Interview// J. S. R. Varma on Day Bringer
James is interviewed by the fictional reporter that nobody has ever heard of, Mary Elizabeth, about who he is and his new book 'Day Bringer'
So, James, you’ve been around the block in some circles but this - publishing - is a new one for you, so, for those who don’t know anything about you: why don’t you give yourself a quick introduction?
Okay, sure. I’m James, AKA J. S. R. Varma, I’m the Lead Game Designer at Roll 7, and I’ve been in the games industry for almost 15 years.
Outside of that, and probably more relevant to this conversation, I’m a fantasy author. I’ve been writing since I was a teenager and write an inordinate amount to this day, mostly fantasy and some science fiction. Most recently I have finished Day Bringer which is now available for preorder.
Amazing, thank you. Now, Day Bringer is a really fun book, why don’t you tell people in your own words what it’s about?
Day Bringer is set in the world of small gods, a version of Earth where most things in the world have real gods attached to them known as small gods. The story follows Verity, the small god of Mystery who, we quickly learn, has been a prisoner on a small island in Scandinavia for almost 3000 years for the crime of killing a human - though she insists that that is only the legal infraction and not the reason for her incarceration.
Soon after the story begins the sun stops rising and no one can figure out why. Enter Verity, who is tasked with fixing the situation before it's too late.
At its heart, it’s a story that’s meant to be fun first and ask questions second.
What sort of questions are those?
Well in a lot of stories these days, and while I've grown up the moral is that all truth is good and all lies and secrets are bad. Verity in many ways is the embodiment of truth and secrets. I thought it might be interesting to explore the idea that lies and secrets aren't all bad, and all truth isn't necessarily good.
Through Verity you see the good and bad sides of both lies and truth.
There's also something there about multi-tiered societies and looking down on people.
I totally see that about the truth and lies. Anyway, as I said, I loved the book it’s such a unique world, and I’d love to know what your inspirations are?
Oh, there are a few. The place I got my first sort of 'tingle' of an idea was watching Sandman (though I still haven't finished it I'm sorry to say). Something about the idea of personified concepts really stuck with me and a couple of weeks later I was writing Day Bringer.
I've also read a lot of urban fantasies with hidden worlds and I find the concept thoroughly intriguing and inspiring. Alex Craft, Alex Veras, Harry Potter, Harry Dresden. As well as a dozen or more fantasy books that inspired the magic systems and world lore.
You say that You write a lot, the last time you published anything was a long time ago, Why is that? And why now after 10 years?
Yeah, I write at least one book a year, the last couple of years that’s been 2 books. The reason I haven’t published in ten years isn’t actually very interesting, when I wrote Exile, and the other projects I had written around then and before I had been unemployed and had plenty of time to write and the energy to write. When I published Exile I had just been made permanent at Future Games of London and so suddenly I was working constantly with no significant breaks. I focussed on my games career for a while and then it took me some time to find a balance between games and Writing.
When I finally did get that balance back I was writing the Wild Card Series and I had it in my head - still do to be honest - that I want to give it the best chance I can to be seen, and to do that I want to finish the whole series and then try to get an agent and finally published with a larger audience.
But then with the anniversary of Exile I remembered how I had published it, and decided that I don't have to just walk down one path. I decided that though I would try to get the Wild Card books traditionally published I didn't have to wait around for everything else. So here we are. I wrote Day Bringer, I edited it, I got alpha readers and I made a cover. Now we're 1 month and a handful of days away from Day Bringer being out in the real world in paperback.
That's a long road to take to get back here, but I'm glad you did.
Do you have any final thoughts you'd like to share here before we end it?
Just thank you for reading this, and thank you in advance for reading Day Bringer. If you want to buy it on Kindle it's available for preorder now here, but if you want to buy the paperback version it will be released on or around (amazon's release stuff is not great for paperbacks) the 31st of May.