Bestselling dark fantasy author Christian A. Brown shines a spotlight on diversity in ‘Four Feasts till Darkness’
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ONTARIO – While staying true to the traditions of legendary authors J.R.R. Tolkien and George R.R. Martin, Christian A. Brown is breathing new life into the world of dark fantasy by allowing diversity to take center stage.
Brown, a bestselling and award-winning author, took a page from his own life while writing “Four Feasts till Darkness,” a four-novel series that sweeps readers on an epic adventure as the rise of evil leads to a struggle for power. While sinisterly entertaining, his books are peppered with themes of sisterhood and family bonds. They also touch on hot-button social issues, like race, sexism and class, all of which have played a role his personal life. A biracial gay man married to a Métis amputee, Brown has experienced his share of self reflection and overcoming intolerance.
When the adventure begins in “Feast of Fates,” the peace that has ruled the land is disrupted by the menacing Black Queen. Morigan, a handmaiden, is more powerful than she seems, and the discovery and development of her abilities could lead to Geadhain’s salvation. As the Black Queen’s control grows in “Feast of Dreams,” Morigan and a fierce band of rebels continue their quest to defeat her. At the same time, the queens of the East and West grapple for dominance. The Black Queen’s hunger spreads across the land in “Feast of Chaos,” and Morigan and her companions must venture deep into the mystical realm to find ancient secrets. Will Geadhain be saved, or will the Black Queen’s wrath plunge thousands into darkness?
Brown’s characters dare to question destiny and the weavers of fate themselves. The books show off his unique ability as an author to capture the darkness and light found within every person. Laced with magic and elements of science fiction and romance, “Four Feasts till Darkness” brings the fantasy genre to a new level.
Christian A. Brown – Bestselling author of the critically acclaimed “Feast of Fates” Christian A. Brown received a Kirkus star in 2014 for the first novel in his genre-changing “Four Feasts till Darkness” series. He is currently working on the fourth and final book in the series, “Feast of Darkness.” He has appeared on Newstalk 1010, AM640, Daytime Rogers, and Get Bold Today with LeGrande Green. He actively writes a blog about his mother’s journey with cancer and on gender issues in the media. A lover of the weird and wonderful, Brown considers himself an eccentric with a talent for cat-whispering.
About the books
Feast of Fates (Volume One)”
Morigan lives a quiet life as the handmaiden to a fatherly old sorcerer named Thackery. But when she crosses paths with Caenith, a not wholly mortal man, her world changes forever. Their meeting sparks long buried magical powers deep within Morigan. As she attempts to understand her newfound abilities, unbidden visions begin to plague her — visions that show a devastating madness descending on one of the Immortal Kings who rules the land.
With Morigan growing more powerful each day, the leaders of the realm soon realize that this young woman could hold the key to their destruction. Suddenly, Morigan finds herself beset by enemies, and she must master her mysterious gifts if she is to survive.
Christian A. Brown
Paperback | 978-1495907586
“Feast of Dreams (Volume Two)”
As two queens plot each other’s destruction, a small band of adventurers continues its quest for the knowledge needed to defeat the mad King Brutus and his unearthly parasite, the Black Queen. Their search brings Morigan and the Wolf to the perilous forests of Alabion, where they and their companions will face the darkness of their pasts — and discover equally dark destinies. Meanwhile, far from Alabion, the queens of the East and West continue their deadly dance. One seeks a relic of great power, while the other puts her faith in a mix of military and technomagikal force. Both are aware they have a slim window of opportunity to settle their power struggle — after all, Mad Brutus’s recent defeat is at best a setback. The mad king is already amassing a new army of soulless husks in the wastelands of Mor’Khul.
Unknown to the great powers struggling for control, a father and son wander those same wastelands, scavenging what they can as they weather Brutus’s gathering storm. They too have a role to play in Geadhain’s fate — a role which may just provide a last remnant of hope.
Christian A. Brown
Paperback | 978-0994014405
“Feast of Chaos (Volume Three)”
Menos has been destroyed. No corner of the realm of Geadhain is safe from the Black Queen’s hunger. Zionae—or the Great Dreamer, as she has been called in ancient tongues—has a thirst that cannot be quenched until all of Geadhain burns and bleeds. She preys on the minds of weak men and exploits human folly for an unhuman end. She cannot be defeated in her current state, but the answer to her downfall may lie in the land of her past.
It is with this aim that a Daughter of Fate, Morigan, and her brave and true companions venture to the mysterious Pandemonia, the land of chaos itself. Ancient secrets and even older power lurk in its swamps and deserts. Life itself becomes uncertain, but the Hunters of Fate have no choice: Pandemonia must give up its secrets if they want to find the Black Queen’s weakness.
Elsewhere in the realm, alliances form and break. Dead men rise and heroes fall. Eod prepares for war. In hiding, Lila, the bearer of its destruction, will be given a chance to atone and answer for her sins. Will her actions save Eod, or has she damned it with her crimes?
Christian A. Brown
Paperback | 978-0994014429
Praise for FEAST OF FATES
“No tired story lines or boring characters here; Brown has created a thrilling, action-packed fantasy suffused with elements of folklore and legend, and spiced with a bit of metal magic for some steampunk flair. At a glance, Feast of Fates seems like pure fantasy, but there are also traces of science fiction, paranormal romance, action/adventure, and even a historical feel for those who enjoy knights and queens and kingdoms. Strong female leads and equally intriguing male characters ensure that Feast of Fates will have mass appeal.” — Foreword Clarion Reviews
“In this rousing epic-fantasy debut, two unlikely lovers forge a bond in the midst of a war between immortal kings. It would have been difficult for Brown to present a more sensual, or satisfying, debut. His motifs run the epic-fantasy gamut, from ancient forests pulsing with life to malevolent phenomena looming in the depths of space. His excellent prose, however, truly sets this book apart from the fantasy herd. Every page crackles with images full of vibrant emotion. An unmissable fantasy tale that marries gorgeous prose to a lavishly detailed plot.” — Kirkus (Starred Review)
“You will not put this book down once you pick it up…” — HuffPost Books
“Christian A. Brown’s prose is authoritative, yet thoughtful and delicate…” — Chris Longo, Deputy Editor/Print Editor, Den of Geek U.S
Praise for FEAST OF DREAMS
“With gorgeous settings and memorable characters, this fast-paced fantasy is a book that can’t be put down.” — Foreword Clarion
About the Author
Bestselling author of the critically acclaimed “Feast of Fates” Christian A. Brown received a Kirkus star in 2014 for the first novel in his genre-changing “Four Feasts till Darkness” series. He is currently working on the fourth and final book in the series, “Feast of Darkness.” He has appeared on Newstalk 1010, AM640, Daytime Rogers, and Get Bold Today with LeGrande Green. He actively writes a blog about his mother’s journey with cancer and on gender issues in the media. A lover of the weird and wonderful, Brown considers himself an eccentric with a talent for cat-whispering.
An Interview with Christian A. Brown
In your books, you’ve created an incredibly detailed, immense world — how did you keep all of it straight when you first started writing?
At first, and when starting any story, I feel it’s important to simply write. Make that messy first chapter and see how, what and who you want to portray; get a feeling for where the Muse is leading you. If you’re writing a “show” and not “tell” tale, the mechanics and laws of the (fantastical) world will fall into place as your characters and narrative voice move through the story. Once the details of the world start fleshing themselves out, I start writing down everything pertinent to the tale, even if it’s just as margin notes that are later compiled into a “World Bible” if you will. Geadhain (my world) now has both a bible and a style guide for reference for my work.
Why was it important to you to have so many strong female characters in your series, good and evil?
Historically, women (and minorities, of which I am one—well, two, actually) have been grossly under represented in fantasy; typified into the maiden, witch, whore, mother stereotypes. I grew up in a house of dominant successful women, and those influences and personalities found their way into my work. My mom, for example, was once a roller-skate waitress (just to make ends meet), then later a real estate broker, a bank teller, and finally a lawyer—after putting herself back into university as a mature student at the age of 50. And of course, during all these vocations, she juggled the needs of her children, her partner, and herself. She built a business with my father. She helped to elevate us from poverty to working middle class—she, herself, once in foster care and utterly destitute after her parents’ marriage collapsed. Despite all of the negative forces conspiring against her, she was a woman of hope, strength and character. I couldn’t not have written strong women, given her role model behavior. My mom, my sister, my aunts, my teachers, my primary editor…I’m blessed to have known so many accomplished, inspirational women.
From their physical descriptions to their personalities, your characters are so vivid — where does the inspiration for them come from?
I read a lot of comics as a child; watched plenty of anime and horror; played video games till my eyes shriveled. Before that darned Nintendo ruined my eyesight, and when I was younger, my parents also used to take my sister and I on walks through the woods, and the richness of a woodland stirs even the most stagnant imagination. In our adolescence we played outdoors and read, extensively, since we couldn’t afford luxury items (like NESes) at the time. I’m much more into physical disciplines now, though my mind still works in a sensory format.
How do you think your approach to the fantasy genre differs from other writers?
Well, there’s the portrayal of women, first and foremost. Although, these characters stand toe-to-toe with men and other forces who are equally as formidable. I’ve lived through the reality of oppression, intolerance and poverty, and likewise many of my characters deal with the same issues. While the series is definitely dark fantasy, and not for the faint-of-heart or those shy to reading about violence and oppression, there is a definite undercurrent of hope: this sense that even though the odds are impossible, the movements of many, disparate brave souls can make a difference. Structurally, the world is an interesting blend of science fiction, mythic and high fantasy elements, too, where some advancements dwarf what we here on Earth have accomplished, while other advancements are stymied by natural (mystical) forces that inhabit prosperity. So there’s this really cool play of old vs. new, Tecnhnomagik vs. Nature. Which leads into a subtle environmental dialog on man’s use and participation in a planet’s sustainability or destruction. “Four Feasts till Darkness” are dense books that deal with topical and sensitive subject matter, which certainly helps them to stand apart from lighter or more traditional fantasy stories.
If you were able to sit down and discuss writing with three authors, who would you choose, and what would you talk to them about?
Ursula K. LeGuin. Clive Barker. Stephen King. Ursula and I would chat about her Earthsea trilogy, which is one of the greatest fantasy series I’ve ever read. Clive Barker and I would talk about how he’s fared as an openly gay author, and what that process of being public and gay has been like. Whereas Stephen and I would write something horrible together, a ghastly masterpiece with his wit and my penchant for visceral verbosity.
Do you think the diversity in your own life reflects in your writing and the characters you’ve created?
Definitely! I’m a biracial gay man married to a Métis amputee. Just so we’re clear, I’m not a “diversity fetishist,” it just so happened that a.) I fell in love with a man and b.) he happened to have one leg. But whatever weight he’d lost in flesh, he’d gained in heart, and he’s an absolute gem. Between the two of us, and as men of color (I, more than he), we’ve experienced the full onslaught of intolerance and slurs—N-word, jigaboo, faggot, you name it. Now the funny thing about hate is that it either makes the victim hateful, or ideally, it makes the victim sympathetic, a warrior, one passionate about dismantling bigotry. My partner and I are of the latter camp, as was my mother, who married a black man in an era when that wasn’t too popular. Therefore, in Feasts you’ll see a real menagerie of characters, and none so bizarre as to simply tick a “diversity checklist” (blind, transgender, PoC in a wheelchair—cause reasons), just real people, with real issues that come in a variety of shades, sexualities and makeups. Every hero has their flaws—flaws that others see and to which they react—just as none of us are perfect. Without my negative experiences and positive enforcements and reactions, I could never have written a cast so patently human.
Why was it important to you to include a message of hope despite the dark nature of the books?
The story starts, actually, with a romance, and while it’s steamy and seems as if it might lead to bodice-ripped escapades, it never does. The romance between Morigan and the Wolf is merely the hook and foundation for a story that’s built on love: romantic, fraternal, love for power, love when corrupted into hate. If you look at the history of human success and folly it is predicated by passion, by love or hate. In the grand sweeping plot arcs of epic fantasy, the drive that has begun a campaign of war or terror is often overlooked. “Feasts” has a gargantuan plot, and many moving parts, and to tell a more personal, more involving story, each of those most necessary parts needs to have their desires and wants explored. It makes for an immersive and heavy read, but I feel (and readers seem to agree) that the focus on characterization pays dividends. Besides, too much darkness and blood, and not a moment of levity or love in-between, and the story will crush the reader. In the words of Josh Whedon, “Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of God, tell a joke.”
What’s next for you after the completion of “Four Feasts till Darkness” series?
I’m working on a super secret project (standalone from Geadhain’s novels), which requires me to plan a second trip to England. I had the idea for the manuscript when last I was there and it’s a thought-bug that’s finally gnawed it’s way into my brain, and into a grand idea!
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