Some thoughts with … Rob J. Hayes

20 Jul 2022

The Author/s

Rob J. Hayes

Rob J. Hayes

Winner of Mark Lawrence’s 3rd Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO) with Where Loyalties Lie

Rob J. Hayes has been a student, a banker, a marine research assistant, a chef, and a keyboard monkey more times than he cares to count. But eventually his love of fantasy and reading drew him to the life of a writer. He’s the author of the Amazon Best Selling The Heresy Within, the SPFBO-winning piratical swashbuckler Where Loyalties Lie, and the critically acclaimed Never Die.

The Interview

1.-I find really interesting the Source Magic system, where do you draw your inspiration for it? Did you intend it to be a hard magic system?

I really liked the idea of a magic wielder having access to different types of magic depending on whatever Source they are wielding. I think the original inspiration probably came from computer games like Diablo where different Sources would amplify certain spells or elements. It just seemed like a cool idea that I could explore quite heavily. I’ve seen a lot of comparisons drawn between the Sourcery in The War Eternal and Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn books because both magic systems require the practitioner to swallow something, but that was never a conscious inspiration. However, I read Mistborn a good 15 years ago, I think, so it’s very possible it played a subconscious part.

I intended the Sourcery to be a semi-hard magic system. It has definite rules and costs, drawbacks and limitations, however, I didn’t want to go too deeply into the sort of things a Sourcerer could do and how. Rather than publish a definitive list of abilities, I like to leave a lot of what can be possible up to the imagination to keep an air of mystery about the magic.

2.-I think it’s pretty interesting how the Pit is used to make this book more introspective around Eskara and to not make a big world info dump, what would you say are the more interesting aspects of Eskara?

Eska is a bizarre and wonderful character to write. In some ways I wrote her as a bit of a foil to characters like Kvothe (Kingkiller Chronicles) and Locke (Gentleman Bastards). Those characters are always talking themselves up and making their legends seem like over the top grand adventures. I wanted Eska to be very self critical. Yes, she’s had some adventures and done a lot of stuff, but so much of it she looks back on and hates herself for. Her psyche is very much grounded in anxiety and depression. She’s the type of person who analyses the things she does and says and finds fault in them. And she’s always dancing on the edge of «I’m a terrible person, I should just not be alive.» It makes for a very interesting character to write (and hopefully read), but she’s also the type of character who will rub many readers the wrong way. She’s not a nice person, and she’s not hero, and she’ll be the first to tell you just that.

3.-You have been one of the most prolific self-published authors, which challenges have you found in your way?

Honestly, one of the biggest challenges I’ve encountered is a sense of obligation. I’m very much a mood writer and get swept up with stories that pop into my head and just demand to be written. As such, I now have quite a few different series on the go at once. There is an obligation to finish series that can feel quite crushing at times. I’m doing my best to finish a few series before starting any more at the moment.

4.-I saw you just recently published Titan Hoppers, what can you tell us about it? 

Titan Hoppers is a progression science fantasy, which is a whole new list of subgenres for me. Progression fantasy is this idea that characters continually get stronger, hitting new distinct levels of power, and face more and more powerful challenges. Science fantasy is just a weird trip. Like Star Wars it’s basically swords and magic in space. The idea behind Titan Hoppers is that humanity has survived on a fleet of near derelict spaceships it doesn’t even understand. The only way for them to get enough food and fuel and other resources is to scavenge them from these mighty space titans, which are spaceships as big as planets, filled with monsters and traps and mysteries. I like to think of it as Naruto meets Warhammer 40k. 

5.-What can we expect of Rob J. Hayes in the future?

More books. I’m publishing the 5th and final The War Eternal book later this year (hopefully). I’ll be continuing with Titan Hoppers next year. And I have a big epic dark fantasy coming soon called The Age of the Godeater.