It’s been a few months since Kevin Hearne was back in the Valley, hosting a meet and greet at Rula Bula in Tempe. The pub is a central location in Hearne’s urban fantasy series “The Iron Druid Chronicles,” where his hero Atticus enjoys fish and chips and the occasional pint, sneaking sausages to his wolfhound Oberon.
Sadly I wasn’t able to make the fête, although I did have an enjoyable chat with the former Valley resident over tacos and habanero margaritas at the Arizona Taco Festival the previous day. Sounds like I missed some fun.
Hearne is coming back to town tomorrow, hosting a release party for the penultimate “Iron Druid” book, Staked, at the Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale. And, as is his nature, he’s promising more shenanigans following the signing, which I don’t plan on skipping this time. And as an added bonus, fans who purchase Staked at the Pen will get a special “Iron Druid” pint glass while supplies last.
We spoke recently about winding down the series and his next literary adventure. He also let me know about the fun I missed the last time he was in town.
I’m sorry I missed you at Rula Bula in October. How did the meetup go?
It was lots of fun. There were over 100 people there. Fish and chips were eaten, lots of great whiskey was consumed, lots of books were sold, and many selfies were taken. There were even people from out of state who came specifically for the party.
I’ve heard stories of tourists making pilgrimages to Rula Bula. The pub has become a bit of an urban fantasy landmark.
It happens all the time. People are passing through town, on their way to Disneyland or Vegas, and they stop in to see what it’s like. When I still lived in town, every time I was there someone would stop by like that. They’d go up to the bar and say they were there because of the books, and the bartender would point at me and say, ‘Well, he’s right over there.’
You’ve been doing several these big fan meetups for a while now. Last year at Phoenix Comicon you hosted a massive signing at the Pen and then a goat roast at Taco Guild. Any plans for this year?
Nothing yet. I know I’ll be going to Phoenix Comicon, but I don’t know what I’ll be doing. The Taco Church has disbanded, so it won’t be directly related to that. But I’m sure I’ll be getting together somewhere, whether as an official event or something more casual.
Can you tell me about Staked?
We continue to have the three narrators. Each of them has their own goal to fulfill — Atticus is concerned about the escalating vampire problem that he somehow needs to solve. At the end of Shattered he hit the point where one of his friends was killed, so he wants to make sure that this doesn’t escalate to that point. He has to go undercover as “Nigel in Toronto” for a little while, so we’re going to wrap that up. Granuaile has to deal with issues from her past, to find some balance within herself as well as without, dealing with the Polish coven. And Owen is trying to adjust to modern life, so he moves up to Flagstaff with Grana to start a new grove. Basically it’s wrapping up several serious plot threads, but it all comes together at the end dealing with the vampires in Rome.
This is the penultimate novel in the series. Do you have plans for more short stories, or other spin-offs?
I’m not sure about after I finish, but I’m working on several pieces of short fiction right now that will come out before book nine. I’ve got a novella from Oberon’s point of view which should be out in September or October if all goes well, and I have several short stories I will be writing after that to issue in a collection that should be out early next year. I also just had the short story “Goddess at the Crossroads” come out, where Atticus meets Shakespeare. It’s in A Fantasy Medley 3 available from Subterranean Press. So there’s plenty of stuff to keep people interested before the finish.
Will that collection next year be a comprehensive of all the various short works?
Unfortunately that is impossible. Different publishers have the rights to the stories so it’s impossible, except in smaller collections, like the one next year. That one will have two older pieces, “The Demon Barker of Fleet Street” from Carniepunk, and the rights for the Shakespeare story will revert to me after a year, so that can be included as well, along with the new stories. That way I can have Luke Daniels read them for the audiobook, which those older stories didn’t have.
So with the short stories in 2017, are we looking at 2018 for the finale?
I’m thinking so, but I’m not sure how the timeline will play out, because we also have A Plague of Giants coming next year. Without knowing when that is coming, I don’t know when the last “Iron Druid” book will come out, but A Plague of Giants will come out in 2017.
Your new epic fantasy novel.
Yes. It is the first volume of a trilogy. Basically there are two different races of giants, which for different reasons decide to invade a continent from opposite sides. For the people caught in the middle it is unexpected. There is no chosen one, no prophecy, none of the usual tropes that you see. Nothing like that. It’s simply a resource war. There are 13 points of view, telling the stories of how ordinary people deal with this blossoming of war in a time of peace. That’s how it stands right now. Of course it hasn’t been through the cycle, it hasn’t been edited yet, I just turned it in last month. So we haven’t written the neat little synopsis blurb for it yet.
Was there it difficult shifting gears after devoting so much time to “Iron Druid”?
This is still first person, like “Iron Druid”, but on a more massive scale. I may not be incredibly well schooled, but I don’t think there’s been a first person epic with this many points of view. It’s been a challenge, but it’s been a refreshing challenge. I think the varying points of view in the recent Iron Druid books prepared me for it. I wouldn’t have been able to do something of this scope earlier in my career. But I realized that it was a mountain to be climbed, and I wanted to see if it could be done.
It’s a bit different, as a novel, and I hope it works! Because I have nothing to compare it to. I’ve seriously never seen anything like it in the epic fantasy genre. I don’t know how it will be received, people could think it’s terrible, or it could become the next big thing. We’ll just have to wait and see.