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Our SPFBOX interviews kick off with author of The Plagued Elf, Armanis Ar-feinial!

SPFBO (the Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off) is a free online contest run by author Mark Lawrence. 300 authors compete across ten judging teams to see who will be the winner! You can read more about the contest here.


Cover for The Plagued Elf by Armanis Ar-Feinial. A sad male elf with long brown hair stands looking out at the viewer. He is surrounded by sickly green mist and dark filigree. Behind him is a cityscape with glowing orange lamps.



Tell us a little about yourself and let our readers know which blog you’ve been assigned to for SPFBOX!

My name is Armanis, and you may know me as the sarcastic elf in most spaces. I’m assigned to Fantasy-Faction. I’m a jack of all trades master of few. I’m from Maine, a terribly dreadful place.

What inspired you to write this book?

This started with my first entry into fantasy, the LOTR, after countless re-writes, mistakes made, I’m pleased with this.





[The Plagued Elf] takes a modern conflict and infects it into a fantasy setting. It’s a Pandemic in Middle Earth.


Can you tell us a little bit about your writing or editing process? What’s most exciting to you about writing or editing?

I pantsed my first novel. NEVER AGAIN! I meticulously outline and it looks intimidating to most people, but every detail is in there. It allows me to write for long periods of times without running into writer’s block. I adocate for plotting before hand, though I understand the appeal for not.

Who or what have been your major literary influences?
Tolkien, Jordan, Abercrombie, Fletcher, Kuang, and Fonda Lee.

What makes your SPFBOX book unique?
It takes a modern conflict and infects it into a fantasy setting. It’s a Pandemic in Middle Earth. I’ve only read one other book like it before.

Do you have a favourite character from your SPFBOX entry? Tell us about them!

Anaergienne is probably my favorite character, however, he takes a backseat as the patient. He has a past which you’ll really have to read to discover and it is both traumatic, uplifting. One might say this is his inciting incident to walk the path of redemption.


I meticulously outline and it looks intimidating to most people, but every detail is in there.

How does your work fit into (or challenge) its genre?
It challenges it by writing a full story in less amount of time. Your typical classic fantasy novel should, by industry standard run no less than 100,000 words, but often within 90-120k. The Plagued Elf sits tautly at 45-47k words. It’s probably the shortest one in the competition.

What do you hope readers take away from your SPFBOX entry?

I hope they enjoy it, and the internal complexities. While this is a novel, it is tight and focuses on one central plot, despite the size, it mixes a ton of world building and social and political intriciies within the world it’s set.

What are you currently working on?

When am I not working on something new. I’m co-writing a grimdark fantasy tome, if you will with a friend of mine in the midwest. Morality, and hope is often in short supply and trust is a myth. I’m constantly thinking about my Holy Grail Saga, which I’m re-branding out into the world. I’m also working on a short story collection set in Felldur, a fictitious city in Alkathos, which shares the same world as “Plagued Elf”. I have written 13-shorter novels/novellas which continue the series, “Dawn of Forest Black” of which Plagued Elf starts it. While it seems daunting, with the exception of a few, this series does have a few points of entry. Five are presently published, but you could start at Plagued Elf, or jump into book 3 with A Siren’s Call. A Stone of immortality(4) also stands quite neatly by itself.

The Plagued Elf

Quarala battles against the unknown, desperately striving to save the life of Anaergienne, Malitu’s hunter. Armed with her vast knowledge and unwavering determination, she must unravel the mysteries of a disease that has eluded even the most skilled healers. Will she succeed in her quest to find a cure and restore him?


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Armanis Ar-Feinial

Armanis Ar-feinial, in the gritty pits of despair, he comes from: Bridgeton, Maine, a terribly dreadful place. Currently residing in the Greater Boston Area with his family, he studied Criminal Justice, English, and currently dabbles in a little bit of Finance. His unfaltering passion for writing came from his first exposure from the Lord of the Rings, which he drew inspiration from in his first stories, but alas, as all good things come downward into the grimdark pits, adopting tones from Joe Abercrombie. He loves reading, playing games of all kinds, and he is what you call a practicing writaholic. He is personally known for his witty sarcastic unasked for remarks.

Steve Hugh Westenra

Steve is a trans author of fantasy, science fiction, and horror (basically, if it’s weird he writes it). He grew up on the eldritch shores of Newfoundland, Canada, and currently lives and works in (the slightly less eldritch) Montreal. He holds advanced degrees in Russian Literature, Medieval Studies, and Religious Studies. As a reader, Steve’s tastes are eclectic. He enjoys anything that could be called speculative, including fantasy, sci-fi, and horror, but has been known to enjoy a good mystery as well as literary fiction. He’s always excited to try something new or that pushes boundaries, particularly from marginalized authors. Steve is passionate about queer representation, Late Antiquity, and spiders.

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