Thursday, May 19, 2016

FFBC Blog Tour, Interview, & Giveaway: Inquisition (Taran Matharu)

The Inquisition (Summoner #2)
by Taran Matharu
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: May 10th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fiction, Magic, Demons

More demons, epic battles, and fights to the death: introducing the unmissable next installment in the Summoner Trilogy...
On trial for a crime he did not commit, Fletcher must face the Inquisition who will decide his future - the process is gruelling, lead by those who will do anything to see him suffer and haunted by ghosts from the past with clues to Fletcher's tragic origins.
But Fletcher has little time to dwell on these new revelations when the king announces a deadly challenge to the graduating students at Vocans. One that involves entering Orc territory to complete a risky mission. With loyal demons by their sides, commoners and nobles, dwarves and elves must overcome barriers of class and race and work together to triumph. The reward: a fortune in gold, the safety of an empire and PEACE.
With the entire empire watching, Fletcher has much to prove, but there are those out to get him and it soon becomes clear that there's a traitor in their midst, trying to thwart the mission and create unrest within the Empire.
With everything stacked against him, Fletcher must use everything in his power to fight his way to victory.


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Taran was born in London in 1990 and found a passion for reading at a very early age. His love for stories developed into a desire to create his own during early adolescence, beginning his first book at 9 years old.
Straight after graduating with a First Class degree in Business Administration, Taran was keen to explore a new avenue and get inside the publishing world, landing an internship in Digital Sales at Penguin Random House, from June to September 2013.
Thereafter, while taking time off to travel, Taran began to write ‘Summoner’ in November 2013 at the age of 22, taking part in ‘Nanowrimo 2013’.

Thanks to and updating daily, its popularity dramatically increased, reaching over 3 million reads in less than six months.

After being featured by NBC News, Taran decided to launch his professional writing career and has never looked back.
His SUMMONER trilogy is published by Hodder Children’s (Hachette) in the UK, Australia and Commonwealth, Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan) in the US and Canada, Hachette Jeunesse in France, Heyne in Germany, Planeta in Spain, Crown in Taiwan and Record in Brazil. Book 1 will be published by EKSMO in Russia, Jaguar in Poland, Ecliptic in Bulgaria and Alpress in the Czech Republic.



What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

I get asked this a lot! I think there are four main areas that I get my inspiration from.

1.) History

I have always loved history, even as a subject at school. Historical fiction was one of my preferred genres, with Bernard Cornwell and Wilbur Smith’s books stacking my shelves. Medieval times, with their great battles, political intrigue and the importance of family, heritage and succession had a great influence on the nobility in The Novice.

Then there is the 18th century, an age of great empires, rampant piracy and a mad mix of modern and early weaponry, with gunpowder muskets, pistols and cannons being used alongside cavalry, sabres, and lances. It was a time of scientific advancement and technological disparities, great clashes of cultures and racial discrimination. I took great inspiration from this time period, especially in The Novice’s weapons and warfare.

2.) Mythology and Cryptology

When creating my “Demonology” and designing my demons, I wanted a mix of the familiar and the new. From the world’s legends, I adapted Griffins, Salamanders, Minotaurs, Golems and Hydras, to name but a few, all of which would be familiar creatures to the well-read.

Then there were the lesser-known creatures, such as the cannibalistic Wendigo from Native American mythology, or the Raiju, a lightning powered mammal from Japan. Another favourite was the Persian Chamrosh, a griffin-like mix between bird and dog. Of course I designed my own unique demons as well, but my love for mythological creatures around the world had a huge influence on it all.

3.) My Own Experiences

One of my passions is to travel. All over the world, I encountered fascinating cultures, from the aboriginals of Australia to the native tribes of the Amazon. I have been in deserts and rainforests, deep sea and mountaintops, snowy wastelands and the hilly English countryside. These inspired the geography of Hominum, as well as the cultures and histories of my fantasy races.

During my schooldays I saw how class divisions could cause great rifts and shape the people within them. I have also experienced racism as a minority, something that featured heavily in my life when I was younger. From here, the discrimination, classism and personalities in Vocans Academy and the wider Hominum Empire were conceived.

4.) Fantasy and Science Fiction Culture

I have enjoyed science fiction and fantasy in all aspects they manifest themselves in, be that films, books, comics or videogames. These include the magical schools of Earthsea, Harry Potter and Discworld, the multiple races of Lord of the Rings, Skyrim and Redwall, the portals to another world in the Chronicles of Narnia and Stargate, and even the creature companions in Pokémon. All these and more have influenced and inspired the Summoner series.

Who is your favorite character in the book?

Fletcher, my protagonist, is certainly a favourite of mine. He’s a representation of my younger self, railing against injustice and trying to find his place in the world. That being said, Othello is the first dwarf to attend Vocans Academy, a military academy for mages where most of the book takes place. The racism he endures throughout the book is a reflection of the racism I experienced at my own schools when I was younger. He’s definitely a firm second to Fletcher, and on occasion takes first place depending on which chapter I’m writing ;-).

Which came first, the title or the novel?

I came up with the series name, Summoner, at the same time as the idea for the world was formed, since summoning is such a major component of the magic system. As for the titles of The Novice and The Inquisition, my publishers suggested those names. I didn’t have much control over those!

What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?

A lot of people enjoy the demonic elements in the book. My favourite scene is the one where Fletcher and the other students are shown the demon world by their teacher, Captain Lovett, in their first summoning lesson. It was a scene that was quite difficult to write, since most of the scene takes place through a demon’s view, which the students watch through a magic crystal, but I think it worked well in the end. 

Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?

That writers are not literary geniuses who have studied the craft their entire lives. They are simply people with a story to tell, and the dedication, talent and bloody-mindedness to put it all into a book. 

What do you like most about the cover of the book?

That I chose the artist myself! Her name is Malgorzata Gruzska, and we had been working together on projects long before I wrote The Novice. In the case of The Novice, I also designed the cover with her before I got my book deal, and the publishers liked it so much, they decided to use it. As for The Inquisition, Malgorzata worked closely with the publishers to get it right, and I had some input as well. The other thing I like about both covers is that readers will recognise elements from the cover in the books themselves, for example Fletcher’s curved sword, the demon on his shoulder and the clothing he wears.

What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2016?

I’m really looking forward to League of Dragons, the last in the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik. It’s an alternate history series that takes place during the Napoleonic wars…only with dragons! I also love that the technologies used in the book (muskets, cannons etc) are used in my books too.

What was your favorite book in 2015?

Probably Red Rising by Pierce Brown. I was a bit late to the party as it came out in 2014, but I really enjoyed it. It’s set 600 years after humans have started colonising space, and the species has diverged into different classes of human. The protagonist is a lower class human who fakes his way into a deadly competition between the ruling classes so that he can take out the oppressive system from within. 

What’s up next for you?

I am currently putting the finishing touches to Book 3 (name TBD), which should complete the Summoner trilogy….for now at least. Then I need to decide what my next book series will be. It’s tricky; I have a ton of ideas!

Is there anything that you would like to add?

Only to say thank you for hosting this interview and asking such great questions! Also to let everyone know that The Inquisition, Book 2 in the Summoner series, is out on May 10th, and for those new to the series, you can currently pick up Book 1, The Novice, wherever books are sold.

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