John Bierce is a fantasy novelist, history and science buff, SFF fan, and general all-around dork. He is currently traveling the world as a digital nomad, but spends a lot more time observing the urban ecology of drainage ditches in other countries than visiting glamorous tourist destinations. (Did you know that Southeast Asia has freshwater crabs? Who are apparently fantastic parents, unlike basically every other crab species ever? It’s definitely surprising the first time you see a crab wandering around in a ditch hundreds of miles from the ocean.)
Welcome to my favourite section of the blog, interviewing authors. Today we are accompanied by John Bierce, author of The Wrack and the epic fantasy saga The Mage Errant.
Let’s dive in!
1.-What made you decide to go for self-publishing?
A lot of reasons, ranging from my thoughts on the industry to my personal situation at the time I finished the first Mage Errant novel, but you can boil it down to three things- I wanted more control over my work, and I just didn’t feel like going through the exhausting pitching process for traditional publication, and I thought it would do better among indie novel buyers.
2.-Which aspects of writing do you find more challenging?
The toughest part is making myself sit down and work each day, no question.
3.- The Wrack was written at the end of 2019, well, in 2020 we had the Covid pandemic. How did it feel to write a book that was almost prophetic?
Absolutely surreal. It was really weird seeing the similarities and differences between what happened in The Wrack and in the real world. It shouldn’t have been surprising to me, though, since I based the Wrack so heavily off of various historical pandemics, but it was still bizarre.
4.- As stated in one of the appendixes, Wrack is actually a zoonosis. They are rather unusual, what made you choose it?
Zoonotic diseases actually make up the majority of infectious diseases affecting humanity- 61% of them, in fact. Rabies, Lyme Disease, HIV, malaria, the common cold, COVID19, and influenza are all zoonoses! It would have been a bit weirder to go with a non-zoonotic disease! From a craft perspective, however, it just offered more potential avenues of infection for the epidemiological mystery aspect of The Wrack.
5.- How would you define The Wrack?
I usually refer to The Wrack as an epidemiological fantasy, or just as a plague novel.
6.- You also published another serie of books, the Mage Errant. Could you expand us a little about it?
Mage Errant is a wizard school series following a protagonist with social anxiety as he gets caught up in Machiavelian politics, battles between giant monsters, and various magical mysteries. It’s part of the new progression fantasy genre, which focuses strongly on characters training and becoming more powerful over a series.
7.- The cover is the first that took my eye. Who is the designer?
The cover artist and designer of The Wrack is Amir Zand, and he did a fantastic job on it.
8.- What can we expect of John Bierce in the future?
I’m currently finishing up the last book in the Mage Errant series, and I hope to have it out early next year! After that, well… can’t give too many details, but I’m planning a sword and sorcery trilogy, a nautical fantasy series, and so much more- all tied together in the same multiverse as The Wrack and Mage Errant!