Dan Koboldt is joining us today to talk about his novel, Silver Queendom. Here’s the publisher’s description:
When you owe money to the biggest criminal in town you are going to need to step up your thieving game a notch…
Service at the Red Rooster Inn isn’t what you’d call “good,” or even “adequate.” Darin would be the first to say so, and he owns the place. Evie isn’t much of a barmaid; Kat’s home-brewed ale seems to grow less palatable with each new batch; and Seraphina’s service at the bar leaves much to be desired. As for the bouncer, Big Tom, well, everyone learns right quick to stay on his good side.
They may be bad at running an inn, but they’re the best team of con artists in the Old Queendom. When a prospective client approaches Darin with a high-paying job, he knows he should refuse. But the job is boosting a shipment of priceless imperial dream wine, the most coveted and expensive drink in the world. And, thanks to a stretch of bad luck, he’s in deep to The Dame, who oversees criminal enterprises in this part of the Queendom.
If they fail, they’re as good as dead, but if they succeed… well, it’s enough money to get square with the Dame and make all of their dreams come true. Plus, it’s an option for Darin to stick it to the empress, who he has good reason to despise.
Then again, there’s a very good reason no one has ever stolen imperial dream wine…
What’s Dan’s favorite bit?
When I was in the fourth grade, I had two experiences that changed the course of my life. First, I read The Lord of the Rings, which sparked a lifelong love of fantasy. Second, thanks to an excellent gym teacher named Mr. Lowry, we took an archery unit during gym class. As I drew my first arrow on the pastel-green bow and took aim at a large haybale, I found a true calling. Some kids want to be astronauts or firefighters or professional athletes when they grow up. I wanted to be Legolas.
That dream, sadly, never came to fruition. But I continued reading fantasy books, and eventually I started writing my own. I kept up archery in the real world, too, by becoming a bowhunter.
Every fall, I spend countless hours in the woods pursuing white-tailed deer and the occasional turkey with bow and arrow. Usually without success, it needs to be said, because bowhunting is hard. Statistically, I’ve managed to hit more deer with my car than I have with an arrow.
Perhaps not surprisingly, most of my fantasy stories have at least one character who carries a bow and arrow. The main character in my first trilogy (Gateways to Alissia) learned to bowhunt, too, which proved useful for his adventures later in life. My new book is an epic fantasy set in a world that hasn’t discovered gunpowder. Bows and spears are common weapons. The problem, however, is that my main characters in this book aren’t adventurers.
They’re con artists.
A con artist needs a diverse set of skills, but rarely has years to devote to a single one of them. And traditional archery, realistically, takes years to master. So, my favorite bit about the book was giving the characters crossbows instead.
A crossbow is a different kind of weapon from a traditional bow. Yes, it’s a ranged weapon, but there are some important differences. First, a crossbow fires bolts, not arrows. Second, it can be loaded (drawn, cocked, and a bolt placed) in advance. And third, once loaded, a crossbow can be used by almost anyone. This last difference makes crossbows a great equalizer. Children, the elderly, and people who are less able can use them about as well as a trained warrior.
From the point of view of the trained warrior, it’s bound to be frustrating.
In the modern world, crossbows are increasingly popular among bowhunters. I own two of them myself. They shoot faster, farther, and more consistently than traditional and compound bows. They not only make bowhunting more accessible to the world, but theoretically increase the chances of a successful hunt.
As long as you’re not me.
Dan Koboldt is the author of the Gateways to Alissia trilogy (Harper Voyager) and the Build-A-Dragon Sequence (Baen), the editor of Putting the Science in Fiction and Putting the Fact in Fantasy (Writer’s Digest Books), and the creator of the sci-fi adventure serial The Triangle (Realm). As a genetics researcher, he has co-authored more than 100 publications in Nature, Science, The New England Journal of Medicine, and other scientific journals. Dan is also an avid deer hunter and outdoorsman. He lives with his wife and children in Ohio, where the deer take their revenge by eating the flowers in his backyard.