The Next Big Thing Blog Hop: Elisha Barber

Protagonist Elisha, a Barber-surgeon, stands in the ruined church

cover image for Elisha Barber, from DAW Books, cover by Cliff Nielsen

I was tagged to participate in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop by the marvelous Heather Albano, author of two (so far!) steampunk novels you can learn more about at her post:

So without further ado:

What is the title of your book?

Elisha Barber

(book 1 of the Dark Apostle series)  coming out July 2, 2013 from DAW books.

 Where did the idea come from for the book?

I was actually researching medieval medicine for a chapter in another book I was writing—and I ended up diving down a research rabbit hole, reading a dozen books on the subject.  One afternoon when I was meant to be writing something else, I suddenly envisioned a character, with a problem.  Then I knew I had a whole new book on my hands.

What genre does your book fall under?

Historical fantasy.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

GAH!  I hate this question!  HATE IT!  sorry.  I’ll try to get over it.  I think the reader should envision whom they wish when they read the book based on my descriptions, and their impression of the characters overall.  However, I will grant you that my protagonist, Elisha, has long, black hair and blue eyes (rather different to how he appears on the cover, although the overall build and attitude are spot-on).

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

In 14th century England, a barber surgeon learns diabolical magic to defeat an unjust king—but the cost may be more than his soul.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

The book comes out with DAW (which is part of the Penguin publishing family).

What other books would you compare yours to within your genre?

Currently?  People who enjoyed D. B. Jackson’s Thieftaker (magic and mystery in pre-Revolutionary Boston) are likely to enjoy this.  For the *Not actually historical, but they feel that way*,  check out the work of Carol Berg.

And if you are looking for something excellent that has unjustly vanished from the shelves, look for R. A. MacAvoy’s Damiano series:  conjuring spirits in medieval Italy.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

As noted above, it began with researching Medieval medicine, and surgery in particular. I also read up on beliefs about historical witchcraft, and was dismayed to find, over and over again, references to “heretics, witches, Jews and homosexuals” all lumped together as undesirables—the first to burn when the stake goes up.

One of the books I read about torture featured page after page of contemporary—not historical–examples, so I was responding to a sense that injustice has persisted through history, that humanity has grown more numerous and more capable of inflicting pain and humiliation—when we should have been developing the means to stop it.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

This is a fast-paced and emotionally engaging work for people who are interested in the fourteenth century, in historical medicine, or are simply looking for a damn good story with a protagonist you’ll be rooting for.

I tag these authors to write about their book next Wednesday:

Travis Heermann, author of military and adventure fantasy, at where I see he’s also starting a YA horror/fantasy series.

Aussie fantasy author Alison Strachan, whose tagline is  “Write from the Heart. Write what Scares You Most & Read with Hunger.”  We were connected by mutual friend, Lorinda Taylor, of Termite Queen fame, and I’ll be looking forward to her answers!

About E. C. Ambrose

I spend as much time in my office as I possibly can--thinking up terrible things to do to people who don't exist.
This entry was posted in Elisha Barber, fantasy, fiction, historical medicine, history, magic, medieval, The Dark Apostle, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Next Big Thing Blog Hop: Elisha Barber

  1. termitespeaker says:

    Thanks for the shout-out! I’m really looking forward to reading your book! Your mention of R.A. MacAvoy sent me to my bookshelves because I remembered reading (and really enjoying) “Tea with the Black Dragon.” I also found there “The Book of Kells” and “The Grey Horse” (that last one I have no recollection of whatsoever – I bought and read these books in the late ’80s). I always meant to read the “Damiano” series but never got around to it. I’m glad your contact with Alison Strachan worked out!

  2. What an awesome blog you have here! And thanks to Lorinda for connecting me to you. Your story sounds really interesting. I would be interested to know which resources you found most valuable when researching medieval medicine as my story features some natural, medicinal and recreational narcotics in it and I have found recently that I may need to do some more research in this area. I’m also going to check out Heather Albano’s steampunk novels. Thanks for the nomination!

    • Hi, Alison!
      I have a bibliography on my website here: which includes all sorts of references, not just the medical ones (note to self: organize bibliography!) Haggard’s Devils, Drugs and Doctors, and the writings of Ambroise Pare are the ones that started it all for me. Also, the Illustrated History of Medicine, which is a huge coffeetable book, has some good general articles. What I usually did was to start with a general work like that, then track down more specific sources through the notes on each chapter.

  3. Pingback: The Next Big Thing - Author Interviews | Truths, triumphs, and tragedies of an independent writer.

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