Sunday, February 10, 2013

Interview: Blake Hausladen + Giveaway!

About the author

Armed with an English degree from Ripon College and an MBA from Chicago’s Stuart School of Business, Blake has enjoyed a sixteen-year career in the shadowed back-office realms of the financial industry. He currently works in Chicago and writes in his free time.

Welcome on Draumr Kópa! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a father, husband, manager of a financial crime prevention IT department, and on the margins an author of epic fantasy. I sleep too little, walk to work, and cannot say no to an invitation to play a board game.

How would you describe your book?
In a nutshell, this is the story of four who are banished to a distant land and must learn how to survive. It is the best book I have written but not the best that I will.

How did you start writing “Ghosts in the Yew”?
I started writing it on a coffee break from a crappy job on a rainy afternoon in Chicago. The effort was interrupted by graduate school and other events, but those first three sentences survived all the way to final copy.

Have you always wanted to be an author?
Yes. Since the days when my toy of choice was Legos, I have been scribbling. My first story was time-travelling chose your own adventure that sent the reader back and back so that the story would never end. I wrote it with colored pencil. It was HORRIBLE. I have heard it said that to master a vocation, it takes 10,000 hours of practice. It took me a bit more than that.

Is there a sequel coming?
Yes. Ghosts in the Yew is the first of a planned series of six. Book two of the Vesteal Series, Native Silver, will be released later this year.

You chose to write from different POV’s and all in a first person narrative. That may be a tricky choice because first-person narration is a very intimate way of telling a story and having that perspective from multiple POV’s can easily  fail. Did you consider this when writing “Ghosts in the Yew”?
Yes. It is a rarely used method but offered me a feature of storytelling that I love. My characters don’t always tell the truth—don’t want to. In a story with a single first person voice, the reader is left wondering how much he can trust the narrator. In a first-person multiple tale, the characters perspectives overlap and the omissions and lies are drawn out. Fantastic fun—difficulty aside.

You did a wonderful job with the first-person POV's! Was it difficult to write the Dia chapters, her being a girl and especially with all she has to endure in the misogynistic culture of this country?
Dia was by far the hardest to write. The setting defied me countless times, and left her with very few options. Her story went through many drafts before she read as she needed to—a woman in the world, seizing from it what she so desperately needed and so very much wanted.

Who made those beautiful drawings popping up throughout the book?
The illustrations that open each of the twenty-five Barok chapters were done by myself or my wife and editor Allison. Hers are the best of the set by far, all done with ballpoint pen. The maps are all mine, either done with slate ink and brush or pencil. I must also mention the photographers who provided the shots for the horses, Kerri-Jo Stewart, Argamak Photography, and Fleur Hallam, The front and back covers are shots taken by Mag. Harald Schmid, in a grove of Yew trees in Sussex, England, and for them I will be ever grateful. The conception for most predated the prose and served as great sources of inspiration.

Thank you for visiting Draumr Kópa!
And as a treat for you guys, Mr Hausladen is giving away 2 signed hardcover copies of "Ghosts in the Yew" 

A novel of violent magic, intrigue, and statecraft, Ghosts in the Yew is the story of four who are banished beyond the edge of the map to a land of gnarled forests, ancient magic, and the site of a terrible murder. Their struggles to survive will put them at odds with their families, their nation, and the very powers that shaped the world. Ghosts in the Yew is the first book in Blake's Vesteal series and invites the reader as follows: The dark forest hid them from their destroyers. The matriarch of the forest wept a century at their murder. The priests rewrote the songs and rhymes until the world forgot them and the conquerors abandoned their watch. But then it happened that the Zoviyan Empire--bloated by its centuries of glut--sent the last thing it should have into the trees. Ghosts forget nothing, and when the blood of their enemy walked beneath them, they woke, their revenge at hand.
Goodreads (4,6 stars) | My review (4,5 stars)

Want to win one of these great books? Send an e-mail to with your full name and full mailing address (snail mail!) and "GHOSTS IN THE YEW" as subject. Only open for US and Canada.
Your personal information will only be used to mail the book to you. Only 1 entry per household. No purchase necessary.
Giveaway ends Feb 28th 2013.


  1. This sounds like an interesting read - especially the first person POV. I usually feel like I get to understand the characters' motivations more when I am riding around inside their heads.

    1. First person POV can be a tricky thing, it has to be done really good, especially like in this case, with the multiple first person POV's. But Blake did a wonderful job. It really is a unique book.