Friday, February 6, 2015

ESOTERRORISM COMES TO RAGNAROK PUBLICATIONS

    I'm extremely pleased by Ragnarok Publications choosing to pick up my novel, Esoterrorism, for release. Esoterrorism is the first volume of the Red Room series, which follows the adventures of a pair of agents working for the series' titular organization. The Red Room is the operations branch of an Illuminati-esque conspiracy spanning an urban fantasy world. Much like the Men in Black, the Red Room covers up the supernatural from mundanes but unlike Will Smith's group, exploit their position for power and wealth. Derek Hawthorne and his partner, succubus Shannon O'Reilly, are amongst the few agents who still maintain something resembling a conscience.


    It's a huge honor to be involved with Ragnarok Publications and I'm pleased they've decided to take a chance on me. I was already a fan of their work when I submitted my work, enjoying such works as Rough Magick, Damoren, Undertow, The Heresy Within, and Sword Sisters.

    Since being accepted, I've had nothing but good experiences with them and I hope to continue my association with them beyond the release of the Red Room series. I haven't yet read a bad book from them yet and recommend my fellow readers check their catalog out.

Ragnarok Publications website

    So what is Esoterrorism? If I had to describe it in a sentence, it's my attempt to do James Bond meets the Dresden Files. In the glamorous but treacherous world of the supernatural, Derek is an old blooded member of the House. Having been an agent for their intelligence and operations branch for over ten years, he's burned himself out on a combination of murder and excitement. Thinking about retirement at the ripe old age of thirty-four, Derek finds himself embroiled in a conspiracy against the House (and the Red Room in particular), with himself as the prime suspect.

    Derek hasn't managed to survive as long as he has without making some friends, though, and they're able to buy him a short window of time to prove his innocence. The leadership doesn't believe he's guilty, anyway. He's just a convenient scapegoat. Enter Shannon O'Reilly, his new partner/monitor, who has her own secrets. Why is a succubus working for an organization devoted to hunting down demons? Well, you'll have to read the book to find out.


    Esoterrorism is a book formed out of my love for conspiracy theories as well as my awareness of their inherent silliness. I was a huge fan of the X-Files  and La Femme Nikita shows when they were on the air as well as a tabletop gamer who loved things like Mage: The Ascension, Delta Green, plus Steve Jackson's Illumninati card games.

    The Red Room series was conceived with the idea of what it would be like to be part of the secret cabal which controls everything, acknowledging it'd probably be like any other job only ten times more scary. The Red Room may be the world's most capable magical intelligence agency but it's still staffed by flawed humans.

    Derek Hawthorne is a character who came to me while watching Karl Urban's character in Red as well as said actor's role as the villain in The Bourne Supremacy. Having loved the Dresden Files books, I started to envision what it would be like to be a battered civil servant and agent who lived in a world where cannibal fairies were things you'd have to investigate. The kind of mental toll it would take to actually deal with things like vampire massacres as well as keeping them secret.

    Derek is the point of view by which the reader enters the world and he's a very-very cynical figure. He's also surprisingly funny as I found myself discovering layers to his personality I didn't suspect existed as his creator. It turns out if you've been raised to control your every expression and present cool stone cold badassery to the public, you can still be an enormous geek on the inside.

    Shannon, by contrast, is my attempt to do some deconstruction of the glamorous super-spy trope. When you're a shape-shifting demon, the potential applications for spywork are considerable but so is the dehumanization. If you can be the most beautiful person in the world to anyone you meet, are you ever going to be authentic to anyone and do you even remember who you really are? It's kind of funny but I conceived Shannon's character well before Marvel's Avengers, back when the Black Widow was a somewhat obscure member of the team best known for being Daredevil's girlfriend. Yet, the Black Widow as well as Emma Peel both served as strong inspirations for Shannon. I just have the benefit of Scarlet Johansson as a visual aid for what she'd look like in real life now.

    The House isn't the Illuminati of conspiracy folklore. They wield vast power, influence, and pull the strings of many governments but they're also bailing out a sinking ship. With the advance of technology and rise of social media, it's only a matter of time before the Truth comes out. The House is corrupt, nepotistic, opportunistic, and forced to compromise as well as make peace with the very forces it fights. In other words, it's a rebuttal to every conspiracy theory of a secret organization ruling the world ever made.

    We also get an analysis of the morality of keeping regular people from knowing what the supernatural is all about. If keeping Billy from knowing Satan can be summoned with some old books keeps the latter from showing up in your backyard, is that worth it? Maybe. Maybe not.

    The world-building was fun and I got to throw in a lot more obscure monsters than your typical vampire, werewolf, and zombie mix (though, those exist too). Rakshasas from Indian mythology, Powries from Celtic, and Draugr from Scandinavian all got a tap in Esoterrorism. I also got to play with the idea of how governments, corporations, and other power brokers would deal with  the supernatural. The War on Terror is a strong influence on this series, both its absurdities and tragedies. It's still a mostly (anti)heroic adventure series, though, because I write what I love.

    The good folk at Ragnarok Publications are still working on the cover art and I'll share it as soon as its ready. I think fans of urban fantasy, spy fiction, and the combinations thereof will enjoy this book and all of its sequels (of which two are already written). I'm grateful to have a publisher as outstanding as one of the pioneers of the independent fantasy market and hope you'll enjoy the ride I'm about to take you all on.

Esoterrorism is set for a July, 2015 release.

More info as news develops.

2 comments:

  1. This sounds amazing! Can't wait until it comes out.

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  2. I'm really looking forward to reading this, Charles. Roll on July! :)

    ReplyDelete