I speak to Charles K. Jordan, author of the brand new epic fantasy series, the Five Kingdoms of Cordizal.
I first met Charles K. Jordan a few months ago when he got in touch on Twitter about his debut series, Five Kingdoms of Cordizal, and invited me to read and review it for my blog. I was immediately drawn to the stunning cover — which has quite a bright colour palette for a fantasy series!
Scourge of the Five Kingdoms was published in April 2021. It’s set in a decade-long war, with a diverse cast of characters. Charles has created a vast world, with magic, political intrigue and more. You can take a look at some of the amazing reviews it’s received so far on Goodreads: “I love it and will recommend it everyday especially during this pandemic. It is just that satisfying.”
Read below to learn more about Charles, his inspiration and writing process, and his author journey so far!
Tell me about yourself — where do you live, your home life, your career, and your writing!
Well, I am originally from the Pacific Northwest but have immigrated to Japan almost 20 years ago. Homelife is a constant juggling act of being a dad, a writer, and finding time to relax. I teach English as a foreign language, an enriching career that keeps one worried about retirement.
And finally, about my writing. I have a hard time describing my work. Because I feel how I write is a natural way to tell stories, but it appears not to be the norm these days. I prefer telling a story that implies that the world keeps turning regardless if these characters participate or not. I use a large ensemble cast but manage to tie the different PoVs together, making what I hope is an interesting quilt-like story.
How would you describe your series, Five Kingdoms of Cordizal?
That is a question I often get asked by bloggers, book lovers, friends, and family. It is a simple question with a complex answer.
The setting for Scourge of the Five Kingdoms‘ story is a decade-long war, but it’s not just a war story. The war and rogue’s gallery of antagonists are a clear threat, but just who or how these problems will be resolved isn’t cut and dried. You could say that there aren’t any plucky protagonists or chosen ones in this particular universe.
There is plenty of political intrigue and maneuvering in the Five Kingdoms, but the world’s problems are, unfortunately, a bit beyond being resolved in the framework of a political thriller.
Then we get to magic. To me, magic is an essential part of a fantasy series, so, of course, there is magic in the world. In the Five Kingdoms, though, magic is an abundant commodity that is a part of everyday life, not some plot device used to drive the story.
As I mentioned before, there’s a diverse, large ensemble cast of characters who have developed already, well before we meet them. These characters have goals, and many are at the zenith of their prowess. Scourge of the Five Kingdoms‘ story does not focus on a single hero, a journey, or a prophecy, but rather it focuses on the actions of many, and it is their ambitions that drive a story full of twists and betrayals.
In short, Scourge of the Five Kingdoms is the first novel of an epic fantasy series with deep characters and world-building.
Have you always wanted to be an author?
I know it is cliché, but yes, I had dreams of being an author since I was 11 or so. But I will not lie and say I have been angling to write the entire time. I did not seriously start writing until I was well into adulthood.
Did you write many books/stories before Scourge of the Five Kingdoms was published?
Oddly enough, I wrote six books before Scourge of the Five Kingdoms came out. Those six books are the entire Five Kingdoms of Cordizal series. I felt having the series finished (not edited) would give me a chance to focus on the self-publishing side of things and give people confidence that the books are coming and will never be abandoned, which unfortunately happens often in the indie scene.
Where did your ideas and inspiration come from?
A lot of my inspiration as a writer comes from Robert Jordan and George R.R. Martin. There are so many stories about a lone hero destined to save the world from impending doom. But I felt not enough stories focused on the politics that run and sometimes ruin nations. The greed, shortsightedness, and lies, which lead to alliances and betrayals can snowball out of control, creating opportunities for whoever is lucky and/or bold. GRRM did that very well, while Robert made you care about his characters. I do not want to be either of those writers, nor do I mean to compare myself to them, but they did influence me heavily. Outside of those two fantasy heavyweights, these are just the stories that I wanted to read as a fantasy fan, and hopefully, there are fans of the genre like me who will enjoy my efforts.
What is your writing desk like? (if you have one!)
I write on an iPad. When this journey started, I started to write to reclaim the time I was losing commuting to work. The iPad allowed me to write anywhere, and Japan does not have large apartments, so having a writing space at first was impractical. But these days, I do have a favorite spot on my patio that allows me to get some fresh air, enjoy a cup of coffee and get some writing done.
Do you have a writing routine?
I make it a goal to do some work every day, but I do most of my work during the weekdays and treat writing as a job. When I first started, it was not as steady as now, so setting small goals was how I worked myself up to the routine I follow now.
I am closer to a discovery writer than an outliner, but I do a bit of both. To allow the characters to react to situations rather than forcing a plot on them gives the series a much more organic feel. But on the flip side, I cannot just have my characters running around in circles, so I create plot points for them to get to and let them figure out how to get to those points. As the series moves along and the endgame becomes more apparent, the characters are fully engaged, making hitting their plot points much more straightforward than in the beginning. I hope that makes sense to anybody besides me. Short answer, I enjoy using both sides of the spectrum of the writing discipline.
Have COVID and lockdowns changed your writing goals?
It has definitely inspired me to write more. I know that books and entertainment get people through difficult times. I want to help people escape, just as books helped me escape when I needed to check out for a few hours.
Why did you decide to go self-published?
I think being self-published gives you more flexibility about what kind of stories you can write. But actually, the process started because my editor, first reader, and good friend believed in my work and thought we should publish it.
I immediately learned that you have to wear so many hats when self-publishing because you are responsible for everything. Cover art, marketing, editing, and typesetting all need to get done. There was a lot to learn and do, and I am still learning the ropes as we speak. However, the payoff is that we have complete control of our work.
What have people’s reactions been when you tell them that you are an author?
Mostly surprise with a mixture of disbelief, but I have had some great support from friends and acquaintances.
What is your favourite thing about being an author? What have been your favourite or more proud moments?
I love creating. I dabble in many creative outlets, writing, music, and cooking. I enjoy bringing people joy with my creations.
One of my favorite moments as an author is a simple one. I learned that a friend of my editor read my book and connected with it. He had no experience with fantasy, so my book bringing him into the genre is special to me.
Fantasy and Sci-Fi sometimes feel like an inclusive club and can be unwelcoming for new people. I want everyone to enjoy the merits of the genre, so hearing that he is excited about trying other books made me happy and proud.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? (Either about writing or just life in general!)
My father is a big believer in the concept of finishing what you started. He drilled that into me my entire childhood. I think this simple, almost stubborn approach was what pushed me to write all six books in the series before releasing the first one.
What are some of your favourite indie authors and bloggers?
I want to shout out to a few bloggers I have had the pleasure of working with thus far:
- Of course, the wonderful Claire at lecari.co.uk
- Jodie at https://wittyandsarcasticbookclub.home.blog
- Tudie at https://unchartedlibrary.com
There are many more I have spoken with, and I look forward to the opportunity to work with them in the future.
I have not had a chance to work closely with many authors yet, but the authors I have met and interacted with on Twitter have been amazing! I hope that we can find ways to work together or help each other in the future.
Can you share one of your favourite quotes from Scourge of the Five Kingdoms?
There are many scenes that I love but I really think this short 47-word scene sums up the tone of the series very well:
“You are asking me to willingly accept responsibility if your schemes fail,” Gaiaus said through gritted teeth. “Just as you are asking me to hand you a throne if my schemes succeed,” the creature said, almost thoughtfully. “Seems we are equally asking each other for a lot.”
Finally, do you have a title and release date for the next book in the series?
I do have a title. It is: Dogma of the Five Kingdoms. The date is Late Oct/Early November, so rather soon, actually. I even have a cover for it as well.
About Charles K. Jordan
Charles K. Jordan was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. He attended university in his home state, as well, where he studied Information Technology. After graduating, he decided to move abroad to experience more than what he had seen in the United States. He found his way to Japan in 2003, and since then, he has called Japan home.
Charles K. Jordan was always drawn to fantasy, sci-fi, and adventure. When he was a young child, the first novel he read was Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery by Deborah and James Howe, and from that point, he was hooked. Since then, he has found inspiration and heroes from various writers in all forms of media. Some of his heroes include Robert Jordan, J.K. Rowling, George R.R. Martin, Quentin Tarantino, Terence Winter, Garth Ennis, and Glen Cook, just to name a few. Ever since that fateful day that led him to pick up Bunnicula, he knew his calling in life would be to create and hopefully contribute to someone’s growth and dreams.
Charles K. Jordan vowed to himself that no matter what happened in his life. He would never stop dreaming, writing, and creating.
You can find Charles on Twitter and on Goodreads. Scourge of the Five Kingdoms is available to buy from Amazon in Kindle format and on Kindle Unlimited (this is an affiliate link) or add it to your list on Goodreads!
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