Hello book nerds! When I started my blog three years ago, scrambling to cope with post-partum depression, I would have never guess the awesome opportunities I would have as a result.
One of those is today, bringing you an interview with one of my favorite authors: Scott Reintgen! I first discovered Scott’s Nyxia Trilogy through a friend and I have been hooked since. Thanks to the publishing Gods (much kinder than those in Bloodsworn) I had the incredible privilege (and curse) of reading BOTH Ashlords and Bloodsworn early. Now that Bloodsworn is officially in the world, I can start pressing upon all who will listen the dire need to read this duology. That includes you: READ IT! And please come chat with me, I have been anxiously awaiting everyone’s thoughts. But I digress.
Without further ado… the interview.
Thank you Scott for taking the time to answer some questions! I am going to start with the one that has been on my mind since Ashlords…
What was it about Pippa that led to writing her chapters in second person?
So glad I finally get to explain this. I see a lot of commentary about it online. The main reason centers on Pippa’s identity. Much like a Kardashian or any famous person in our world, she’s more than just a person. She’s a brand. There’s a strategy to everything she does and is. I felt like second person gave me the opportunity for her to feel like she was watching herself, slightly removed, as she did everything. Almost like watching a persona on TV. It’s how she sees herself. Like she’s controlling her actions the same way you’d control a video game character—hoping for the best possible outcomes. I also felt it was important for the reader to identify with and slip into the mindset of the Ashlords. Every time I used the you, it really draws you into her position. Which is—and should be—uncomfortable. Pippa comes from the conquerors. The ruling class that has subjugated the other two cultures. Our connection to that kind of history isn’t as far away as we like to think, and it’s important for us to wrestle with the role we’ve played.
I love the intent of putting the reader in the mind and point of view of the conqueror. If there is anything we have all been faced with over the passed year, it is the role we have played, whether we wanted to or not, in inequality. I mentioned in my first review Pippa’s point of view was jarring and looking back, that as part of it. Being in the mind of the oppressor who, at that moment, sees nothing wrong in her actions. It was so impactful.
Now taking a step back…
What was the initial inspiration for Ashlords / Bloodsworn?
“a race across dimensions” was the very first note I wrote in my phone. I always say, though, that stories come to life when an idea meets a character. Pippa walked in for her first interview, the daughter of two former champions with lots of secrets, and I knew I had a great story.
Pippa is a powerhouse and such a fantastic character, she would accept nothing less than a great story. Besides ‘the favorite’…
What part of Bloodsworn was the most fun to write?
All of it?! It’s a really fun book, but I’ll say that I did have the most fun exploring the pantheon. That aspect was very lightly touched upon in the first book. They’re fascinating, so it was fun to expand on who they are and why they are. I had a blast writing all of those deities in.
As a kid who grew up obsessed with Greek and Egyptian mythology… diving into the pantheon in Bloodsworn was one of my favorite parts as well.
So we now know what made it in but…
What did you edit out of Bloodsworn?
I’ve said this elsewhere, but the biggest edit came with the original concepts for this series. I had this big, multi-dimensional race with like four worlds. Two of those worlds got cut completely. One day I’ll bring the alternate history, 1930s Baltimore I had planned to life. One day.
Who can I harass (kindly) to make sure this happens? I would love to explore the alternate worlds! On that note…
If you were to write a spin-off about any of your side characters, which would you pick?
I’d love to go back in time and write the story of Pippa’s mother dominating the games, but honestly, I think there’s room to go forward and see what the future generations do with the competitions, especially after everything that’s revealed in book two.
Can I vote for both? It would be such a fascinating story to see Pippa’s mother in her youth, especially since she is so essential to shaping Pippa as we enter Ashlords. But I honestly did not want Bloodsworn to end so would absolutely read about future generations.
If Ashlords / Bloodsworn were made into a movie, which actors do you see playing Imelda, Adrian and Pippa?
This is a really hard call. I am always the worst at picking actors and actresses. There’s a commissioned art piece out there that shows what I think the characters look like (to a degree). That’s the best I can offer! I really do love to allow the reader to keep their own head canons.
After some internet sleuthing, I located the aforementioned art. It is funny, I remember seeing this art but I actually picture Adrian more along the lines of how Davood rendered Emmitt from Nyxia! This is so cool though.
Okay random question time…
If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would you pick and why?
There are a lot of people I’ve talked about this with over the years. Honestly, I’d love to jump into something with Karen McManus. She does suspense and thriller so perfectly, and I’d love to drag her skills into a fantasy setting and really bring that kind of story into my genre.
Ooo she does do suspense so well and I am a bit awe stuck at this combination. Please publishing Gods make this happen?!? I would love to see more thriller aspects in fantasy.
Okay I have a bit of a personal one…
Since becoming a mom, I started collecting a list of ‘must reads’ for my daughter as she grows up. What are some of your ‘must read’ books for your son?
This is the best question. Wow. I love it. Honestly, my primary goal? I just want my son to love to read. Absolutely it would be bonus points if he loves some of what I love and we can talk about it. I’d be thrilled if he enjoyed The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin or Red Rising by Pierce Brown or Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds. I’d be thrilled to no end. But truthfully, if he loves to read and only loves reading things I don’t? I’d be fine with that. I’m just hopeful he finds books he really enjoys.
I relate to this so much. My daughter loves to ‘read’ now at four. I hope that continues into the future. Gosh, I would be thrilled if she loved these three authors as well. I am a huge fan of all of them and own more editions of Red Rising than someone who is not Pierce Brown should. Cheers to raising readers!
Okay so we are coming toward the end of our interview…
What do you hope readers take away from your Ashlords / Bloodsworn Duology?
One of the larger, sweeping ideas is our perception of the world versus the reality of that world. This comes up a ton in book two. How we see other people and how we see our world and how we see our own position in that world. Those things matter, and we’re often going to buy into our own idea of those things, rather than peeling back the layers and really getting a look at the reality. But aside from that, if I’m being honest, I really just wanted people to feel like they were going on a wild and satisfying ride.
Well I truly think you accomplished both which is a feat itself. I have also been hopeful in seeing more people in our world pulling back the layers of what is perceived as ‘known’ or ‘fact’ to discover the truths that culture and systems had tried to hide or erase.
Last but not least, some fun…
You have dueling releases out this month, how are you celebrating?
I’m talking to about 5,000 students from February 2nd to February 16th. That should be fun—and exhausting. But all of my book celebrations come back to family. Two books coming on the same day is a bit wild, even for the wildness of author life. I’ll probably wake up early with my boys, play with them, write a little. Maybe we’ll eat some cake. Cake would be nice.
Congratulations on the release of both Escaping Ordinary (Tailspinners #2) and Bloodsworn! I hope you are able to enjoy that cake.
Both books are out TODAY!
About the Author
Scott Reintgen is an author of science fiction and fantasy books. He wrote the Nyxia trilogy, as well as Saving Fable, Escaping Ordinary (Fall 2020), Ashlords and Bloodsworn (2021). He began his career as an English and Creative Writing teacher in North Carolina. He strongly believes that every student who steps into the classroom deserves to see themselves, vibrant and victorious and on the page. It’s his hope to encourage a future full of diverse writers. He currently lives in North Carolina with his wife Katie and his two boys, Henry and Thomas.