Thursday 21 February 2019

#guestpost: C.W. Briar talks about his debut dark fantasy novel, Whispers From the Depths

I’m author C.W. Briar. I have wrestled buffaloes, worked as Jason Momoa’s stunt double, and lied on guest posts for book blogs. One thing that is absolutely true is that my debut dark fantasy novel, Whispers From The Depths, just released.

Describe Whispers From The Depths
I pitched the book in a few ways. I originally described it as Frozen except with less Disney and a lot more Beowulfian horror. A more accurate description would be Beowulf as told by Michael Crichton (and I’m aware that concept already exists in the form of Eaters of the Dead, but let me have this).

During the pitch, I also told my publisher I found new ways to kill people with water.

In this world, the Whisperers are the ones who keep people safe from water spirits. They’ve also been enslaved. Betka is one of the Whisperers, and she’s part of an expedition to free a castle from a water spirit’s attack. She hates and fears the warriors she serves under, but she hopes to rescue her sister from the besieged castle.

What is the magic like?
Whisperers and spirits both have considerable control over water’s forms and flow. They also exert pressure on each other in battles of will. Whisperers can focus that influence through motion and spoken words, but it’s willpower that’s the key.

An everyday battle might involve a spirit flooding a village, trying to drown people, while the Whisperer forces the water back to where it belongs. The battles in the book are significantly fiercer than that, though.

Are there more kinds of magic?
Whispers From The Depths is pretty focused in its scope. There’s a lot more I could have gone into, like the history of the spirits or the origin of the Whisperers’ power. I would love to visit that information in the future. For now, the world is zoomed in on Betka and her grandfather. It’s a story about humans in a world with magic, rather than a story about magic and humans.

That’s my roundabout way of saying there might more to magic in this world, but that information would be revealed as the story expands to different times and places.

What are the themes of the book?
Betka and Asi are Whisperers, both dealing with the same issues, but they approach the problems with different perspectives. A lot of the themes are tied into the things they debate or react to in differing ways. What does it mean to love the world when the world hates you back? How does love really conquer?

Vengeance. Survival. The role of traditions and past/religious wisdom in present turmoil.

Betka faces conflicts with her captors and the water spirit, but she also feels conflicted about her role as a Whisperer and the way she was taught to live.

What kinds of reader would enjoy Whispers From The Depths?
I aim for a balance of the terror of horror with the awe of fantasy. I want to be scary enough for horror fans but adventurous enough for fantasy fans. Good comparisons of that tone are Jurassic Park and Stranger Things.

If you want a medieval fantasy story with an emphasis on suspense, check it out. If you like books that raise moral questions while also entertaining, you’re my kind of reader.


C.W. Briar writes fantasy that's dark but hopeful, filled with wonder and humor along with the suspense and creepiness. His favorite stories are the ones that make him both smile and perch on the edge of his seat. By day, he works as a systems engineer, testing or even riding on trains, airplanes, and helicopters. At night, when not writing, he prepares fancy dinners and shows off his awesome corgis. He's a graduate of Binghamton University and lives in Upstate NY with his wife, three kids, and secret stashes of chocolate.

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