Shadow of the Soul Blade (Author Interview)

Shadow of the Soul Blade looks like a great book. What can you tell us about it?

This is a high paced epic fantasy adventure that will take the readers side by side with our heroes, as they battle ferocious new monsters and deadly enemies. The four protagonists, Bastian, Xander, Reinhardt and Kumori, are forced to fight for their lives in an epic quest to discover why they’ve become entangled in a plot to overthrow the kingdom, which could ultimately threaten to destroy the whole world. One of the things my beta readers like best is that it’s full of twists and turns. As soon as you think you know what’s going on, a new fact comes in to reshape the perspective of the whole story, while keeping it all cohesive, and lining everything up to make sense.

Any plans to turn it into a series?

Yes, I created this world about twenty years ago, and have since been using it as a platform for running role playing game campaigns. I have reams of paper filled with information on this world, and this first book only scratches the surface. Shadow of the Soul Blade, is the first book in the Darkthorne trilogy, which I’m hoping will result in two more trilogies after this first set is completed.

That’s an amazing cover.  Can you tell us about it?

The cover was drawn by my friend John Ric Detoon. He’s an amazing artist, and one of my many friends from the Philippines. The cover features a commissioned piece depicting two of our heroes, Bastian (right) and Xander (left) skulking through the woods, while one of the Shadow Assassins from the infamous Ashino clan is lurking behind them, holding the Soul Blade. But to find out how the blade connects to the Assassin clan, you’ll have to read the book. And after I received the artwork, I went to work designing the style and layout of the text over the artwork.

Can you tell us a little about the world of Ashana?

It’s so difficult to just tell a little, but I’ll do my best. This is a brand-new world, with none of the previously expected fantasy species or creatures. It’s home to seven continents with various climates, and over half a dozen sentient species with a range of cultures, which have to survive amongst nearly a thousand new beastly creatures.  The Kandari of Eastern Aestaria are the closest to humans, but still not quite human. They’re the common species and speak the common tongue, referred to as Kanish. They share the Aestarian continent with a sentient feline tribal people called the Selece, from western Aestaria. The world was once ruled by a pair of all powerful beings, whose disappearance around ten thousand years ago, has now resulted in their vulnerability from extra-dimensional beings.

What scene or section did you have the most fun writing?

There’s a scene where all of our heroes end up in prison together, after being captured for thoughtlessly using aggressive magic openly in a public area. Once they land in jail, everything around how they end up getting out of that situation, and all the discussions that happen between Reinhardt and Xander was the most fun to write. It’s also where the characters took on their own personas, and started making decisions where it almost felt more like I was watching a movie than actually writing a book. There’s a part where the characters will feel like they have their own minds separate from mine, and that’s when that first happened.

What inspired the idea for the book?

After running twenty years’ worth of campaigns in these various realms, I had considered in 2018 that I may go back and try to publish the Darkthorne RPG that spawned the creation of Ashana to begin with. But while I was revisiting the original material that I had saved, a series of brand-new stories just kept popping into my head. Different scenes, different characters interactions. So I just jotted them down. After a while, I was able to string them into a story, and eventually I was able to elaborate on that story and turn it into an epic novel.

How did you come up with the title for the book?

Well, in the book, there’s a clan of assassins that is able to “swim” through shadow, allowing them to pop out nearly anywhere and kill their victims. Simultaneously, there is an ancient relic called the Soul Blade that was crafted by the Ashuun for the purpose of killing the old gods. Without giving any spoilers, I can only say that the Shadow Assassins have a mystical connection to the Soul Blade, which drives the majority of the plot.

Did anything stick out as particularly challenging when writing Shadow of the Soul Blade?

Yes, since I was fifteen, I’ve practiced sword combat. I’ve studied Historical European Martial Arts, with the manuscripts of Pedro Monte, and later Vincentio Saviolo. I’ve done stage combat and choreography. Along side my studies of various eastern systems that use the Katana. So, my original attempt to write combat scenes was surprisingly difficult because I was having problems getting out of the technical headspace, and only giving the reader exactly what they needed to know. The original manuscript had enough detail that I could have handed it to a choreographer, and said, here’s the fight scene, run it. But the average reader doesn’t care if the swords bind on the strong, or the weak part of the blade, or where the attacker’s toes are pointing. Thankfully I got most of that fixed before it went to my beta readers, and my professional editing team helped me with the rest, so now it’s just fast paced action from the opening of combat, until it resolves. But that was one of my biggest challenges.

What do you like to do when not writing?

When I’m not writing, I have a loving wife and five awesome children, the oldest of which is already out of the house. But that still leaves me with four kids, three dogs, two cats and a bearded dragon. So much of my time is spent taking my daughters to Karate, where one just became a second-degree Shotokan black belt, or violin practice, or you’ll find me on the soccer fields. In my own time, I fly drones, practice archery, or you’ll find me at the nearest axe throwing range.

Where can readers find out more about your work?

If someone wants to find out what I’m up to, they can find me at That’s where I post all my updates, or they can use one of the links there to find me on social media.