TITLE : Wisdom Lost (Pandemonium Rising #2)
AUTHOR : Michael Sliter
GENRE : Epic Fantasy/Grimdark
INTENTED AGE GROUP : Adult
DATE OF PUBLISHING : 2019
PUBLISHER : Dragyn Press (Self Published)
Welcome to my tour stop for Wisdom Lost (Pandemonium Rising #2) by Michael Sliter, hosted by Escapist Book Tours. I am so grateful to be part of The Escapist Book Tours and for getting the chance to do a Q & A with the author. Make sure to check The Escapist Book Tours out because they do an awesome job of introducing a lot of new titles mainly self pub and indie published SFF books.
If you are interested in checking out the official page for the book tour – CLICK HERE
Content/Trigger Warnings :
Shown on page :
Ableism, Abusive relationship, Ageism, Alcoholism, Amputation, Animal violence/death, Blood (gore), Bodies/corpses, Body horror, Bones (animal/human), Bullying, Child abuse, Childbirth, Classism, Death/dying, Death penalty, Decapitation, Domestic abuse (emotional, physical, sexual, verbal), Drinking (heavy), Drug use, Fatphobia, Forced captivity, Graphic sex, Hospitalization, Hostages, Kidnapping, Medical procedures, Murder, Murder (attempted), Needles, Poisoning, Pregnancy, Prostitution, PTSD, Racism, Rape (attempted), Serious injury, Sexism, Sexual abuse, Skeletons, Skulls, Slavery, Slurs, Smoking, Swearing, Torture (sexual), Violence, Vomit, Warfare, Weapons
Alluded to :
Ardia is fractured, torn apart by civil war initiated by deceit. Florens has fallen, and the rebel army of
Lady Escamilla has been scattered by the Feral. Little stands in the way of the Rostanians and their
ruthless rulers seizing the entire country. Amidst this rising conflict, four people seek to stem this tide.
Or, to simply survive.
Fenrir, also called the Bull, Coldbreaker, Dukeslayer, and sometimes bastard, has the worst kind of luck.
Instead of being dead, pierced by a dozen swords, he finds himself under the control of the most
horrible person he knows: his father. And an unwelcome family reunion is made more unpleasant as
clandestine and legitimate powers vie for the rule of Rostane.
Meanwhile, Hafgan Iwan breaks an oath to himself—that he would never return home. The hallowed
Wasmer city of Hackeneth is not welcoming, particularly as a new god has usurped the old ways. Hafgan
is torn between the world he once knew and the one he has created for himself.
Leading the exhausted and haphazard remnants of a rebel army, Lady Emma Breen seeks allies across
the border, in the crumbling city of Farrow’s Hold. But when faith clashes with politics, can a faithless
former handmaiden hold them all together?
And Merigold Hinter travels across oceans to the fabled Agricorinor with a wish and a warning. The
wish? That she may understand her powers and take revenge. The warning? The Feral are coming, and
they will tear out the throat of the world.
1. What was your inspiration for writing Pandemonium Rising series?
I don’t know if there was an inspiration specifically for Pandemonium as much as there was to just start
writing! For years, I had wanted to write a fantasy series, but life consistently got in the way. But,
immediately after my daughter was born, I decided that it was time—I started writing two weeks later
and haven’t stopped since. I wanted to make sure she did not let little things interfere with her dreams,
and I wanted to be that role model (though all she could do was drool at the time).
2. What was the writing process and research process like for this series?
Writing was hard, at first, as I started without any clear direction aside from a broad plot. It took some
time to get to know the characters, which then resulted in significant rewrites. Characterization is
probably my favorite part of writing; I like to really get in the character’s heads (I’m a psychologist for
my day job), so much of my research involves people and personality. I also did a lot of research digging
into military logistics. One of my rubs from other series was when armies could march faster than a man
on horseback, or where supply lines weren’t considered, or where no consideration was given to the
blisters and chafing experienced by the common soldiery. I very much enjoyed digging into such
information, though finding reputable sources was hard to come by!
3. How did you come up with the world for the series? Can you tell us a little about the world, the magic system you have in place for the world?
I did not sit down and consider the world beforehand. I drew a map while writing and uncovered more
of the world through the character’s eyes. I would say the world is a standard medieval setting on the
cusp of invention. Very little of the world is provided through info dump, but rather you learn what the
The magic system is also provided bit by bit, as in Ardia, magic was made illegal years ago. More or less, there are people born with powers (of varying strengths) to draw energy from animals (called Leeches), plants (called Greenies), the earth (called Sappers), etc. It functions differently based on the type of power, and there is always certainly a cost. Leeches, for instance, can suck the life force from another human, but are subject to their most prominent memories. Greenies can lose themselves within the wildness of their powers. Often, they can find themselves operating far past exhaustion, and sometimes even harming allies.
As far as we know, only one of the main characters has this power.
4. What are some of the books that have inspired you and shaped you as an author?
What got me reading fantasy were good, old fashioned DragonLance books! In the back of a fifth grade
classroom was the Magic of Krynn, a book of short stories from that world. I read that, and every
birthday/Christmas/graduation since, I begged for another DragonLance book. They kept me going
through high school.
Probably most impactful as a writer was the First Law series by Joe Abercrombie. I was house sitting for
my dad while in grad school and went to Border’s Books to find something to read. An employee hand-
written recommendation hovered over the title. I picked it up, gobbled the contents, and bought the
next book two days later. Delightfully grim.
5. Do you have any writing rituals?
I just sit down and write. No bourbon, no special dances. Maybe I should, but with two kids, I need to
get right to business when I can. I’ve even taken up writing on my phone sometimes, just as that gives
me a bit of extra time.
6. If you couldn’t write in the genre you write in, which genre would you prefer to write in? Also which genre would be the most challenging for you to write in and why?
I supposed if I couldn’t do fantasy, I would probably do some sort of Chuck Palahniuk rip off.
Transgressional fiction? I don’t know—something where there’s a creeper living among society whose
behavior is completely justified in his own mind and makes a lot of sense from that POV.
If I had to write romance, I’d probably ask someone to chop off my fingers and tongue so I could neither
type nor voice-to-text this into the world. (Of course, I exaggerate. More power to people who love
romance! I just don’t want to write it).
7. Tell us about a funny/weird/cool / most shocking thing you discovered while researching for the series.
Well, I did a fair amount of research on torture methods. Yeah, my search history definitely has me on
some government list. But I learned that felons, in medieval Europe, occasionally had their hands
removed while being hanged. The hand was sometimes pickled and turned into a Hand of
Glory—somehow turned into a candle and used to commit/support crimes through supernatural means. I don’t know how common this was, but certainly an interesting factoid!
8. How has your journey of book publishing been?
I originally thought to go the traditional route, and I actually submitted letter after letter to the vast,
empty slush piles of agents. I don’t think I got a single response, which was not unsurprising given what
I’d heard. So I went the self-publishing route, and I really felt my way through. It was intimidating for
sure, and I didn’t have the sense or knowledge to reach out to the community. That would be my
biggest bit of advice for new self-published authors—ask for help from the community, and you will find
it! There’s a Grimdark Readers/Writers Facebook group that I would say has been most instrumental to
my development as a writer. Great people all around!
9. Tell us about the favorite thing you got to write in the book.
There’s a series of interlogues. I know, it doesn’t sound interesting—who likes an interlogue? They are
entirely told as dialogue, with one character (a surprise reveal) from the end of SOLACE LOST speaking
to another. You can picture the setting without ever having it described. You can feel the character’s
madness in his/her words. It was wicked fun to write, and it is one of the most often praised parts of
WISDOM LOST. It’s great when others actually like what you enjoy.
10. What do you love the most to write and hate to write in your stories(tropes & themes)?
Hate. Strong word and I try to avoid writing things that I hate, anyhow. I think I get frustrated when a
section seems a little slower, and where the payoff isn’t going to be as obvious. I want to make sure
that readers don’t get bored, but there has to be some lull for the action to hit more impactfully.
SOLACE LOST was often described as a “slow burn,” and I know that I’ve lost a reader or two at the
slower part of it. WISDOM is much faster.
Love? I love writing people! With my career choice being in Psychology, and my job basically to evaluate people most days, I like to craft individuals that are complex, multi-faceted, and flawed (like we all are).
11. You have different POVs in the books, which one was your favorite and your least favorite to write?
This is a tough one. I loved writing each POV. Emma was definitely slower in the first book, as she was
first designed to be a witness to many great events (eyes in the room), but I loved writing her arc in
WISDOM LOST and FAITH LOST. Hafgan was tough to write, because I wanted to make sure I was
capturing the sensitivity of the world’s that he was trying to navigate. Merigold was emotional to write,
and you’d know why if you’ve read SOLACE LOST. Fenrir… well, he was a lot of fun. Fun doesn’t
necessary mean favorite, but who doesn’t love a snarky asshole with daddy issues?
12. With Ardia on the brink of civil war, you have the option to fight against the evil forces. Who would you like to have on your team(please choose authors you want on your team) and your reasons for choosing them?
I would certainly choose Peter McClean so that he could bring Tomas Piety to bear. That guy is badass
and willing to deal out harsh justice. If Joe Abercrombie were to show up, we’d have a better chance,
too, given that he writes insane fighters. Though, his wars tend to end in a draw… Maybe I should
instead bring Josiah Bancroft. His way with words might help us actually forge peace before it comes to
war? Either way, he’s one of the cleverest people I know.
13. What are the best things and the worst things about your main characters?
Fenrir – The best thing about this guy is his silver tongue. He’s almost as clever as he thinks he is. Worst trait? He does what he’s told, simply because he’s used to it.
Merigold – There’s steel in her. Doesn’t break, doesn’t bend. No matter what happens. But,
occasionally, she’s step into violence where there could be a better solution.
Hafgan – There’s no better fighter, period. That, and he tends to create a home for the disenfranchised,
like himself. At the same time, he is stricken with such guilt over his past actions that he runs from
responsibility, despite knowing that he could have more impact. He’s not close to a coward, but some
might think that.
Emma – She’s smart, more so than she gives herself credit for. She can have unlimited impact and has a
knack for leading others. Uncertainty is her downfall, not unsurprising given how she was thrust into
her new role.
14. What do you love the most about fantasy stories, especially the grimdark subgenera?
As Logen Ninefingers would say “You’ve got to be realistic about these things.” I like grimdark because the worlds seem realistic. People aren’t usually good or bad, but rather somewhere in between. The “good guys” don’t always win, and sometimes they aren’t that good to begin with. I love hearing the
human stories that are at the heart of grimdark, and I do feel like such books ultimately represent hope.
Typically, characters keep going, despite the world rallying against them.
15. Your favorite underhyped books you want more people to read.
I want people to continue reading Josiah Bancroft’s Books of Babel! He doesn’t have much of an online
presence these days, and I don’t want it to impact his sales—the guy is phenomenonal, and his books
(sort of a steampunky setting) are extremely unique!
MICHAEL SLITER :
Michael Sliter was born in the deep wilds of Cleveland, Ohio, where he fought off at least two siblings
for scraps of pizza. His bedroom, growing up, was a monument to fantasy, containing a stack of worn
and well-read books, a medieval Lego civilization spanning half the room, and a very real sword circa
World War II.
Though always fascinated with the written word, Michael ended up with only a minor in writing, instead
majoring in Psychology (Hiram College, OH). He later went on to complete his M.S. and Ph.D. in
Industrial-Organizational Psychology (Bowling Green State University, OH)—overall spending a larger
portion of his life than strictly necessary in school. Following, Michael was a psych professor for a time,
and then moved into the real world to help organizations hire the right people.
He attempted to write some childish fantasy novels in the past, all abandoned as derivative refuse. It
wasn’t until his daughter was born that Michael decided to begin writing in earnest, and he published
Solace Lost, the first book in the Pandemonium Rising series. Since, Wisdom Lost (Book 2) and Valley of
the Free (novella in the same world) have been published.
Today, you can find Michael back in the Cleveland area, where he lives with his wife, daughter, and two
dogs. They are quite tolerant of his writing, reading, video game, and racquetball habits.