The Road to Hel

Fantasy Authors Unplugged: Eric Tanafon

This is continuing feature on Archer’s Aim – Fantasy Authors Unplugged. I hope to frequently share an interview with a fantasy author. If you have authors to suggest and/or questions you’d like to see answered then leave a comment or send me an email. If you are a fantasy author and would like an interview please let me know and we’ll plan one that fits your schedule. Today I welcome Eric Tanafon to Archer’s Aim to share about his recent book release.


What is the title and plot of your book?

road_to_helMy latest book is The Road to Hel. It’s the first book in a series about Sean Cornwell. He’s a teenage gamer who wakes up one morning to find his parents gone and trolls besieging the house. He and his twin sister, Fiona, escape and, along with their best friends, enroll in the last hero school on Earth, on Runnymede Island. As it turns out, they’re the entire freshman class, since heroes just aren’t being born anymore. The good news is that Odin and all the other gods are on their side. The bad news is, of course, that the world is about to end. In the meantime, though, the new heroes and Valkyries get to rescue their parents from Hel and other, worse places, while playing ‘Spot the Traitor’ in their spare time.

What led you to write this book?

I’ve always wanted to write stories that make use of the Northern European gods and worldview. It’s part of my heritage. I wanted to deal with the concept of Ragnarok, the Twilight of the Gods, a predestined end to the world. And also I wanted to play around with the role of prophecy, which is of course huge in fantasy and always has been.

How did you start writing and why fantasy?

I started writing at an early age. My first productions were comic books with superhero or science fiction themes. I graduated into fantasy later on, and it looks like I’ll stick with it at this point. It offers a writer the greatest amount of freedom, I think, as well as an amazing tradition to draw on.

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

My first book, Robin Hood: Wolf’s Head, was my take on Robin Hood, with a supernatural twist. In that one, I pretty much covered the classic parts of the legend that have come down to us. I love all those characters—Robin, Marian, the Sheriff and the rest—so I’d like to do a sequel where we see what happened to them in the time of the Black Death, after the end of the traditional stories. But I owe Sean two more books, so those will probably come first.

Which writers inspire you?

The writers that have most influenced me are Fritz Leiber—particularly his great horror novels and the Fafhrd and Gray Mouser series—R.A. Lafferty, and Tim Powers. Of those three, Powers is the only one who’s still writing, so I should probably be looking around for new inspirations!

Did this book write itself or was it hard to complete? Why?

Somewhere in between. Sean is the narrator of the book, and his voice was a bit hard to capture at first, but it became easier as I went on—to the point that I let him write not only the chapter titles, but also the back cover blurb. Also I don’t know much about computer gaming, but my son, who played online games at the time, helped me out there. The parts about Hel were fun to write, since I visualize it as a sort of supernatural version of the DMV—government bureaucracy run amok.

What actor best fits you main character and why?

Off the top of my head, the Seth Green of Buffy days wouldn’t be a bad pick. He had the deadpan wit and sarcasm down.

Do you “cast” your characters based on actors?

I never have. In fact, I just found out it’s a thing that some authors do. Now that I’ve started to put up Pinterest boards for my books, I’ll probably give it more thought. It could help both me and the readers in visualizing what’s going on.

About the Eric Tanafon and His Books

I write software by day and fantasy fiction by night (full moons preferred). I live in New Hampshire with my lovely wife in an 130-year-old house. We don’t have any ghosts, but the house is already full enough, with five children and three cats.

Thanks to Eric for appearing today on Fantasy Authors Unplugged. You can find Road to Hel and Robin Hood: Wolf’s Head online at Amazon. You can also visit Eric at his blog as well as on Goodreads or view his Amazon Author page.

Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section and have a look at Eric’s books!

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