I want to welcome to the Wet Ink Project, B.K. Bass. He’s a friend of the site, a contributor and a hell of an author. His short story, “Hunting the Hunter”, can be found at www.wetinkproject.com and in the Ravencrest Chronicles. B.K. has brought the literary world a wonderful new collection of fantasy novellas and short fiction; and I’m here to say that it is worth the read!
First, I want to say I love the Ravencrest Chronicles! I’m a stickler for fantasy and your words managed to haul me in for an engaging adventure. Tell me where you found the inspiration for The Ravencrest Chronicles?
There are actually three fairly specific sources that inspired the series: the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series (also referred to as the Swords series) by Fritz Leiber (published between 1958 - 1988), the Thieves’ World anthology series created by Robert Lynn Asprin in 1978, and the Ravenloft shared-world series and role-playing campaign setting published by TSR in the 1990’s.
I wanted to create an urban fantasy with a city that felt gritty and lived-in full of thieves and scoundrels similar to Thieves’ World and Leiber’s work mixed with the Gothic horror elements of Ravenloft. I’ll say for the record now that I tried very hard to think of a title for the series that did NOT have “raven” in it because of the obvious similarity to the latter, but once “Ravencrest” popped into my head it refused to go away!
There are a wealth of fantastic and engaging characters in Ravencrest, but naturally, Gareth stands out among the rest. I saw him as a hero with just a taste of antagonist within him. A scoundrel. I cannot imagine a scenario where the reader won’t love him. What makes Gareth such a likable protagonist?
I think it’s that scoundrel aspect that appeals to a lot of readers, and I know that’s one of my favorite things about Gareth. If you look at the popularity of Han Solo from the Star Wars series, I think you will see some similarities. Gareth is an anti-hero only in the fact that he’s an outlaw, but what that means depends a lot on the backdrop within which the character must operate. Seahaven is plagued by rampant economic inequality, so turning to a life of crime feels more like an act of desperation than one of depravity.
He’s also your typical ‘everyman.’ He’s middle-aged, attractive but in a grimy and swarthy sort of way, mostly selfish, and his motivations are very grounded in reality – usually finding his next drink. I think if he was twenty years old, impossibly beautiful, and acting solely on righteous ideals, he would be much less interesting. His relationship with Helen and the orphans – both in the orphanage and the Sparrows in the streets – coupled with his own past as an orphan, are his redeeming qualities to counter the scoundrel and provide a selfless motivation when his back is finally against the wall.
Gareth fights vampires, zombies, and thieves. I loved it, but was there a point where you were worried that there might be too much going on in Ravencrest?
No, I always planned for it to be a series of projects and I knew I was going to write several novellas and short stories. There’s a lot more yet to be seen! A lot of the different aspects are compartmentalized as well. The zombies, for example, occur during a specific incident with a specific cause. If they were shambling through the streets on any given day, that would probably be too much, but that was just over the course of a few days. That’s not to say another incident won’t happen in another book! Also, if you think there’s a lot going on now, just wait for the next wave of novellas that I’m working on for the series!
So all this occurs in the world of Seahaven. It reminded me a bit of what you might come across in the Witcher. Was there a real world or fictional place that inspired you to create Seahaven?
As I mentioned above, Thieves’ World and Ravenloft were both big influences on the themes, tone, and elements within the series. This translates into the setting as well. I’m also a big history buff, so my familiarity with the design, architecture, and layouts of medieval cities is fairly involved. Seahaven is more-or-less your typical late-medieval port city with a looming castle perched atop a seaside bluff for that Gothic horror flair.
A lot of the city layout actually is a matter of rational design choices. The Noble Quarter being on the far side of the city from the harbor is by no means a mistake, as anybody who has ever been to a busy harbor complete with fisheries and fish mongers can attest to the smell! I’m lucky that I grew up near the ocean and traveled all over the East coast of the U.S. in my time, so I have a first-hand familiarity with coastal life.
Ravencrest is one of those series I could picture being a television series, anime or even a movie. Any plans to push that in the future?
I’m eager to pursue options should they present themselves. I’m doing my research on how best to make this happen. I’m sure there’s a balance between waiting for Hollywood to knock on your door and sending a copy of the book to every director’s office in the world. I think each of the novellas on their own would make for a good movie, but a television series would be great for covering more of the breadth the setting has to offer. Especially considering the new books I have planned; there’s going to be a lot more content to translate to the screen should that ever happen. Those are all big goals, though. I’m just happy if people are reading the books and they enjoy them. Anything past that is a bonus. I think a Seahaven movie would be very entertaining, though.
Switching stories here, Warriors of Understone was just released. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m seeing the buzz online. Care to give me a quick pitch?
Warriors of Understone is the first book in a new series called The Tales of Durgan Stoutheart. This book is set in the dwarven city of Understone and tells the tale of a stonecutter’s son (Durgan) who is trapped in this role by the traditions and laws of the society in which he lives. It is a caste-based society where one’s profession is determined by their heritage. He yearns for more, and when an
isolated incident presents an opportunity for him to change his own fate he finds himself in the center of a political struggle to change centuries of tradition. The overall theme of the book is the value of judging individuals by the merits of their worth versus the circumstances of their birth. The book is a political drama with plenty of action and a sprinkling of romantic tension.
I’ve always been a huge fan of fantasy dwarves, and always wanted to see them explored in a central role rather than the usual side-characters one sees in most fantasy works. This was my chance to fill that void, and at the same time explore some social themes that I feel are very relevant to our own lives today.
I’m going to toss a few questions your way now that aren’t related to Ravencrest, ready?
Your favorite tabletop game?
Warhammer 40,000, by Games Workshop. I haven’t had a chance to play in a while, but that’s more of a socio-geographic issue since I moved to Tennessee last year. I have a huge collection of figures and have been painting miniatures for over twenty years. I’ve also experimented with Bolt Action and Hail Caesar, but by far I am more invested in Warhammer 40K than any other system.
If you had to eat dinner with fictional food what would be the main course?
I suppose some sort of roasted animal that you can’t find on Earth. I love meat, and nothing beats a good roast!
What are you currently reading?
Working as a publisher as well as an author, I’m constantly reading and editing a variety of manuscripts. My big project right now is editing Zachariah Lars and the High Elf Mystery by Jonathan Lazar. This is a gritty noir detective story set in St. Louis in an alternate-history world where magic and fantasy creatures are part of our reality.
As far as my to-be-read pile of published books, I have The Crown of Stones trilogy by C.L. Schneider sitting on my desk along with some classic sword and sorcery books I picked up at a used book store recently: The Web of Wizardry by Juanita Coulson, High Sorcery by Andre Norton, and the Swords Against Darkness anthology, Volume Five, edited by Andrew J Offutt.
Who would win in a fight Legolas or Gimli?
Legolas, because of his speed and agility. I’m sure Gimli could take him out with one hit, but you can’t hit what you can’t catch!
Worse Dystopian Society to live in, Brave New World or 1984?
That’s a hard one! I’m going to have to say that I think Brave New World would be a worse reality than 1984. The class divisions and indoctrinated sense of superiority over others would create a
divisive society. The social theory behind 1984 at least had a sense of every person working towards a common goal on equal footing. Also, in Brave new World the people are distracted by how horrible things are through diversions and drugs. If my life sucks, I want to at least know about it so that I can make a decision whether to do something about it or not.
Thank you so much for your time BK. Is there anything you wanted to add?
Thank you for having me! I’d like to mention some other works that are out there by myself since you asked. I also have a cyberpunk novella called Night Shift that was published last fall. This is a noir-style crime thriller. I also have a number of articles on my own web site and on the Kyanite Publishing website as part of the Kyanite Press Online, many of which are genre studies into different sub-genres of speculative fiction. I also write for The Worldbuilding Magazine and have an article in their February issue called “Death Incarnate: Deities of Death and the Afterlife,” and have a new article in the pipe for the May issue called “Reaching for the Stars: Designing Spacecraft for Hard Science Fiction.” I’m also an active part of the World Anvil community, and you can find a lot more about my fantasy and science fiction worlds there!
You can find B.K on social media at the links below and check out his works from Kyanite Publishing!
Website: https://bkbass.com Kyanite Press Online: https://kyanitepublishing.com/kyanitepress/kyanite-press-online/ The Ravencrest Chronicles: https://kyanitepublishing.com/home/catalog/ravencrestomnibusone/ Warriors of Understone: https://kyanitepublishing.com/home/catalog/warriorsofunderstone/ Night Shift: https://kyanitepublishing.com/home/catalog/nightshift/ Worldbuilding Magazine: https://www.worldbuildingmagazine.com/ World Anvil: https://www.worldanvil.com/author/BKBass
B.K. Bass is an author of science fiction, fantasy, and horror inspired by the pulp fiction magazines of the early 20th century and classic speculative fiction. He is a student of history with a particular focus on the ancient, classical, and medieval eras. He has a lifetime of experience with a specialization in business management and human relations, and also served in the U.S. Army.