Brian Staveley is the author of The Emperor’s Blades, first book of the epic fantasy trilogy, Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, forthcoming in January 2014 from Tor Books.

Brian has taught literature, religion, history, and philosophy, all subjects that influence his novels, and holds an MA in Creative Writing from Boston University. He works as an editor for Antilever Press, and has published poetry and essays, both in print and on-line. He lives in Vermont with his wife and young son, and divides his time between running trails, splitting wood, writing, and baby-wrangling.

(Title Photo: Brook Detterman)

(Author Photo: Laura Swoyer)

40 thoughts on “Author

  1. Mr. Staveley, your blog is very entertaining and useful for us Fantasy writers, but I think all writers would benefit from it. However, you have a distinct advantage – living in Vermont gives you a leg up on all of us! Ha! At present I am living in New Hampshire (obscure topsy-turvy Robert Frost reference here). Cheers!

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  3. Um, Mr. Staveley: there was an ARC of your book on ebay, which I bid on and was scalped at the last few seconds. I’ve been watching for weeks for another, but no such luck. You see, I read the review comments and I was lost/in love at “massive attack birds and hive lizards.” Do you, perchance, have an ARC you know, like laying around underneath something somewhere that you would send me? Just out of the kindness of your heart? I’m sitting here at my desk at work hoping I’m not typing this in vain, but I do have a picture of a Welsh Corgi puppy on my desktop background which never fails to cheer me. If the puppy reference and failure to win the ebay bid doesn’t get you, how about this: My favorite quote is “When I get a little money, I buy books. If there is any left I buy food and clothing.” I should admit to you I am extremely thin and sometimes naked in my spare time.

    • Hi Charlotte —

      Thanks for getting in touch! I’d love nothing better than to send you an ARC and keep you from starving, but I only have one left that I’m saving for my son (when he grows up). I didn’t realize they were selling on Ebay — how much did it go for?

      Although I don’t have any more ARCs, I can offer a ray of hope. Tor (my publisher) is running a lottery. You could win my book or four others, all by great writers. You can find a link here:

      It’s open until the 31st of October.

      If I see anything else, I’ll be sure to let you know!

  4. Aren’t you a great dad? Thank you for your reply. I signed up for the drawing and will keep my fingers crossed! Blessings to you and yours.


  5. Forgot to tell you– I will still buy your book so you get some $$. If I really LOVE a book I want a first edition. I’m sure you don’t see any bucks from ARCs on ebay….have a great day and blessings to your family!

  6. Oh gosh. Sittiing on my coffee table, waiting on me like a treasure waiting to be discovered. I will definitely have to get it in January cause you don’t get the maps in an ARC. Thank you, I am so excited, will begin the journey tonight…

  7. Mr. Staveley, I’m a french and I read your book “the emperor’s blade”. As you can see (or read) my level in english is not very good. But I found your book very easy to read but don’t worry it is not infantile.
    Quite some time, I read only book in English because their are more books of fantasy in this language and I don’t have to wait for the translation but the good books are very rare so when I read your book I was very happy and I read it in one day. I say in myself : finally a good author with a brain!
    I think that in fantasy, the story must be simple but the universe complex or something like this… I think you know this better than me. But look at J.V.JONES, Kathleen duey, Brent week,robert jordan… Their story is always simple. One or two main characters who fight against the destiny for what they think is just and the bad side is not bad but he want only the power….. Sorry, I SURELY SAYS SOME nonsense but I saw so many author who want to be original and they write a complex story with too many people so the reader can not identify to the characthers
    Your are very talented, your writing is fluid and I will follow you and wait for you next book but be careful if your next book are bad I will not be nice.
    PS : Don’t forget to describe the food and the travel.

    • Je vais essayer de repondre en Francais, mais ce serait probablement assez terrible parce que il y a 15 ans depuis que j’ai etudier la langue. Aussi, je ne sais pas comment utilizer les accents avec mon ordinateur! Merci beaucoup pour votre lettre. Il est tres passionnant pour moi de decouvrir que quelqu’un en France a trouver le livre! J’espere qu’un jour il sera traduire en la votre langue — c’est possible! Mon prochain roman est presque fini. J’espere que c’est bon! Au revoir… Brian

      • Votre niveau en français est meilleur que le mien en anglais(lol). J’attends avec impatience la suite et également vos prochains romans et j’en parlerai autour de moi.
        J’ai trouvé votre livre grâce au site GOODREAD. Je cherchais désèspérement un bon livre et je vous ai trouvé.
        Si votre livre est traduit, il ne pouurra que plaire aux francophones. Mais je ne suis pas trop au courant du marché du livre en france (rendement financer pour l’auteur…) et donc si c’est judicieux pour vous.
        Savez vous déjà combien de livres comportera cette série ?
        Your level in french is better than mine in english (lol). I wait with impatience the book 2 and your next books.
        I found your book because of the website GOODREAD. I wanted desperately a good fantasy book and I found you.
        If your book is translate in french, I am sure that everyone will love your book but I am not very aware of the book market in France (financial performance …) so if it’s a good idea or not.
        But in my side I will talk about you around me and if I don’t find your book in the shops with others book in english (but I don’t think that is possible) I will scream on them.
        Do you know already how many book this chronicle will have ?

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  11. Hi Mr. Staveley,

    My name is Raouf Sattaur and I just came across your trilogy. I plan on picking up The Emperor’s Blade for my next leisurely read. I know you don’t have to respond to blog posts and I see that you do frequently. I just want to say I appreciate you trying to help out those who seek your help. I would absolutely love it if you could give me some advice. I see that you’ve taught in a college setting and was wondering if you could shed some light on the subject of finding a career in the English world? I have a Bachelor’s in English and Creative Writing and have thought about getting a Master’s, but I’m hesitant to go down the academic road. I’ve thought about editing and other related careers, but I don’t know too much about how that industry is doing, since the arrival of ebooks and self publishing. I am a writer at heart and I’m writing my first novel right now. But, I do want a career that will be rewarding and entertaining. Thank you in advance and I hope you have a wonderful week.

    • Hi Raouf. I’m not sure I have all the answers on this one, but I’m happy to share some of my thoughts. 1) Writing is about the world’s least reliable career. Even if you’re “making it”, the payments are utterly unpredictable. Maybe you sell the German rights and get a bunch of money. Maybe not. No way to know. Maybe you earn out, but your publisher is holding back a huge reserve against returns. Maybe not. Again, no real way to guess. Given that, I’d strongly recommend aiming at a different career that allows you to write at the same time. 2) Teaching is awesome, at least if you find the right gig. Schools and students vary massively, and one teacher’s paradise is another’s hell. That said, if you find the right match, it can be a tremendously rewarding career, AND, if you don’t have to work a second job in the summer, you’ll have time to write. 3) High school teaching is a much safer bet than college. For one thing, you don’t need a PhD to do it, so you’ve saved many years and much money. The competition for jobs in high school isn’t quite so vicious, and the job market isn’t undercut by schools trying to hire more and more part-time faculty in the same way it is in college. If you’re desperately passionate about some academic study, go get the PhD. If not, don’t. 4) No one knows what the publishing world will look like in five or ten years, including the publishers. Will Amazon take over the world? Will print books go extinct? Will the movement toward ereaders stop, or even reverse itself? Theres are tough questions. It does seem clear, however, that the world has, and will continued to have a huge appetite for the consumption of stories. If you can get yourself into that world, and manage to adapt as the world changes, I think you can thrive.

      Again, I’m not an expert in any of this, but that’s my 2 cents. Hope it’s useful!

  12. Good Evening Mr. Staveley,
    I would like to start off by saying that I have really enjoyed The Emperor’s Blades. It’s one of the most interesting and well-conceived fantasy worlds that I’ve come across in awhile and I really enjoyed how the three siblings’ lives and challenges were so different yet all seem like they are about to come together in the second book.
    I am in the process of starting up a blog that will cover the three oft-related topics of writers, writing, and self-motivation. One of the main features of my blog will be interviews and profiles of contemporary writers from multiple genres and backgrounds. Obviously, getting the personal input of said writers on the pieces being written on them would be extremely helpful. Hopefully in a few years, this list of authors will become a valuable resource to thousands of readers looking for new and exciting titles along with aspiring writers seeking advice from established members of the profession.
    Just so you know where I am coming from, I am a West Point graduate who is currently serving as an Artillery Officer in the 101st Airborne Division in Kentucky, but my first love has always been reading. While I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2013, I finally decided that I would stop making excuses, and take a few minutes each day to write the kind of stuff that I would enjoy reading. I figured that if I could do it in a combat zone, then I could do it when I got back as well.
    I do not consider myself to be writing at a high enough standard to be worthy of publication yet, but I see this blog as a way to learn about the industry, receive helpful feedback from others, and as my readership expands, give them a list of outstanding writers to refer to when they are looking for their next book.
    If you have the time, I would like to conduct a quick interview with you via email or any other medium of your choosing. The interview would consist of a short bio, a discussion of your writing style and habits, and your views on past and future projects along with links to your website and purchasing information for your books. All of the interviews are easily accessible and archived on their own page to ensure that even the earliest interviews can be accessed in two clicks, ensuring that no one’s valuable advice and insights become buried under a preponderance of other blog posts.
    I understand that you are busy and that your time is valuable, but I will work very hard to ensure that your investment is ultimately worthwhile. It may take some time, but it is my hope that your small investment will be repaid in time with a steady stream of browsers clicking over to view the pages and purchase the work of my blog’s featured authors. I look forward to hearing from you, and hope that you are willing to entertain my request, though I will by no means take it personally if you are not. Have a great New Year.

    Best Regards,
    Steve Gregor

  13. Mr. Staveley, both my son and I have finished The Emperor’s Blades, and I am almost finished with The Providence of Fire. They are absolutely brilliant, and it is going to be painful waiting for your next book to come out. We have read a lot of epic fantasy, (The Dark Tower, Warded Man, etc.) and your books are among the best we have ever seen. My younger son is next in line to read both books, and I am quite confident he will share our reactions. Thank you for two wonderful books, and please, please hurry to get the next one published!

    • Hi Page — Thanks for getting in touch! Sorry I missed this when you first posted it. I’m thrilled that you’re enjoying the series, and that you’re reading the books with your son. My boy’s only 3, so a little young for this sort of fare, but I’m very much looking forward to rereading some of the fantasy classics with him when he’s a little older. In fact, I’ve avoided reading Harry Potter all these years with this in mind. As far as the third volume of my own series goes, I’m revising it now! Should be ready for consumption early next year…

  14. Hello Mr Staveley,

    Your first book is out in Belgium, translated in Dutch and just want to let you know that it’s one of the best reads I ever had and I’m reading fantasy since 1994! I sure hope the rest of the trilogy will also be translated, sometimes a problem because of the small market in Belgium/The Netherlands. Anyway, keep up the good work and hope you can keep up your high standard ;-)



    • Thanks for getting in touch, Luk! I’ve signed a 3-book deal with the publisher from the Netherlands, so the next two should be on the way at some point. How’s the book doing over in Belgium?

  15. Mr. Staveley,
    I read your first book, Emperor’s Blades, and immediately went out and got your second book. The story is great and I love the characters. I was hooked after the first few pages and it was really difficult to put either book down. I see you are in revisions on the 3rd book. I hope to see it soon.

    I am curious if there is any type of forum set up (other than this one) where readers can discuss the books?

  16. Hello Mr. Staveley,

    I just finished The Emperor’s Blades a few minutes ago and let me just say that I will be ordering Providence of Fire soon. I love your writing and prose. It felt fresh and gives me inspiration as a writer. I’ve been planning out a novel series for a few years and almost gave up during college until I read the Kingkiller Chronicles by Pat Rothfuss which ignited me down a road of searching every series I could find and study. Time to write is hard to come by but luckily I have a few chapters done.

    Do you have any tips on starting out and getting published? I’ve read a lot of the posts on your blog and they are very helpful and funny. I’d love to send you some of the stuff I’ve got if you’d like.

    Anyway, I can’t wait to read the second book and I’m trying to avoid spoilers. Adare grew on me in the end and I can’t wait to see where you take her. Valyn and Kaden are awesome. Rampuri Tan is someone I definitely want to learn more about.

    I’ll cease my rambling now and I look forward to reading book 2 as I enjoy me some Vermont and New Hampshire in 2 weeks.

    Thank you for the books and for the inspiration!

    • Thanks for the kind words, Todd. I’m thrilled that you’re enjoying the story. I don’t have time to look at new material right now, but I can give a few tips about starting out. Keep in mind, all of these apply to the traditional publishing route; I have no experience in the indie world.
      First: you need to have a full, finished, polished manuscript before you can move on to the next step in the process, which is querying agents. It’s easy to get impatient, and I understand the eagerness to see your own work OUT THERE, but I’d urge you strongly not to rush this first step. I worked on THE EMPEROR’S BLADES for (depending on how you count) five to seven years before I started looking for a literary agent. It takes longer for some people, not as long for others, but you really want to have the best book you possibly can before you go hunting.
      Second, when it comes time to look for an agent, don’t get discouraged. Keep submitting, even if the rejections start to pile up. A good agent gets dozens if not hundreds of submissions every day. Given that, it’s crucial to follow their submission guidelines. Every agent wants something slightly different in a submission. Do everything you can to give him or her exactly what they ask for — nothing less, nothing more.

      Those are the two best pieces of advice I can give you at this point. And then, of course, keep writing and good luck!

      • Thank you for getting back to me and this definitely helps! Currently, I’m only about 17k words into my work and definitely need to do some more planning with a few things. Do you have any kind of rituals or things you do to help you write before or as you write?

        • I’ve discovered that reading fiction I enjoy and respect for half an hour before I sit down to write is a great way to get my head in the game. It took me a long time to accept that. After all, reading someone else’s book when I should be writing my own feels lazy — like I’m just screwing around. I’ve found, though, that when I turn to my own book, my head’s already primed to write sentences and to think in terms of the rhythm and progression of scenes. Plus, it guarantees that I read for at least half an hour a day!

          • Lol I try to do that too. Currently I’m reading Providence of Fire and Anthony Ryan’s Queen of Fire currently. The direction you took with book 2 is amazing, I’m only about 1/3 to half way through currently. I feel like music helps set the scene and mood in my head when I write certain POVs as well, almost like each character has their own soundtrack lol or a certain tune to help me write a certain scene.

            And thank you for replying! I feel like us aspiring writers benefit greatly from our favorite authors conversing with us every so often.

            Do you plan on releasing any art or more maps from the world you’ve created? I’m crazy about the art style on your covers and I love seeing any artwork for any of the series I read. I’m also a bit of crazy person about maps.


          • Just now realizing I said currently twice in the same sentence. I apologize for asking so many questions but are you planning on doing any AMA’s in the future?

  17. Mr. Staveley, I have been a Sci-Fi fan since I was able to hold a book in my hand. Books have been a great escape. The ‘Emperor’s Blades’ kept me reading, on of those books you just have to finish. Great job on this first book, waiting for the next and keep on writing please.

    • Hi Juan — Thanks so much for the kind words! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the story — the Providence of Fire, the second book, is out already, and the third, The Last Mortal Bond, is slated for March ’16, so not to long now. I’ll be curious to hear what you make of the end of the story!

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