Seth Skorkowsky talks monsters, knights, pistols, and Dämoren (INTERVIEW)

Good afternoon. Please join me in extending a warm welcome to Seth Skorkowsky, who has stopped by today to talk about his novel Dämoren - a dark urban fantasy featuring nasty monsters, modern-day knights, and a sentient pistol.

Q: Thanks for taking the time to stop by today, Seth. For those who haven't yet had a chance to check out your debut novel, Dämoren, please tell us a little about yourself.

Thank you for having me. I’m a huge role-player and movie junkie. I grew up camping with my dad or in Scouts, and enjoy a lot of alone-time out on walks. I do my best writing when walking. The big genres I specialize in are sword and sorcery and urban fantasy. I prefer gritty and outlaw heroes over “white knight” good guys. My other big passion is travel. I love seeing new places, especially ones with history.

Q: The journey from 'aspiring' to 'accomplished' can be a long one, even in the era of small presses and digital publishing. When did you begin writing Damoren, and what has the journey to publication been like?

I decided to write Dämoren September 24, 2011. I was attending a writing workshop, trying to fix an epic fantasy, when a very honest editor explained why it was unsellable. I spent 3 days with him, learning what writing aspects work best and tips on story structuring. By the end of it, I decided to write a completely new book. I started Dämoren the following week. Once the book was complete, it took nine months for it to find a home. The rejections had been piling up, and on a whim I messaged Ragnarok Publications as to when they were going to open to submissions. Joe Martin said they would open soon, but went ahead and asked for the query, then the manuscript, and after a couple more weeks, we signed it. That was December 13, 2013.

Q: In terms of writing, what comes easiest for you, and where do you struggle the most? Is it the title? The first paragraph? The last chapter? The cover blurb?

I’m great at opening chapters. I wrote the opening chapter for Dämoren before I even knew what the novel was about. Had the same thing happen with two other works, as well. I love the setup. The hardest for me is the blurb or query pitch. I dread those most of all.

Q: Sometimes, characters can take on a life of their own, pulling the story in directions you hadn't originally anticipated, especially when developing a series that touches on multiple genres. Were there any twists or turns in Dämoren that surprised you, or really challenged your original plans for the story?

Several. The most dramatic was Malcolm Romero. Malcolm is a conflict character; his original job was to make things rough for the main character, Matt. As I wrote him, he really started developing and became a larger and larger piece of the story.

Q: With Dämoren being the first book in the Valducan saga, how much do you know about where the series will go? Do you have an overriding plot arc laid out, or is more a matter of seeing how each book develops the characters and the themes?

I have a pretty good idea. Each novel will focus on a different weapon and its owner. Events from one book will affect the following stories, but the principle character/weapon will change. I also have plans for some shorter, Archive Adventures, which will follow characters from different times and eras. So come characters that were old or dead before the events in Dämoren, will get a chance to show off what they could do when they were in their prime.

Q: Raised in the swamps and the forests, an RPG aficionado, and a world traveler – how much of yourself have you put into your writing?

I draw a lot of story and scenery inspirations from travel. Early into writing Dämoren, I took a trip to Italy and it completely changed the course and feel of the novel. I can definitely see much of myself in my principal characters, not as much that I’m like them, but that I can see myself making similar choices if my life had been like theirs.

Q: Supernatural, Hellboy, and Blade – that’s quite a legacy of influences. What do you see in that darker, more mythological aspect of urban fantasy that compels you to explore?

I like the concept of a hidden world of monsters and of a small group of people that hunt them. The monsters are not romanticized or tragic. They’re pure evil. The heroes are damaged, and thanklessly work as pseudo-criminals in the world they’re struggling to save.

Q: Do you have a soundtrack to your writing, a particular style of music or other background noise that keeps you in the mood, or do you require quiet solitude?

I can’t have music playing when I’m writing or solidifying ideas. However, many of the initial scenes have musical inspiration. I play the story as a movie, so I have a soundtrack to go with sweeping establishing shots and tense actions scenes. But when it comes time to write words for those visuals, I need quiet.

Q: When writing, do you ever consider how a reader or reviewer will react, or do you write solely for your own satisfaction?

I write the stories I want to write, but I always want readers to love it. The strongest push for me to continually improve my writing is that I want the reader to see and feel the same things that I am. If I can’t make a reader love a character, I can’t make them sympathise with their struggles or mourn their deaths.

Q: In terms of reader reactions, what is the strangest or most surprising reaction to your work that you've encountered to -date?

A few years ago, I recorded a podcast of me reading one of my short stories. Later, I received an email from a man in Norway that loved it. Having a complete stranger from across the world send me a message just to say that he was a fan was amazing.

Q: To turn from pen to page for a moment, is there a particular author who has influenced or inspired your writing? Somebody who either made you want to write in the first place, or who just refreshes your literary batteries?

Yes, but it’s different for each world. With the Valducan series, William Gibson is my biggest influence. I have audio copies of some of his books that I listened to uncounted times when writing Dämoren. When I started the sequel, the first thing I did was listen to them again. I also re-read my copy of American Gods by Neil Gaiman, and my use of short interludes was directly inspired by him.

Q: Assuming you had total creative control over the production, who would you cast as the leading roles, were Dämoren to hit the big screen?

For the perfect cast, the first think I’d require is a time-machine, as most of the actors are a bit too old now. But with the aid of a Tardis - Matt: Early 90’s Brad Pitt. Luiza: Morena Baccarin (Firefly). Malcolm: Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now).

Q: Before we let you go, what can we look forward to from you next? I know you have two sword and sorcery collections on the horizon, but is a second chapter of the Valducan saga on the horizon, or perhaps a completely different tale?

My sword and sorcery collections Mountain of Daggers and Sea of Quills will be released later this year from Rogue Blades Entertainment. I’m currently writing my second Valducan novel, Hounacier. In fact, there is a little teaser excerpt from Hounacier included at the end of Dämoren. I hope everyone enjoys it.

Thanks for taking the time to join us, Seth.


About the Author

Raised in the swamps and pine forest of East Texas, Seth Skorkowsky always dreamed of being a writer. He gravitated to the darker sides of fantasy, preferring horror and pulp heroes over knights in shining armor.

His debut novel, Dämoren was released in 2014 by Ragnarok Publications. Seth will also be releasing two sword and sorcery rogue collections, Mountain of Daggers and Sea of Quills, through Rogue Blades Entertainment in 2014.

When not writing, Seth enjoys tabletop role-playing games, shooting sports, and traveling the world with his wife.


About the Book

Damoren (Valducan #1) by Seth Skorkowsky
Published April 14th 2014 by Ragnarok Publications

Fourteen years ago a pack of wendigos killed Matt Hollis’ family and damned his soul. Now, Matt is a demon hunter armed with a holy revolver named Dämoren. After a violent series of murders leaves only fifty holy weapons in the world, Matt is recruited by the Valducans, an ancient order of demon hunters. Many of the knights do not trust him because he is possessed. When sabotage and assassinations begin, the Valducans know there is a spy in their ranks, and Matt becomes the core of their suspicions. Desperate to prove himself, and to protect Dämoren, Matt fights to gain their trust and discover the nature of the entity residing within him.


  1. I finished reading Damoren this weekend and found I enjoyed it quite a bit. Great interview! Glad I saw this AFTER I read the book, the Malcom in my mind looked nothing like Martin Sheen though 90s Brad Pitt for Matt works! ;-P


  2. I had suggested Stephen Amell (Arrow) for Matt, and I think Seth liked that.


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