Interview with Rhett C. Bruno, author of From Ice to Ashes
31 Mar 2017
What can you tell us about your new release, From Ice to Ashes?
Ever since I wrote Titanborn, I couldn’t wait to tell this story. I wanted to do something a little bit different, so, this isn’t a sequel, but more like a spin-off. I’m calling it a companion novel. The timelines of both books overlap, but the stories are told from completely opposite perspectives. In fact, some scenes are even viewed from the otherside. Where Titanborn was narrated by a Bounty Hunter working for the Corporations, this story is about the humble laborer’s ground under the corporation’s boots rising up. It’s a heartwrenching tale kicked off by a young offworlder named Kale Trass simply trying to do whatever he can to earn the credits to pay for his sick mother’s treatment. This was a passion project to write, and I think it perfectly captures what my goal has been with the Titanborn universe. That there are no good or bad guys, it’s all a matter of perspective. I hope readers will get sucked into Kale’s story, even root for him, and then after they’re done reading and have some time to thing realize, “well, maybe he’s actually a terrorist?” That’s the sort of blurred lines that I think were established in Titanborn, and in this novel kick you right in the face.
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
Whew, that’s a tough one. I think Cormac McCarthy’s The Road kicks off that list. Forced High School reading kind of crippled my desire to read, but that book rekindled it. I loved the simplicity of the story. After that it’s tough. I’d say, The Name of the Wind, Dune, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and the Conan Stories by Robert E Howard. I loved the ending of it.
What fictional literary world would you most like to visit?
Easy. Harry Potter, pre-the last few books. Being able to use magic and all of that seems like a ton of fun, as long as it’s before all the Voldemort taking over stuff happens.
You’re hosting a literary dinner party. Which three writers are invited?
Robert E Howard. He died so early and it’s such a shame. Patrick Rothfuss. I love his writing style. He can make eating a meal sound fascinating. And Tim Zahn. I’m a huge Star Wars fan, and his books are the pinnacle of the EU in my opinion.
What’s in your Netflix queue?
At this moment, I still have to watch Narcos, and this month I can’t wait for Iron Fist. I’m caught up on basically everything else ha.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I ever received is to read the genre you write in, and to allow your work to be critiqued by others. I think that’s a problem a lot of new writers have. They’re scared to show their work to anybody but people they know, but I feel the best way to get honest feedback is to just go for it. I can’t tell you where I read to do that, or if I thought of it myself, but the best thing I ever did for my writing career was join a critique group. Sure sometimes people are overly harsh, but there’s no better way to learn about what isn’t and is working for people. Even the best writers need “fresh eyes” on their works, otherwise you get too connected and miss the simplest things.
What scene in Ice to Ashes was your favorite to write?
This is a tough one, but I think it was writing the raid on a ship called the Piccolo from the perspective of the crew. In Titanborn, you see this brutal attack on a harmless Gas Harvester through footage posted by the attackers, and I got to write that same scene through Kale’s eyes. Feeling all the confusion and fear as people with covered faces invade. It’s a major turning point in the novel.. Enough taht I probably could split the book into two parts, and there is no point in the book where the stakes are higher for Kale.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
Not really, but I’d say it’s ‘don’t hide your work.’ Like I said earlier, send it out, be critiqued or have your work torn apart and learn from it. I think Architecture School taught me this more than anything. To work for weeks on something, post it up, and have professors tear into you. It happens to everybody, and being able to weed through the feedback for the crucial bits is a skill every writer should learn.
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