Walking with Ghosts – Ghostwalker central
I am maintaining this post for any and all Ghostwalker information. I am here to answer questions about the novel, talk about signings/e-signings, and listen to any and all feedback you might care to offer. Please don’t hesitate to tell me how you felt about the novel — I love hearing what worked and what didn’t, and believe you me it all goes into my noggin for writing the next book, I’ll tell you.
Perhaps amusingly, bookstores widely rank Ghostwalker as a “fantasy horror” novel. I rather think that has to do with the word “ghost,” which is just creepy. And there are ghosts, indeed, and they are, indeed, creepy (though really, some of the people in this book are far creepier than the ghosts).
How I describe the novel has evolved over the time since I wrote it. Mostly, Often, I use movies that I’ve seen and drew inspiration from–my current and probably best analogies are “The Crow,” “Desperado,” and “High Plains Drifter.” With swords. Ever since I first started writing the book in my junior year in college and my adviser coined the phrase, I envisioned it as a fantasy-western, and I describe it that way. Take Clint Eastwood, age 30, give him a black cloak, a sword, and the ability to walk through walls, and you have my main character.
That said, GW has a certain general appeal and doesn’t require knowledge of the setting and/or genre (the way my sophomore effort, Depths kinda does), so I’ve heard from readers of all different genres–fantasy, western, science fiction, thriller, horror. It’s the book I usually recommend people read first of my writing, and I think that’s about right.
Two Years of Ghostwalker
GW has been on the shelves for two years now, and to me it has weathered the test of time pretty well. It continues to sell, and for that I am profoundly grateful to all my readers out there–I know you’ve been talking it up, recommending it, buying gifts, etc., and I appreciate it. Word of mouth is the best promotion out there, and I couldn’t do any of it without you!
Also important to me, on a personal level, is how I feel about the book. I’m still damn proud of it, and more and more I look at it as an excellent debut novel. Still haven’t written my break-out novel–the one that would make me a name in the business–and for now, that’s ok. I certainly have a great debut that I’ve been able to build from.
Writing GW taught me a tremendous amount about writing and storytelling in general. I feel like I did some things very well, and some I could have done better, and I’ve striven to go only up from there.
Looking back, I can think of only a few things that, if I were writing GW now, I might do differently. Just a matter of taste and style.
I find that I’m a little more romantic (eek!) in my writing now (well, having invented a heroine like the Fox-at-Twilight, it’s hard not to be), so that would have been different. I do think the tone was certainly right for the book–it’s more a matter of being more experienced with writing romantic interaction.
If I’d seen Raymond Swanland’s masterpiece of a cover before final editing, I would have added some of few details as well. For instance, though I never pictured (didn’t describe it one way or the other) a curved sword, a beard, or the classic hassassin look, all of them are PERFECT for the character. I could not, honestly, have asked for or even imagined a better cover. To this day, I cannot imagine how Ray knew my mind so well, even though we had never met or spoken. I will praise the man until the day I die.
Also, I might have experimented with not naming the ghostwalker at all until late in the novel, just calling him “the ghostwalker,” ala “the gunslinger.” But as it is, I assign him a pseudonym . . . though I must say “Walker” works.
I still stand by my ending 100%.
And the most important effect of Ghostwalker upon me, at least, was how it hooked me into writing in the realms. There is a certain fire in me for the setting–it may sound geeky, it may not get me any love from anti-shared-world critics, but it’s the gospel truth. I appreciate what the realms has allowed me to do–what you, my readers, have allowed me to do–and I’m still in the process of repaying that debt, paid in the coin of the best writing I can do.
I swear it.
Sample chapter of Ghostwalker (the prologue):
Also of note is “Wayfarer,” which is a supplement/companion piece to the novel. It’s free, it’s awesome, and it’ll make you want to read the novel (I hope!):
(Note: This story can be read before, during, or after Ghostwalker without any troubles. You’ll just understand it differently, based on what you know (or don’t, if you haven’t read) from the novel. If you want my suggestion, I recommend reading the story *after* the novel. The story takes place immediately after the prologue.)
Also, Wizards was kind enough to post a character writeup for Arya, my redhead heroine. Lots of flavor here and no crunch:
There’s a whole host of music I have traditionally rather liked while writing about the ghostwalker and his foes. As a rock fan, most of it is so inclined. If GW were made into a movie, I have some recommendations for bands to perform the soundtrack . . . but whatev.
If you like reading to music while you read, I would recommend plugging in AFI, A Perfect Circle, Linkin Park, Disturbed, or StoneSour to companion Ghostwalker. My picks from those bands to convey my sense of the character would be ‘Prologue 12/21,’ ‘Passive,’ ‘Numb,’ ‘Conflict,’ and ‘Reborn’ respectively. StoneSour’s ‘Reborn’ especially.
I’m all original–I’m all that you’ve forgotten
I’m enigmatic now–you never even knew my name
I’m dressed in tragedy–I’m by design immortal
I’m just the last one left, but I am always here
Will/can there be a follow-up to the novel? Well . . .
Shrug. Who knows what 3e/3.5e to 4e will hold in store for the characters of the novel? I have all kinds of thoughts and theories–we’ll just have to see what happens!
As for immediately, the ghostwalker himself vanished under mysterious circumstances and can be (and has been) presumed dead. Though, for a man of his powers, that isn’t necessarily a hindrance . . .
It is clear that the events of the novel were not entirely tied up. Those characters who survived have been changed greatly by the turmoil, none more than the final perspective character (unspoiled).
I do think certain events in the novel will have some impact on the future–it is from stories like this that legends are made. I am game to continue the stories of these or any of my characters–we shall just have to see what we will see!
My standard advice, if you’d love to see a follow-up:
If you like these characters and want to hear more of their stories (or about those of any of my other characters, for that matter), and would like to help make it happen (all for free, by the way), let me know. Be vocal. Write reviews on Amazon. Tell your friends. Recommend my books. Come to my signings. Go on sites like Candlekeep (which is an excellent Realms resource, by the way — see the link at left) and mention it there.
Here is a post about e-signings: buying a signed/personalized copy direct from me.
Basically, let me know that you’re interested (my email’s listed on my User Info page), get me a snail mail address, and we’ll figure out probable shipping costs. Generally $7 for the book, $9 for the shipping.
Alternately, you can snag me at Seattle functions I patronize–I often make it to D&D meetup events (go to: dnd.meetup.com/192) and my blog announces if I’m going to go to a fantasy author’s signing. I do make an effort to make it to GenCon every year, if possible.
I would be happy to answer any and all questions about the book (e.g., Why did Meris do that? What does Walker’s sword do? Why does the romance seem to happen so quickly?), but I would appreciate it if:
1) Anything that gives away the plot or some revelation is marked with the word “SPOILER” in the subject heading (so people know to look away if they haven’t read it.
2) If it’s a particular scene we’re talking about, a page reference would be excellent. Pretty sure there’s only one version out there, so the page numbers will be consistent.
Finally, if you’ve read or plan to read GW, thank you for picking up my book, and I hope you enjoy!