Welcome Luke Scull to Grimdark Alliance! Luke Scull is the author of the Grim Company trilogy (The Grim Company, Sword of the North, and Dead Man’s Steel). The final book in the trilogy, Dead Man’s Steel, was released last month for UK & Commonwealth readers and on January 3rd for North American readers.
Thanks for joining us Luke. Dead Man’s Steel is the final book of the Grim Company trilogy. Did you have difficulty penning a conclusion for the series?
In a word—yes!
I never had much of a plan for the third book in the trilogy beyond a few key scenes. At some point during the writing of book two, my mental health took a hammering and I developed writer’s block. This meant I was late delivering Sword of the North and had to change my original outline, which in turn created a domino effect that also impacted my already sketchy plans for Dead Man’s Steel. A combination of depression, anxiety and the immense pressure of satisfying myself, my editors and my readers with the third book put me in a very manic (and unhealthy) frame of mind that contributed to the breakup of my relationship and almost got Dead Man’s Steel cancelled.
The book made it in the end—but I never want to get in that situation again, even if it means sacrificing financial security in the short term.
Has much time passed for our characters since the end of Sword of the North?
Dead Man’s Steel picks up only a few weeks after the ending of Sword of the North. The entire trilogy takes place over the course of a year.
Does Dead Man’s Steel mark the end of the Grim Company world or is there a possibility of future installments to look forward to?
Right now the story stands complete as a trilogy. My plan is to continue writing standalones and short stories set in the Age of Ruin, which is the setting in which the Grim Company trilogy takes place.
What was the biggest thing you learned about the publishing industry when writing your first trilogy?
It’s ruthless. Unless you’re a big hitter and shifting hundreds of thousands of copies of each book, you’re frighteningly expendable. Big advances are great but they bring huge pressure in various ways. The endless struggle between the creative and commercial sensibilities of publishing can be exhausting.
Deadlines are important. Really important. Miss them and you throw a publisher’s carefully constructed production schedule into chaos. Be honest and be realistic so far as you are able—that way, at least if you can’t deliver on time, you avoid giving your agent and editors an aneurism…
So you’ve got a completed fantasy trilogy under your belt. What’s next for Luke Scull?
The plan for 2017 is to begin writing the first big standalone novel set in the world of the Grim Company. I also hope to publish a short story every few months. The first will likely focus on Kayne and Jerek and will be set some time before the events of the Grim Company trilogy.
Outside of the Grim Company world, I’m also formulating a plot for a non-fantasy novel. Recently I’ve dipped my toes back into video game development—I miss the day-to-day communication and satisfaction of collaborative creation. Visit my blog at www.lukescull.com to keep tabs on what I’m currently working on.
Have any closing comments for your readers?
It would be remiss of me not to mention Dead Man’s Steel is now available in all good bookstores, right? Right?!
In all seriousness… thank-you to everyone who has bought, borrowed or recommended my books. If you enjoyed them, please leave a review and help spread the word! If you didn’t enjoy them, feel free to maintain a dignified silence, obviously…
Thanks for sharing with us Luke.