Author Interview: H. Graham Cull on "The Dragon's Fangs"

Ana: Today we have H. Graham introducing their book, The Dragon's Fangs. I haven't read this book myself, but H. Graham was kind enough to agree to guest blog about their book to any readers who might be interested in the subject. H. Graham, how would you describe your book to your prospective readers? In broad terms, what is your book about?

H. Graham: It's a fantasy piece about a girl and her boyfriend going around looking to get rich (or at least enough money to get out of town) and maybe have a little adventure along the way. As its tags suggest, its a piece of what I refer to as "low fiction"; there isn't a vast struggle between good and evil going on here, the world isn't in immediate danger, and the Orcs and Dark Elves aren't slaughtering everybody.

Ana: What themes does your book explore and what do you hope the reader will take away from the experience? Is there a particular feeling or experience that you hope to evoke in the reader? Essentially, do you hope your book will mean to a reader?

H. Graham: I want to entertain them, pure and simple. I want something they can read when they're having a dull moment, like when their spouse drags them out to a football game or they're stuck at an airport because their flight was cancelled.

Speaking of themes, some that come to mind are the relationships of girlfriends and boyfriends, rich and poor, and the city vs. the country. I may also address the relationship of mistresses and slaves later on, because Treble is technically Feloni's property as well as her boyfriend, but that's something for later on.

Ana: What prompted you to write this book and did you have a specific inspiration in mind? Were you influenced by a certain author or work that inspired you to add your voice to this genre? Besides the boatloads of money and rockstar fame, what motivated you to write this book? 

H. Graham: Dungeons & Dragons. This story isn't fanfiction, but I was reading an old Player's Handbook when I got the idea for Feloni. I've always been inspired by fantasy and sci-fi in general, but somehow Magic the Gathering, D&D, and Second Life have been the three that have gotten me writing the most. A close fourth is the Escape Velocity series from Ambrosia Software, which is a major inspiration for my sci-fi writing projects.

As for what motivated me, that one's harder. I guess it was the realization that a lot of my ideas are worth telling, but aren't quite worth the full NaNoWriMo treatment. Once I realized that, it was easy to get something working, much easier than when I had been beating my head against the wall of 50,000.

Ana: If you could compare your book to any other existing works, which ones would it be and why? If the one thing you could say to a prospective reader was, "If you like X, you'll love my book!", which work would be invoked so that a reader could judge whether or not your book is their cup of tea?

H. Graham: Hmm. Tough question. I'd probably make a reference to the short fantasy stories that used to appear in Dragon magazine (the American one, not the Japanese one), but it hasn't been in print for about five years and the online version doesn't seem to have short stories anymore. Definitely Robert Howard's Kull of Atlantis and Conan the Barbarian series, for those of us who were lucky enough to remember that era.

Ana: Is this your first or only published work, or have you published other books? If you have published other books, how do they compare to this one? Do you have any more books planned, either as a follow-up to this one, or as a completely different book or genre?

H. Graham: This was actually my second e-published work, but the first is an unproduct. This one was my first piece of short fiction, where I was able to tell the story for its whole length, have control over where it climaxes, and not have to string it out for another 20,000 words because it peaked early. As it was, this was roughly 6,000 words but it told a complete story and the previous work was over 50,000 and dragged on too long.

I do have more planned. There's already a sequel titled "The Horn in the Cave" which has been released at both of the sites listed below, and a third is on the way. Both of the later stories are much longer, but hopefully still just as entertaining.

Ana: Where can readers obtain a copy of your book for them to enjoy? How can they contact you with any thoughts or questions? And do you have a means by which they can "sign up" to be notified when your next book comes available?

H. Graham: Its available at both Smashwords and BookieJar.

If they want to contact me or follow me, I have a Facebook page. I don't have a Twitter or blog, and I'm a little reluctant about posting my personal email here. So yeah, please contact me through Facebook if you want to talk.

I'll add one other key point if you want to friend me, though- because of some concerns related to my day job, I'm not going to friend anyone under age nineteen.

Ana: Thank you. I understand you have the first chapter of your book available as an excerpt for interested readers? Is there anything else you wish to add for our readers?

H. Graham: Well, it isn't actually a chapter, because the modern short story doesn't easily break into chapters. I put the first 10 or 15% (I don't remember off the top of my head) up for free via Smashwords. I wasn't able to do that on BookieJar because of that website's design; I have to designate entire chapters as free, and that would require me to change the structure of the work.

Good luck and happy reading!

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