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June 4, 2013 / minusbar

Author Interview: Brian McClellan (Promise of Blood)

Author Interview: Brian McClellan (Promise of Blood)

Brian McClellan, author of the wildly original novel, Promise of Bloodwas kind enough to answer some questions about his work with me. Below are a few mild spoilers, but nothing that would ruin the read for anyone. This was definitely an innovative fantasy novel that utilizes a lot of elements that are rarely used in today’s fantasy books.

Checkout my review of his novel here: Review of Promise of Blood


I’ve never been a fan of asking authors to introduce themselves when the bio already does that. So instead… Can you tell us a funny true story about you?

I keep honey bees. Last year was my first season of doing so. Everything was going swimmingly all through the summer—the hive was healthy, I hadn’t been stung, and it looked like I was going to get a huge harvest for my first year. One afternoon I was doing an inspection. I had several of the supers (hive boxes) off the hive, the bees were pretty mad, and my smoker had gone out prematurely. I was trying to work quickly and suddenly I feel a bee under my hat. It stings me in the neck, and I panic. I rip the bonnet off—which is doubtlessly the stupidest things I could have done in that situation—and I’m immediately attacked by thousands of bees. I ended up getting stung sixteen or more times on the face, head, and neck.

I suppose that story is a little more horrifying than it is funny, but looking back now I get a little bit of a laugh from it. The good news is I’m not allergic to bee stings.

What is one thing that was omitted from this novel from a previous draft that you would liked to have kept?

We ended up cutting the prologue because all of the information therein was relayed in the first few chapters. It was a short scene where Taniel returns to the Nine and finds his fiancé in bed with another man, told from the point of view of that other man.

You’ve created “good guys” with a large grey area, which I love. Who among them was the most enjoyable for you to write?

Tamas, for certain.

It was fun to explore an older man who answers to absolutely no one and the problems that he has to deal with and the regrets he has from a long and often violent past. People will get an even better view of that in book two, which his fans will absolutely love.

It’s mentioned that the Privileged draw their strength from the Else. Do the Predeii also draw from this? If so, is it only knowledge and skill that separates a Predeii from a Privileged in power?

Spot on. Experience and raw potential are the only things that separate the two. Predeii are just very powerful Privileged.

Like in Star Wars with Midi-chlorians, are all of the people in your world connected to the Else to some degree?

No. Only those with sorcerous power.

The book seems to imply that only the Marked gift is hereditary, so what determines a person becoming Knacked or Privileged?

All sorcerous power is hereditary, but the trait is recessive and only a very tiny percent of the population actually has their potential come to fruition.

Was Ka Poel always intended to be an adult, or was this a decision made later? It seemed like Taniel reevaluated his opinion of her physique rather quickly upon learning her age. 

She was always older in my eyes. Ka-poel is a very strong-willed woman and there is far more to her than Taniel knows, even after spending so much time with her.

I loved all of the Knacked, Privileged and Marked everywhere, but I would loved to have seen a couple more tough regular Joe’s. Can we expect to see a few more non-gifted people in prominent roles in book two?

A couple. Book two follows the same four view points that we saw in book one while introducing some new side characters that are not sorcerously gifted.

The strength in this world often comes from sorcery, which is why the nobility and the Privileged were so intertwined and why the Knacked often hold places of some importance within their community or profession.

In the second book, The Crimson Campaign, will the other countries get in on the action, or will the majority of the conflict still focus on the Kez and Adro?

Other countries do indeed get in on the action. I won’t say any more than that, though! 🙂

What type of magic would you have if you were a character in Promise of Blood? I personally see you as a “Knack” man.

Either a Knacked or a Privileged.

I don’t have the mindset or strength to be a Powder Mage. They have to be down in the nitty gritty of the battle too much, and that’s not my style.

In five words or less, how would you describe Promise of Blood to a potential reader?

Muskets and Magic.

Lastly, I always like to end on a silly note. If you could live in any fictitious world in fantasy literature, what world would you choose?

None of the above? Fantasy worlds tend to be fairly horrible places where the common people are oppressed and the nobles are all worried about getting killed.

If I had to choose one, I’d say I’d like to be a Guild Navigator from Dune (Dune may be cheating, but I consider it science-fantasy).


If you’re interested in reading this (which you definitely should be!), the book is available worldwide here. Also, the sequel, The Crimson Campaign, is scheduled to come out February 18th, 2014. Be sure and mark down that release date as you’re going to be hooked!


Roger Bellini


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