Hi everyone! Hope you're having a wonderful Saturday.
I'm thrilled to say that the RCA was able to interview author P.J. Berman and journey to the land of Bennvika alongside many impactful characters in Vengeance of Hope.
The Reading Corner for All: Vengeance of Hope is your first novel in the Silrith series. What surprised you about this book?
P.J. Berman: It is, and I’m excited to be here to talk to you about it. I guess the biggest surprise was the direction that the development process took. I actually had the idea for Vengeance of Hope’s sequel, King of the Republic first. It was only when I started writing down my ideas for the plot that I realised that the backstory needed to be a novel in itself. There was just too much action, chaos political intrigue not to do it that way. King of the Republic is out in December 2019, by the way!
RCA: Did you do any research for the book?
Berman: Definitely. Even in the fantasy genre there’s a lot that is only believable if it could happen in our world. Vengeance of Hope is set in a country called Bennvika, and their technology is more or less on the level of the Anglo-Saxons and Normans of 11th century Europe. Therefore, to give it a believable feel, I did a lot of research into Anglo-Saxon and Norman food, clothing, architecture and battle tactics etc. Other cultures in the book are each based on a pair of different medieval nations in the same way, so I had to research those too.
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RCA: How did you visualize the setting of Vengeance of Hope?
Berman: Music is a big factor in visualisation for me. Many of the images I describe in Vengeance of Hope first came into my mind while listening to the likes of Hans Zimmer, Two Steps From Hell or Audiomachine.
RCA: What do you hope people remember about it?
Berman: I hope they remember it’s fast pace. That is something I like in other books, so hopefully people will think the same about this one.
On a deeper level, I hope they also notice that every bit if suffering that happens to one character or another in the book is, at its root, caused by the hatred and selfishness shown by the people around them. If you can eliminate hatred and selfishness from human society, wars simply wouldn’t happen.
RCA: What was the hardest scene to write?
Berman: The first one. I wrote two other opening scenes before deciding that I needed to start with something punchier.
RCA: What was the easiest?
Berman: I’m not sure about specific scenes, but Jostan’s character was the one I found easiest to develop. I’m not sure what that says about me, given that he’s the villain!
RCA: What's something you're really proud of with this book?
Berman: I’m really happy with how the battle scenes came out. I love reading battle scenes in other books, and I tried to focus on the turns of phrase that people like Simon Scarrow and Joe Abercrombie use when I was writing mine.
RCA: Did you hide any secrets in your book?
Berman: People will have to read it to find out!
RCA: Is there anything you can disclose about the next installments in the Silrith series?
Berman: Well, when King of the Republic comes out later this year, readers will find that second book to be somewhat more expansive than the first. We will see much more of the Bennvikan world, and will start to see Bennvika through the eyes of its neighbours.