Interview with Sommer Nectarhoff ( The Death of Ydain)

Today, I would like to welcome Sommer Nectarhoff to Fantasy Smorgasbord!

So Sommer Nectarhoff is the author of the upcoming epic fantasy, The Death of Ydain releasing worldwide on Dec 18th. We caught up with Sommer to chat about his upcoming novel, the success of his previous dark fantasy ten-book series, The book of Lokk, and lots more.

So for the readers of the blog, please tell us who is Sommer Nectarhoff. 
Hey! Naturally I’m a writer, haha. But I’m from Chicago and currently a student at Tufts University in Boston. It’s safe to say I’m a nerd—not only for fantasy but in most walks of life—and writing’s been in my genes since day one.

Your new book, The Death of Ydain is releasing this Friday, Dec 18th. It has a mind-blowing cover and a very intriguing premise. Tell us more about the book and what inspired you to write it?  
Sure! “The Death of Ydain” takes place across the sea from the land featured in “The Book of Lokk”, and a thousand years in the past. The “thousand years” part is key—this book is meant to set up the legendary origins of the Shattered Kingdom, which I’m currently exploring in Lokk’s present with a series of novellas. I was inspired to write it not only because I was curious about what else was happening in Lokk’s world, but also because I’m a huge fan of mythology and in particular the old stories of King Arthur, which “The Death of Ydain” is meant to emulate.

Give us a peek into the characters who make up the Death of Ydain. What makes them compelling? 
Oooh! Good question. “The Death of Ydain” is written with a very distinct narrative voice—there’s no main protagonist whose “mind” the reader lives in—and by a fictional author a few hundred years after the events are supposed to have taken place. Because of this the characters are somewhat larger than life—you have the stereotypical dragon-slaying knights and mischievous maidens of the first fantasy stories, something that we don’t really see so much anymore with the rise of “grim-dark”.

I am very impressed by the cover – would you give us more details about how it came about.
Sure. I wanted the greatest cover possible for this book, so I essentially selected one of the most badass characters in the story, gave his description to my artist, Sebastian Horoszko, and had him work his magic. I specified that I wanted it to be a character-focused piece, one that a reader simply couldn’t look at without feeling drawn in and needing to read the book. I think we succeeded!

What kind of research did you do for the book? 
“The Death of Ydain” is written in late Middle English, so most of the research I did came in the form of studying old texts from the twelfth-fifteenth centuries. My main inspiration was “Le Morte d’Arthur” (the death of Arthur in French), and the title I chose for my own book reflects that. I’d heard that Tolkien wrote the Lord of the Rings to create his own mythology for Europe, and the idea’s always been in the back of my head ever since.

What is your writing process like? 
To sum it up very simply I’d say this: long hours. I write every single day for many hours, and there were days I wrote for twelve hours a day when I was writing my first draft. Then I go through heavy revisions, and I don’t finish the first page until I’m done with the last—that way the book is consistent the whole way through.

What authors have influenced you most, and why? 
Another good question! To be honest I would say I’ve been much more interested by non-fantasy writers than anyone else, though I’ll give you some examples from both worlds. Ernest Hemingway’s prose inspired me more than any other that I’ve read—it keeps me writing as simply as possible: I’m definitely of the opinion that must work is far over-written. I try to keep my prose as clean as I can.
While I can’t say I’ve been particularly effected by the prose of GRRM or Steven Erikson, the sheer breadth of their worlds has shown me what’s possible in worldbuilding. I want to create whole cultures and societies for my readers to fall into, the same way GRRM and Erikson did for me.

What are you currently reading? Any books that you would recommend? 
I’m currently reading the Gentlemen Bastards series by Scott Lynch. As far as fantasy recommendations go I would say that anyone who hasn’t read A Song of Ice and Fire is missing about, though most people have by this point. If you’re up for a fun challenge then check out “Le Morte d’Arthur” it’s a classic from over five hundred years ago, and everything from the plot to the characters are as fresh now as they were then.

What is next on the cards? Anything else you’d like to share with the readers?
I’m in the process of writing some novellas in the Shattered Kingdom that take in the fictional present. Look for them in early 2016!

Thank you so much for stopping by and here's wishing you good luck with the new release! Cannot wait to get my hands on the same. 


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