Interview with Matt Dukes, Author of Gentle Necromancy

24 Apr 2024

What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Gentle Necromancy?

My main character, Lionel Pureheart, was a necromancer I played in a D&D campaign twenty years ago. He was much different than he is in the book back then. He was a necromancer who wanted to raise the dead to mow people’s lawns and to bring back Grandpa for Christmas dinner. He didn’t want to take over the world, so I thought it was hilarious that he carried a card with him that said “Lionel Pureheart: Gentle Necromancer” on it. Our game master was not amused. I decided to try to figure out what a story would look like that could make this character work and not be completely silly. That eventually led me to write this book.

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of Gentle Necromancy, what would they be?

“Zombie Night” by Dance With the Dead for Lionel Pureheart. I like a lot of synth-wave music, having grown up in the 80s. I don’t know if HE would like the song, but I like it for him, especially for fight music.

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

Fantasy, followed closely by sci-fi. Having only written a fantasy book so far, I’d have to say yes — but we’ll see what the future holds.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

The Eye of the Bedlam Bride by Matt Dinniman, the next Dresden Files novel, if Jim Butcher gets around to it, and I’d love to see another Beware of Chicken book by Casualfarmer.

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

It’s hard to pick a particular favorite, but I always enjoy it when characters get into awkward, low-stakes social situations and have to dig themselves out. It’s completely backward from what I expected. I have twenty years of karate experience, so I thought I’d love writing combat. Nope. I like letting the characters have a weird or awkward conversation and just being along for the ride.

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

Writing a whole lot and then feeling woozy and wondering why, only to discover twelve hours have passed. It’s good to be in the zone, but sometimes you need to set an alarm for lunch.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Fall down seven times, stand up eight. It’s supposed to be an old Japanese proverb, but I’ve never been able to find the source. It’s helped me to be able to fail constructively, which is good because I’ve had plenty of failures in my life, and I expect to have plenty more before I’m done.

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

To be kind to everyone you meet, to stand up for yourselves and your loved ones, and to be as weird as possible. That’s one thing, right?


Matt Dukes is the author of the new book Gentle Necromancy

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Author Site


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