by KJ Taylor
Crystal: Today I have the pleasure to host KJ Taylor. Welcome KJ! I'm so excited to have you join us today. Would you share a little bit about yourself with us today?
KJ: If you insist! I’m an energetic 29-year-old brunette, and I’m currently living alone. I like a man with muscles and an accent, and my perfect date is a trip to the movies followed by a pub crawl-
Wait, I think I typed that into the wrong box.
Ahem. Since my official bio will be attached to this, I’ll share some things that aren’t included in it. I have a day job as an archivist, which is a lot more interesting than it sounds, and currently have ten different tattoos and eleven piercings.
Crystal: Do you have a favorite scene you would like to share with us?
Ambit looked at his hand. It was nearly healed now, and the vague, ghostlike shape of the bellflower had begun to show through on the scarred skin. The pain had almost completely gone. ‘Well, what d’you expect me to do about it?’ he said eventually. ‘I might be the Chosen One, but I don’t think I’ve got anything that can stop that.’
‘You have to try,’ said Snarl.
Ambit heaved a sigh. ‘See, this is why I never wanted to be the Chosen One,’ he said. ‘Everyone always wants me to solve their problems for them. Come here, you little moron.’
‘What?’ said Snarl.
Ambit threw the spear down, and crouched. ‘I said come here, Snarl.’
She waddled closer, head held up toward him. ‘Ambit, you shouldn’t…’
Ambit held up his right hand, paused for just an instant, and then pressed the palm onto Snarl’s forehead and kept it there.
After a moment or two, Ambit’s hand started to smoke. A faint hissing sound disturbed the pool of silence around the two of them, and Ambit’s face twisted. Snarl stayed completely still, one front foot raised.
The smell of burning flesh started to drift into the air, and Ambit pulled away with a sudden motion and a strangled yell. He left a layer of skin behind on Snarl’s forehead, where it shrivelled and blackened away into ash. Ambit fell back, clutching at himself and cursing. ‘Shit, shit, shit, fuck, shit…!’
Snarl shook her head. ‘I hate to say this now of all times, Ambit, but… you’re an idiot.’
‘I love you too,’ Ambit said through his teeth. He dragged his pack off his back, and fumbled in it for bandages and burn cream.
‘You know, you really could have saved that for after we went to help Volcan,’ said Snarl.
Ambit slapped some of the ointment the doctor had given him over the burn on his hand, and wrapped the whole thing in bandages. ‘Unbelievable,’ he said. ‘We’ve been back together for five minutes and you’re already going on at me.’
‘Someone has to do it,’ said Snarl, and though most humans had trouble picking up different tones in a demon’s voice, Ambit could hear fondness in hers.
Crystal: Where did you come up with the idea for Broken Prophecy?
KJ: In bed. (…Ladies). No, that is not a joke. I was lying in bed one night, fuming over something very bad that had just happened, when I suddenly found myself thinking “what if you were the Chosen One but really didn’t want to be?”
Crystal: What are you currently working on?
KJ: A sequel to Broken Prophecy, plus another Drachengott book (my other recently published series), plus a YA urban fantasy series and a short story. I like to have a lot of things on the go at once, so I can jump between them when I get bored.
Crystal: Do you have any special routine that you follow when you are writing?
KJ: Yes, and I’m quite rigid about it. I aim to start at ten, and then go on writing until about 5pm, with a quick snack at 1pm (carrots and nuts!). I get annoyed with myself if I’m late starting.
Crystal: Did you have to do a lot of research for this book or any other? If so do you have a fascinating fact that you have learned you would like to share with us?
KJ: Since Broken Prophecy is a silly comedy story, I didn’t need to do a lot of research and in fact deliberately took a relaxed attitude to the writing itself. But did you know you can cook a pumpkin by jamming it in a volcanic vent? Because you probably can’t. Ambit does it anyway, because he’s just cool like that.
Crystal: Who are some of your favorite authors that you like to read?
KJ: China Mieville, J.K.Rowling, Brian Masters and Clive Barker! My tastes are pretty varied.
Crystal: Is there a genre you haven't written that you would like to try?
KJ: I wouldn’t mind having a go at writing a thriller – I’ve already written about spies and espionage in my currently unpublished YA urban fantasy, and it’s a lot of fun!
A fun adventure that satirises fantasy tropes in the style of Terry Pratchett.
Ambit Afterman is the Chosen One. Born with the mark of the silver bellflower on his palm and given a magical spear, he is the one whose coming the prophecy foretold.
Unfortunately, he would much rather drink beer and get laid - destiny can go fuck itself.
Together with his demon friend Snarl, Ambit sets out on a mighty quest - to make sure the prophecy doesn't come true, and avoid doing anything heroic under any circumstances. Along the way he will make polite conversation with demons, not deliver any great speeches, not train with the wise monks, and weasel his way out of adventure and into the nearest pub. But there may just be time to have cheap sex with the beautiful princess along the way.
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Luckily the stretch of demon country didn’t go too much further. Ambit kept following the river, and by evening he could see green up ahead. Grass started to peek through the stone, and after a while the land gradually flowed back into trees and plants, all of them festooned with flowers. There was some fruit as well, and Ambit picked a good meal’s worth of it and sat down under a tree to eat.
As for Snarl, several times along the way through demon country she had stopped to dig in crevices and other places, and had made a meal of the rocks she dug up. At one point she had even found a rough diamond, which she picked up with a rasp of triumph and carried with her for the rest of the walk – resting it between the spikes on her back.
‘Saving it for a special occasion?’ Ambit asked her now, watching her put it down and caress it with her claws.
Snarl looked up at him, her red eyes shining. ‘Something this fine you have to savour, otherwise it’s not special.’
Ambit dug in his pack for a roll of leather strips, and started to restrap the spear, carefully covering it from the butt to just behind the point. ‘You’re right about that,’ he said. ‘I’m still saving that bit of cheese I picked up in Fessifern. It’s probably even mouldier now than it was then.’
‘Disgusting,’ said Snarl.
‘You’re right. I’ll have to toast it if it’s too far gone,’ said Ambit. He finished covering the spear, and then put it aside while he dug out his map. It had been drawn on another roll of leather, and thanks to spending so much time in his pack it looked even older than it was. He untied the string holding it together, and a pungent odour wafted out, making Snarl cringe.
Ambit sniffed cautiously, and peeled the last curl of leather apart. Something green and furry fell out onto the grass, and he picked it up. ‘Wow, I was right.’
Snarl watched him buff the lump of cheese on his shirt. ‘You used the map for that?’
‘It’s waterproof, isn’t it?’ said Ambit. ‘Now, let’s see where we’re at.’ He pinned the map down with his free hand and inspected it, absent-mindedly biting into the cheese.
Snarl came over to look. ‘Which river are we by?’
‘That one,’ said Ambit, pointing to a spot which had been handily marked out for them by a greasy cheese stain. ‘We’re here at the edge of this bit of demon country – map shows we just left this area around one of the Nine Mountains – in Seberry, and the river should take us right into the valley where those monks live. Let me see if I can work it out.’ He worked his way around the map, using his finger to measure distances, and then nodded. ‘If we keep up the pace, we should get to the monastery around lunchtime tomorrow.’
‘Finally,’ said Snarl.
‘Maybe you can eat your diamond there, make a celebration of it,’ said Ambit.
‘Only if it’s good news,’ said Snarl.
‘It’d better be after all this,’ said Ambit. He rolled the map up and put it away, stifling a yawn. ‘But first we get to do my third favourite thing and get some sleep.’
‘We’re just going to make camp here?’ asked Snarl.
Ambit lay back against the tree. ‘It’s too far to the nearest village, and knowing my luck there’ll be another old coot going on about chosen ones. I’ll take the chance of getting rained on over that any day.’
‘And I won’t have to hide,’ said Snarl. She looked skyward. ‘It had better not rain.’
‘Yeah, here’s hoping,’ Ambit said sleepily.
Snarl left him where he was and waddled over to the next tree along. She wandered back and forth for a while, growling and muttering to herself, until she found a good spot and started to dig. The dirt steamed as she shovelled it aside with her claws, and in very little time she had disappeared underground. A while later she came into view again, squatting just inside her burrow and peering out for any sign of trouble.
Ambit, meanwhile, stayed comfortably stretched out on the grass with the spear still in his hand. Every now and then he opened one eye partway, but eventually he gave that up and went to sleep.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
K.J. Taylor was born in Australia in 1986 and attended Radford College and the University of Canberra, where she returned to obtain a Master of Information Studies in 2012. She currently works as an archivist.
She published her first work, The Land of Bad Fantasy, through Scholastic when she was just 18, and HarperVoyager went on to publish The Dark Griffin in Australia and New Zealand five years later. The Griffin's Flight and The Griffin's War followed in the same year, and were released in America and Canada in 2011. The Shadow's Heir, The Shadowed Throne and The Shadow's Heart have now joined them in both Australia and the US.
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