Some thoughts with … John Palladino

The Author/s

John Palladino

John Palladino

You’ve stumbled upon somebody who takes nothing seriously, not even author bios. It’d be a good guess to say John Palladino was born in 1988, lives in Avoca, New York, has a bachelor’s degree in business management, and enjoys hibernating at home while writing. He might also lie and say he enjoys pets, long walks on the beach, and his hobbies include happiness and scuba diving. You’d see right through those lies, however, and notice he prefers the simpler things in life—reading, video games, and making ill-timed jokes. John also dislikes taking care of anything that excretes substances.

The Interview

Today, we inaugurate a new section that I hope will accompany most of the reviews, Some thoughts with. Here, we will prepare some questions for the authors we are reviewing, so we can get a better insight into the books.

No more preambles, let’s dive in:

Today’s guest is John Palladino, author of The Trials of Ashmount. I want to thank him for taking these questions and answering all of them.

1.- The Trials of Ashmounts is your first novel, can you tell us more about how was the process from starting writing to publishing?

The process was way more complicated than I originally thought. I’ve never had an issue writing first drafts – I’ve done that my entire life. I’ve never seriously tried to write something publishable, though. The amount of effort that took was shocking. Editing is easily the worst part of writing for me, followed by all the technical stuff I had to figure out (dealing with Kindle Direct Publishing, copyright, ISBN numbers). I didn’t realize how much went into it.

2.-What made you to decide write grimdark instead of other genres?

Joe Abercrombie and George RR Martin are my favorite authors. I’ve always preferred grimdark fantasy over anything else and I’ll never burn out or get sick of it. I think grimdark fantasy is more realistic – protagonists aren’t invincible, for one. I think that’s always been my biggest frustration with more mainstream fantasy, so it’s nice to see the surge in grimdark in the last few years. A lot of people think grimdark has no hope and all the characters have to be awful. I wanted to (hopefully) write a book where that wasn’t the case, while also having all the other grimdark elements I love.

3.-Let’s talk about Ashmount. For me personally, I think it’s the most interesting location of the book, apart from Buzzard’s Bowl, and I think it draws some inspiration from Harry Potter, what can you tell us about what made you write Ashmount?

Interestingly enough, you’re spot on. I wasn’t sure anyone would necessarily catch the Hogwarts inspiration, but after Abercrombie and Martin, I’d say Rowling was a large inspiration as well. Both in different and interesting food and then, of course, Ashmount. Originally Ashmount was going to be a lot closer to Hogwarts. You join the school, take classes, have classmate rivalries, etc. As I got closer to actually having to write about Ashmount, I came up with the Trials, and I also considered how a magical university run by the elite might work… So I ended up changing a bunch, but the influence was still there.

4.-Demri Slarn is a kinda interesting character, can you tell us a little bit more about how you created him?

Demri was partially inspired by Glokta of The First Law trilogy. I wanted a mean bastard of a character who took zero shit from anyone. What makes him different from any character that I’ve ever read is that he has a significant stutter. And that stutter is actually written into the dialogue, it’s not just a dialogue tag saying «Demri stuttered». I didn’t want readers to forget about this aspect of the character, which is why I made that choice. Furthermore, I wanted to make a character with a significant impediment that other people might notice, but he is so confident, so self-assured, that it never bothered him. A lot of the time stuttering is used for characters to demonstrate their weakness. I wanted to do the opposite because I’d never seen it before and, as a writer, I am trying to be unique.

5.- Personally I found Cyrok as one of the most interesting parts, and the gyrfalcons as a whole great concept. Would they appear more in the saga?

The gyrfalcons are fun, though I don’t have any concrete plans to implement them a bunch in future novels (it’s difficult for me to say, as I’m a complete pantser when it comes to writing). The Falcon Knights will continue appearing, though, I can assure you of that.

6.- It is rather interesting the POV of Villic, but I think a found some neurodiverse characteristics in his personality. It is intended?

Definitely intended. Villic is meant to be super shy, socially awkward, and a complete introvert. It’s entirely possible his qualities also make him neurodiverse. I’m no expert on this. All I can say is that Villic’s internal conflict was completely based on me, as a child, and having the same qualities. I was so afraid to talk to anyone, I hated being approached. I have since changed, but I thought it would be fun to explore in a character.

7.- I find the format of different storylines really good for showing the world without dumping information, but don’t you think it might make the book difficult to follow at the start?

I don’t know! People are able to follow A Song of Ice and Fire decently enough, so I’m hoping that things click for people once they read enough of the story. I find it difficult not to keep expanding my story so it was inevitable there’d be confusion early on, I think. Fun fact: originally there were only 4 main POVs. Villic was expanded later on to a main character. Two reasons for that… People liked him so much in the three short interludes he was in. The second reason is a spoiler for people who haven’t read The Trials of Ashmount.

8.- We will see more of the Buzzard’s Bowl during the saga?

Quite a bit, I’d say. Can’t elaborate much here though, because of spoilers!

9.-Well, what can we expect from John Palladino in the future?

Hopefully by the end of this year, I’ll be releasing two more books. The first will be an anthology of short stories set in Cedain (the same world/setting as the series) called Before The End. These stories are a variety of things – some focus on characters you know about, some are unique to the anthology, and some stories are introductions to characters in book two. Which brings us to the next book I’d like to release… Book 2 in the Tragedy of Cedain series, titled: Buzzard’s Bowl.

Again, I want to thank John for taking the time to answer everything, and for how easy was to reach.