A.J. Rettger lives on a farm near the small town of Aberdeen Saskatchewan with his dog, Zeke. He has a bachelor’s of education degree, as well as a certificate from a private vocational college. His hobbies include playing Dungeons and Dragons, listening to heavy metal, and reading and writing fantasy books.
Welcome to my favourite section of the blog, talking with the authors. Today, we have with us the Grimdark author A.J. Rettger, who wrote Oathbringer and his new release, Season of Kings.
Let’s dive in!
1.- What made you decide on the self-publish/indie publishing route?
For my first book, Oathbreaker, I went through a hybrid publisher (a balance between self-publishing and traditional publishing). And the experience was mixed. I wanted more control over my art and so I decided to go fully independent with Season of Kings.
2.- Season of Kings is your second novel, after Oathbreaker, do you think the process of writing has been easier than with your debut?
It is definitely easier. I love Oathbreaker and I stand by that book, but there are a lot of things I would do differently if I had the chance looking back. I took all the feedback and reviews I received after Oathbreaker‘s release and applied it to Season of Kings. I think out of my two books, Season of Kings is definitely the stronger of the two, as I was still finding my voice during Oathbreaker‘s creation.
3.- Season of Kings starts pretty hard from the start, like saying «Hi, this is grimdark», what made you decide on this genre?
Yes, that hard start was intentional. I love grimdark. It’s a genre that has always spoken to me. I love the grittiness, and how it isn’t scared to explore the topics and subject matter that are sometimes «taboo» in other genres.
4.- Did you find it difficult to write a novel with a multi-point of view?
Honestly no. I had been reading lots of multi-POV books at the time of writing Season of Kings, so I learned how to do it from the best of the best.
5.- Grimm is probably my favourite character, from where do you draw your inspiration for him?
I love Grimm, even if he is a bit «trope-ish». My inspiration came directly from the actor Jon Bernthal. His portrayal of Frank Castle in The Punisher and as The Mute in Pilgrimmage was absolutely the inspiration behind Grimm.
6.-What inspired the world of Season of Kings?
So the world of Season of Kings is the same world as Oathbreaker (my first book) just the events that take place in SoK, are several generations before Oathbreaker’s events take place. The world took inspiration from Sapkowski’s Witcher world. Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE Sapkowski and he is my literary hero. So my world takes a lot from Slavic Folklore and Culture. In SoK I did try and give the isles, their own distinct culture by researching Nordic culture and folklore.
7.- As your bio says all around metalhead, I’m legally mandated to ask you: which one is your favourite band?
Oh god, I can’t pick one! Avenged Sevenfold, Slipknot, and Trivium are childhood favourites who pulled me through some dark times and I am eternally grateful to them. But some more modern faves are Kublai Khan, Fit For An Autopsy, and King 810.
8.-What can we expect from A.J. Rettger in the future?
Well, there is an Oathbreaker sequel finished. However, I believe it needs some serious work before it can enter the world. Right now I am working on Season of Kings’ sequel as I have hit a creative roadblock with Oathbreaker‘s sequel.