Words with Toby Neighbors, Author of "Fierce Loyalty"

1. Can you tell us a little bit about "Fierce Loyalty?"

Fierce Loyalty is an Epic Fantasy novel. It’s the 5th novel in my Five Kingdoms series and I’m really excited about the turn of events in this book. Basically, the Five Kingdoms books tells the story of Zollin, a young man who discovers he is a wizard. In the world of the Five Kingdoms, magic is strictly controlled by a group of wizards known as the Torr. When Zollin refuses to join the Torr, it sets in motion a grand adventure and in Fierce Loyalty Zollin finally confronts the evil master of the Torr. The book ends with a great twist.

2. What's your background with writing?

I started writing seriously in college but it took a long time to truly find my voice. I wasted a lot of time trying to write books that were “commercial” but I was never really enthused about the stories and couldn’t finish. When I finally decided to write something I would want to read, everything changed for me. I wrote four novels and after learning the ins and outs of the publishing world, I decided to self publish with KDP. The first three books didn’t sell all that well but when I released Wizard Rising, the first of the Five Kingdoms books, I found an audience. In 2010 I left my full time job and started writing freelance full time. Wizard Rising was published in December 2011 and I became a full time novelist in April of 2012.

3. Who are your inspirations/influences? 

I grew up reading adventure stories and Greek mythology. I read nearly all of Edgar Rice Burrows’ Tarzan novels. I read the Conan novels by Robert Jordan, Steve Perry, and others. I also loved Stephen Lawhead”s early works, especially the Albion trilogy and his Pendragon Cycle books.

4. Who was responsible for the cover/book design?

The thing I really like about self publishing is that I retain control of my novels, from content to cover design. My wife is a professional photographer and graphic designer so we work on the covers together. I usually give her an idea of what I want and she works her technical magic. I really think a large portion of my success comes from her talent in designing the book covers.

5. What are you doing in terms of marketing/publicity?

I started out doing a lot. I was posting on chat boards and looking for places to promote my books online. I’ve read a lot about what works and what doesn’t in terms of book marketing. Now I rely mainly on my website and Facebook page. I try to stay available to interact with readers through my Facebook page. I post what I’m doing a few times a week. On my website readers can sign up for my mailing list and I send out an email whenever I release a new book.

6. What is the name of your blog and what can readers expect to find there?

I don’t blog, but I do a lot of posts on my Facebook page and I also started a Facebook group called “Fantasy Novels You Have To Read,” and there are several writers there that interact with readers. It’s a very open group and we support each other as much as possible.

7. What projects do you have planned for the future?

I’m working on the second book in my Lorik trilogy now and I’m hoping to publish it in June. The Lorik trilogy is set in the Five Kingdoms and has a few links to the other series, but it can be read all on its own. It’s a little darker, a little more mature than the Five Kingdoms books. Once I finish that I’ll be working on the next two Five Kingdoms novels, which I hope to publish in September and November. I may sneak a short story in there somewhere too. I have a lot of readers concerned about a dragon and I have an idea for a short story or novella about that.

8. Is there anything else about you we should know?


About the Interviewer:Walter Rhein is the author of Beyond Birkie Fever and The Bone Sword which are both available over at the Rhemalda Bookshop or here and here at Amazon. If you happen to pick up either of these books and write a review somewhere, please let him know at walterrhein@gmail.com!

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