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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Cover Reveal and Mini-Q&A with Craig Schaefer (by Mihir Wanchoo)


Official Author Website
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Long Way Down 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The White Gold Score 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Redemption Song 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Living End 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of A Plain-Dealing Villain
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Killing Floor Blues
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Winter's Reach 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Instruments Of Control 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Harmony Black
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Red Knight Falling
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Glass Predator
Read Fantasy Book Critic's Interview with Craig Schaefer
Read Fantasy Book Critic's Harmony Black Series Interview with Craig Schaefer

Craig Schaefer has rapidly become one of my favorites due to his amazing books that feature three-dimensional characters who are grey and yet striking, terrific world-building, and twists that will leave the readers wanting more. Recently he unveiled the cover for his upcoming Daniel Faust book Double Or Nothing (see below).

Craig was kind enough to answer a few questions of mine about his upcoming title and hopefully it will amp up your appetite for Double Or Nothing as much as it did mine...

Q] Welcome to Fantasy Book Critic, and congratulations on the spectacular cover for Double Or Nothing. In the Daniel Faust series, cover art has always been a shining point and this one is holding that trend up wonderfully. What were your main pointers for your cover designer as you both went through the process of finalizing it? What were the main things that you wished to focus on in it?

CS: For every new cover (the ones for my self-published work like Double Or Nothing, I don’t have a lot of input into the Harmony Black series which is published by 47North), I sit down with James, my designer, and we run though the synopsis of the novel. I highlight the important themes, key scenes, and imagery that might be useful. From there, James does the bulk of the real work, coming up with a preliminary design from my notes. He has an uncanny knack for drawing out key details and capturing a story’s mood in a picture. I believe the results speak for themselves

Q] In each of your book covers, there's a central pointer towards the main plot or an aspect of it. With certain books like The Living End, A Plain Dealing Villain & The Castle Doctrine, it was rather straightforward whereas with the others, it wasn't so direct. Double Or Nothing seems to be in the former category with the featured dagger, what would you say?

CS: Absolutely direct, this time around. Series readers will recall that in A Plain-Dealing Villain, Daniel was hired to steal an antique dagger from Damien Ecko – kicking off a string of tragedies and Ecko’s murderous vendetta. The dagger itself was handed off to Daniel’s client and vanished from the story. Until now, that is. That relic wasn’t just a MacGuffin to move the plot along; it’s got a purpose and a history, and we’re about to learn all about it. For the first time in his career, Daniel is out to steal the same loot twice.

Q] Talking about the blurb, this book also focusses strongly on Caitlin besides Daniel (unlike the previous 6 volumes). Was this coincidental or purposefully done? Also is this the volume wherein we get to know all about Caitlin's past?

CS: This is a Daniel-and-Caitlin story from start to finish. Their relationship has come a long way from its stumbling beginnings, and they’ve learned to work together as lovers and as partners. In Double Or Nothing – thanks to an unseen enemy who knows exactly how to strike where they’re most vulnerable – that partnership will be put to the test.


Q] This book is also different in the way that the Cheshire Smile is also the focus in the story and his arc has lasted more than 3 books unlike previous antagonists Lauren Carmichael & Damien Ecko. Does this mean that he will continue to be a persistent thorn for Faust or will Daniel be getting some respite?

CS: Carmichael and Ecko were heavy hitters, but the Man with the Cheshire Smile – also known as the Enemy – poses a genuinely cosmic threat. He also has a knack for drawing powerful players into his sphere of influence, most of whom have good reason to want Daniel dead. That trend continues in Double Or Nothing, though readers will have ample reason to wonder who is really pulling the strings.

After all, who’s more dangerous: a man who can rewrite history with a touch of his ghostly hand, or the servants he trusts and listens to?

Q] With Double Or Nothing, are we heading out to newer locations like A Plain Dealing Villain did with Chicago (and The White Gold Score with Los Angeles)? Or will the action be centered around Faust's usual stomping grounds?

CS: Double Or Nothing rambles the country a bit, including a Dan-and-Caitlin road trip from Vegas to Albuquerque to Denver. (Yes, Albuquerque. Terrible things are happening in Albuquerque.) There’s also a return trip to Chicago (and a visit with some of Faust’s windy-city allies), and the climax…well, that’s set someplace the series hasn’t been to yet. Shh. It’s a surprise.

Q] In the recent past you have hinted at a big announcement that's coming down the pipeline for all us fans? Any word on that or can you give us an idea as to when can we expect it to land?

CS: The announcement is regarding a new project, one I’ve been working on for the past year (and planning for longer than that). I can tell you that it’s a trilogy, it’s directly tied to my previous books, and a few sharp-eyed readers have already got an inkling of what (or who) it’s going to be about. It’s also the darkest thing I’ve ever written and I suspect it’s gonna be a love-it-or-hate-it story for a lot of people. I’ll be spilling the beans sometime in July, I think, and we’ll be looking at a debut of the first book in January of 2018.

Q] Thank you as always for your time, I can't wait to read more about Faust and the rest. I'll look forward to speaking with you more after DON's release and hopefully the announcement as well. Lastly what can we look forward to with this book and for the series ahead?

CS: More heists, more double-crosses, more gunfights, more occult horrors, more gourmet food, and more deeply-questionable life choices.

*---------------*---------------*---------------*



OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: Daniel Faust – sorcerer, thief, and newly-minted Las Vegas crime boss – has debts to pay. One of those debts has just come due, an IOU to be paid in the form of a high-risk heist, and it’s a job he can’t refuse. The mark? Faust’s arch-nemesis, a man with a Cheshire smile and the powers of a living god. The score? A sacrificial dagger buried under layers of electronic, occult, and human security, snug on the far side of a custom-built deathtrap.

Normally, a heist like that would be the end of Daniel’s problems. This time, it’s only the beginning.

Caitlin, Daniel’s lover and the right hand of a demon prince, faces her own threat. She’s adept at navigating the politics of Hell, keeping the peace with diplomatic grace and a whip, but a plan years in the making has left a ticking time bomb under her feet. When it explodes, it will send shockwaves through the infernal courts – and expose one of Caitlin’s darkest secrets. A hidden enemy has targeted Caitlin and Daniel for destruction, and aims to lure them into an impossible snare. For one of them to escape, the other must die.

The only way out is through a maze of demonic bounty hunters, psychic assassins, unlikely enemies and even more unlikely allies. Daniel Faust has spent his life as a trickster, defeating his enemies with the art of the con. He may have finally met his match. Las Vegas is the ultimate chessboard, and his opponent is already two moves ahead.

 Double Or Nothing will be released on June 27th, 2017 and I've recently read it, can confirm that fans won't be disappointed. Infact fans will be clamoring the author for the next Faust book immediately. 

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