GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Fantasy authors Paul Barrett & Steve Murphy interview + giveaway | I Smell Sheep

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Fantasy authors Paul Barrett & Steve Murphy interview + giveaway

Hi there. This is Paul Barrett and Steve Murphy here to interview authors Paul Barrett and Steve Murphy. So let’s get to it.

PAUL: So Steve, how did we meet?
STEVE: When we were in our teens, you bribed me with $10 worth of quarters to go play pinball to give you a ride home on my motorcycle. I was cheap in those days.
PAUL: (under breath) Still are.
STEVE: What’s that?
PAUL: Nothing. Please, continue with this fascinating oral history.

STEVE: well, I gave you the ride to the arcade, we played pinball, and I dropped you off at home. And the rest is history. And that was (redacted) years ago. So Paul, what made you want to be a writer?
PAUL: Sex, drugs, and rock and roll. No, wait, that’s why I wanted to play guitar. But learning guitar was way too difficult, so I decided to write. Turns out writing is hard, too, but it doesn’t put calluses on your fingers. What about you?
STEVE: I had an English teacher who encouraged me. She said, “with your grasp of spelling, the only two things you can possibly be are a mathematician or an author with a really good editor.” Quadratic equations made my nose bleed, so author it was.

PAUL: where did you come you with the idea for Scribe of Destiny?
STEVE: you came up with it.
PAUL: oh, that’s right, I did, didn’t I? Well, I started thinking about the idea of the classic reluctant hero. You know the person who always gets The Call, then hangs up on it with a “no thanks, no adventure for me today.” But then the Call happens again and they wimp out and are all, “okay, fine, I’ll give up everything and slay the dragon.” I thought it might be fun to show a character who sticks to his principles and constantly tells The Call to bugger off but ends up on the Grand Adventure anyway. From there, it just became an odyssey of strange characters, bizarre situations, and lots of puns.
STEVE: This was one you sort of wrote before we decided to partner up on all our writing.
PAUL: It is. So I had the whole story, but then you came along and made it better by suggesting some edits, adding your spin on a few things, and helping fix one potentially problematic piece I let slip through. As always happens when we work together, the story got stronger.

STEVE: So who would you say this book is for? Who should read it?
PAUL: Well, everyone should read it. Otherwise, how are we going to become bestsellers? But if I had to narrow it down, I would say anyone who likes Terry Pratchett, Robert Asprin, or Douglas Adams. Not that I’m comparing us to any of those greats, but the book tries to play in the same sandbox.

Say Hello to Fantasy's Most Reluctant Hero

Scribe of Destiny
by Paul Barrett & Steve Murphy
Genre: Fantasy Comedy
Briar, son of Patch, is perfectly happy working as a low-level scribe for the Church of Ubel, spending his off time painting seascapes, walking on the beach, and being alive.

That last one is put in imminent danger when the Church hierarchy determines the god Ubel has gone insane. A delegation is gathered to journey to the Oracle of Hiephi so they can learn what must be done to cure the psychopathic deity. Briar, very much against his will, must accompany the group, ostensibly to chronicle the journey for inclusion in the official Church archives.

During their adventures, horrific visions of an angry, scowling teenager plague Briar, and he soon learns there is a deeper, darker reason behind his inclusion in this insanely dangerous quest.

Facing the likes of bloodthirsty pirates, a bloodthirstier gnome talent agent, and The Slobbering Hound of Chaos, Briar slowly, and oh so unwillingly, learns his place in the world. He might even manage to become a hero. If he survives.


Crow pushed open the door and walked in before me. Protocol dictated that I, as the guest, should have been allowed first entrance—just another petty slight. I was going to have to invent an outstanding payback. Crow had to know it would come. He didn’t serve the Archbishop at all times, and when he was off-duty, he was fair game.

The chamber was large and well decorated, with straight walls covered in soft sheer curtains and tapestries, most depicting saints martyred in gruesome ways while serving Ubel. A four-poster occupied one corner, wrapped in dark blankets. A stout wooden desk sat in the room’s center, clean except for a single sheet of parchment upon which the Archbishop scribbled with a quill. Light streamed in from an open window, aided by large oil lanterns that gave off the salty scent of whale.

As I looked about the room, a strange sense of unreality walked over me, a collision of what was with what used to be. For the briefest moment, I felt like a piece of taffy tugged on by two ravenous children, each wanting the lion’s share of my mind. This chamber was how the rest of the cathedral should be but wasn’t. Or was the cathedral right and the chamber wrong? It gave me an instant headache.

“Are you okay?” the Archbishop asked in his dull, grating voice. “You look as if you’ve seen a ghost.”

“Ghosts don’t exist,” I said reflexively.

“Don’t they?” the Archbishop said with an amused smile. He looked at Crow, who stood beside the large desk, and his smile faltered. “Why are you still here?”

“I await your Grace’s pleasure.”

“Well, his Grace’s pleasure would have been to have breakfast ready before he left home this morning, but since you were nowhere to be found, his pleasure now is that you depart since nothing here concerns you.”

Crow’s face fell as if the Archbishop slapped him. Which he had, in a way. Only great effort kept me from cheering. Crow glared at me. I offered a smile and a dismissive wave of my hand. We both knew I had won this round.

“As your Grace wishes.” He bowed and left, closing the door harder than strictly necessary.

The Archbishop eyed me for a moment, as a butcher might study a choice cut of meat. I shifted on my feet and stared at the rug-covered floor, unable to meet the man’s gaze. Today was the most direct contact I’d had with him my whole time in the Church since I usually worked with the priests or the archivist.

He cleared his throat, and I looked up to find him folding the parchment. He grabbed a small taper, dripped wax onto the fold, and pressed a ring into the wax. “Have you had any more strange feelings since I saw you last?”

You mean other than the feeling this room exists in someplace outside the rest of the building, I wanted to say. I still could get no sense of what the Archbishop thought of my earlier peculiar behavior and didn’t want to push things. But I couldn’t outright lie either. “Just a headache,” I said.

The Archbishop held up two pieces of parchment, one large and square, the other small and rectangular. “I want you to deliver these to Elder. This one,” he indicated the smaller one, “he is to read.” He waved the larger one. “This he is to deliver to the Holy Unseen.”

He gave me another grin, the kind you offered to people at funerals. “I understand from the priests that you are a good scribe. It will serve you well. Now take these.”

Puzzled at his strange comments, I walked over and took the parchments. As I touched them, I caught the thought nice working with you and felt the kind of sizzling jolt you might get from a torch smashed across your forehead. I looked at the documents as the Archbishop stepped back. These documents were another piece of the life-shift puzzle that had begun to assemble this morning. I couldn’t make out exactly what would happen, but I felt the answer was close.

Had I known how close, I would have burned the parchments, scattered the ashes, and moved to the swamp for the rest of my life.

About the Authors:
Steve Murphy has spent much of his life in uniform, starting with four years in the Navy, then a stint in the Army National Guard, followed by 23 years as a police officer, 9 of those as a SWAT sniper.

So naturally, he writes science fiction, fantasy, and space opera. This is his third novel, with several more in the works with Paul. In addition to writing, Steve has also worked as a consultant and set decorator for the film industry. Steve is an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys camping, backpacking, whitewater, sailing and motorcycle riding. The father of two boys, now grown men, Steve lives somewhere in North Carolina with his wife and two dogs.

Paul Barrett has had multiple careers, including rock and roll roadie, theater stage manager, mortgage banker, and support specialist for Microsoft Excel.

This eclectic mix allowed him to go into his true love: motion picture production. He has produced two feature films (Cold Storage and Night Feeders) and two documentaries (The Final Gift, In the Footsteps of Elie Wiesel.) When not producing films, he works as a script supervisor or props assistant. Amidst all this, Paul worked on his writing. This is his fifth novel, with more on the way. Paul is an avid board gamer, miniatures painter, movie enthusiast, and all-around nerd.

Paul lives in North Carolina with his graphic designer husband and four furry overlords, aka cats.

Paul and Steve have been friends since 1980, enduring the rough and tumble of life through thick and thin since 1980.

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