Mr. Sykes' debut novel, Tome of the Undergates, was one of last year's hottest and most intriguing releases. In just a few weeks, he follows it up with the greatly-anticipated Black Halo.
Thanks to the power of the internet, we're able to get interviews from authors in far-off, overseas lands. In Sam Sykes' case, it also took a taser and a court order.
Let's start with a question that seems oft-pondered and never-asked, do you play Dungeons & Dragons? The relationship between the Tome of the Undergates' adventurers and a traditional D&D party has been flagged up by a few reviewers.
Yeah, I played D&D. Not as much as some people might accuse me of, perhaps; I never really had enough patience for it. I would get bored and aggressive after awhile, which, playing with three other dudes about sixteen, would inevitably lead to terrible things. There's no way to say this without being at least a little embarrassed, but a lot of my formative years as a writer were dominated by Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms, which were taken from D&D pretty directly. I say a little embarrassed, because it's not quite as lofty as others who might talk through their nose about how they are a true child of Tolkien and adhere strictly to the rules of true myth and the hymns of Robert E. Howard, but fuck that. I loved those books. Dual wielding dark elves with magic panthers 4 lyfe.
The truth is that I wrote Tome of the Undergates back when I was fourteen and finished it when I was around seventeen. At that iteration, it pretty much blew. I had written a pretty competent Forgotten Realms-esque story, but I hadn't written my story. That's when I started branching out, reading more, having that defining moment where every kid's perception of reality is shattered by George R.R. Martin. I kept a lot of the original foundations from when I was fourteen for the original story (sometimes, I think, maybe too much), but no, it's not a D&D adventure.
I mean, fuck, how could it be? Four melee classes? A party of completely conflicting alignments? A cleric that chose healing and good as her domains? Who the hell would run with those nerds? I don't think Denaos evenknows what Combat Reflexes is, let alone how to use it.