May 9, 2012

RAGE OF THE DRAGON Interview + Giveaway

Today, I get to share an interview with New York Times bestselling authors Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman about RAGE OF THE DRAGON, the latest release in their Dragonships of Vindras fantasy series. Plus, you can enter to win one of FIVE copies!

Book blurb:
by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Skylan Ivorson is the gods-chosen Chief of all Vindras clans. But the gods from whom the Vindrasi draw their earthdwelling power are besieged by a new generation of gods who are challenging them for the powers of creation. The only way to stop these brash interlopers lies within the Five Bones of the Vektia Dragon—the primal dragon forged during the creation of the world—which have been lost for generations.

With the Gods of the New Dawn amassing a vast army, Skylan finds allies in former enemies. Calling upon the ogres to fight their common foes, the Vindrasi soon find themselves in the middle of an even larger war. Skylan and his Vindrasi clan must sail the Sea of Tears into the heart of the Forbidden Empire of the Cyclops, to implement a cunning yet delicate plan that risks his life and leadership at every corner. But a new enemy lies deep in the sea, one who draws upon powers never harnessed by land dwellers.

Master world-builders Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, who have entertained generations of fans with the Dragonlance series and the Death Gate Cycle, prove they're at the top of their game.

» Excerpt 1: Prologue
» Excerpt 2: Chapter 1

About the Authors
Master world-builders Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, who have entertained generations of fans with the Dragonlance series and the Death Gate Cycle, prove they're at the top of their game with RAGE OF THE DRAGON. They published their first novel in the Dragonlance™ Chronicles, Dragons of Autumn Twilight, in 1984. Twenty eight later they are going strong, collaborating on more than thirty novels. Alone or together with other co-authors, Weis and Hickman have published more than one hundred books, including novels, collections of short stories, role-playing games, and other gaming products. Margaret Weis lives in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. Tracy Hickman lives in Utah.

Lori: For readers new to the Dragonships series, can you give them a brief introduction to the world?

TRH: Think Vikings with dragons. Now think of a pantheon of gods who have failed the world so badly that they are in danger of losing their creation to other failed gods looking for a second chance. Finally, picture our Vikings trying to save their world from utter destruction as the gods battle for ownership of creation – while dealing with their own inadequacy to the task. That’s pretty broad strokes but it sums up Dragonships for me.

MW: This is a world of the fantastic with giants and faeries and humans, mythical monsters, magical beings, ships that can change into dragons, and gods who have failed their people.

Lori: What sets the Dragonships of Vindras apart from other fantasy series?

TRH: Dragonships of the Vindras is different from other fantasy series in many ways. Perhaps my favorite aspect is the idea that the gods have failed their creation so badly that other 'itinerant gods' are trying to muscle in on this world and, having failed once on their own, are looking to redeem themselves with a second chance at 'godhood.' Another aspect which sets it apart for me are the characters, each of whom are deeply flawed and trying to rise above their shortcomings to become the heroes the world requires them to be.

MW: Our hero is not at all likeable at the beginning. Skylan is the son of the Chief. He is eighteen, arrogant, handsome, thinks he has all the answers and deserves respect without earning it. He does have some redeeming qualities. He's courageous, loyal to his friends. His flaws lead him to make bad choices that have serious consequences for him and his people. He learns from his mistakes as he works to prove his worth to his people and to the gods.

Lori: Which of the books in the series released so far is your favorite and why?

TRH: It's hard to separate one book from another in the series in terms of which is my favorite. If I had to choose at this point, it would perhaps be the second book partly from its scope and also in terms of how much punishment the main character takes in his journey toward redemption.

MW: That's like asking a mother which child is her favorite! I like each of them for different reasons. The last one, RAGE OF THE DRAGON, was a lot of fun to write because much of it takes place beneath the ocean.

Lori: What's one surprising thing you learned while researching?

TRH: We did extensive research into Vikings and their culture prior to beginning these books. I think the most surprising thing for me was that Vikings were in many respects more advanced in terms of their treatment of women that we supposed. They had specific rights under Viking law that other cultures would not approach for quite some time. And I was surprised that the measurements for our modern boxing ring actually came from Viking traditions of dispute resolution. They were quite progressive among their own people. Those who were NOT Vikings, however, were not considered to be covered under Viking law ... and therefore deserved whatever the Vikings did to them or took from them in the Viking way of thinking.

MW: The Vikings loved battle and when they werent fighting other people, they fought among themselves. The best story I found was of two warring clans whose women were sick and tired of losing their menfolk to war. So when the warriors lined up in the shield wall and began charging toward each other, the women started stripping off their clothes and throwing them onto the battlefield. Their dresses and undergarments got caught on the tips of the spears and swords, turning the battle into a farce. The men on both sides couldnt help but start laughing and ended the war with a general celebration.

(Oh my gosh, I love that! :D)

Lori: What is your favorite passage from RAGE OF THE DRAGON?

TRH: I think my favorite passage is actually the Epilogue which, obviously, I would not quote here. I would prefer, I think, to quote my next favorite passage which is at the beginning of the book, which, is also the end of the previous book.
Sigurd demands, "So, what do we do now?"
"We stand together," said Skylan.
"Sigurd snorted. "You mean we die together."
"Better than dying alone," said Skylan.

MW: This is from the part where Skylan encounters the Aquins, a people who live beneath the sea. The Aquins are a matriarchal society, which Skylan finds difficult to understand.
"Why is the child in your care?" Skylan persisted. "Are you a widower? If so, there must be women who can tend to the boy."
The man caressed the child, stroking his head tenderly. "We believe it is only logical that the strongest in society protect the weakest."
"Our women care for our children," said Skylan.
The man raised his eyebrows. "It is a wonder your people have managed to survive."

(It sounds so epic, doesn't it? *_*)

Lori: What would be the name of your dragonship?

TRH: My dragonship would be named Svanses. She is the goddess of Wind and Cold ... a good person to have on your side at sea!

MW: I think I would call mine God-killer, referring to the attempt to drive out the interloper gods.

They are seriously awesome, no? I'm totally starstruck *___* And RAGE OF THE DRAGON sounds amazing!

Thanks to the generous people at Tor Books, you get the chance to win one of FIVE copies of RAGE OF THE DRAGON.

To enter, fill out the form below.
*One entry per person.
*Open to US/Canada residents only.
*I will email only once to ask for your mailing address. If you don't respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be selected.
*Deadline is Thursday, May 17.


Good luck! ♥

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