story, novel, episode, or movie about an existing character, what would that character be? (Doctor Who, James Bond, Wonder Woman, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Batman, etc.)

C.K.: I'd love to write a whole series of Spider-man novels, starting when he is still at school, back when the spider first bit him. I love Spidey.

Chris's blog tour rolls on throughout the month of October. Connect with him below:

Matilda Raleigh: Invictus - $2.99 at
Dun Scaith – Chris’s blog