Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Interview - Fish Wielder by J.R.R.R (Jim) Hardison

Tell us a little about your latest or upcoming release.

A.   My new book is called Fish Wielder and it’s an epically silly epic fantasy. It’s got a talking koi fish, a muscle-bound barbarian warrior, an elfish princess, a Dark Lord, a whole bunch of monsters and a perilous quest to recover the lost Pudding of Power. It’s the first book in the Fish Wielder trilogy—because when you are writing epic fantasy, it has to be a trilogy. Especially when you have as many Rs in your name as I do.

If you are a parent do you find it hard to juggle writing and parenting? Any tips for time management or sneaking in writing time?

A.   I am the father of two girls and I do find it hard to juggle writing and parenting. Basically, my kids don’t seem to work on a schedule, which means it’s hard to carve out a block of time to write. For me, having a solid block of writing time is important when I’m starting a project, so I tend to stay up late at night and write after they’ve gone to sleep. I’ve always been a night owl, so that works. Once I’ve got some momentum in the story, then I find I can sneak in writing whenever I have a half hour here or there. Toward the end of writing Fish Wielder, I was even writing in the car while waiting for my older daughter at her horse riding lessons.

One interesting thing that came of having two daughters is that, as I was writing the book, I really took a look at the roles of female characters in a lot of the epic fantasy that I grew up reading. I love stories like Lord of the Rings and the John Carter/Barsoom books and I wouldn’t change a thing about them, but I also felt an urge to include female characters with a stronger hand in shaping my story.

Have you ever based your book or characters on actual events or people from your own life?

A.   Although Fish Wielder is set in a magical world, populated by elves, dwarves, gnomes and monsters, I find it hard to write anything convincing unless it’s really rooted in the people and events I’m familiar with. So, while I doubt anyone I know would recognize themselves in the book, I’m always borrowing heavily from the personalities and quirks of the people around me.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

A.   I was once on the reality TV series The Apprentice as an expert advisor on brand characters. I also once wore a full body monster suit for a big musical dance number in a low budget horror film.

When you’re not writing what do you do? Do you have any hobbies or guilty pleasures?

A.   I write and record music. I’m not particularly good at it, but it’s a lot of fun. I’m currently learning to play drums, although I think I should have started twenty years ago.

Which romance book or series (or other genre, if you don’t write romance) do you wish you had written?

A.   I was going to say The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath, by H.P. Lovecraft, but then it occurred to me that would mean I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of reading it for the first time, and I’m not sure that would be a fair trade. 

If this book is part of a series…what is the next book? Any details you can share?

A.   Fish Wielder is book one of a trilogy. The next in the series is called A Fish Out of Water and the final book is The Last Starfish. Although the second book is well underway and the third is completely outlined, all I can say about them at the moment is that they continue the story of Thoral Mighty Fist and his best friend, Brad, the talking koi fish. There are a lot of twists and turns in the story, and I don’t want to give anything away just yet.

Fish Wielder
J.R.R.R (Jim) Hardison

YA Epic Fantasy
Fish Wielder Series (Book 1)
Publisher: Fiery Seas Publishing, LLC
August 23, 2016 

Book Description:

Fish Wielder is kind of like Lord of the Rings, set in Narnia, if it was written by the guys who made Monty Python and the Holy Grail while they were listening to the music of They Might Be Giants. 

In ancient times, the Dark Lord Mauron cooked the most powerful magic chocolate dessert ever made, the Pudding of Power.

One thousand and two years later, the evil leader of the Bad Religion, the Heartless One, is trying to recover the lost pudding in order to enslave the peoples of Grome. Only the depressed barbarian warrior Thoral Might Fist and his best friend, Brad the talking Koi fish, have a chance to save the world of Grome from destruction, but that's going to take a ridiculous amount of magic and mayhem.

Thus begins the epically silly epic fantasy of epic proportions, Fish Wielder—book one of the Fish Wielder Trilogy.

Book Videos:

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Advanced Praise:

“This is one wild romp! I'm not sure I've seen such preposterously determined critic-baiting parody since Xanth or Asprin's Myth-Begotten series. I recommend it to anyone.” ―Piers Anthony, New York Times Bestselling Author 

"Fast, fun, fantastic! Fish Wielder is hilarious and unpredictable, like a drunk bear playing whack-a-mole." ―Logan J. Hunder, author of Witches Be Crazy

"A great time. Fast and funny, it races along in a self-aware tone that should appeal to anyone who loves fantasy but has ever found themselves thinking, huh, that was a little melodramatic." ―Clay Johnson, author of OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD (Ravenswood Publishing, 2016)

Excerpt 1 (330 words)
“Come on, pal. Let’s get out of here,” Brad suggested, fanning himself with a fin. “We’ll
fight a monster or go on a quest or steal the jeweled eye from an idol or something. It’ll be fun.”
“My heart is too…” Thoral trailed off. “What is that word that means when something
has substantial weight?”
“Heavy,” the fish supplied. Thoral always had trouble remembering that one.
“Heavy. Yes. My heart is too heavy for adventure,” Thoral complained.
“Well, maybe if we pick something really hard, you’ll get killed,” the fish offered.
“A hero’s death?” Thoral asked, perking up just a bit.
“Yeah, sure. A hero’s death.”
“And then I couldst be done with this world,” Thoral murmured.
“Exactly,” Brad affirmed.
“Then let us go,” Thoral said, “this very instant.” He slammed his drink down on the
table so hard that some of the ale sloshed out of the tankard, splashing at the fish. The koi danced
back, just missing a soaking.
“Up to bed first and we’ll hit the road in the morning,” Brad countered, stepping around
the puddle of spilled drink.
“No, we will leave now.” There was a dangerous edge to the warrior’s tone that drew the
attention of everyone in the room even though he had not raised his voice. The bar went silent.
“Look, Thoral,” the koi answered, “it’s getting late. I’m tired. You’re drunk. We could
both use some sleep. Let’s not make a rash decision that might lead to all kinds of unexpected
Every eye turned to see the barbarian’s reaction.
“We will leave now,” Thoral insisted. The warrior and the fish stared at each other.
“Be reasonable,” Brad tried again. “Just give me one good reason why we shouldn’t wait
until morning.”
“We will leave now,” the barbarian declared, “because I am Thoral Mighty Fist!
Everyone gasped. Brad sagged, defeated. Once Thoral noted that he was Thoral, there
was no point in arguing further. Everyone knew it. That’s just how it was.

About the Author:

Fish Wielder is J.R.R.R. (Jim) Hardison's first novel novel (He wrote a graphic novel, The Helm, for Dark Horse Comics). Jim has worked as a writer, screen writer, animator and film director. He started his professional career by producing a low-budget direct-to-video feature film, The Creature From Lake Michigan. Making a bad movie can be a crash course in the essential elements of good character and story, and The Creature From Lake Michigan was a tremendously bad movie. Shifting his focus entirely to animation, Jim joined Will Vinton Studios where he directed animated commercials for M&M’s and on the stop-motion TV series Gary and Mike. While working at Vinton, he also co-wrote the television special Popeye's Voyage: The Quest for Pappy with actor Paul Reiser.

Jim has appeared on NBC's The Apprentice as an expert advisor on brand characters, developed characters and wrote the pilot episode for the PBS children's television series SeeMore's Playhouse and authored the previously mentioned graphic novel, The Helm, named one of 2010's top ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens by YALSA, a branch of the American Library Association. These days, Jim is the creative director and co-owner of Character LLC, a company that does story-analysis for brands and entertainment properties. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his lovely wife, two amazing kids, one smart dog and one stupid dog.

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