Today I’m thrilled to have friend and fellow author Ben Ireland with me to share his thoughts about writing and his books. Better still, I was able to read the first Billy Blacksmith book last week. If you have a kid in your life (or young-at-heart adult) who likes adventures, danger, and an unlikely hero – this is a great series.
Onto the interview!
Tell us about your journey – What led you to writing Billy Blacksmith’s story?
Billy Blacksmith is actually my second published series. The first, Kingdom City, was published by Xchyler. It’s a fun tale about government sanctioned torture, human experimentation, and the desperate struggle to survive in a dystopian city torn apart by war.
Kingdom City is dark, and sometimes brutal. Which I thought was cool when I was younger. The protagonist of Kingdom City is Autumn, a woman who is powerful, brilliant, and internally shattered by her past choices. But by the time Kingdom City: Revolt had come out in 2016, the real world felt like a darker place to me. I wanted to add some light.
One day I walked into my kitchen, the sun was shining through the window, and it’s almost like I heard a voice in my head, saying: “I’m Billy Blacksmith. I like video games, cupcakes, and baseball. My best friend is a demon, and for some reason, I, have to save the world.”
Then, question after question (Why does Billy have to save the world? Why is his best friend a demon?) The Blacksmith Legacy universe was conceived. And it’s been so much stinking fun.
But seasoned with a little darkness, because I can’t help myself.
I’ve found most authors keep special items close by when they work. What’s the most interesting thing you keep on your desk and why?
I usually have my adopted cat, Bam Bam on my lap. Does that count?
Is there a hidden lesson in the Billy Blacksmith books? If so, what is it?
No. I try really hard not to sneak a lesson into my writing. I like to leave room for the reader to make up their own mind about what is happening in the story. There are characters that say things dear to my heart, while other characters express opinions that I find abhorrent.
But then there are times where my characters say “Friendship has tangible, magical value.” So sometimes I’m not all that subtle.
If there is anything I’m trying to say, is that Billy is about the conflict about good and evil. What I want to do is make you question what good and evil really means.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself while writing your books?
I CAN live off 4 hours of sleep most nights. For a limited time.
What’s next? Tell us about the projects you are working on.
Currently I’m working on Bleakwood Lore. The Blacksmith Legacy: Addendum.
The Billy Blacksmith books are all part of The Blacksmith Legacy universe. Bleakwood Lore is the first non-Billy Blacksmith book I’m writing in the series. It has eleven short stories from the perspective of different characters. Some you know, some you’ve only just met briefly. It was that, or have eleven opening chapters to Book Four.
I’m really excited about this one. It was incredibly fun to write, and it has a lot of reveals for those who have been paying attention to the series.
The current titles in the Billy Blacksmith Universe:
About Ben Ireland
Born and raised in Australia, Ben Ireland is uniquely qualified to write about horrifying spiders and how much they would like to kill you. An award-winning writer of both Young Adult Urban Fantasy and Cyber-Horror, Ben received the Gold Quill 2017 for Billy Blacksmith: The Demonslayer from the League of Utah Writers. His other award-winning books include Billy Blacksmith: The Hellforged, The Ironsoul; the cyber-horror series – Kingdom City, and several short stories.
Learn more at BenIrelandBooks.com
Want to grab a copy of one of Ben’s books? Find all of them over at his Amazon author page.
Sneak Peek Excerpt from Ben’s next book, Bleakwood Lore
This is a scene from the 4th story of Bleakwood Lore. Krios—a twenty foot tall demonic spider (and ex-general of the Spider Horde)—has been trapped in the Human Realm with his princess, who happens to be a human. She’s sick, and Krios isn’t sure what to do, so he enlists the aid of a Smith’s worker to purchase some “human medicine.”
A curious, burning smell wafted through the air. Krios crept across the roof and peered over the rearmost wall of the store. The back lot of the store was not brightly lit, a large square of asphalt with several cars parked in the shadows. Around the asphalt unkempt shrubs grew, entangling themselves about a sagging metal fence. To Krios’ left, a ramp descended towards a huge door in the rear of Smith’s store.
Directly beneath him, a single human stood in the dim light. She did not seem large by human standards, with a slim figure and thin arms. Her outfit of black pants and a red collared shirt held the air a uniform. She tucked her short brown hair behind her ear and lifted a small stick to her lips. When she lowered the stick, a cloud which wreaked of burning lifted into the air, much like a demon smoking a pipe, though far less fragrant.
“Human,” Krios grunted in human language.
The woman started in surprise, looking around her for the source of the voice.
“I require drugs,” Krios said. “Are you able to help me?”
The human laughed nervously. “How do I know you’re not a cop?”
“I can assure you, I am not.” Whatever that is. “Can you help me locate drugs?”
“Yeah. I might,” she said. “What are you looking for?”
Krios dropped from the roof and landed in front of the human. “Excellent. I require your assistance immediately.”
The woman screamed and jumped backwards, tumbling over the rail behind her and down the ramp. The burning stick flew into the air, drawing an arc of bitter smoke as it fell.
Krios dashed forward after her, following her down the incline. She scuttled backwards on her hands, her eyes bulging as she took in Krios’ mighty form, until she slammed into the far wall. Her mouth was wide, her body shaking. The only thing she seemed to remember to do was breathe.
“Will you assist me?” Krios asked.
Her eyes passed over Krios, and landed on his sapphyril mandible. “Why can you . . . talk?” she said. “Please don’t eat me.”
“I will not eat you,” Krios said as reassuringly as possible.
She continued her attempts to scuttle backwards, despite the wall hindering any further movement. “What . . . what . . . what do you want?”
Krios rolled his eyes. Humans become quite stupid when you frighten them. “I told you, I require drugs.”
She laughed, though without humor. “I ain’t got a bowl big enough for you.”