In between answering all of his adoring email and congratulations yesterday, Zachary Pike answered a few questions for me about winning #SPFBO. In case you aren’t familiar #SPFBO is a huge novel competition held by Mark Lawrence every year to promote indie fantasy. The competition is fierce. Zachary Pike’s Book Orconomics took 1st prize yesterday. Congratulations!
Here is what it is about:
Brimming with swords, sorcery, and wit, Orconomics: A Satire introduces Arth, a world much like our own but with more magic and fewer vowels. For the licensed wizards and warriors of Arth, slaying and looting the forces of evil is just a job. The Heroes’ Guild has turned adventuring into a career, selling the rights to monsters’ hoards of treasure as investment opportunities. Corporations spend immense sums sponsoring heroes to undertake quests, betting they’ll reap the profits in plunder funds when the loot is divvied up.
Questing was all business for famous Dwarven berserker Gorm Ingerson, until a botched expedition wiped out his party, disgraced his name, and reduced him to a thieving vagabond. Twenty years later, a chance encounter sees Gorm forcibly recruited by a priest of a mad goddess to undertake a quest that has a reputation for getting heroes killed. But there’s more to Gorm’s new job than an insane prophecy; powerful corporations and governments have shown an unusual interest in the job. Gorm might be able to turn a bad deal into a golden opportunity and win back the fame and fortune he lost so long ago.
Promising fun, fantasy, and financial calamity, Orconomics: A Satire is the first book in The Dark Profit Saga, an economically epic trilogy.
Thank you Zack for taking some time out of your day!
What is this like winning this competition? What were you doing when you found out?
It’s like a digital flash mob descending on your phone and singing a musical about your book. I was dropping my kindergartner off at school when it happened, and for the rest of the day I was swept up in the whole production. (This is my excuse for why I was absently humming at my day job.)
Can you tell me about how you came to write Orconomics?
I’ve been writing the same fantasy story off and on again since I was 16, but it always felt like it was missing an angle. When 2008 came and I got laid off, I found that angle in economic news and money podcasts. The 7th Hero became Orconomics, and I was off to the races.
Orconomics is fantasy satire and in my opinion, the best kind of Satire. Are there any other writers who heavily influenced you and helped build your love of the genre?
I’ll give the obligatory bow to Terry Pratchett, the undisputed patriarch of the genre. I love his work, and still read / listen to it. I also read funny books that aren’t fantasy, such as Douglas Adams and Bill Bryson, and Tolkien consumed a big portion of my childhood.
Because I have a long abiding love for games, and I know you are a gamer, what is your favorite game?
I think what I play most right now is Hearthstone, because it’s easy to have a quick session and at this stage of life I need that. But all time, I’d guess Baldur’s Gate II. I love a good RPG, and I can’t remember another one that struck me on the same emotional level.
You talk a bit about being a New Englander by birth and temperament, could you tell me a bit about that? (I know it isn’t all about the amazing seafood)
Oh, we’re a crusty, keep-to-ourselves sort, known for our dogged work ethic and our difficulty with the letter R. But mostly people just remember the lobster (pronounced “lahb-stah.”)
About the Author – J. Zachary Pike
J. Zachary Pike was once a basement-dwelling fantasy gamer, but over time he metamorphosed into a basement-dwelling fantasy writer. By day Zack is a web professional and creative-for-hire, but at night he returns to his lair to create books, films, and illustrations that meld fantasy elements with offbeat humor. A New Englander by birth and by temperament, Zack writes strangely funny fiction on the seacoast of New Hampshire.