Author: Paul Sating
Birth of a Thief is a prequel novella aimed at introducing Allidor, the world of Paul Sating’s forthcoming fantasy series the Crown of Thieves; the first of which is scheduled for release in 2021. In this short story we are introduced to Yuni, a young farm girl forced to flee her village and find her future in the big bad city of Landor.
High fantasy is not one of my favourite genres, one I explored and exhausted a million years ago when I was given a newly published work called ‘A Song of Fire and Ice’ in my teens. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed this sneaky peek into the world of Allidor, and I’m looking forward to exploring its future stories and characters.
I have a couple of little niggles with this story, nothing that ultimately affects it, and as this is an appetiser aimed at garnering interest in the main course, I’m happy to ignore them and enjoy it for what it is, a wonderful coming of age story that whets the appetite for the entrée.
I have been following Paul’s writing career for the last six or seven years, watching it go from strength to strength and culminating in his first published novel ‘The Scales,’ so was a little surprised when he shifted to writing fantasy. Right after enjoying this little romp through the alleyways and markets of Landor, I hooked up with Paul to ask him why he decided to knock horror in the back of the head with a shovel and bury it in a shallow grave.
I love horror and suspense, I enjoy writing dystopian fiction, but my true love is fantasy; always has been, always will be. I wasn’t raised on it, in fact, I was strictly a horror reader throughout the early years of my reading life. Early in my military career, I was heading off for a deployment and needed a lot of reading material, because we sat around lots on deployments. A friend recommended Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time and the rest was history.
When it came to my own writing, I wrote all over the place, mimicking my reading tendencies. I started in horror and soon found that I wanted to write fantasy. So I did. I got 350,000 words through a first draft, and another 180,000 into the follow-up of an epic fantasy before the military, once again, sent me away for a year and a half. By the time I got home, the story was gone.
When I got into podcasts, I wanted to do fantasy, but the sound design element frightened me. So I went with things I knew I could do, though fantasy was never far away. In early 2019, I began to prepare my fans that a change was coming. Until then, they’d only known me as a horror/thriller/suspense writer, but I couldn’t do that forever. Yet, I wanted to be fair to them. Giving them a year’s prep time was my solution.
Ultimately, it came down to a marriage of love and career considerations. I want to write books for the rest of my life, while being able to feed my family and pay the bills. That’s difficult to do in genres like horror. With fantasy, I have a better chance of making a living at what I love writing the most. No author could ask for anything better.
Q. So is that it for horror? Have you stopped completely or is there a possibility you will be entertaining the genre at some point in the future?
Nope! I have a 60,000-word script finished for season 3 of Subject: Found. It is a wonderful story, with a rich world, and a kick-ass figure from myth, legend, and lore. It is a story that my writing soul needs to tell. So, there’s at least one more darker story in me, though my Patreon supporters have a new show coming in 2021. I’m also currently working on a storytelling podcast exclusive for that audience which will have dark themes. One thing about the way I look at life, never say never.
Q. A new Patreon only podcast for next year! Can you explain more?
Mmmm, there’s two, and one I don’t want to say too much about until my Patrons hear about it first.
A Family Affair is a dark, twisted–I mean, it might get pretty sick–story about a family with a lot of dark secrets, the politics they play, and the victims they carve up. The other one will be announced soon (after my new studio gets set up and the first two episodes are recorded), and will explore the ambiguity of life. It will delve into the surreal, supernatural, and strange, and I’m very excited about them both!
Q. As ‘Crown of Thieves’ is going to be a series of novels, how many books have you got in mind at the moment, and how closely do these stories follow the audio chapters you offer your patrons?
Oh yes. I’m very excited to get into it. There’s a lot on the plate before it, but that’s because I want to do it well, and that world is vast and rich. Though I’ve been working on it for a year now, that’s only been part-time, in between projects and whatnot. But each time I dive into that world, in a podcast episode, or in the novella I fall deeper in love with the series.
The story was actually born by a character in a short story called Dear Savior Born, that was included in my 12 Deaths of Christmas anthology. The main character in that story told me so much about herself that she deserved more than a simple short story. She needed more than an entire novel to tell her story.
With the need to flesh out the world to a much greater degree than it is now, and because this will be an epic fantasy (in length and, hopefully, scale), I can’t even take a stab at how big it might grow to, so it could be a trilogy, or it might be twenty books long; I don’t know.
Whatever it ends up being, my Patrons will be getting first news of it, along with exclusive side stories, like the “story before the story” that they get with the Crown of Thieves podcast.
Q. So before we even get to sink our teeth into the Crown of Thieves you are bringing out the first four books of your urban fantasy the Zodiac series. Where does this fit into the evolution of Paul Sating’s writing? Is this the bridge between your horror days and your future in high fantasy?
It’s a fun romp, to be honest. The first four books are done and will be released one-per-month, starting on July 1st. I like to say they’re the love child of Jim Butcher and Christopher Moore.
I’ve never attempted to write a novel in first person (the closest I came was writing the Who Killed Julie? podcast), so I was a little nervous. But the main character’s voice was just too loud in my head. He demanded a first person telling.
Though I’ve written comedy before, this is the first time I’ve taken such a light-hearted spin on a story, which is strange when you realize this story is about demons vs angels, Heaven vs Hell. But when your main character is the only demon in the history of Hell to not have magic and he’s sent to Seattle to find a runaway demon, who also happens to be one of the oldest and most powerful of their kind, you just have to expect an entertaining adventure. It serves as a wonderful bridge from novels about giant monsters and Bigfoot to medieval epics and part of my strategy for that switch. I didn’t want to jar my readers too much.
This sounds great! A little like Lucifer, but from the perspective of his bumbling brother Amenadiel; can’t wait for this! Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for us Paul. Wishing you all the best for this, the Crown of Thieves, and the Zodiac series in a few months.
Birth of a Thief is a wonderfully engaging stand-alone story and introduction to the Crown of Thieves series that I am looking forward to consuming next year and you can get it wherever you get your books for only 99¢; and while you’re there I would also recommend The Scales and Chasing the Demon.