Interview with Derrick Smythe, Author of To Wield a Plague

12 May 2022

What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write To Wield a Plague (Passage to Dawn)?

To Wield a Plague was inspired, at least in part, by my readers. Dwapek, the main protagonist in To Wield a Plague, plays a small yet memorable role in my Passage to Dawn series. Because readers really connected with him, and he’s one of my personal favorites, I began brainstorming which story might be best to develop and write for him.

Meanwhile, I wanted this to be something readers with no prior knowledge of the series could also enjoy, so it made sense to do a back story to introduce Dwapek’s homeland, and the events that helped shape him into the ill-tempered, eccentric halfling readers meet in The Other Magic. I already had much of his backstory written in my notes, but they needed to be expanded, adjusted, and fine-tuned in several places.

Lastly, I wished to introduce a plot element that will play a role later in the main series, something to reward my loyal readers with a few Easter eggs.

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of To Wield a Plague (Passage to Dawn), what would they be?

Oh I don’t know, maybe House of the Rising Sun? There are not brothels in this story, but the tone of the song fits this story and the main protagonist well enough.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

Definitely epic fantasy. I occasionally read historical non-fiction, suspense, or mystery, but epic fantasy, like my writing, is where I find the most joy.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

My TBR currently consists of Phoenix Rising by JA Andrews, A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie, The Black Book by Edward W. Robertson, and I’m currently alternating between two books depending on my mood, A Prince’s Errand by the father and son team of Dan and Robert Zangari and The New Tsar by Steven Lee Myers. They are both fantastic, though in different ways.

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

My favorite scene to write would probably be a flashback early in the story, when Dwapek meets a mysterious roving merchant. His innocent naivety at the beginning of the scene comes to a screeching halt, creating a contrast of emotion that foreshadows the challenges to come.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

If waking up in the wee hours of morning to write undisturbed in a household of three children under the age of five is quirky, then yes.

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

I hope readers are reminded in the power of free will and compassion, no matter the circumstances.


Derrick Smythe is the author of the new book To Wield a Plague (Passage to Dawn)

Connect with Derrick Smythe

Author Site


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