Monday, 21 March 2016

9 Things You Might Not Know About It Takes a Thief...

It Take a Thief to Catch a Sunrise is a year old today! Happy birthday to my fantasy-steampunk heist caper.

To celebrate, I'm going to take a leaf out of fellow authory type Seth Skorkowsky's book and give you a list of things you might not know about It Takes a Thief to Catch a Sunrise.

  1. …To Catch a Sunrise was originally released under the title of The Northern Sunrise with a different cover. It was suggested to me that both cover and title were not catchy enough. My wonderful sister suggested the new title and BOOM! the series was born.

  1. The world is older than you think. A long time ago I originally had a YA series planned for the world. It was going to be based in the country of Great Turlain and was going to centre around a group of young elementals as they graduated from their academy to find the world isn't as nice and happy a place as their sheltered lives had taught them.

  1. Sassaille culture and language is based on France. Great Turlain on Germany. Arkland on England. And there's another country across the Brimstone seas which is based on another European country... but I'm not yet telling which.

  1. Originally I was going to have Sassaille use electricity quite a bit more and have the airships charge capacitors by flying into lightning storms. Then I was informed that Neil Gaiman had already beaten me to that idea so I scrapped it and decided Sassaille would focus more on alchemical power.

  1. Jacques Revou and Isabel de Rosier are based a little bit on Bonnie and Clyde only without the violence. I wanted a thieving couple so deeply in love that their connection bemuses people around them.

  1. The first chapter of ...To Catch a Sunrise started life as a short story. I decided to adapt it into a full novel after readers asked for more.

  1. The schematic of The Northern Sunrise was originally based of a 19th century Ironclad warship. The artist heavily modified it with drawings of the Vinet crystals and a bunch of annotations that I provided.

  1. ...To Catch a Sunrise was originally designed as a stand alone book. I needed a palette cleanser, to write something a lot lighter, after finishing The Ties that Bind. However, I left it open for a sequel because I wanted the characters to live on. A number of avid readers contacted me and asked when the sequel was coming... so I started to plan one. Which leads me to...

  1. It Takes a Thief to Start a Fire is coming this year. It's set in Great Turlain (home of the elementals) and will see Jacques and Isabel encounter another thieving crew with some interesting magic. AND... there is a 3rd book in the series planned which will take place across the Brimstone seas.

Rob J. Hayes is the author of the acclaimed The Ties that Bind trilogy and the upcoming Best Laid Plans duology. You can find out more on his website here.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Is The Walking Dead Sexist?

OK. It's time for a rant about a popular TV show. No, not Game of Thrones, the other one I rant about.
Awesome shot, Rick... but you're clearly running... not walking.
The Walking Dead is pissing me off a little bit now and it's not for the reason you probably think it is... It's for gender diversity reasons. See, here's the way it works:

All bad-guys are guys. The bigger the bad, the more guys the bad-guy surrounds himself with.

Good-guys are allowed to be... what's the opposite of guys? Gells? Pretty sure that's just Yorkshire for girls. Lasses? OK. Good-guys are allowed to be lasses and they can be interesting and fleshed characters. Bad guys have to be manly and evil because men are... I don't know... better at being evil? Fairly certain that ain't true.
See! Woman. Evil. I pretty much just chose this picture to remind people that The Emperor's New Groove exists.
So far, the show has given us 1 female antagonist (I'm talking real bad-guy here, not lacky... and, to be honest, not many of those are women). And she lasted a few episodes and wasn't really all that evil, just a bit naughty. Yes, she can be called a bit naughty when compared to the likes of the Governor.
Christine Woods as Lt. Dawn Lerner... she definitely has the 'bad-guy' stare.
Now we're not counting zombies here, because zombies basically cease to be one gender or another. They're generic teeth-gnashing plot devices for the most part. The real villains of TWD are the living... and that's kind of the point really, isn't it.

I'm going to break down the series villains (as I remember them). Spoilers will follow:

Season 1 – no real villains. Zombies are bad.

Season 2 – Arguably the only real human villain was Shane. He was nuts. Not truly evil, but certainly unhinged.

Season 3 – This was the one that gave us the Governor, right? Yeah, he was evil from start to end. Even when he was being good... he was clearly still evil.

Season 4 – Still the Governor. Still evil.
David Morrissey as the Governor. He lasted 2 series so deserves a picture.
Season 5 – Terminus. While not a person but rather a place and a community of cannibals, the mouthpiece for the group was a bloke... they were also quite evil.

Then we have the hospital. Finally a villain who is a woman. Not as evil as the others, and only lasted a few episodes.

The final bad-guy in season 5 is Rick. We'll come back to Rick.

Season 6 – Started with the Wolves(?). Basically a bunch of folk who... um... yeah I'm vague about the whole thing. Their mouthpiece was a bloke again though and he was nuts. Evil nuts. Murdering folk nuts.

Negan... don't really know much about him, but I've been told he makes the Governor look all cute and fluffy. He's definitely a bloke and definitely all sorts of evil.

Back to Rick. Rick is arguably the biggest villain of the entire show. He's insane. There's no arguing that Rick is insane. He regularly goes on insane rants and has even been attacked by his own crew before because of his insanity. He is willing to kill without mercy or hesitation and he always justifies those murders, at least to himself if no one else. To be honest, his first idea whenever he's confronted by anyone he doesn't know is to kill them. He's a villain. A bad guy. Only he's the good guy.
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes wearing one of many crimson masks.
So what brought on this little rant today? Well, I watched the latest episode. Season 6 Episode 12 – Not Tomorrow Yet. (We're still in spoiler territory). In this episode we see Rick and his murderous gang sneak into the Saviour's camp and murder folk in their sleep, before then having to battle folk while they're awake. I counted 21 bad guys that they killed. This, along with the 8 they killed in Episode 9 – No Way Out, comes to 29 confirmed Negan cronies... all men... and one disembodied woman's voice at the end of Episode 12.

Now, maybe I'm talking out of my arse (I often do), but I would like to see a few more women as villains in TWD. Women with lines of dialogue and actual characters beyond having a gun and pointing it at Rick's crew.

What do people think? Is there a reason all the bad guys in TWD are men? Are there any bad-ass women villains in the comics you'd like to see come to the show?

Rob J. Hayes is the author of the acclaimed The Ties that Bind trilogy and the upcoming Best Laid Plans duology. You can find out more on his website here.